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Angeles City, in the province of Pampanga in central Luzon in the Philippines, was once the site of a massive US Airforce Contingent - the Clark Air Base. Following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, which devastated much of the city, the US withdrew much of the infrastructure and therefore the lifeline of this thriving metropolis.
Angeles remains an essential waypoint for a trip to the nearby volcano. As topless bars and restaurants continue to dwindle in numbers relative to their heydays when the US forces were around, nearby Clark Airfield had slowly metamorphosized into a thriving export processing zone. The new Diosdado Macapagal International Airport inside Clark now serves as gateway of Pampanga and nearby provinces to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. A new expressway has just been built direct to Subic in Zambales province, a former base of the US Navy Pacific Fleet. This now completes the corridor linking Clark in Angeles, Subic and Manila. Brisk commerce and trade has rejuvenated Angeles City compared to its sad state some years ago. More is expected to improve as a new railway line is completed linking up with Manila and the southern provinces of Luzon.
A stalwart remaining from the hightimes of US support is the aptly named Margharitaville - information about all the local tours, hotspots, scams and anything else you could possibly want to know is available at the bar. Some of the world's best and cheapest Margharitas are sold here too.
If you are visiting Mount Pinatubo you will pass through Angeles, the length of time you stay will depend on your time frame, budget and interests. There is a lot to see though and if you have the time, it's worth a few days. Meeting some of the local gentlemen businessmen in town though, you may find that that is what they thought 20 years ago, and are still there.
Mount Pinatubo tours from Angeles are cheap and well worthwhile to visit the volcano crater. Although it is possible to do a visit independently, the area is still a dangerous place and landslides occur frequently. The tour operators hire experienced guides and take you to places that would be very difficult to find otherwise. Some tour packages are available for dune bugging at the sandy landscape created by the 1991 eruption that buried towns in ash and lahar.
Located at the corner of Sto. Entierro and Sto. Rosario streets. Built between 1877-1896 by townspeople who were forced into labor by the Spanish government. During the Philippine Revolution, its courtyard was used by the Spanish Army as venue for executing Filipino revolutionaries. The cathedral was converted into a military hospital by the US Army during their campaign in subjugating the country in the 1900s.
Usually held on the second week of February, this annual blimp festival has been running for the last 12 years now, with more attractions added lately. Held inside Clark Airfield, activities include air shows of light planes, sky-jumping exhibitions, kite competitions, para-gliding, and all other things that go up in the air. Crowds have been getting larger through the years as more participants and sponsors join in. Being a weekend attraction in the past, it is now a 4-day event with more colors floating in the morning sky! You have to come early, though, to catch them heating-up those blimps.
This festival is held every year during the month of December in celebration of the popular Pampanga dish, the Sisig. Although sisig is commonly served anywhere in the country, the festival showcases the city’s culinary prowess on this particular dish whose preparation and way of cooking is credited to the famous Lucia Cunanan (or Aling Lucing) of Angeles City. Sisig is made up of boiled pig ears, cheeks, snout, brains and liver - chopped finely with garlic, onions and pepper, marinated in a special sauce, grilled in hot plates and served with rice. The festival used to be celebrated along the stretch of McArthur Highway, but nowadays, it is held at the open grounds of SM Clark.
Main article: Events and Festivals in the Philippines
Like the rest of the country, Angeles City has two seasons: dry (December-May) and wet, or rainy (June-November).
Angeles is currently served by Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), also known as the Clark International Airport. This airport has been eyed to become the new main gateway to Manila to replace or alternate Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). This airport is located on the former US Military Air Base of Clark.
Currently, DMIA mostly serves the following low cost carriers that connect to nearby international airports and domestic destinations.
Angeles is an hour's drive from Manila, accessible through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and getting off at Exit 80. NLEx is an 88-kilometer toll expressway that starts at the Balintawak Toll Plaza in Quezon City Metro Manila and ends in the north at the Santa Ines Exit in Mabalacat town, in the province of Pampanga.
The new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway connects Angeles City with Subic and the rest of northern Luzon. From this new toll highway, either exit at NLEX or Clark.
Aling Lucing’s Carinderia. Located by the side of an abandoned railroad called Crossings by the locals - the place where it all began! Taste the authentic Kapampangan Sisig here, as the restaurant had branched out all over the country through franchises.
|Angeles Beach Club Hotel||Don Juico Avenue (across SM Clark City) Malabanias||Hotel||-|
|Red Phoenix Hotel||810 Malabanias Rd, Clarkview||Hotel||77|
|Ponderosa Hotel||1734, San Pable St. Don Gueco Ave. Mt View, Balilago||Hotel||70|
|Blue Fields Hotel||Corner Plaridel St. & Bonifacio St. Plaridel Subd.||Hotel||45|
|Angeles Townhome||187B Fatima Street, Sta Maria I, Balibago Angeles City, Pampanga||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Gani Hotel||3757 3rd Street, Balibago||Hotel||70|
|Hotel V Inc||Block 1,4,5,6 Lot-1 Mac Arthur Highway, Balibago||Hotel||-|
|Red Tulip Hotel||E.Valdez St./24th St. Josefa Subd.,Malabanias, Cla||HOTEL||78|
|Budget Hostel Angeles||Corner Lena and Amor street||HOSTEL||74|
|Hostellery||418 Plaza Nuestra Senyora De Guia, Ferguson St. Co Ermita||HOSTEL||-|
|Danielas Place||315 Pinatubo St. Clarkview, Malabanias Cnr Tamarind and Santol St||HOTEL||-|
There are a number of internet service providers nationwide: PLDT-Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms, BayanTel and Sun Cellular and each have their signal strengths in various locations. Internet access areas of broadband speeds are plentiful in city malls, much less so outside the cities, but are growing at a rapid pace. Internet surfing rates depend primarily on where you surf and the medium used (e.g. WiFi or wired). Internet services offered by hotels and shopping malls are expensive and can go up to ₱200/hour (approximately US$5) but neighbourhood cafes can be as cheap as ₱15/hour (approximately US$0.35).
Public place WiFi services in the Philippines is provided by Airborneaccess.net and WiZ is likely to cost ₱100 (approximately US$2) for up to an hour. But if you want cheaper, there is a internet cafe chain in SM malls called, "Netopia", that has a landline internet connection for around 20P an hour (about 0.46 US). Coffee shops as well as malls usually carry WiFi service some are free to use. Certain areas may also carry free WiFi. The SM chain of malls offer free wifi, so you can sit virtually anywhere in the mall and access free wireless.
See also International Telephone Calls
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country. There are three major companies operating GSM 900/1800 networks: Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular. Your home provider at home should have agreements with one of these providers so check with them before leaving home. Roaming may be quite expensive just as elsewhere however, pre-paid SIM cards of these networks are easy to acquire and cost as little as ₱30 and provide a cheaper alternative.
If you don't have a phone to begin with, a complete pre-paid kit with phone and SIM can be purchased for as little as ₱1,500.The usual cost of an international long-distance call to the United States, Europe or other major countries is $0.40 per minute. Local calls range from ₱ 6.50 per minute for prepaid calls.
Due to the wide use of mobile phones, pay phones are increasingly becoming obsolete. Some malls and public places still do have them and they usually come in either the coin or card operated variety. Globe and PLDT are the usual operators. Phone cards are usually sold by shops which sell cellphone pre-paid loads and cards. Note that phone cards of one company can not be used with the other company's card operated phones.
The Philippine Postal Corporation, or PhilPost, is the provides the postal service throughout the Philippines. PhilPost is pretty reliable, but one can hardly call it fast services. It is fine for sending postcards and letters though, both domestically as well as internationally. Prices for sending postcards or letters within the country start at around P7, while most international post costs at least P20. For sending parcels to and from the Philippines it might be wise to use companies like FedEx or UPS. The opening hours of post offices in the Philippines differ from one place to another. Usually, post offices are open from 8:00am to 12 noon and from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on weekdays. And for those that operate on Saturdays, the business hours are from 8:00am to 1:00pm.
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