Sunday, January 18, 2009

San Fernando, Pampanga Revisited

There’s been a big development within the last 2 years in San Fernando, Pampanga’s infrastructure. The North Luzon Express Way (NLEX) has been widened and the road signs are much more helpful to motorists. I found the machine-dispensed automated ticketing system in San Fernando exit on our way back to Manila efficient.
There are much more gasoline station stopovers now as compared to my last trip. One even had life-sized dinosaurs and a playground as attractions for weary motorists.
San Fernando, Pampanga is also a home to the country’s top 2 malls: SM Pampanga and Robinson’s Star Mall. It has been a trend that they are erected adjacent to each other, as in this case, they are. They are situated right where the express way exit is, so no one will miss it. This is a great help for Pampanguenos because these malls generate jobs for the people and the taxes they pay benefit the municipal government.
One can still see the lahar in the outskirts of town, reminding townsfolk of the Mount Pinatubo explosion of the ‘90s.
Reuniting with Relatives in Pampanga has always been exciting. The Garcia clan is big and getting together means a whole day of eating. Among the delicacies include dinuguan (pork blood stew), calderetang itik (duck in thick tomato sauce), grilled sea foods (tilapia, squid, milkfish) and buro (preserved fish). For the sweet tooth, there's suman (rice cake), ube halaya (sweet potato rootcrop) and ice cream (ube macapuno & choco marble flavors). Pancit guisado and siomai were served for merienda or afternoon snack. Freshly picked star apples (caimito), pineapples and bananas were the official fruit snack. RC cola and Arsy sodas were the thirst quenchers. All these one will force to stack in your stomach in the midst of getting criticized that he/she got fat as compared to the recent reunion. This however, does not apply to me. I got leaner and everyone noticed. So I coached this year's relative who inherited the crown to not take the critics seriously.

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