Tarlac has to be one of the most interesting provinces in the Philippines. It is a crossroad to four neighbouring provinces, making it a melting pot of cultures. It also boasts both historical attractions and breathtaking natural landscapes. So, where do you start? Visit these Tarlac tourist spots and watch out for their fascinating stories.
Tarlac tourist spots for nature lovers
1. Mount Pinatubo
While popular trekking routes to the mighty Mount Pinatubo start at Pampanga, there are also trails accessible through the province of Tarlac. Hiking Mount Pinatubo through Tarlac is a thrilling experience, inviting hikers to ascend the mountain on a three-hour 4×4 ride. Upon reaching the summit, you’ll be in for a visual treat: a picturesque view of Pinatubo’s crater lake.
2. Bulsa River
Interested in kayaking? A visit to the Bulsa River may quench your thirst. This river is among the most popular Tarlac tourist spots because of the thrills it brings. Kayakers love Bulsa River for being beginner-friendly while also posing a few intermediate challenges. The course starts at Maamot village, and the speed downstream gradually increases. The ride lasts for about three to four hours, with a rewarding view of Central Luzon’s mountain ranges at the end.
3. JSJ Goat Farm
Goats, especially baby calves, are cute — don’t you agree? Make a beeline for JSJ Goat Farm when in Tarlac! While one of the more niche Tarlac tourist spots, this farm is trendy among goat breeders since the farm’s herd here is always flourishing. Their high-quality dairy products, like milk and cheese, show just how healthy these goats are.
4. ANZAP Twin Falls
At over 200 feet, the ANZAP Twin Falls in Mayontoc are at the heart of the ASEAN-New Zealand Afforestation Project. While undeniably beautiful, it also demands much willpower and determination from hikers who want to witness its wonders. The trek takes up to a day and a half; after crossing the Nambalan River, visitors must hike for four more hours to reach Kawayan campsite. Most of the time, you will also l need to spend the night at the campsite before continuing your journey to the waterfalls.
Historical Tarlac tourist spots
5. Capas National Shrine
The Bataan Death March was a harrowing event in the history of the Philippines and wars in general. On 9 April 1942, the Imperial Japanese Army forced 60,000–80,000 Filipino and American soldiers to march from Camp O’Donnell (now Capas National Shrine) in Capas, Tarlac to Bagac, Bataan. The route measured up to about 65 miles.
In 1991, then President Corazon Aquino declared Camp O’Donnell a national shrine. Featuring a huge obelisk with the engraved names of soldiers, Capas National Shrine serves as a reminder of peace born out of valour against cruelty.
6. Monasterio de Tarlac
Most people would stare and stand in awe at Rio de Janeiro’s Cristo Redentor. While the Statue of the Risen Christ in Monasterio de Tarlac isn’t exactly on the same scale as its world-renowned contemporary from Brazil, visitors can’t help but be awestruck. From the foot of the statue, you can also find an overlooking view of San Jose’s fields.
Apart from the colossal statue, Monasterio de Tarlac also houses a piece of the True Cross of Christ. This relic is the actual piece of wood from the cross where Jesus was crucified. It is for this reason that Roman Catholics across the world make the pilgrimage to this humble monastery.
7. Aquino Center and Museum
For better or worse, the Aquinos play a significant part in the political and economic history of the Philippines. Sharing the storied lives of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. and Corazon “Cory” Aquino, the Aquino Center and Museum in Hacienda Luisita houses a huge collection of photographs and artefacts. The museum also recently expanded its collection to include the late former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s legacy.
Recreational Tarlac tourist spots
8. Isdaan Floating Restaurant
Isdaan Floating Restaurant offers its guests a lot of novelty besides good food. Their dining areas float on a giant fish farm decorated with statues ranging from Golden Buddhas to superheroes. Their use of Buddhist imagery, in particular, earned the entire restaurant the moniker Thailand of the Philippines. It has since expanded to multiple branches in Nueva Ecija and Laguna, but the Gerona branch is still recognised as one of the most popular Tarlac tourist spots.
9. Tarlac Recreational Center
A visit to Tarlac Recreational Center always promises guests a grand time. Also known as Jose V. Yap Sports & Recreational Complex, the activities to do here are endless!
In for some water sports? The complex has a boating area for kayakers, plus a large swimming pool at the centre. Riding through the vast dirt roads is also possible through dune buggy rides. Whether you’re with friends or family, weekends are well-spent when in Tarlac Recreational Center.
10. Kart City Tarlac
Rev those engines, get set, and go! Kart City Tarlac is one of the most exhilarating Tarlac tourist spots. The racetracks may look simple, but they have spots where strategic turns and throttles are golden opportunities to take the race. A couple of laps around these high-octane wheels may not be enough!
Exploring Tarlac is a rewarding task. The history is rich, the views are gorgeous, and most activities can be exciting. Take the time to visit these Tarlac tourist spots when passing by. A beautiful discovery may just be lying in wait!
Featured image credit: Government of Tarlac | Official Website