Angeles & Clark Airport

Angeles & Clark Airport

%045 / Pop 411,600

Clark, 80km northwest of Manila, is the former site of the US Air Force’s base, in use from 1903 until the eruption of Mt Pinatubo forced their hasty departure in 1991. Since then the base has been developed into the site of an international airport and the Clark Freeport Zone – a somewhat refined enclave comprising a business district, estates, casinos, golf courses, duty-free shops and upcoming restaurants. It’s also used as a base by the Philippine Air Force.

Unless you have a flight from Clark Airport or a bus transfer at Mabalacat terminal in Dau there’s no pressing reason to visit Clark or Angeles; the latter is synonymous with the sex industry in the Philippines. The 10,000 girls and women working the strip of tacky clubs and bars are only the vestiges of the time before the closure of the airbase, when it was estimated that 10 times as many were employed.

1Sights & Activities

 

oClark MuseumMUSEUM

( GOOGLE MAP ; %045-599 2854; Clark Parade Grounds; adult P200, student & child free; h9am-4pm Tue-Sun)

On the edge of the former American parade grounds, this well-presented museum details the history of Clark from 1901 up to its development of the Freeport Zone. It includes some great military memorabilia, photos and displays on Mt Pinatubo’s dramatic eruption. and info on the indigenous Aeta. A highlight is the 4D theatre screening four times a day.

Mt Arayat National ParkTREKKING

( GOOGLE MAP ; P75)

The volcanic cone of Mt Arayat (1026m) is a local trek that’s doable in a half-day from Clark or Angeles. Take a jeepney at the Mabalacat/Dau terminal heading to Arayat town, then take a tricycle to the park entrance, where you pay your fee and pick up a guide (mandatory). There are villas from P1200 if you feel like staying the night. A locally run ‘Revive Mt Arayat National Park’ Facebook page has more information.

Angeles City Flying ClubSCENIC FLIGHTS

( GOOGLE MAP ; %0916 456 8588; www.angelesflying.com; trial instruction flight from P2466)

For sublime views take a trial ultralight flight with an instructor over Pampanga, taking in its verdant rice paddies and Mt Arayat, with this well-established company located 25 minutes’ drive from Angeles in Magalang.

 SAN FERNANDO CRUCIFIXION CEREMONY

The industrial town of San Fernando – not to be confused with San Fernando (La Union), northwest of Baguio – is the capital of Pampanga Province.

About the only reason people come here is to see devout Christians taking part in a crucifixion ceremony every Easter. At noon on Good Friday, in barangay San Pedro Cutud, masochistic volunteer devotees are nailed to wooden crosses and whipped till they bleed.

Victory Liner has buses to San Fernando from its Cubao terminal in Manila (P105, one hour, every 30 minutes). Be aware that buses from Manila to points further north take the NLEX; take a bus heading to Olongapo via San Fernando.

4Sleeping & Eating

 

There’s no truly budget accommodation recommendable in Clark or Angeles, but Clark has a number of top-end hotels.

Red Planet HotelHOTEL$

( GOOGLE MAP ; www.redplanethotels.com; Don Juico Ave; d P1200; aW)

On busy Don Juico Ave, Red Planet is a relatively new addition, efficiently run with immaculate modern rooms. Flat-screen TVs, powerful showers and in-room safes give it a midrange feel at a budget price.

Clark HostelHOSTEL$$

( GOOGLE MAP ; %045-599 7500; http://clarkhostelphil.com; Ninoy Aquino Ave; d from P2300; aW)

Even the hostels are pricey in Clark. This HI-affiliated place behind a 7-Eleven has no dorms, just fading doubles with bathroom and air-con, but it’s super central (near the Parade Grounds), secure and cheaper than surrounding hotels.

Park Inn by RadissonBUSINESS HOTEL$$$

( GOOGLE MAP ; %045-598 7000; Manuel A Roxas Ave, SM City Clark; d from P3400; aWs)

Between Clark and Angeles, this high-rise is one of the better-value top-end hotels near the Freeport Zone. The 154 rooms are more functional than luxurious, but neatly decorated, and the pools and gym are in good shape. It’s 8km from the airport, next to the giant SM City Mall.

Yakiniku Kosyu Japanese GrillJAPANESE$$

( GOOGLE MAP ; %045-499 1026; Santos St, Clark Freeport Zone; mains P180-650; h11.30am-11pm)

Overlooking the Parade Grounds, this Japanese restaurant is set inside a converted historical barn house with decor mixing a traditional izakaya (Japanese pub-restaurant) with colourful kitsch. It does excellent sushi and barbecue dishes and has a couple of garden cabanas.

Iguana’sMEXICAN$$

( GOOGLE MAP ; %045-893 3654; Don Juico Ave; mains P160-300; h11am-10pm Tue-Sat; aW)

Located approximately halfway between Clark Airport and Angeles (within the Freeport Zone), Iguana’s is one of the Philippines’ best Mexican restaurants with great margaritas and beer-battered fish tacos.

Cottage Kitchen CafeAMERICAN$$$

( GOOGLE MAP ; %045-893 2599; 582 Don Juico Ave; mains P200-800; h10am-11pm Tue-Sun; aW)

This local institution cooks up Cajun and Creole-style cuisine, from St Louis–style pork ribs to Southern fried catfish, and doubles as a live jazz venue.

8Information

 

A useful website is www.visitclark.com.

8Getting There & Away

 

Air

Clark International Airport (DMIA; GOOGLE MAP ; %045-599 2888; http://crk.clarkairport.com) is in the Clark Special Economic Zone and used by Asian low-cost airlines, which serve the following cities, among others:

Dohar Qatar Airways

Hong Kong Cebu Pacific, Tigerair

Kuala Lumpur Air Asia

Seoul Jin Air, Korean Air

Singapore Cebu Pacific Tigerair

In theory air-con shuttles meet all flights and drop passengers off either at the Clark Freeport Zone main gate (P30) or the Mabalacat (Dau) bus terminal (P50). If these aren’t around, look for a jeepney to the main gate, or take an overpriced fixed-rate taxi (P450/500 to Mabalacat/Angeles).

Bus

The cheapest way to get to Manila is to head to the main Mabalacat bus station in Dau, around 3km from Clark’s main gate, where you’ll find scores of buses heading to Manila (fan/air-con P115/150, 1½ hours). There are also buses to Olongapo (P140, one hour) and just about anywhere else in North Luzon. Most depart only when they’re full.

Otherwise Philtranco runs eight direct, air-con buses daily from Clark to Manila (Pasay, P350, two hours). Victory Liner has three daily buses to Cubao.

Getting to Banaue is trickier. If you’re comfortable changing buses, the recommended route is Dau–Cabanatuan–Solano–Lagawe–Banaue. The alternative is to backtrack to Manila and get the direct night bus to Banaue, or take a Victory Liner bus to Baguio (P300, three hours) and pick up a connection there.

A constant stream of jeepneys connects Dau and Angeles, a five-minute journey.

Originally posted 2021-05-05 22:10:16.