NEW CLARK CITY, PHILIPPINES – Airport send-offs and arrival welcome styles among close family and good friends are customary to many Filipinos. Many have already set their own peculiar rites for these.
But there’s something quite not run-of-the-mill, and yes, exciting, when the new, sprawling facility of Clark International Airport in Pampanga is unveiled to the public this June. Such is so with the many options, all for the taking on leisure by the travelers and their companions in Pampanga.
Consider these: Approaching Clark, travelers coming from Manila, or from the north, will see the airport beckon with its stunning facade that mimics majestic slopes of the fabled Mt. Arayat and the Zambales mountain range which hosts Mt. Pinatubo. Inside the new structure, travelers departing or arriving will find ease in the streamlined conduct of necessary airport procedures. In this time of great health concerns, contactless systems of self check-in and bag drop are available.
Ms. Bi Yong Chungunco, CEO of the airport’s operator, the Luzon International Premier Airport Development Corp. (LIPAD), shares that Clark airport stands as the first Philippine airport to be awarded the Airport Health Accreditation Certificate by the Airports Council International. Guests are sure to benefit from the merits of this citation in the new airport.
This airport terminal is huge. It sits on a 110,000 square meter floor area with four building levels and will service flights with 18 aero-bridges when completed.Yet, at the terminal, travelers will easily find where they need to go with its distinctively color-coded gates for arrival and departure.
As travelers get acquainted with the delights of the place, the Clark airport experience prompts travelers and visitors to begin to think of how to take advantage of being in the historic province of Pampanga. With the rise of this airport as a premier gateway to Asia, what can Pampanga do but tout its exemplary offerings.
Food-loving Philippines duly recognizes Pampanga as its Culinary Capital. The airport itself will feature a select array of Pampango delights, further raising interest in the area’s must-taste and must-bring home treats.
Travelers can plan to go on their own or take tour packages to find the birthplace of sisig, the pork dish that caught the attention of Anthony Bourdaine, or this biscuit that goes by the name of saniculas, or bringhe (paella style), or pindang (tocino) in its traditional serving.
The visit to Pampanga may also turn out to be the perfect time to get that coveted intricately carved, rosette-bedecked wooden bedframe or those wooden foot-high images of saints whose lives have a profound meaning on our current challenges. Ever since the Augustinian friars in Hispanic times taught townspeople of Betis, Pampanga the art of carving religious images, woodworking in these vast plains of Central Luzon have gained repute.
Other reasons to explore and linger more in the province can be as festive as watching Christmas lantern (parul sampernandu) competitions or as meditative and healing as booking ecotours to learn more about mangroves and bird sanctuaries.
All these travel experiences are seen to lead Filipinos and visitors to further appreciate the noteworthy pride of the place that goes with being Pampangueno. In the nation’s flag, one of the eight stars represents Pampanga, whose people were among the first to fight for independence. With the new Clark airport, Pampanga beams with pride with many stories of adventures and soulful encounters, all for the taking of travelers and visitors.