Migratory birds usually flock to Candaba Swamp from October to February The planned main highlight of this trip was to visit the Candaba Wetlands Bird Sanctuary.
We assembled at Eton Centris on Quezon Avenue, and our rented van departed at 7:30 a.m. for San Fernando. Since most of my friends have not been to this town, we decided to explore the area for historical structures as well as pasalubong centers.
We dropped by a Bataan Death March stone marker. A few steps away was the old San Fernando Train Station. Jose Rizal debarked from this station on June 27, 1892 and again the next day en route to Bacolor.
Before leaving the establishment, we all posed beside the Km. 102 marker, the ending point of the Bataan Death March.
On A. Consunji St. is a row of ancestral houses and buildings, including the Lazatin House built in 1925 by Serafin Lazatin y Ocampo, president of the San Fernando Electric Light & Power Company, and Encarnacion Singian y Torres; the Consunji House, the residence of Antonio E. Consunji, the gobernadorcillo of San Fernando, in 1892; the Tabacalera House; the HizonOcampo House; the Hizon-Singian House built in 1870 by Don Anacleto Hizon, gobernadorcillo of San Fernando from 1877- 1879 and 1886-1887, and Victoria Singian de Miranda y de Ocampo; and the Santos-Hizon House built by Teodoro Santos Jr. and Africa Ventura.
Next stop was the town of Mexico, where we visited the Sta. Monica Parish Church. It was built by Fr. Jose dela Cruz in 1665, but was destroyed during World War II. What remains is just the belfry tower of the former Augustinian-run church.
Near the 17th-century bell tower, one can find St. Benedict’s Institution de Mexico, an Augustinian convent.
Mexico is also known for the San Jose Matulid chapel, which is believed to be the oldest Catholic chapel (commonly called “visitas” by the locals) in Pampanga. Based on the accounts of Augustinian friars, the visitas of Masansan and Matulid were established along with the town of Nuevo Mexico (now Mexico) on April 24, 1581. Although there is no direct record of the exact date of construction of the San Jose Matulid chapel, the locals claim that it is older than the Sta. Monica Parish Church.
With hunger creeping in, we visited one of the most famous eateries in Pampanga, Atching Lillian’s. This dining place is located on the grounds of the ancestral house of food historian and cook Atching (elder sister, from the Chinese “atsi”) Lillian Lising-Borromeo.
After we had eaten, she told us stories about the place, some aspects of her life and bits of the history of Pampanga cuisine.
At 2:30 p.m., we proceeded to our main target destination, the Candaba Wetlands Bird Sanctuary.
Approaching the sanctuary, we saw flocks of birds in the distance as well as the imposing Mt. Arayat. We parked at the rest house of former Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo.
Bamboo walls punched with small holes for viewing the birds used to be a feature of the area. During our visit, the barriers were gone. Without these walls, birds can only be seen from afar because humans spook and drive them away. For those who are planning to visit this place and do bird watching, make sure to bring a camera with a very good zooming capability.
It was sad to see this tourist destination “deteriorate.” Nevertheless, it was still a good place worth discovering. (Excerpted from http://larga-bista.blogspot.com)
The Bataan Death March stone marker in San Fernando