Tarlac is located in Central Luzon and is best known for its vast sugar plantations and its ties to the Cojuangco-Aquino family. On journeys to the North, Tarlac is most often just a pit stop as well. So, what else is there do in Tarlac?

This year’s leg of Lakbay Norte 7 brought us to an extensive trip of sight, sense, and smell through Tarlac.

Here are the 10 Places to Visit and things to do at Tarlac…

Lakbay Norte 7 Series:

1. Ylang-Ylang Center

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Unknown to most of us, the town of Anao in Tarlac is the only producer of the Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil in the Philippines.

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Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its uplifting scent. The production of this essential oil is affected by a multitude of very specific factors.

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The hour and temperature at which they are picked, the drying time, and the length of time it takes to extract the oil all determine the quality of the end-product.

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They also produce a variety of products such as mosquito repellents, perfumes, and potpourri.

Anao Ylang-Ylang Center
National Highway, Anao, Tarlac City, 2300 Tarlac
Telephone: +63 919 837 2105


2. Kape Agape

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A short walk from the Ylang-Ylang center will bring you to Kape Agape, a small community-run cafe by Mr. Alexis Barroga and Dr. Ron Quimando.

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Stop by for a quick morning snack and some drinks. Try their Pancit Anao and Nachos.

Kape Agape
Poblacion Street, Anao, Tarlac
Operating Hours: 8AM-9PM
Telephone: +63 452 866 5116
Facebook: Kape Agape


3. Santa Faustina of the Divine Mercy Parish

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The world’s first and Asia’s only Parish Church dedicated to St. Faustina Kowalska of Poland can be found at Paniqui, Tarlac. St. Faustina Kowalka devoted her life to the Divine Mercy.

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The Parish Church also houses a Holy Relic of her bones.

Santa Faustina of the Divine Mercy Parish
Brgy. Canan Paniqui Tarlac
Email: santafaustinaparish@gmail.com
Facebook: Santa Faustina Parish


4. St. Josemaria Escriva Parish

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Located in Gerona, Tarlac, this Church was built in honor of the Opus Dei Founder.

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Resident priest Fr. Alex Bautista once worked as an architect before priesthood, which explains why the church is so beautifully designed from its structure to its interiors.

Gone are the plain cream walls we’re accustomed to, and in its place are bold and striking patterns.

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It is Fr. Alex’s belief that if we make the effort to beautify our own homes, we need to exert the same effort for the house of the Lord.

St. Josemaria Escriva Parish
Bgy. Magaspac, Gerona, Tarlac, Tarlac 2302
Telephone: +63 45 491 1878


5. La Sagrada Familia Parish

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Another Church designed by Fr. Alex, La Sagrada is peculiar in the sense that it is oddly-located away from the town center and closer to the fields.

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The La Sagrada Familia Parish makes use of half of the Papal altar from the Pope’s last visit to the Philippines.

La Sagrada Familia Parish
Brilliante – Sta. Lucia – Sulipa Road, Gerona, Tarlac


6. Tatun’s Kambingan

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Tatun’s Kambingan serves specialty goat dishes that even the pickiest eater can’t resist.

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A spread of mostly goat dishes are prepared several ways. There is a chance that you’ll find a new favorite goat dish.

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My favorite would have to be the Adobong Kambing. The meat was tender and not gamey.

Tatun’s Kambingan
7051 E Fairlane Rd, Brgy. San Vicente, Tarlac City, 2300 Tarlac
Operating Hours: 10AM-2PM, 5PM-9PM
Telephone: +63 916 229 4541
Facebook: Tatun’s Kambingan


7. Betty’s Resto Bar

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A favorite among Tarlaqueños, one must not forget a visit to their restaurant even just for the Kakanin.

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Duman is a native cake with creamy coconut topping.

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Tibok-Tibok is a white pudding similar to maja blanca but makes use of carabao’s milk instead of coconut milk.

Betty’s Resto Bar
San Roque, Tarlac
Operating Hours: 6:00AM-6:30PM
Telephone: +63 (045) 982 0465
Facebook: Betty’s Native Cakes


8. Bonnette’s BBQ Grill

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Bonnette’s presents itself with a different way of eating Filipino Barbecue. Their barbecue is served with bonete, a Filipino version of a dinner roll, which is then dipped in vinegar.

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I had some hesitation with the idea of dipping bread in vinegar, but it really does work!

Bonnette’s BBQ Grill
San Sebastian-San Vicente Diversion Rd, Brgy. San Vicente, Tarlac City, 2300 Tarlac


9. Aquino Center and Museum

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

Home of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan, the province holds a lot of their stories.

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The museum houses family heirlooms, letters, election paraphernalia, and installations that reflect the lives of the Cojuangco-Aquino family.

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Political biases aside, I consider museums like this to be essential mediums in storytelling and safeguarding stories of the past.

Aquino Center and Museum
Luisita Industrial Park Road, San Miguel, Tarlac City, 2300 Tarlac
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Telephone: +63 (045) 985 0968
Facebook: Aquino Center and Museum
Website: http://www.ninoyaquino.ph


10. Kart City Tarlac

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What started out as a personal race track among friends has quickly grown into a thriving spot for food and family fun.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

After a long day of touring, spend the night speeding through the race tracks for a rush of adrenaline.

Kart City Tarlac
MacArthur Highway, Tarlac City, Tarlac
Operating Hours: 3:00PM – 2:00 AM
Telephone: +63 (045) 491 4053
Facebook: Kart City Tarlac


Final Thoughts

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There truly is much more to see and experience in Tarlac. It’s more than just a view from your window of vast fields and hills and mountains. Include Tarlac as a full stop on your next journey to the North for a glimpse of unique Filipino culture.

 

Live an Awesome Life,

Monique of Team Our Awesome Planet

 

Disclaimer: The Lakbay Norte trip was organized by North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) in partnership with NLEX Corporation, Tarlac Convention and Visitors Bureau (TCVB), and Victory Liner Inc. Lakbay Norte is an annual media familiarization trip aiming to promote Philippine provinces in the north. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.