Tarlac is a landlocked province located in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines


Tarlac is a landlocked province located in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines. It is bounded on the north by the province of Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija on the east, Zambales on the west and Pampanga in the south. The province comprises three congressional districts and is subdivided into 17 municipalities and one city, Tarlac City, which is the provincial capital. The province is situated in the heartland of Luzon, in what is known as the Central Plain also spanning the neighbouring provinces of Pampanga, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan. Tarlac covers a total land area of 3,053.45 km. Early in history, what came to be known as Valenzuela Ranch today was once a thickly-forested area, peopled by roving tribes of nomadic Aetas who are said to be the aboriginal settlers of the Philippines, and for a lengthy period, it was the remaining hinterland of Luzon’s Central Plains. Today, Tarlac is the most multi-cultural of the provinces in the region for having a mixture of four distinct ethnic groups: the Kapampangans, the Pangasinans, the Ilocanos and the Tagalogs. It is also known for its fine food and vast sugar and rice plantations in Central Luzon.

The province of Tarlac in Central Luzon is really not known for tourism. In fact, some people even dub it, jokingly, as the toilet stop of Luzon; the area being frequented only by motorist needing to relieve themselves on their way to another province. But my visit to Tarlac opened my eyes to its many tourist spots and food places unknown to most travelers in the country. Tarlac has a lot of tourism potential—it has historical places, museums, adventure parks, religious destinations, hiking and biking trails, waterfalls, and gastronomic places. With this travel guide, allow me to help you get lost in Tarlac. How to get there? It is a mere two to three hours ride by bus from Metro Manila. Numerous buses with terminals in Cubao, Quezon City (Victory Liner, Five Star, Baliwag Transit, Genesis, JAC Liner), and Manila (Philippine Rabbit, Viron, Genesis) pass by the province through the NLEX. Fare for an aircon bus is usually pegged at an average of 250 pesos, depending on what town you’re gonna get off. As of this writing, there are no operational airports in the city, the nearest one being Clark in Pampanga. Where to stay in Tarlac? Tarlac isn’t really a tourism hub, so guesthouses, inns, and hotels are not that numerous compared to other places. Although the concentration of lodgings are located in the center of the province, Tarlac City, one can still find a few lodging houses and resorts on smaller towns. Where to eat in Tarlac? Tarlac is said to be a true melting pot of Pampango, Ilocano, Pangasinense, and Tagalog people. So I guess it isn’t really that surprising that the province has a lot of good restaurants lining its streets. What surprised me though was the level of choices they have, from streetfood, to local delicacies, and all the way to fine dining.

Activities to do in Tarlac? 1st activity. Soul Searching at Monasterio de Tarlac, This is probably the most popular tourist spot in Tarlac and I personally have this place at number one in my list. The monastery is on top of Mount Resurrection and it is located in San Jose, Tarlac which is 45 minutes drive away from the city center. For those who are looking for a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage here is a must. For regular travelers, they will not be disappointed to drive some extra miles to reach there as it is perfectly beautiful. This is the home of the relic of the True Cross of Christ (where Jesus Christ was crucified) and has the 30-foot massive statue of Risen Christ overlooking the glorious mountain view and vast land of Tarlac. It is look-a-like to the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. 2nd activity. Go-Karting in Kart City Tarlac, En-route to Tarlac, I was already excited to experience the adrenaline rush in go-karting. The last time I tried it was 20 years ago in the old Ali Mall in Cubao. Who would have thought that the best go-karting park now in the Philippines is located in Tarlac? This is one of the reasons why I have chosen Tarlac for our weekend getaway this time. Kart City Tarlac is one of the favorite hang out places of the true-blooded Tarlaqueño. Not only because of the thrills in the four wheels but also to appreciate great food, enjoy cold and hot drinks, sing their hearts out in the karaoke and have fun in the game room. 3rd activity. Outdoor Activities in Tarlac Recreational Park, Tarlac Recreational Park is an all-in-one outdoor adventure destination. The site is a 78 hectares sports and recreational park named after the late Congressman Jose V. Yap. It was also the venue of the two big sporting events in the Philippines, the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Meet ( CLRAA) in 2009 and Palarong Pambansa (Philippine National Games) in 2010. 4th activity. Gastronomic Experience in Isdaan Floating Restaurant, By its name, at first i thought that this is just another seafood restaurant with overcharged items in its menu. Well actually this place is not just a seafood restaurant but its a dining haven where you can savor sumptuous authentic Filipino cuisines. Your trip to Tarlac will not be complete if you will not experience dining in this restaurant. You can enjoy your meal in a nipa hut floating in their man-made lagoon and pond of Japanese Koi fish which you can also feed for free. The restaurant has enormous sculptures inspired by western and oriental cultures. The place is even made livelier by different performances from their in-house performers, talented cooks and waiters.5th activity. Visit Ylang-Ylang Center, Unknown to most of us, the town of Anao in Tarlac is the only producer of the Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil in the Philippines.Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its uplifting scent. The production of this essential oil is affected by a multitude of very specific factors. 6th activity. Visit Aquino Center and Museum, Home of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan, the province holds a lot of their stories. The museum houses family heirlooms, letters, election paraphernalia, and installations that reflect the lives of the Cojuangco-Aquino family. The museum houses family heirlooms, letters, election paraphernalia, and installations that reflect the lives of the Cojuangco-Aquino family. 7th activity. Visit Santa Faustina of the Divine Mercy Parish, The world’s first and Asia’s only Parish Church dedicated to St. Faustina Kowalska of Poland can be found at Paniqui, Tarlac. St. Faustina Kowalka devoted her life to the Divine Mercy. There truly is much more to see and experience in Tarlac. It’s more than just a view from your window of vast fields and hills and mountains. Include Tarlac as a full stop on your next journey to the North for a glimpse of unique Filipino culture.

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