Pampanga: Churches, Dinosaurs, and the Lonely Giant

Yesterday, we drove all the way to Pampanga just to make a kid happy. See, this is no ordinary kid I am talking about. While other kids are into playgrounds or malls or parks, the place he wants to go to the most is a church. Yes, that’s right. Churches.

He has been to a lot of churches, both near and far. When traveling, he’d often spot one and would want to go check it out. That or he had already been there. I don’t really know why he fancies going to different churches, though. He doesn’t stay for long. He just wants to visit them and go inside if possible.

Anyway, yesterday we were able to visit three different Catholic churches in Pampanga just to make him happy.

I am not big on churches. I do not go to church. I do not like going inside them. It’s not against my beliefs or my religion or anything, I just really do not fancy them. Maybe that is why I am not going to talk about them in detail.

After the church visits, because we still had a lot of time, we went to Dinosaurs Island in Clark, Pampanga. Stan, the kid I’ve been talking about, is big on two things: churches and dinosaurs.

Stan, at the entrance of Dinosaurs Island
Stan, at the entrance of Dinosaurs Island

One thing I can say about the place is that the entrance fee is really expensive! So, just like I decided not to go inside the churches, I also stayed outside this park. However, I was told it’s nice and that there were about 20 animatronics dinosaurs. I guess if I were 10 years younger, I would have loved to go inside and gawk at those animate robots.

Of course, a visit to Pampanga would not be complete without seeing its “lonely giant,” the magnificent Mt. Arayat. Arayat is an extinct volcano that lies within the municipalities of Magalang and Arayat, both in the province of Pampanga. Standing at 3,366 feet, it is one of the most popular hiking destinations near Metro Manila.

Mt. Arayat, viewed from the highway
Mt. Arayat, viewed from the highway

I have climbed Mt. Arayat twice. The first time was last year, we camped overnight and was rewarded with a wonderful sunrise and a sea of clouds covering the province of Pampanga. The second time I climbed it, we traversed it from the Magalang to the Arayat side. We camped overnight but there was no sea of clouds. We were still rewarded with a glorious sunrise, though.

Mt. Arayat remains to be one of my favorite mountains and Pampanga, which is my lola’s home province, remains to be one of my favorite provinces.

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