7 Best Things to Do in Tarlac [UPDATED 2018]

Learn about organic farming at EDL Farm Resort in Capas, Tarlac

Author’s Note: This list was updated to include additional attractions visited during Lakbay Norte 7, a media trip organized by North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) and held last January 30 to February 5, 2018.

Characterized by an endless expanse of grassy plains and rice fields, the province of Tarlac in central Luzon has long been bypassed or only used as a quick stopover by travelers making their way to Mt. Pinatubo, or more popular destinations father north like the cities of Baguio or Vigan. There are several hotel accommodations available for you, if you decide to overnight.  If you’re looking for a place to stay, find discounted rooms in Tarlac here.

Here are five exciting reasons to spend more time in this often overlooked province:

The Aquino Center & Museum

Learn about the legacy of democracy at The Aquino Museum.

Refresh what you’ve learned from your history class at The Aquino Center & Museum in Barangay San Miguel, Tarlac City, where the historic legacy of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Sr. and his wife, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, are housed in well-curated galleries featuring their relics, memorabilia, photographs and even a reconstruction of Ninoy’s prison cell in Fort Bonifacio. The prominent couple were heroes of the 1986 People Power Revolution against the dictatorial regime of President Ferdinand Marcos.

Contact Details

The Aquino Center & Museum, Hacienda Luisita, Barangay San Miguel, Tarlac City; Tel. +63 45 9850968 or +63 45 9850969. The center is owned and managed by the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation, Makati City; Tel. +63 2 8925360 or +63 8922950. Email: aquinocenter@ncaf.ph

Operating Hours

The museum is open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except on New Year’s Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Christmas Day. For other holidays, please contact the museum.

If you need a place to stay in Tarlac City, visit Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Tarlac, walking distance from the museum.

Monasterio de Tarlac

Contemplate holy relics at beautiful shrines and churches.

As you climb the meandering road to Monasterio de Tarlac, one realizes that the province of Tarlac does not merely consist of flat lands. Situated on a 20-hectare upland donated by the provincial government in 2003, the secluded monastery overlooks a remarkable landscape of hills and mountains, dominated by a whitewashed statue of Jesus Christ with outstretched arms. It was established by The Servants of the Risen Christ, a monastic community founded in Bamban, Tarlac in 1998, and serves as the sanctuary of a relic of the cross of Jesus Christ, inherited by the congregation from the Diocese of Essen in Germany, where the relic was housed for more than 1,000 years.

Newer churches in the province also contain first-class relics (i.e. taken from the bones) of Catholic saints. Constructed from 2010 to 2014, St. Josemaria Escriva Parish Church in Gerona houses a fragment of the Spanish saint’s tooth. It is the only diocesan parish in Asia dedicated to the founder of Opus Dei, a ministry of laypeople of the Roman Catholic Church. The church features gilded interiors and a drive-through Blessed Sacrament that one may access via a driveway behind the church, making it easy to visit for those driving along the national road.  Another home of a popular saint’s relic is St. Faustina Kowalska Parish Church in Paniqui, which houses a bone fragment of the Polish nun who established the Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy.

Contact Details

Monasterio de Tarlac, Mount of Resurrection, Eco-Tourism Park, San Jose, Tarlac; Tel. +63 45 4933002 or +63 9162508414; Email: servantsoftherisenchrist@yahoo.com. The monastery offers accommodation at PHP 800, inclusive of meals.

St. Josemaria Escriva Parish Church, National Rd, Barangay Magaspac, Gerona, Tarlac; Tel. +63 45 4911878

St. Faustina Kowalska Parish Church, Paniqui-Anao Rd, Barangay Canan, Paniqui, Tarlac; Email: santafaustinaparish@gmail.com

Enjoy heavenly scents at Anao Ylang-Ylang Center.

An small agricultural town in the eastern boundary of the province, Anao has been processing essential oil extracted from the yellow-green flowers of the ylang-ylanga or cananga tree (Cananga odorata) since 1994.  The essential oil is used in the manufacture of perfumes, bath soap, lotion and shampoo. It is the key ingredient for one of the world’s best-selling luxury perfumes in the world: Chanel No. 5. Dubbed the ylang-ylang capital of Tarlac, the town produces 36 liters of ylang-ylang essential oil annually, and plans to double this with the introduction of modern methods of extraction. One can learn how the flowers are processed and buy ylang-ylang products at the town’s Ylang-Ylang Center.

Contact Details

For more information on the ylang-ylang industry and products, visit the official website of the municipality at www.anaotarlac.gov.ph


JSJ Goat Farm

Be a farmer for a day at JSJ Goat Farm and EDL Farm Resort.

It’s time to tick off “milk a goat” off your lifetime bucket list! Visit the JSJ Goat Farm in Gerona, Tarlac to mingle with hundreds of bleating goat and sheep of native and imported breeds from the US and Australia. Established in 2001, the 10-hectare farm markets their goat milk and cheese products under the Aussie brand. Taste their delicious, freshly-made products like goat’s milk in original and chocolate flavors, feta cheese, traditional kesong puti (white cheese) and pastillas (milk candies).

More farm activities can be enjoyed at the 29-hectare EDL Farm Resort, which guests can tour on a farm tractor or water buffalo cart to get a firsthand experience on organic farming. One can experience feeding free-range chickens, cattle and native pigs, milking cows, making salted eggs, and learning about aquaponics, vermiculture and balut production. After a whole day, spend the night at The Farmhouse, a 16-room guesthouse with a swimming pool and open garden area.

Contact Details

JSJ Goat Farm, Barangay Caturay, Gerona, Tarlac; Tel. +63 9282515888.

Aussie products are available in Metro Manila at the following outlets: KYL Trading, 24 Banawe St, Quezon City, Tel. +63 2 9951996 or +63 2 7120092; Banawe Soy Bean, Banawe St, Quezon City; Jash Mart, SG-42 Suki Market corner N. Roxas St, Quezon City and Wilson St, Greenhills, San Juan City; and Ying Ying Tea House, Dasmariñas St corner Yuchengcho St (formerly Nueva St), Binondo, Manila.

EDL Farm Resort, EDL Drive, Sitio Nueve, Barangay Dolores, Capas, Tarlac; Tel. +63 45 2063345 or +63 9177096908; Email: thefarmhousebyedl@gmail.com; Accommodation at The Farmhouse by EDL starts at PHP 1,789 for a regular room.

Dune Buggy at Tarlac Recreational Park (TRP)

Bike, kayak and drive a dune buggy at Tarlac Recreational Park.

Looking for an all-in-one destination for outdoor adventure? Check out the Tarlac Recreational Park (TRP) with your entire family or big group of friends. The venue of the 53rd Palarong Pambansa in 2010, this sprawling sports and adventure park has a wide range of amenities like an Olympic-size swimming pool, football field, athletics oval and race track, as well as various outdoor activities like ziplining (PHP 100 per ride), camping (PHP 100 per head), kayaking (PHP 50 per head for 30 minutes), fishing (PHP 100 per day), mountain biking (PHP 50 per 30 minutes), airsoft (PHP 250 per game) and exciting off-road rides on ATVs (PHP 200 per 20 minutes) and dune buggies (PHP 300 per 20 minutes).

Contact Details

For inquiries about the Tarlac Recreational Park, located in San Jose, Tarlac, contact Sustainable Tourism Development Project, Provincial Capitol Building, San Vicente, Tarlac City; Tel. +63 45 4932471; Email: tarlacecotourism@gmail.com

Kart City Tarlac (KCT)

Feel the adrenaline rush of go-kart racing at Kart City Tarlac.

Conveniently located right across SM City Tarlac, Kart City Tarlac (KCT) boasts of a world-class karting facility with outstanding race tracks for both adults and children  and European-made go-karts that will more than satisfy your need for speed. After your exciting laps, dine by the trackside recreational complex consisting of dining outlets, karaoke rooms and a game room offering darts and billiards.

Contact Details

Kart City Tarlac (KCT), MacArthur Highway, Barangay San Roque, Tarlac City (Located across SM City Tarlac); Tel. +63 45 4914053; Open daily from 3:00 PM to 1:00 AM; Go-kart rentals: PHP 130 for five laps and PHP 200 for ten laps.

Like Kart City Tarlac on Facebook.

Go restaurant-hopping and embark on a food adventure!

Tarlac is a total foodie destination. After all that exploring, hungry travelers are spoiled with choice with all the homegrown restaurants and cafes available across the province. One of the best places to tuck in for local fare is Tatuns Kambingan, a neighborhood restaurant hidden in a residential area that serves generous plates of Kapampangan cuisine like kare-kare (oxtail stew), kalderetang kambing (mutton stew) and kampukan (minced mutton skin), to name a few. For street-style dining, Bonnette’s BBQ Grill serves some of the best barbecue in town – try it with their homemade spiced vinegar and paired with warm bread buns of bonete and malunggay pandesal! If you’re looking for sweet snacks and desserts, there’s Betty’s Special Native Cakes, which has been specializing in kakanin (sticky rice snacks) for more than four decades. They are best known for duman, a Kapampangan sticky rice cake with creamy coconut milk topping.

Contact Details

Tatuns Kambingan, 7051 E Fairlane Rd, Brgy. San Vicente, Tarlac City; Tel. +63 9162294541

Betty’s Special Native Cakes, Zamora St, Brgy. San Roque, Tarlac City

La Boneteria & Bonnette’s BBQ Grill, Villa Zarraga Subdivision, San Vicente Tarlac; Tel. +63 45 9231098

npvb-logoThis trip was made possible through Lakbay Norte 4 (January 29 to February 1, 2015), and Lakbay Norte 7 (January 30 to February 5, 2018), media tours organized by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB), a non-stock, non-profit organization spearheaded by the Manila North Tollways Corporation, builder and concessionaire of the North Luzon Expressway.

10 Replies to “7 Best Things to Do in Tarlac [UPDATED 2018]”

  1. Uptourist says:

    I kept looking for a guide like this. Why aren’t you indexed on Google so I can find you easily? Thanks. Now I know where to go if I want to enjoy in Tarlac.

  2. Wandering JM says:

    Thanks for sharing this. We are planning for a road trip to Tarlac tomorrow.

  3. scott says:

    Thank you for this, i am visiting Tarlac city from the UK in November, this has helped massively

  4. Henny says:

    Thank you for this, I just have a question how far is Gerona tarlac from sm tarlac?

  5. Andrew Brod says:

    What a great place that is, I went there last year and enjoyed a lot.

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