There are many reasons that make Pampanga a tourist destination. Exotic food is one. With a tradition of perfecting culinary skills, this province is home of be best cooks of the country, and naturally, of the best foods.
Another reason is a five-star hotel – the Holiday Inn Resort Clark Field. Nestled in the middle of a 250-hectare property colored by so many mimosa rain trees, this resort is only an hour-and-half drive from Metro Manila via the North Expressway.
Aside from the many Duty Free shops located inside Clark Field, this province is home to some of the country’s best wood carvers and furniture-makers. The making of giant, kaleidoscopic holiday lanterns is also a noted industry here.
To make the Fil-Hispanic-inspired Holiday Inn a standout, it has for neighbors the Nelson, Wright & Haworth-designed Mimosa Golf and Country Club and the Paul Steelman-styled Mimosa Regency Casino.
Holiday Inn Resort, since its opening in 1996 to the present, is under the helm of seasoned hotelier Michael Weiss of Germany.
For dining and entertainment, the hotel has five outlets. Mequeni (Pampango word for “come here”) is an all-day dining restaurant with inviting dishes culled from local favorites – like stir-fried crickets, skewered rice field frogs, buro (fermented food) and other seasonal delights – to the most celebrated Asian and Western fares.
Clad in native attire, friendly Kapampangan attendants will only be too eager to dish out, along with your orders, tips on where to buy the best native kakanin (goodies) and other sweets that make Pampanga famous cuisinewise.
Try asking for these yummy treats: tocino del cielo (tiny version of leche flan or custard cake), turrones de mani (honeyed peanut brittle candy), tibok-tibok (glutinous rice cooked in fresh carabao milk), tamales (toasted rice with nuts, soaked in water then steamed with chicken bits and salted egg, similar to the Chinese machang), among others.
To unwind and enjoy a little bit of cocktails and live piano entertainment, the 13th Lounge is a perfect water hole. The pool bar is another snack and/or swim treat.
Mequedeli, a tjte-`-tjte nook where guests can enjoy snacks and cakes, also serves a wide variety of baked goods, specialty coffee and other delicacies for the sweet tooth.
For an al fresco dining, have fun for lunch or dinner at the Mongolian Barbecue Restaurant right at the hotel rooftop! It gives a perky panoramic view by midday and a romantic one by night.
The Holiday Inn Resort is ideal for both corporate and leisure markets. Businessmen, whether individual or group, will be impressed with the property’s conference network. It has state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and a fully equipped business center with complete secretarial services. So, meetings and conferences in this part of town will surely be successful.
The plus factor here is the high-ceilinged ballroom. Located at the second floor of the hotel’s seminar building annex, the Jose Maqosa-designed ballroom in neo-classic has a spacious pre-function area that can serve up to 1,000 guests for cocktails and 600 for sit-down events. Aside from seminars and conferences, fashion shows can also be mounted here.
Three smaller function rooms – Molave, Acacia, Mahogany – can squeeze in from 100 up to 210, depending on the event: class, theater, banquet, buffet, reception. On the ground floor, the Seminar Room, which is divisible into three – Narra, Pine, Kamagong – can gather up to 225 persons, theater-style. This area is accessible through the main lobby of the annex building and has its own pre-function space.
Holiday Inn’s 273 individually controlled air-conditioned rooms – including standard rooms, junior suites and wheelchair rooms – have first-class amenities and facilities. There are also non-smoking rooms and handicap-friendly rooms.
To make sure guests will stay healthy and fit, the hotel’s sports and recreational facilities include adult’s and children’s pools amid the tropical garden setting, fully-equipped fitness center, rooftop sundeck with jacuzzis, biking and jogging trails, golf, tennis, billiard and table tennis.
If guests need to tag along kids without nannies, the hotel boasts of the first-of-its kind Kids’ Inn. The nursery type baby-sitting center has play stations, arts and crafts sessions, video showings, and a whole library of kid-friendly toys, games and books that will make kids learn to read and socialize the fun way.
Holiday Inn Resort has tucked away four prestigious awards through the years: 1996 Newcomer of the Year by Holiday Hospitality Corp. as the best Holiday Inn property that entered the system that year; 1997 Kalakbay “Resort of the Year AAA” given by the Department of Tourism; 1998 Quality Excellence Award cited by Bass Hotels and Resorts “for maintaining the highest standards in product quality, hotel operation and customer satisfaction; and 1999 “Leading in Adversity” award during the 1999 Asia Pacific Holiday Inn General Manager’s Conference in Singapore, a kudos for maintaining product quality and guest satisfaction amid the regional economic crisis.
How to get there
By land (1 1/2 – 2 hours) 90km from Manila. Take North Expressway at Balintawak and get off at Dau exit. Take North Diversion Road to MacArthur Highway. In Angeles City, after about 1.5km, turn right when you see the Holiday Inn Resort Clark Field sign.
By Air, 30 minutes flight in Asian Spirit (3 weekly flights) and Seair (6 weekly flights) from Manila to Clark airport; 15 minutes by car from airport to hotel.
More photos here
source: mb.com.ph, photo from hotelinformation.com, hotelclub.net