10 Must-Visit Tarlac Tourist Spots and Things to Do

10 Must-Visit Tarlac Tourist Spots and Things to Do

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Monasterio de Tarlac and Mt PinatuboTarlac is a landlocked province located in Central Luzon. It is bordered by four other provinces: Pangasinan in the north, Zambales in the west, Nueva Ecija in the east, and Pampanga in the south. Because of this, Tarlac is known as the melting pot of cultures, with its neighboring provinces being a major influence on its diversity. Apart from its unique mix of heritage, Tarlac is also known for its vast sugar cane and rice plantations. 

The province is also home to mountains and plains, so it’s no surprise that many Tarlac tourist spots are outdoors, offering a playground for adventure seekers. However, there are also places to visit in Tarlac that will allow you to learn more about the history and culture of the province. Since the province is also easily accessible from the National Capital Region by car, it is also a good option for a weekend getaway near Manila.

If you’re planning to visit the province soon, check out our list of what to do in Tarlac.

How to Go to Tarlac

Transportation in TarlacSince it is a landlocked province with no airports, the only way to reach Tarlac is via land transportation. If you are coming from Manila, the quickest way is via private land transfers that will traverse the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Tarlac is also near enough big cities that you can go on day trips from Manila or Clark. For convenience, you can book Tarlac tours that include transfers from Manila, Clark, or other nearby destinations.

If you are coming from other regions in the Philippines, it might be more convenient to book a flight to Clark International Airport. You can then rent a car in Clark, Pampanga or book airport to hotel transfers.

1. Mount Pinatubo Volcano Crater Hike and 4x4 Ride

Woman at Mt PinatuboMount Pinatubo is located on the shared border of Tarlac, Zambales, and Pampanga. The active volcano is notorious for its eruption on June 15, 1991, which is considered the second-largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. The eruption caused massive destruction to infrastructure and affected tens of thousands of lives. It also affected the Earth’s atmosphere, lowering the global temperature for two years

Decades later, Mount Pinatubo is now a tourist attraction in Tarlac and is one of the Philippine volcanoes worth seeing. You can explore the volcano and its surrounding landscapes via Mount Pinatubo tours, which include crater hikes and 4x4 rides. 

4x4 ride at Mt PinatuboThe hike to the volcano is classified as a minor climb, and since both beginners and experienced climbers can appreciate the trek, it is considered one of the best hiking spots in the Philippines. The easiest route to the crater lake includes a 4x4 ride to the starting point in Capas, Tarlac, while the harder trails for advanced hikers start in Pampanga.

However way you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded by the picturesque crater lake view, which, at certain times of the day, glimmers with a turquoise hue. 

2. Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

PIHABF Hot air balloonThe popular Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival used to be held in Pampanga, but in 2024, the annual event will be held in New Clark City in Tarlac from February 16 to 18. Dubbed “A weekend of everything that flies,” the festival features not only hot air balloons but also exhibitions with helicopters, skydivers, paragliders, drones, and other aircraft.

You can ride a hot air balloon during the festival, as well as go tandem skydiving and tandem paragliding. You can also go on a helicopter ride to see Tarlac from an aerial view.

PIHABF RC ModelsTo make your trip to the festival more convenient, you can book a 1-day Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival pass in advance. For a hassle-free day trip, you can rent a car in the Philippines or book private transfers. If you are already in Pampanga, you can book either a private Clark Freeport transfer, a private Angeles City transfer, or a private Dau Pampanga transfer.

If you’re planning to stay in the area for more than one day, you can also book Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta accommodation packages that come with tickets, accommodations, and transfers to New Clark City. You can read our Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival 2024 guide for more information.

10 Must-Visit Tarlac Tourist Spots and Things to Do

3. Monasterio de Tarlac

Monasterio de TarlacLocated on Mount Resurrection in San Jose, Tarlac, Monasterio de Tarlac is a Catholic monastery that is known for the 30-foot statue of the Risen Christ that overlooks the Tarlac mountains and plains. Inside the monastery is what is believed to be a fragment of the True Cross, where Jesus Christ was crucified. While it houses such an old relic, the monastery was only completed in 2000. If you are a devotee, this monastery is the best tourist spot in Tarlac.

Even if you are not religious, you will still be able to appreciate this tourist destination in Tarlac, as it is part of the 278-hectare Mount Ressurection Eco-Park, which is lush with trees, plants, and other vegetation. It is also home to different species of birds and insects, making it a good stop for nature lovers. The monastery is located around 300 meters above sea level, so while you’re here, you can take in the stunning views while feeling a cool breeze.

4. Kart City Tarlac

Kart City TarlacPhoto by Kart City Tarlac

If you want to live your Formula 1 or Mario Kart fantasies, Kart City Tarlac in Tarlac City is just the place for you! Kart City Tarlac (KCT) is a go-kart racing track where you can rent go-karts and race with friends. KCT has different kinds of go-karts that you can rent, including those for adult drivers and those for kids, so everyone can join in on the karting fun. In fact, go-kart racing in KCT is one of the popular things to do in Tarlac.

You can start racing at 1:30 PM, but since they are open until late at night, it would be better to hit the track after sundown so you won’t be under the scorching heat of the sun. KCT provides all the gear you need for go-kart racing, but remember to dress appropriately, and if you have long hair, bring your own hair tie.

Apart from hosting a go-kart race track, this Tarlac City tourist spot also has a restaurant and a KTV room, so you can load up on a delicious meal or sing your favorite tunes after racing laps with your friends and family.

5. Tarlac Recreational Park

Tarlac Recreational Park

Photo by Tarlac Provincial Government

Also in San Jose is the Tarlac Recreational Park, which is officially named the Jose V. Yap Sports & Recreational Complex. As its name suggests, there are plenty of things you can do at the park, including swimming (you can even enjoy night swimming here) in the Olympic-size pool, fishing, kayaking, and ATV riding. The park also has plenty of sports facilities, including basketball courts, volleyball courts, a football pitch, a golf course, a running track oval, and even a race track.

Because of its open spaces and wide range of facilities, it has become a popular location for team-building activities.

However, if you want to just chill and relax, you can also have picnics here, or you can rent a casita, a cottage, or even a VIP Pavilion for a more comfortable stay.

6. Canding Falls

Canding Falls

Photo by Tarlac Provincial Government

Located at Barangay Maasin in San Clemente, Canding Falls is considered one of the top places to go to in Tarlac, especially during the summer. It’s easy to reach this eco-tourism spot, as the falls is just around 1 kilometer from the jump-off point. The multi-tiered falls is known for its cold waters that are perfect for a refreshing dip.

Apart from swimming, visitors can enjoy cliff jumping from different jumping points, with the highest being 20 feet up. Just note that some parts of the natural pool can be really deep, so make sure you know how to swim!

You can also rent tables and cottages here so you can enjoy a picnic while taking in the surroundings.

7. Saipan Beach

Despite the name, this tourist destination in San Jose is actually located along a river and not by the sea. Nevertheless, like many beaches, it’s a great spot to cool off and relax. You can swim in the shallow waters of the river, just chill in one of the cottages along the river banks, or float aboard a bamboo raft while taking in the beautiful views of the river and the distant mountains. 

Just note that while there may be some vendors here selling refreshments, the area is pretty bare, so make sure you bring your own essentials like towels, food, and drinks and ensure that you leave no trace when you leave.

8. ANZAP Twin Falls

ANZAP Twin FallsPhoto by Tarlac Provincial Government

The Asean New Zealand Afforestation Project or ANZAP Twin Falls in Mayontoc is one of the beautiful places in Tarlac that you should definitely add to your itinerary. As its name suggests, two cascades will greet you when you reach the site, with one flowing from the Matibya River and the other from the Piccan River. While the cascades are narrow, their height is impressive, with water flowing from a height of 200 feet. 

Surrounding the falls is a lush forest that is home to a variety of trees, plants, and animals, making it one of the best hiking spots in Tarlac.

9. Aquino Ancestral House

This ancestral house in Concepcion, Tarlac, is recognized by the National Historical Commission as a historical site, and in 2011, President Noynoy Aquino unveiled the National Historical Institute Marker.

The house served as the home of three generations of Aquinos, including the late president and his father, Ninoy Aquino. From the outside, the mansion looks grand as it sits on its expansive grounds with a man-made pond accentuating the gardens. Inside, you’ll find antique furniture, artwork, and lots and lots of framed photos of the Aquinos. Just note that you may need to schedule your visit in advance as the caretakers do not accept visitors every day.

10. JSJ Goat Farm

JSJ Goat Farm

Photo by JSJ Goat Farm

This goat farm in Gerona, Tarlac, actually started as a hobby of the owners, starting with only 10 goats in 2001. Now, it is a booming business with hundreds of goats of different breeds. They also breed sheep on the farm. Apart from selling goats and sheep, the farm also produces goat’s milk and specialty cheeses. You can buy these products on the farm itself.

During your visit, you can explore the farm aboard a tractor and experience organic farming firsthand. You can feed the animals here, and if you visit at the right time, you can even try your hand at milking goats! The farm is definitely a must-visit if you’re looking for unique activities in Tarlac.

Plan your visit to Tarlac now!

Mt Pinatubo craterIf you’re not sure where to go in Tarlac, let this list be your guide. There are plenty of options for any type of tourist, as there are adventure parks, heritage sites, and even romantic places in Tarlac.

Those who are going on a road trip can also maximize their time by checking out other tourist spots near Manila. If you are planning to explore other regions in the Philippines, you can check our suggested 2-week Philippines itinerary and 1-week Philippines itinerary.

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