Photo by Immoral_AE92 on Flickr
Written by: Maine Dela Cruz
The vibrant province of Pampanga lies at the heart of the Central Luzon Region. Apart from what is now known as Clark City, the province has a lot to offer. It consists of three component cities: Angeles City, San Fernando City (or Lungsod ng San Fernando, the capital of the province), and Mabalacat City. It also has 19 municipalities, including Apalit, Arayat, Bacolor, Candaba, Floridablanca, Guagua, Lubao, Macabebe, Magalang, Masantol, Mexico, Minalin, Porac, San Luis, San Simon, Santa Ana, Santa Rita, Santo Tomas, and Sasmua. The province covers a total area of 2,002.20 square kilometers (773.05 sq mi).
Truly, experts believe it is at the height of its golden days with the booming economic activity and downpour of excellent and up-and-coming developments on its plate. And infrastructures and businesses are mushrooming throughout its cities and municipalities in abundant numbers, notably in the capital city of San Fernando.
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Provincial Economy at a Glance
Records from the Department of Trade and Industry show that over 34,740 new business names have been registered across the area. The growth in company name registration is simply one of the many signs of the province’s propelling economy. Added to this is the efficient adaptation of the locality to recent technology. Thanks to the efforts of each assigned communications technology office.
The province’s two most important sources of livelihood are agriculture and fishing. Aside from rice, it is a major producer of tilapia, making it not only the tilapia capital of the country. As of 2015, its total tilapia output amounted to 214,210.12 metric tons. Its cottage industries, which include wood carving, furniture building, guitars, and other handicrafts, are flourishing in addition to farming and fishing. Every Christmas, Pampanga, notably in the capital city of San Fernando, becomes the central focus of a booming business centered on handcrafted lit lanterns called parols that exhibit a kaleidoscope of colorful LED lights. The municipality of Santo Tomas also has a casket industry and manufactures all-purpose cars.
Most importantly, the gastronomic scene in this region is world-renowned. The cuisine of the Kapampangans is well-known worldwide. Its value-added food products are also known throughout the nation. Popular Kapampangan meat companies like Pampanga’s Best and Mekeni Food make Kapampangan classics including pork and chicken tocinos, beef tapa, hot dogs, and longanisa, to name a few.
Are you aware of the fact that Pampanga is the Philippines’ Culinary Capital? This reputation dates back to the Spanish colonial era when it is believed that the Kapampangan cook learned to adapt to Spanish recipes using local ingredients extremely rapidly.
However, there are other businesses you can think of when the place comes into mind.
Where to Start a Business in Pampanga
With its accessibility to Metro Manila, an international airport of its own, abundant natural resources, strategic location, business-friendly climate, and competitive provincial and respective local government units, Pampanga is ideal for those who want to establish a business. If you want to know where to start a business in Pampanga, here are some of them:
1. Angeles City
Lakanbalen ning Angeles also known as Lungsod ng Angeles, or officially the City of Angeles, is a first-class city in the Pampanga, where it is physically located but remains politically autonomous. And it has a population of 411,634 inhabitants, according to the most recent census.
The name Angeles comes from the Spanish El Pueblo de Los Angeles which translates to The Town of the Angels, in honor of the town’s patron saints, Los Santos Angeles Custodios (Holy Guardian Angels), and Don Angel Pantaleón de Miranda, the town’s founder.
MoneySense magazine rated Angeles as the 15th best place to live in the Philippines in its March-April 2008 issue.
Angeles is a major metropolis. Historic structures, such as the colonial Holy Rosary Church, dot the Santo Rosario District. It was constructed in the late 19th century. Addedly, the Museo Ning Angeles, housed in a renovated 1920s structure, focuses on the history of the area. Attractions in the city include the lavish Pamintuan Mansion from the 1890s and the 1824 stone Founders’ Residence. Mount Pinatubo, an active volcano situated west of the city, dominates the landscape.
There are many antique and historic structures dotting the city’s landscape, but nowadays it is most known for its concentration of games and casinos and exciting adult nightlife. Aside from this, Mt. Pinatubo’s lahar flows are renowned for their extreme sports experiences.
Apart from its magnificent attractions, another thing that keeps visitors coming back here is its citizens who are friendly and welcoming. Many are aware that its people love serving food to people when visiting a house here since it is a form of a welcome greeting.
As the country’s culinary capital, Angeles City is home to a large number of restaurants, most of which are found near shopping malls, particularly at Nepo Quad, which was recently rebuilt to meet the city’s burgeoning demand.
Angeles City has a burgeoning high-tech sector. Tourism and gambling are important components of the local economy. Fields Avenue is the center of the Angeles nightlife sector. Because of its closeness to Clark Freeport International Airport, Angeles City has a steady influx of tourists throughout the year.
The local government of Angeles City relaunched the Fields Avenue tourist belt as a high-end destination in the 2000s, complete with fine dining and luxury lodging options including casinos and resorts. The completion of highways like the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway has increased trade and transportation. The project would link Pampanga, Zambales, Bataan, and Tarlac’s industrial, transportation, and economic centers. The project is critical in boosting development in Central Luzon.
Industries in Angeles
The cottage industry in Angeles city features rattan furniture, coconuts, and charcoal briquettes. Handicrafts, metal crafts, toys, housewares, and clothing are just a few of the many successful export enterprises. The Angeles Livelihood Village and the Angeles City Industrial Estate are two more nearby industrial sites.
It also houses business outsource processing companies such as e-Telecare, CyberCity, Sutherland, and IRMC. Other U.S. IT companies are significant employment as well. It also helped fuel the economy in Angeles city because of the presence of several shopping malls, such as SM City Clark, Robinsons Angeles, Jenra Grand Mall, Nepo Mall, Saver’s Mall and the Marquee Mall, next to City Hall.
2. San Fernando City
Known in Kapampangan as Lakanbalen ning Sampernandu or Lungsod ng San Fernando, it is the provincial capital and largest city of Pampanga. As the center of economic activity, its local government bears the battlecry, “Fernandino First: Fernandino ing mumuna!”
As of the 2020 census, it has a total population of 354,666.
A regional hub for Central Luzon, it’s 41 km north of Manila, 73 km east of Subic, 58 km south of Tarlac’s Tarlac City, and 11 km south of Angeles City’s Clark Air Base.
There is a feast day dedicated to Saint Ferdinand III of Castile-and-León in the city named for King Ferdinand VI of Spain, which falls on the 30th of May. With its annual Giant Lantern Festival, this city, also known as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines,” displays enormous parols in competition every December. According to the news, the city is dubbed “Asia’s Christmas capital.”
San Fernando is a developing agro-industrial-commercial city because of its ideal location inside the Manila Clark-Subic Economic Triangle. Respondents who are business owners praise the state’s ability to adjust business taxes and land-use rules based on changing market conditions. According to the results of the survey, businesses in the city are confident in the municipal government’s ability to run the city. It is worthy to note that the City of San Fernando is not only economically competitive but also has a responsive local government unit.
More so, San Fernando is a major agricultural processing hub in Central Luzon. Major rice and sugar production areas may be found nearby. One of Pampanga’s major private employers was the Pampanga Sugar Development Company (PASUDECO). It’s a big sugar refinery in the area. The city also houses Universal Robina and Zuellig Pharma as well as Nestlé Philippines and Petrophil as well as Mondragon Industries and Asia Brewery. San Miguel Corporation, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola, and Pampanga’s Best all have factories in the city.
The Christmas Capital
It is not news that the Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration in the world. In fact, you can already see houses adorned with Christmas lights as early as September. In the Philippines, Christmas events are not complete without decorations like parol.
When it comes to hand-made parol manufacture, every year during the Christmas season, the city transforms into a hotbed of activity. In the last days of August or the first week of September at the latest, vendors selling parol line the streets of the city. These parols are unique because of their elaborate patterns and the optical illusion of dancing LED lights they create. Also, around Christmas, the Giant Parol Festival takes place, during which barangays in San Fernando compete to make the greatest lanterns.
With the celebration originally in Bacolor until August 1904, the celebration was relocated to Manila in an event named the Ligligan Parol in the Kapampangan language, which many think never occurred in that year. The celebration of the festival is in the middle of December. The Giant Parol Festival has become a tradition since it was officially transferred to the city in 1908. Over the years, the lanterns have grown in size and complexity, and the designs have gotten more intricate. Since then, it has served as a symbol of the city’s togetherness and of the hard work of its residents.
The Capital Town
San Fernando also houses Capital Town, a 35.6-hectare master-planned township development project of Megaworld. This is Megaworld’s first township project in Central and Northern Luzon.
Capital Town, the former location of the Pampanga Sugar Development Company (PASUDECO), is located near the Pampanga Provincial Government Capitol grounds and is ready to house the North’s newest CBI.
It also features a commercial district as an important part. It will be a six-hectare commercial complex with lots ranging in size from 276 to 680 square meters, made up of a row of low-rise, three-level commercial buildings.
The Shophouse District intends to give entrepreneurs a place to conduct business in a setting where current and new companies may grow and develop. Some lots include outside spaces perfect for cafés, bakeries, and restaurants.
Additionally, a neoclassical architecture idea with art deco elements will permeate the building, evoking images of the wealthy ’50s. Local plants like the Salibongbong, Banaba, and Alibangbang — which are similar to the cherry blossom trees seen in Japan — will thrive in the city’s streets.
3. Clark City or the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone
The Philippine government, established the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone (CFEZ) through Republic Act 7227 or The Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.
The CFEZ houses the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) and the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ). Clark Special Economic Zone includes New Clark City. Clark Air Base, a former US Air Force base, is now part of the CFZ. The Clark International Airport occupies most of the air base’s land, although the Philippine Air Force retained control of a small portion. The Clark Freeport Zone encompasses Clark Global City as well.
Aside from serving as a major commercial and industrial center for the Philippines, Clark is also a primary destination for leisure, fitness, and entertainment in Central Luzon.
New Clark City
Do note that New Clark City is not technically part of Pampanga Province. It is, however, part of the Clark Special Economic Zone. It is less than 30 minutes away from Mabalacat, Pampanga. Also, New Clark City is a master-planned city now under construction in Bamban and Capas.
The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in the Philippines is working with a number of private sector enterprises to create New Clark City on the site of a former military base. Certainly, the Bases Conversion wants to project the township to be the first smart, resilient, and environmentally friendly metropolis in the country when completed. It also aims to be a center of excellence when it comes to education.
Having a disaster-resilient community in a disaster-prone area seeks to solve climate change’s rising environmental challenges. New Clark City provides a rare chance to feature sustainable urban design in the Philippines. And this is through the following:
- increasing the availability of public space
- promoting the use of non-motorized modes of transportation, and
- developing mixed-use neighborhoods.
When planning on starting a business in Pampanga, take note of this. While the place is crucial, it is also equally important to review the regulations of each local government unit. This is most especially true when it comes to registering your business. Of course, to know more and for any concerns, visit its official gov website.
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