Tarlac Travel Guide

Overview of Tarlac

Tarlac has the most diverse population of the provinces in Central Luzon. This province is home to a mixture of four different ethnic groups: the Pampangos, Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, and Tagalogs. As a result of their coexistence, they are able to provide visitors with the best cuisine from the regions where their ancestors originated: Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Pangasinan, and the Ilocos Region.

Tarlac is renowned for its high-quality cuisine as well as its vast rice and sugar fields. Its status as Central Luzon's melting pot accounts in significant part for its superb cuisine. The province of Tarlac is one of the top tourist destinations in Central Luzon, thanks to its abundance of historical monuments, good dining options, sizable sugar and rice farms, a beautifully designed golf course, and a host of other attractions.

Where to Go

Monasterio de Tarlac

This spiritual haven features a massive 30-foot statue of the Risen Christ and a chapel on top of Mount Resurrection. The panoramic views make it a serene and picturesque destination.

Bamban Bridge

Also known as the MacArthur Bridge, this historic structure played a significant role during World War II. Visit to appreciate its architectural significance and learn about its wartime history.

Capas National Shrine

A memorial shrine dedicated to the Filipino and American soldiers who died during the infamous Death March in 1942. The site includes a museum and a coliseum.

Aquino Center and Museum

Located in Tarlac City, this museum honors the legacy of the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. It showcases his life, achievements, and contributions to Philippine democracy.

Isdaan Village

While technically in Gerona, Tarlac, Isdaan Village is a unique and vibrant restaurant that combines dining with entertainment. Enjoy Filipino and Thai cuisine in floating bamboo huts and partake in interactive activities.

Mt. Pinatubo

While the trailhead is in Capas, Tarlac, the iconic Mount Pinatubo offers a challenging trek leading to a stunning crater lake. The journey includes 4x4 rides and hiking, providing a rewarding adventure.

Tarlac Recreational Park

A family-friendly destination featuring a large swimming pool, picnic areas, and various recreational activities. It's a great spot for relaxation and leisure.

San Sebastian Cathedral

Located in Tarlac City, this historical church is known for its beautiful architecture and is a significant religious site in the province.

What to Do

Hike to Mount Pinatubo

Embark on a challenging yet rewarding trek to Mount Pinatubo's crater lake. The journey involves a combination of 4x4 rides and hiking, offering breathtaking views and a unique adventure.

Visit Monasterio de Tarlac

Explore the serene Monasterio de Tarlac, situated atop Mount Resurrection. The site features a colossal statue of the Risen Christ and provides a peaceful atmosphere for reflection.

Learn History at Capas National Shrine

Gain insights into Philippine history by visiting Capas National Shrine, a memorial dedicated to the soldiers who suffered during the Bataan Death March in World War II.

Explore Bamban Bridge

Delve into the historical significance of Bamban Bridge, also known as MacArthur Bridge, which played a vital role during the Second World War.

Discover Aquino Center and Museum

Pay a visit to the Aquino Center and Museum in Tarlac City to learn about the life and legacy of Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., a key figure in Philippine history.

Relax at Tarlac Recreational Park

Unwind with family or friends at Tarlac Recreational Park, featuring a large swimming pool, picnic areas, and various recreational activities for a leisurely day outdoors.

Experience Isdaan Village

Indulge in a unique dining and entertainment experience at Isdaan Village in Gerona. Enjoy Filipino and Thai cuisine in floating bamboo huts and partake in interactive activities.

Visit San Sebastian Cathedral

Immerse yourself in the religious and historical ambiance of San Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac City, known for its beautiful architecture.

When is the Best Time to Visit Tarlac

The best time to visit Tarlac is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April. This period offers favorable weather conditions characterized by minimal rainfall, lower humidity, and comfortably warm temperatures. The dry months provide an excellent opportunity for outdoor activities, such as trekking to Mount Pinatubo or exploring historical sites without the concern of heavy rain. The clear skies and pleasant weather enhance the overall travel experience, making it an ideal time for both adventure seekers and those looking to immerse themselves in Tarlac's cultural and natural attractions.

The wet season in Tarlac typically occurs from May to October, bringing increased rainfall and occasional typhoons. During this time, the landscape becomes lush and green, creating a vibrant and refreshing atmosphere.

How to Get to Tarlac

By Air

The nearest major airport to Tarlac is Clark International Airport (CRK), located in Pampanga. From Clark Airport, you can take a taxi or arrange for a private transfer to Tarlac, which is approximately a 1 to 1.5-hour drive, depending on your specific destination within the province. Clark Airport serves both domestic and international flights, providing convenient access to Tarlac for air travellers.

By Sea

Tarlac is a landlocked province, and there are no direct sea routes to the area. Sea travel is not a practical option for reaching Tarlac, as the province does not have a coastline or accessible seaports. Travellers are advised to consider air or land transportation alternatives for reaching Tarlac.

By Car / Bus

The most common and convenient way to reach Tarlac is by land transportation, either by car or bus. Tarlac is accessible via major road networks, including the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX). If you're driving, you can use these expressways to reach Tarlac from Metro Manila or other nearby provinces.

Several bus companies also operate routes to Tarlac, offering both ordinary and air-conditioned bus services. Bus terminals in Metro Manila, particularly those in Cubao and Pasay, have regular trips to Tarlac, providing an affordable and accessible option for travellers.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

Getting around Tarlac is made convenient with the availability of taxis and ride-sharing services. In urban areas and key destinations, hailing a taxi or using ride-sharing apps like Grab can provide a comfortable and efficient means of transportation. Ensure that the taxi meter is used for fare calculation, and for ride-sharing services, utilize the mobile app to book a ride. Taxis and ride-sharing vehicles are suitable for short distances within the city or when traveling to nearby attractions, offering a hassle-free way to explore Tarlac.

By Car / Motorcycle

For visitors who prefer more independence and flexibility, renting a car or motorcycle is an option in Tarlac. Rental agencies provide various vehicle options for those who want to explore the province at their own pace.

What to Eat

Tarlac offers a diverse range of dining options catering to various budgets and palates, ensuring there is something for everyone.

Local Food

Tarlac boasts a vibrant local food scene, characterised by a diverse array of culinary delights that showcase the rich flavours of Filipino cuisine. From traditional eateries to modern dining establishments such as Buddy's Restaurant, Tarlac Plazuela, Kape Agape and Luisita's Grill.

Fresh Seafood

Numerous dining establishments in Tarlac, including notable venues like Dampa Seafood Restaurant, Seafood Best, and Fortune Seafood Restaurant, strive to provide a diverse and delightful seafood culinary experience by sourcing fresh seafood from nearby coastal areas.

Western Food

Tarlac offers a diverse culinary landscape that includes a variety of Western dining options. From casual cafes to upscale restaurants such as Stella Ristorante, Hermanos Restaurant and Burger-Mc Queen Restaurant.

What to Buy

Explore Tarlac's unique culture through locally crafted items and sweet delicacies. Consider purchasing traditional handwoven products, such as vibrant fabrics and baskets, showcasing the community's craftsmanship. Don't miss the chance to bring home the famous "iniruban" and local agricultural products like honey and rice, providing authentic tastes of Tarlac's richness. Support local artisans by browsing markets for handmade souvenirs, creating lasting memories of your visit.

Where to Stay

Tarlac offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you're seeking luxury hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, or budget-friendly inns, the province provides a variety of choices for a comfortable stay.

Explore accommodations in Tarlac City for convenient access to urban amenities or consider resorts near natural attractions for a tranquil retreat. Notable areas like Capas and Bamban also offer lodging options for those exploring historical sites. From modern amenities to charming local hospitality, Tarlac's lodging choices cater to the diverse needs of visitors, ensuring a pleasant stay during your time in the province.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

When packing for your visit to Tarlac, it is advisable to bring lightweight and breathable clothing due to the tropical climate. Comfortable and casual attire, such as shorts, T-shirts, and sundresses, is suitable for most activities.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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