A Busy Week for Pampanga tourism

5/28/20222 min read

THIS merry Month of May has become even more merrier with a very much welcome flurry of festivities in our beloved Province of Pampanga.

Earlier this week on May 24, SMX Convention Center Clark in Mabalacat City formally opened its doors to the public. The second stand alone convention complex from the SM Group, this world-class facility is set to boost MICE and business tourism in Central and Northern Luzon. Our very own Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines president and Mabalacat City Tourism Officer Arwin Lingat is quite bullish in pushing for MICE tourism especially in our province and is quite excited with this newest addition in his hometown.

Meanwhile, I was fortunate enough to attend a rare meeting of tourism and heritage advocates at the unparalleled Denlim’s Kitchen in our City on May 24. Present at the gastronomic adventure-cum-brainstorming bonding were tourism and heritage expert Ivan Henares, tour guide par excellence Ivan Man Dy, educator and calesa preservation champ Zab Jimenez, art and good governance advocate Earl Tongol, and our new Provincial Tourism Officer and visual artist Chan Alvarez. Chef Dennis Lim and his superb wait staff, especially atsing Let, provided a culinary experience like no other.

Since May is also the National Heritage Month, the Provincial Government of Pampanga through the Arts, Culture, and Tourism Office organized “Pamanang Lokal: Binhi ng Kulturang Pilipino” Heritage Talk Series on May 25 to 27, 2022 at the Benigno Aquino Hall, Capitol Grounds. Heritage and art experts were invited as resource speakers, including Dr. Vittorio Pantig who talked about “Pamanyese king Amanang Kabiasnan Kapampangan”, Dr. Ivan Henares who lectured on “Built Heritage in Pampanga”, and linguistic expert Mike Pangilinan who shared about “Pamagpakilala king linguistikang Kapampangan: Ing sukat dang abalu reng Kapampangan king Sarili rang amanu.” The lectures were attended by tourism office staff from various local government units all over the province.

Closer to home, on May 27, the City Government of San Fernando finally inaugurated the Giant Lantern and Tourist Information Center at the former Paskuhan Village which was donated by SM Development Corporation. No less than Mayor Edwin Santiago led the ribbon cutting ceremonies while the blessing was officiated by H.E. Archbishop Florentino Lavarias D.D. and my friend and former City Hall colleague Reverend Father Aldrin Tayag who is a Kapampangan priest based in the United States. SMDC President Jose Mari Banzon and SM President Steven Tan personally handed over the keys to the property to the City Officials.

My special thanks goes to everyone who made the project possible, our SM City Pampanga and SMDC colleagues, Red Cardinal Construction, our City Engineer Anele David and staff, SFELAPCO, CSFP Water District, Primewater San Fernando, and our tourism stakeholders. The lantern exhibits are curated by Raphael Kalaw and our lantern makers have graciously shared their works of art to the center. GPPC Constrade also volunteered as interior design consultants. Our City Administrator Atty. Atlee Viray’s legal brilliance together with Mayor Santiago’s political will ensured this legacy for the people of San Fernando today and in the future. The officers and staff of the City Tourism Office worked very hard to ensure the success of the inaugural event, together with the event sponsors.

Next weekend, I will continue sharing about the upcoming cultural events in our province. This busy month of May for Pampanga means that we are getting to the exciting parts!