Q: We learned that Pampanga is your province, isn't it?
A: No, my grandfather, Juan Guevarra Balajadia, is really a native of Pampanga, Philippines. The Balajadia family is real a Kapampangan clan and there are many Balajadias there anywhere in Pampanga. We used to go there every year especially during the town fiesta of Magalang, Pampanga in August 24th. My great-grandmother, Catalina Mallari Guevarra Balajadia is really a native of Angeles City and Magalang, Pampanga. My grandfather's siblings and their families are still living in Magalang, Pampanga particularly in Barangay Santa Cruz or town proper.
Q: Could you please describe about Province of Pampanga if you are familiar in that province?
A: Well, Pampanga is located at Region 3 known as Central Luzon. The people in Pampanga are speaking Kapampangan but there are some people there that are speaking Tagalog, a national language in Philippines. Pampanga is located northwest of Bulacan, northeast of Bataan, east of Zambales, south of Tarlac, and southwest of Nueva Ecija. The Province of Pampanga is derived from the word "pampang" meaning a bank of river or creek.
Q: We heard that Province of Pampanga is also a rich province in Philippines, isn't it?
A: Yes, Pampanga is also a rich province in Philippines. Pampanga is a well-known province in Philippines for making tocino (sweetened cured pork), longaniza (pork sausage), beef tapa, buro (a fermented fish with cooked rice), sisig (a sauteed and spicy pork in a sizzling plate), batute (a fried stuffed frog), bulanglang (pork cooked in guava juice), bringhe (a local version of paella but they used sweet rice cooked with coconut milk and turmeric and served in banana leaves), lechon (roasted pig), and so on. Pampanga's Best is a leading brand of tocino, ham, longaniza, hotdog, and other meat products in Philippines and they export their products in other countries as well. They are also expert in making sweets like leche flan (steamed egg custard in caramel syrup), pastillas de leche (milk candies), turonnes de kasuy (cashew nut candies), and so on. This is a reason that Pampanga is also called a culinary province in Philippines because most of the people there are expert in cooking especially during the town fiestas. The province is also rich in agricultural products and livestock as well. Bacolor is a well-known town in making holy images or pilgrims. Its provincial capital, San Fernando City, is a well-known city in making Christmas lanterns. Clark Air Base is located in Angeles City and there are many offices, businesses, and bars there. Right now, Pampanga is also a crowded province because of many shopping malls, offices, businesses, schools, and industries. Until now, Pampanga is also a rich province for the production of rice, fruits, vegetables, and livestock.
Q: What are the main roads in Province of Pampanga?
A: Well, I am not familiar with the main roads there because as I said, I am not a native resident of Pampanga. When my grandfather, Juan Guevarra Balajadia, of Magalang is married to my grandmother, Gregoria Evangelista Darlucio, of Obando, Bulacan, they settled in Caloocan, Rizal (now Caloocan City) and they did not teach us Kapampangan. We used to go in Magalang, Pampanga every year only during the town fiesta in August 24th. I know that the main roads in Pampanga are North Expressway and MacArthur Hi-Way.
Q: Do you go to shopping malls and department stores in Pampanga and when?
A: When I was in Philippines, I've never been to any shopping malls and department stores there. When I came to United States and later become a US citizen, I went to shopping malls and department stores there when I visited in Philippines and visited my relatives in Magalang, Pampanga. Right now, there are shopping malls there like SM City and Robinson's Starmills in Mexico, Pampanga. I recently went there to see how big their shopping malls.
Q: We heard that you were arrived in Philippines on November 16, 2002. Since you are a Balikbayan, did you have a tour in Province of Pampanga?
A: Yes, I went to Pampanga, on November 29, 2002. I went there with my cousins, Ester Balajadia Garcia and Carlo Enrile Balajadia. Thanks God that they gave me a ride there because sometimes it is hard for me to commute because of traffic. We visited our relatives there particularly my father's cousins, the Balajadia, Dungo, and Miranda families. Most of our relatives there were surprised of our visit because they didn't know when we will visit them. Anyway, they gave us some snacks and had a tour in Magalang, Angeles City, and San Fernando City, Pampanga. First, we visited our aunt, Olivia "Yolly" Dungo-Baldeo and then our uncle, Romulo Balajadia Miranda. My uncle gave us a tour in Magalang, Angeles City, and San Fernando City, Pampanga. The downtown area of San Fernando City is a very classical place because there are still old buildings and caleza (a horse driven vehicle). It is also a crowded area but it is nice also to visit there. After that, just 1 kilometers apart, we visited the capitol building of Pampanga. The capitol building is also a nice building and it is also considered as a tourist spot in Pampanga. Angeles City is the most crowded city in Pampanga because Clark Air Base is located there. There are many buildings, businesses, industries, schools, shopping malls, and bars there. After our tour, we went back to our uncle's house in Magalang, Pampanga. He gave us also a tour at his ice cream and ice drop factory. My uncle and his family are still doing their ice cream and ice drop business for 20 years already. Thanks God that their business is good because they bought house and lot and even cars, too. Finally, we visited my cousin's relatives, Gracia family, also in Magalang, Pampanga. She wants to visit her uncle, her father's brother, there. We spent almost one day in our tour there and thanks God that we met many relatives there in spite of heavy traffic.
Q: We heard that you were arrived in Philippines again on November 09, 2009. Did you visit in Province of Pampanga?
A: Yes, I went to Pampanga on November 20, 2009 with my cousin, Mark Anthony Tan. We went there by taking public transportations from Baliuag, Bulacan. I noticed that the province of Pampanga is more crowded than before in 2002. There are lots of stores, offices, and shopping malls. The leading shopping malls there are SM City and Robinson's Starmills. Both shopping malls are located in Mexico, Pampanga. At SM City, we took another public transportation going to Magalang, Pampanga but before that, we went first in Mexico and Arayat, Pampanga to see the Mount Arayat. Mount Arayat is a well-known mountain in Central Luzon.
After that, we went to Magalang, Pampanga to visit my relatives there particularly the Balajadia, Dungo, and Miranda family. We visited first my aunt, Olivia "Yolly" Dungo Baldeo and her family. They were surprised with our visit there. They served some snacks while we were sharing our stories. They mentioned that some of my aunt's siblings are already passed away. Finally, we visited another relative, Illuminada Napo Miranda, wife of my uncle, Romulo Balajadia Miranda. I was very sad when we visited her and her family there because my uncle is passed away in 2005. He died from prostate cancer due to complications of diabetes. Although my uncle is passed away, his family is still doing and continuing their business which is ice cream and ice drop business in spite of competitions and higher prices of raw materials. Thanks God that their business is still good and productive. Their ice drops are sold mostly in schools and offices in Magalang and nearby towns. Honestly, I like their ice drop especially the buko or young coconut flavor because it is delicious.
Q: How's the weather in Province of Pampanga?
A: Well, the weather there was good because it was sunny but cloudy especially in afternoon. The temperature there is 90°F during days and 75°F during nights.
Q: Do you recommend to anyone to visit in Province of Pampanga?
A: Yes, of course. I am inviting everyone to visit my grandfather's province, which is Pampanga. Pampanga is a well-known province in Philippines when it comes with foods and sweets. Most of the people there are talented in cooking especially during the town fiestas. Try to attend the town fiestas in Pampanga because most of the people there will cook their specialties and they are very approachable to the visitors and guests. Also, try to visit in San Fernando City in the month of December because there's a contest and parade in making Christmas lanterns. The people in San Fernando City are very talented in making Christmas lanterns for many years already.