Central Luzon houses some of the best long-drive destinations in the Philippines. For one, the roads leading to this region have been painstakingly developed for smoother travel. Paired with its scenic plains and mountains, Central Luzon will always be fun to explore on a set of wheels.
And explore you should. There are many attractions in Central Luzon that are waiting for travellers to see their beauty. Whether they’re natural wonders or historic sites, the attractions in this region will make your long drives rewarding. Set foot in these sites for a truly unforgettable trip.
1. Verdivia Falls
Just a few kilometres away from San Miguel, Verdivia Falls is a haven for its locals and a retreat for tourists. This 15-foot waterfall fills a very wide pool of water in its basin, which is perfect for friends and families. The heat can grow intense in Bulacan, so taking a dip in Verdivia will refresh every visitor.
The catch to this, however, is that there is a lengthy hike going to Verdivia Falls. Staying will also require tents and packed food, as there aren’t a lot of shops around the area. But, those who would like to savour seclusion with nature will find their time in Verdivia invaluable.
2. Shrine of Saint Andrew Kim
Who would’ve imagined that something as eclectic as the Shrine of Saint Andrew Kim would exist in the middle of Bulacan? Primarily dedicated to the first Korean priest and martyr Andrew Kim Taegon, the church features a combination of Korean and European architecture. This results in an unassuming place of worship that welcomes its visitors with its elegance.
3. Cucina ni Atching Lillian
While there are a lot of attractions in Pampanga, a constant to this province is their superior food. It is undeniably fascinating to learn about the history of its cuisine. Good thing Cucina ni Atching Lillian diligently kept important notes that visitors of the museum can learn about. Not only do visitors get to learn recipes, but they also get to taste a few delicacies made by Atching Lillian herself!
4. Magalawa Island
The drive to Palauig in Zambales might be long, but once you reach the city, you only have to sail 10 minutes from the hidden paradise of Magalawa Island. From afar, the beach welcomes you with its fine white sand that calmly rests on its shores. Enjoy Magalawa Island’s crystal-clear waters and the shade from its vast coconut trees.
Around the island are many fishing villages. If you find yourself hungry, visit them for some of the best seafood on this side of the Philippines.
5. Botolan Wildlife Farm
It’s always a blast to learn about animals in their natural habitat. Fortunately, Botolan Wildlife Farm facilitates not just local wildlife. A few species not native to the region made Botolan their home away from home, such as the Siberian tiger. The park advocates the preservation of animals above all, and they welcome anyone who would like to learn about their part in the efforts.
6. Ermita Hill
Aurora is the go-to place for surfers through the exciting waves on the beaches of Baler. But to know Baler a little bit better, you might find Ermita Hill interesting.
This historic hill was the site of a terrible tragedy known as Tromba Marina. It was the name given to a tidal wave that destroyed half of the island village back on 27 Dec 1735 in the middle of the night. An art installation depicting villagers climbing the hill’s high point away from floodwaters commemorates the event today.
The terrible tragedy aside, atop this hill is a serene chapel which is also nearby the hill’s ancient viewing point.
7. Loleng’s Hutieu-an
During the Indochina refugee crisis during the ’70s, Bataan opened its doors to refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Some of these refugees found shelter in Bataan, with some staying in the Philippines for good. This development brought in the diverse Indochina culture that the refugees knew, including their cuisine.
Loleng’s Hutieu-an is a product of that culinary convergence. The place is simple, but its menu boasts a diverse selection of food that all take inspiration from these Indochina countries and a bit of the traditional Filipino dishes as well. The best part about dining in Loleng’s is its deeply authentic cuisine. It might as well be a trip to Hanoi without boarding a plane.
8. Pantabangan Lake and Dam
While Nueva Ecija is rife with natural attractions, Pantabangan Dam and Lake stand out because it is a modern engineering marvel right in the heart of the Philippines. The dam functions as a hydroelectric generator for a sizable part of the province while its reservoir becomes Pantabangan Lake. Since its construction during the early ’70s, Pantabangan Lake remains recognised as one of the largest and cleanest lakes in all of Southeast Asia.
9. JSJ Goat Farm
JSJ Goat Farm is one of the more underrated Central Luzon destinations because it has a certain niche when it comes to drawing tourists. However, this farm will make you fall in love with its cute goats and the high-quality cheese and milk they produce. Once you go through a tour of the farm and learn how to take care of one, you’ll probably want to keep a goat for yourself!
10. Bulsa River
Tarlac holds one of the best places to learn kayaking. Bulsa River is a 12.5-kilometre river stream running about three to four hours. This thrilling river also happens to be considered a class II river, making it a great place for starting kayakers to develop their skills. The downstream journey begins at Maamot mountain village while the stream speed gradually increases after a few hours of navigating through the river. This thrilling course concludes with a breathtaking view of Central Luzon’s mountain ranges.
Take the time to explore even more Central Luzon destinations. Drive near its edges, through its vast plains, or across its bountiful lakes. There are so many discoveries lying in wait deep beneath its flora and fauna. Maybe you’ll get to call a destination in this beautiful region your own refuge!
Featured image credit: Nate Hovee via Canva Pro