When in Manila, you will always want to do something new or go somewhere you’ve never been before. This is how my friends and I felt, so we started out early one Saturday morning. We decided to go on a road trip to the northern part of Luzon through SCTEx and soak up some culture, history, and then some.
Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan
Our first stop was at the historical Barasoain Church, the cradle of democracy in the Philippines. We whispered our prayers before proceeding to the small museum right beside the church. This was where the Philippine Republic was inaugurated in 1899, with Emilio Aguinaldo as the president. It was a profound moment for us – to be in the midst of one of the most important moments in our country’s history.
Lunch at Aling Lucing’s Sisig in Angeles City, Pampanga
We got lost on the way to Aling Lucing’s Restaurant, as it was not exactly located in a tourist spot, and not everyone in the area was familiar with the place (or perhaps they knew of this delicious sisig place, just not aware of its name). According to the waitstaff, the area used to be surrounded by other sisig places along the railroad tracks, but they closed down one by one until Aling Lucing’s became one of the only few ones left. We’ve never tried the other franchises but we can definitely attest to how delicious this restaurant’s sisig was. Sisig was Aling Lucing’s specialty, but they also served lutong bahay food such as adobong sitaw and caldereta. We wanted to get halo-halo from the original Razon’s as well, however due to time constraints, we had to pass and proceed to our next stop.
The Aquino Museum in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac City
Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., opposition leader against the military rule of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, and his wife Cory Cojuangco-Aquino, first lady president of the Philippines, are probably the first two names that come into mind whenever Philippine democracy is mentioned. It is no wonder, then, that they now have their own museum as a tribute to everything they did for the country – “The Aquino Center” in Tarlac.
The museum featured the Aquino couple from their birth to their struggle during the martial law era to their final goodbyes. It showed actual letters exchanged between Marcos and Ninoy during the martial law, diary entries of the Aquinos during Ninoy’s exile, newspaper clippings, photos, and a lot of memorabilias. You should not miss the replica of the room that Ninoy stayed at during his exile; this replica contains actual items (mugs, typewriter, weighing scale, etc.) that Ninoy used. The most remarkable memorabilia for me was the blood-covered jacket that Ninoy was wearing when he was assassinated in the Manila International Airport. Looking at it gave me the chills and I truly felt his patriotism through that piece of memento. The museum continued with inspiring photos taken during the 1986 People Power Revolution led by Cory Aquino. It also showed Cory’s humility through her simple paintings.
We were not able to take any photos inside the actual museum as it was not allowed, so we took them in the lobby and outside the building.
Shopping at Puregold Duty Free in Subic Bay Free Port
Finally reaching the Subic area, we couldn’t resist shopping for tax-free imported goods like chocolates and potato chips. We also checked out some outlet shops beside the supermarket.
Dinner at Coco Lime in Subic
Before we realized it, the day was almost over so we headed to Coco Lime in Subic for dinner. We were greeted with a warm welcome even though the place was jam-packed. Every dish we ordered was cooked to perfection and we all felt so full afterwards. Highly recommended – the pineapple rice (served in a sliced pineapple fruit), grilled squid, and beef pochero (with free refill of the wonderful soup!). Other mouth-watering menu items we ordered include the crispy fried tilapia, nasi goreng, bagoong rice, and pinakbet. Truly a superb way to end a tiring but inspiring cultural trip up north.
Stay at Venezia in Subic
Finally, we went to the place we agreed to stay in – The Venezia Hotel in Subic. It was very easy to locate, as the building’s ground floor housed a PAGCOR casino and a first-class restaurant. The room itself was clean and the bed was comfortable, and the rates were surprisingly not as expensive as we thought it will be. After settling down, we decided to checkout the local night spots, but realized that we were too tired so we just grabbed some midnight snacks and headed back to our room.
Brunch at Xtremely Xpresso Café in Subic
We heard that a place called Xtremely Xpresso served quality Italian food and good coffee. Upon arriving at the place, we saw humongous pizza platters on other diners’ tables, so we knew we made the right choice. We got a pizza (half of it was Seafood Pesto and the other was Big Ben), Special Oriental Shrimp pasta, steak platter served with fries and corn, dessert of cheesecake and tiramisu plus coffee. Everything we got were commendable. We made sure we were fully loaded before heading back to Manila.
We spent PHP2,000/head (8 pax in all – includes meals, gas, toll fees, accommodations).
The Philippines is a country with rich culture and heritage, so When In Manila, you shouldn’t miss visiting at least 1 historical place – be it a museum, a church, or even a time-tested restaurant. You will never regret it.
Address: Paseo del Congreso, Barangay San Gabriel, Malolos City, Bulacan, Philippines
Address: Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac, Philippines
Aling Lucing’s Sisig
Address: G. Valdez Agapito del Rosario St. Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines
Contact No: (45) 888-2317
Coco Lime Subic
Address: Rizal Highway, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales, Philippines
Contact No: (47) 252-2413
Xtremely Xpresso Cafe Subic
Address: #1 Dewey Ave. cor Sta Rita St. SBFZ , Zambales, Philippinse
Contact No: (47) 252-3681