Central Luzon is more than just a gateway to the north. The Southern Tagalog Mainland, which is among the Philippines’ top rice producers, is characterized by the vast plains of Tarlac, the coastal areas of Aurora and Zambales, and the mountains and rivers in and between Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija. Given the range of its natural terrain and accessibility from the northern Luzon provinces and the National Capital Region (NCR), the region has. There’s something for everyone in the group in these spots.

One of San Rafael River Adventure’s many picturesque pockets. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

River Adventure in San Rafael, Bulacan. Bulacan is gaining buzz anew for its rising number of riverside attractions. The San Rafael River has several riverside arrangements to choose from – like private luxury villas to glamping and raw camping spots. Portions of the river are also popular for watersports adventures such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, banana boating, water biking, wakeboarding, and more.

Modern hut accommodations at Playa La Caleta. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Playa La Caleta in Morong, Bataan. Playa La Caleta, or PLC, is an ecotourism playground for adults and kids of all ages. Located on a long, white sand cove in Morong together with the 1-hectare islet called Miguelito Island, PLC has activities that advocate for sustainable tourism such as beach cleanups, marine sanctuaries, tree-planting, eco camps and more. It also has amenities fitted out for watersports and accommodations that range from bare camping to family glamping cottages.

Biking under Lubao Bamboo Hub’s green canopy. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Lubao Bamboo Hub in Lubao, Pampanga. While Pampanga is best known for its excellent cuisine, it also has lesser known pockets of green for relaxation and adventure. Tucked between a narrow, tree-lined road and the riverbanks near the Gumain River in Sta. Catalina, the Lubao Bamboo Hub is reminiscent of simpler days spent outdoors. What started out as a tree-planting  measure to prevent soil erosion has grown into an eco park where anyone can come to enjoy the cool breeze and some activities like boat rides, bike rentals, and even a riverside fish spa.

Glamping huts amidst rice paddies at Mudita Glamping Resort. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Mudita Glamping Resort in San Jose, Tarlac. One of Tarlac’s newest resorts is set in the vast agricultural plains of San Jose – and right in the middle of a cluster of actual rice fields. It features several kubo-style villa huts connected by bamboo pathways above the paddies. Highlights include an authentic Italian restaurant named Trattoria Altrov’é, which churns out brick oven pizzas, and an infinity pool overlooking the relaxing green scenery. During rice harvesting and planting season, guests are welcome to join in on an activity – a unique experience that’s one for the books.

ATV trails at Camp Kainomayan. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Camp Kainomayan in Botolan, Zambales. While Zambales is primarily known for its surf spots in San Narciso, San Felipe, and San Antonio, Botolan is a worthy contender when it comes to outdoor adventures. Located near where the Bucao River meets the West Philippine Sea, Camp Kainomayan offers a little bit of everything Botolan has to offer – ATV rentals, horseback riding, paintball, rappelling, air conditioned accommodations, and a swimming pool.

Surfer at Sabang Beach. Photo by Alyssa Arandia courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Sabang Beach in Baler, Aurora. Sabang Beach may be more famous for its surfable waves, but it’s just as much fun on the shore. Lined with surf camps and resorts, the long stretch of beach looking out to Baler Bay also makes for a relaxing stay under the sun.

Valley Breeze Resort amenities with the Sierra Madre mountains in the background. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Valley Breeze Resort in Nueva Ecija. Stay at the breezy foot of a portion of the Sierra Madre mountains and see where this resort gets its name from. This 3.3-hectare family resort offers both relaxing farm experiences that include tours around rice fields, vegetable and animal farms, an aviary, and fish ponds – as well as exciting amenities such as a 20-foot slide that lets you plunge into a cold, sparkling pool waters are sourced from the mineral springs of Nueva Ecija.

Discover more destinations to see, experience, and savor in Central Luzon. Visit these links to map out your next journey across the Philippines.

Travel Safely!

All these tourist destinations have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.

To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, Apple Store, or Google Playstore.