My Philippines: Experience fun and food in Batangas and Pampanga

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - If you're longing for a satisfying getaway but can't endure long hours of travel time, you might want to visit interesting destinations in Batangas and Pampanga.

Just over an hour away south of Manila is Batangas, where Batangueña biker Lea Latayan embarks on her trip.

"Para sa adventure-seekers...whether land, air, or water, meron kami niyan (we have all that to offer)," Latayan said.

To kick off the day, Latayan first visited Candle Light Cafe in Lipa City to have a cup of the iconic Kapeng Barako, which delivers a big punch of caffeine with every sip.

She then took her bike to Mt. Gulugod Baboy in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas, for easy hiking and a view of Balayan Bay. Latayan said it takes about an hour to scale the 525-meter high mountain.

"In Batangas, we rely heavily on natural resources, but not only for tourism, we also use that for livelihood and sustenance," Latayan said.

Batangas also boasts of a natural gas power plant in Batangas City connected to the Malampaya natural gas field in Palawan, which generates clean energy for parts of Luzon.

In Nasugbu, Batangas, the 36-hectare Fortune Island offers a breathtaking view of the white sand beach and crystalline surrounding waters paired with thrilling activities such as cliff-diving.

Lastly, visitors may engage in various team building activities at the Shercon Ecology Park in Lipa City, and enjoy its thrilling attractions like rappelling, rock climbing, and ziplining.

Meanwhile, also about an hour away north Manila is Pampanga, where chef Jam Melchor visits museums and plunges into a Kapampangan food trip.

Melchor first drops by Museo Ning Angeles and the Pamintuan Mansion in Angeles City, which both showcased the province's rich history that highlights how culture influenced its food.

"As a chef and culinary advocate, I've been traveling the world being an ambassador of Filipino cuisine. I believe that the Kapamapangan in me fueled this passion for pushing the recognition of local gastronomy and preservation of Philippine culinary heritage. Because the Kapampangans' taste buds never fail," Melchor said.

He then went to the 4-hectare Abe's Farm restaurant in Magalang, Pampanga, which offers authentic Filipino and boasts of its signature sisig (sizzling pork dish), sinigang (sour meat stew), carabao ice cream, and bamboo rice.

Bale Dutung in Angeles City, which is both a restaurant and a museum, prides itself with the "bringhe," which is the Filipino version of the Spanish paella. It also serves crispy adobo (chicken or pork marinated in vinegar and soy sauce), binagoongang baboy (pork in fermented fish or shrimps), and aligue rice (rice with crab fat).

Carreon's Sweets and Pastries in Magalang, Pampanga veers away from the trademark savory Kapampangan dishes, and offers sweet treats such as the creamy and milky plantanilla. 

Melchor then takes a trip to Mila's Tokwa't Baboy and Aling Lucing's Sisig, both in Angeles City. He said the two restaurants serve the best sisig dishes in the province, getting their reputation from the simplicity and tastefulness of their pork meal.

So, whether you're in for a challenging adventure or a food trip of authentic Filipino cuisine, look no further as Batangas and Pampanga have certainly got you covered.

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