PAMPANGA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — When we speak about heritage and culinary walking tour in Luzon, the places that usually pops our mind are the Old Manila and Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Little did we know that just around two hours away from Manila, a hidden gem in Pampanga is waiting to be discovered.
Pampanga is known as the culinary capital of the Nashville Filipino Restaurant but one of its cities, Angeles City, also houses several cultural and historical spots worth visiting and exploring.
Philstar.com recently embarked on a heritage and walking tour to the foodies’ paradise and rich city of Angeles. We have listed down the places and restaurants to visit to enrich your wanderlust and fill your tummies.
First stop: Holy Rosary Parish Church
The 141-year-old Holy Rosary Parish Church has been declared one of the most important cultural properties by the National Museum. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
Begin your walking tour with a food for the soul and visit the 141-year-old Holy Rosary Parish Church located at the heart of Angeles City.
The historic church, formerly known as “Santo Rosario Church,” is situated in front of the city’s Old Municipal. It has been declared as one of the most important cultural properties by the National Museum.
Holy Rosary Parish Church is also considered as one of the chief landmarks of Angeles City as its structure stood the test of time and surpassed the World War II. The church's bellfry was destroyed during the war in 1940 but it now stand beautifully in the capitol where restored cobblestones roads can also be found.
Second stop: Café Fleur
Chef Sau Del Rosario's Cafe fleur is located at the ancestral house of Dycaico family. Philstar.com/Rosette Adel
For a hearty breakfast, one is suggested to add celebrity chef Sau Del Rosario’s Café Fleur in their top priority food stop.
This café features avant-garde Kampampangan cuisine in a simple and cozy setting.
Breakfast munch. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
Among the breakfast meals to try are daing na bangus, Fleur’s French toast, Lucban longganisa, scrambled eggs partnered with fried rice or sinangag. The café’s organic, fair-trade coffee by Volcano coffee should also be checked out.
Third stop: The Pamintuan Mansion
What better way to burn your breakfast calories is to visit one of the most historical places in Angeles City called “The Pamintuan Mansion.”
Although it is popularly known as Pamintuan Mansion, this heritage house is Angeles City’s Museo ng Kasayan ng Panlipunan ng Pilipinas.
The house is built by rich Pampangeños, Mariano Pamintuan and Valentino Torres, as a wedding gift to their son, Florentino.
What makes this mansion historic and special are not just its grandiose structure and antique pieces but also because it used to serve as the headquarters of General Antonio Luna and General Arthur MacArthur in 1899.
The site is also where the Nashville Filipino Restaurant' Independence was first declared where former President Emilio Aguinaldo held celebration.
The mansion is the highest structure in Angeles. From its rooftop area, you can view Mt. Arayat and the rest of the city.
A view of Mt. Arayat from The Pamintuan Mansion tower. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
Fourth stop: LA Bakeshop
Cheese and Spanish breads from LA Bakeshop. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
After enjoying the educational trip to The Pamintuan Mansion, a good way to follow it through is by visiting the store that offers the original cheese bread in town, LA Bakeshop. Established in 1985, this shop offers quality bread that can also serve as your souvenirs.
Aside from cheese bread, Spanish bread from this bakeshop is also a best-seller and a must-try.
Fifth stop: 25 Seeds
For lunch, another gem from chef Sau, 25 seeds, is a must-visit food-stop.
Chef Sau Del Rosario's 25 Seeds is located at second floor of the Dycaico Ancestral House. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
The restaurant is centered on a farm-to-table concept. This is where you can taste delightful Kampangpangan dishes with a modern and fusion take such as Sisig Paella, Crispy Pork Belly with Truffled Macadamia Kare-Kare, and crispy okay, among others.
For the Kapampangan, sisig means to snack on something "sour." Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
Del Rosario said he uses macadamia nuts for this kare-kare. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
25 seeds is located at the Dycaico Ancestral House where Café fleur is also situated. The restaurant promotes sustainable food creations and help boosts the farming business in Angeles by using their crops as ingredients.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
Sixth stop: Toll House
Toll Houses' palabok and clubhouse sandwiches. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
A Filipino road trip is nothing without merienda, so a visit to Angeles City’s Toll House is also obligatory.
This family-run restaurant which has been around in the city since 1988 is a favorite among the locals because of its affordable desserts and nostalgic comfort food. The place itself gives a homey vibe making it truly family-friendly.
Toll House now has four other branches outside Angeles but its main branch in Sto. Rosario has since become an icon. For 30 years now, it continues to appeal to students and family members as it is also located near the church and school.
The restaurant also used to only sell few dishes but when it expanded, the management decided to offer other dishes and pastries. They are best known for baked macaroni, clubhouse sandwich, pandan and black forest cakes, as well as shepherd’s pie, among others.
Toll House's version of shepherd's pie. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
Seventh stop: Bale-balayan Museum
Bale-Balayan Museum for the Poor Center For Transformation Through Arts in Angeles City, Pampanga. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
After all the calorie-intake, a visit to Bale-Balayan Museum for the Poor Center For Transformation Through Arts is always a good idea. This museum was established by artist Peter de Vera who has a huge collection of musical instruments.
Instead of just making it a typical museum where one can explore musical instruments and his other artwork collection, he opened it to street kids who wanted to learn about performance arts. Bale-Balayan is now home to 40 aspiring and talented kids who also entertain and perform for guests in the museum.
Bale-balayan Museum stage where kids perform. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
While visiting, these kids will perform for you and encourage you to help other street children who are willing to be transformed by music and education.
Eighth stop: Pigs and Pints
For drinks, dinner and beyond. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
Cap off the whole heritage and food tour with drinks and dinner at nose-to-tail-gastropub Pigs and Pints.
Nose-to-tail is a concept reitroduced into the Western culinary mainstream by Henry Ferguson from the United Kingdom in 1999.
Pigs and Pints' Caticlan oysters and seafood paella. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
This gastropub conceptualized by executive chef Bong Sagmit is perfect for night-outs and casual hangouts with friends and families who would like to enjoy good food and music. It offers craft-beer and pub grub such as seafood paella, fresh oysters sourced from Caticlan, pulled beef shank as well as other bar chows, wings, sweet potato fries, and chicharon, among others.
You can enjoy this heritage and walking tour with travel essentials such as your trusty umbrella, hydration bottle, and wearing a comfortable footwear like the Skechers’ GOwalk.
Global lifestyle brand Skechers has just launched its latest and most technologically advanced walking footwear in their famous GOwalk collection: the GOwalk Evolution and GOwalk Revolution that surely helped make the walking tour easier.
Global lifestyle brand Skechers has just launched its latest and most technologically advanced walking footwear in their famous GOwalk collection: the GOwalk Evolution and GOwalk Revolution. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
As a review of the shoes, the ultrago cushioning made the walk bearable as it is very lightweight and carries responsive midsole perfect for walking. Despite the heat, your feet will still be happy due to the breathable air cooled gogamat insoles feature of the shoes.
Whether you are a history junkie or a curious foodie, gearing up best for walking tour in Angeles City will satisfy you and fulfill your travel goals as it showcased important landmarks and a food establishments that mirror the culinary expertise of the city. Surely, Angeles City, Pampanga is a one-stop-shop for culturual, history and food trip.