Ever since the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) was opened in 2005, traveling to this part of the country and to its surrounding areas has become a breeze. Not only does it cut down travel time, but taking a road trip through SCTEX can also take you to a lot of exciting detours.
We’ve handpicked 10 fun-packed activities you can do with your gang or the whole family next time you’re on this expressway. Roll your windows down, cue the Eraserheads playlist, and rev up for an unforgettable road trip!
1.) Whitewater Kayaking at Camiling and Bulsa Rivers
Let the adrenaline rush through your veins as you brave the waters of Camiling or Bulsa Rivers. When you take a road trip through SCTEX and exit towards Tarlac City, your jump off point where you can experience this adventure. And now that the rainy season is here, you are in luck because this is the best time when water levels in the river rise, the current goes rough, and the ride gets crazy. You and your friends can have this fun escapade in San Jose, Tarlac but you can arrange for pick-up services with Rapid Stream, which can help you go through this thrilling voyage.
Address: West of Tarlac City, Tarlac, Tarlac
Contact information: +63 921 582 4789 | +63 917 584 3278 | RapidStreamEcotours@gmail.com
Details: Package of Php 1,800 per person includes guide fee, equipment rental, native organic lunch, and on-river snack. Bring sturdy shoes or sandals, swimming gear, and sunblock. You can also prepare your dry bag and waterproof camera to keep your stuff safe and dry.
2.) Pilgrimage to Monasterio de Tarlac
If you want to be away from the maddening noise of the city and prefer some peaceful time to meditate, then get into the SCTEX and drive towards the Monasterio de Tarlac in San Jose town. A relic of the cross of Jesus is kept in the monastery. It’s a place where you can get close to the heavens, literally, because it is perched on top of Mt. Resurrection. The monastery is also built within the Eco-tourism Park of San Jose, Tarlac, which allows you to commune with nature and enjoy the view of the landscape as seen from the statue of the Risen Christ.
Servants of the Risen Christ Communication Center
Address: Monasterio de Tarlac, Brgy Lubigan, San Jose, Tarlac
Contact information: +63 45 493 3002 | +63 916 250 8414
Website: http://monasterio-de-tarlac.weebly.com/ | Facebook
Details: There is no entrance fee to the monastery but it is closed during Thursdays for maintenance and their private prayers.
3.) Ultralight Flying in Angeles City
How about you start with a road trip through SCTEX and then end up flying in the sky? It will be a fun adventure to fly like a bird and see this part of the country from up above. Plus, you get some adrenaline rush as you learn how to fly an ultralight plane. It’s safe to do this one-of-a-kind experience and not many get the opportunity to enjoy such thrilling voyage, a quest that is worthy of being including in an adventurer’s bucket list.
Angeles City Flying Club
Address: Woodland Airpark Talimundok, Sta. Maria Magalang, Pampanga
Contact information: +63 916 456 8588 | +63 918 920 3039
Details: Basic instructional flight packages starts at Php 2,466.
4.) Fun Climb at Mt. Arayat
Take a journey to Pampanga and hike to Mount Arayat, a destination which is often perceived as a place with supernatural vibe. Not only will you conquer the challenge of the trail towards the summit when you climb Mt. Arayat, but you will also get to get up close with nature, plus learn a local myth or two. It’s an adventure you’d want to take, which will offer you a fulfilling experience in the end.
Contact information: +63 2 802 3401 | +63 917 582 7517
Details: Package of Php 1,700 includes roundtrip private vehicle from Manila to Mt. Arayat, Pampanga, registration fee, entrance fee, DENR fee, local guide, adventure guide, and Trail AdvenTours ID
5.) Lessons on planes and aeronautics at the Clark Museum and 4D Theater
If you are an airplane junkie and you want to know more about aeronautics, the best place to visit is the Clark Museum and 4D Theater. Zoom through the SCTEX and exit at the Mabalacat Interchange to get to the Clark Freeport Zone. The museum also features the geography and topography of the province, the culture and history of the indigenous people, as well as the past and current use of the Clark Air Field. A state-of-the-art 4D Theater, which can accommodate to up to 48 persons, provide a thrilling experience of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
Clark Museum and 4D Theater
Address: S. Osmeña Sr. St., Clark Freeport Zone, Mabalacat, Pampanga
Contact information: +63 45 599 2854
Website: http://www.visitclark.com/museum4d.html | Facebook
Details: Entrance fee is Php 100.00 and opens from Tuesdays to Sundays.
6.) Culinary delight at Bale Dutung
Craving for some delicious Filipino treats? Then get off at the Lakandula Interchange of the SCTEX and follow your gustatory desires towards Angeles City where the nice Filipino ambiance of Bale Dutung can be found. Tucked inside the Villa Gloria Subdivision, Bale Dutung offers some peace and quiet and lots of food satisfaction, thanks to its owner and chef, Claude Tayag. This food haven has been featured in the international TV show, No Reservations, hosted by Anthony Bourdain. Take pleasure in a multiple serving meal, specially prepared to sate your appetite.
Address: Villa Gloria Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga
Contact information: +63 45 625 0169 | +63 917 595 0218 | email@example.com
Details: Dining in this restaurant is strictly by reservation only.
7.) Mudpack spa at Puning Hot Spring
After a long road trip via SCTEX, it’s to have some relaxing spa treatment at the Puning Hot Spring and Restaurant. Have yourself covered in mudpack and take in the quiet moment, which can be your path to wellness. But apart from the spa, this place, which is situated in a beautiful backdrop of mountains and greens, has many amenities for you to enjoy. There’s a restaurant, several pools, spa, and a 4×4 jeepney ride.
Puning Hot Spring and Restaurant
Address: Sitio Target, Brgy. Sapangbato, Angeles City
Contact information: +63 919 339 2795 | +63 928 622 5024
Website: Facebook | DOT site
Details: A package of Php 3,000 per person includes entrance, use of pools, use of 4×4 jeepney, buffet lunch, sand steam, mudpack, local guide, cottages, towels, and other fees and amenities.
8.) Philippine landmarks at Nayong Pilipino Clark
See the various landmarks in the country in just a day and for only a few pesos. You can do that when you cruise through SCTEX, get off at the Mabalacat or Lakandula Interchange, and go straight to the Nayong Pillipino. There you will find villages of our local tribes, like the Ifugaos and the Kalingans; homes of our heroes and historical leaders, such as the houses of Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabina, and Emilio Aguinaldo; heritage sites and natural attractions through Visayas and Mindanao; and other landmarks.
Nayong Pilipino Clark
Address: Nayong Pilipino, Centennial Rd, Clark Field, Mabalacat, Pampanga
Contact information: +63 943 553 2414 | +63 45 436 1718
Website: Clark Subic Marketing
Details: Entrance Fees are Php 150 (Adult); Php 120 (Senior Citizen); Php 100 (Children)
9.) Jungle Survival at the Subic Pamulaklakin Forest Trail
Learn survival tips and techniques when you take the Tipo Exit to proceed to the Subic Bay Freeport. Sometimes, it would be members from the Aeta tribe who would show the ropes when it comes to surviving in the jungle. The trail will not only show you the rich flora and fauna found in the jungle but will also instruct you on how to make fire and be able to nourish oneself in the absence of tools and gadgets.
Pamulaklakin Forest Trail
Address: Binictican Heights, Subic Bay Freeport, Subic, Zambales
Contact information: +63 47 252-4242 | +63 47 252 4123 | +63 921 682 7175
Details: Tour rates start at Php 50.00 per person
10.) Beach loving at Pundaquit and Anawangin
A mixture of fun adventure and relaxing solitude is what you will find when you take a road trip through SCTEX and go straight to Barrio Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales. At Pundaquit alone, you can enjoy the beach and the waterfalls nearby. But if you are thirsting for more thrill, then jump into a boat to get to Anawangin Cove where you can camp through the night at the pine tree-laden beach.
Municipality of San Antonio
Address: Municipal Hall, San Antonio, Zambales
Contact information: +63 47 913 3015