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What To Do After the Hot Air Balloon Festival

Seeing the balloons gave us a natural high, but by 8AM, it all dwindled down. We've looked up several activities to go with watching the balloons fly. We even thought of visiting Corregidor but the boat rental at Bataan is too pricey for a group of 5, plus given our sleepy and sluggish condition, all we could do was eat.


Several blog posts recommended dining at AC Rumpa, a restaurant located just outside Clark. It seemed to be the perfect spot to get an energy-boosting breakfast. We thought we were going to eat in a restaurant in the midst of the red district in broad daylight,  but thank goodness for GPS, we found our way to AC Rumpa.

How to get there: From the Omni Aviation Complex inside Clark Freeport Zone, take the Manuel Roxas Highway (main road) to exit the gates. Turn right once you reach the Manila North Road/McArthur Highway. Turn right at Surla St.  AC Rumpa is just near the corner, on the right side of the street.

AC Rumpa stands for Angeles City Retired US Military Personnel Association

Several items were on the menu, and I've read that their tacos and BBQ Spareribs are really good, but it was breakfast time so we all ordered the classic Pinoy breakfast of tapsilog, tocilog, and an omelette and French toast. Only Joahna had the appetite for some tasty baby back ribs. The tapsilog was good but I regretted ordering it the moment I saw the ribs!

The servings are huge and all are reasonably priced.
You'd think that a restaurant with a small, unassuming sign wouldn't attract that much customers, but AC Rumpa was packed for breakfast. That's the power of the word of mouth.
We were energized, yes, but the food made us a lot sleepier. :)  We stayed for almost 2 hours, eating and dozing off on the table. Thanks to AC Rumpa for not throwing us out!  
We were thinking of the next stop for the day and Shiela found the star of our elementary field trips, Nayong Pilipino. Off to the next stop!

Nayong Pilipino

We took out our GPS and looked up the park's location, and after almost 20mins of driving, we found no park. Some prankster marked someone else's house as Nayong Pilipino in Google Maps. Clever! When using GPS, look for the Nayong Pilipino inside Clark Expo. Entrance fee is P30 for adults.
I've seen the old Nayong Pilipino at Pasay probably 15 years ago and I remember being awed by the miniature Banaue Rice Terraces, Mt.Mayon and the Cagsawa Ruins, and Chocolate Hills.  Sadly, these are not in the new park.  The park's theme is centered on pre-Colonial (the Ifugao, Kalinga, and Aetas villages) and Colonial era (plaza, Barasoain Church, Rizal's house).  

We saw a group celebrating a birthday at some part of the park and I suddenly felt like I was in a resort. I wouldn't have been surprised if I saw a pool. I thought the idea of Nayong Pilipino was to experience the country's culture and see the country's best spots in one afternoon, but it just felt like walking in a random assortment of themes. We saw several ongoing constructions in the park so the management might still be  in the process of developing it. I really do hope they improve the park and include more interesting miniature displays.

An announcement for the 11AM cultural dance presentation saved the day. We trooped to the plaza and let the Nayong Pilipino Dance Troupe entertain us for almost an hour of engaging folk dances (singkil, kapamalong-malong, pandanggo sa ilaw,etc). The dancers are all commendable for their performances. 

After the much enjoyable dance presentation, we decided it was time for the next meal of the day.


Since Pampanga is known for it's Sisig, we flocked to Aling Lucing's in Angeles. And now I'm never going back.

No restaurant should ever make their customers wait for an hour for the food to be served, even if the food's the most wonderful experience to ever happen to taste buds. In the case of Aling Lucing's, it was not the best sisig I've ever tasted and to wait an hour at a poorly ventilated carinderia for something like that was just too much. If they just served our food a little earlier, I'm sure the food would have tasted better. The longer the customers wait, the more anxious they become, and the higher the expectation gets.
We wolfed down our meal and thought of something more fun to forget the unfortunate lunch and end the day with a happy note.


Good thing there was Kabigting's at the nearby Robinson's Mall.

The great thing about halo halos from Pampanga is that they don't have many ingredients. Think of Razon's Halo Halo without the usual mumbo jumbo of ingredients, just saba, macapuno, and leche flan.  Kabigting's use sweet beans, pastillas, and corn.  I'm not a fan of corn but I enjoyed Kabigting's delightful dessert.

We did not want to get stuck in heavy traffic so at 3PM, we finally called it a day and headed back to Manila, with full tummies and satisfied cravings. 

This is a continuation of  the hot air balloon post.


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