I couldn’t imagine spending my birthday any other way last March 9, as the Cupcake and I took a break from work and went on a day trip to Pampanga. Initially, I wanted to go somewhere south but I realized EDSA traffic would inevitably be brutal, since it was a weekday and everyone would be Makati or BGC bound. It was my mom who suggested we go to Pampanga instead, and maybe check out Abe’s Farm.
Our itinerary for the day was pretty simple. Visit Sandbox Adventure Park in Porac, then relax and go on a food trip in Abe’s Farm in Magalang.
We left my house at about 8:30am, and had breakfast along the highway. Getting to Sandbox was really fast and easy. The trip took less than two hours as we passed NLEX, entered SCTEX, then took Porac exit. Sandbox, located inside Alviera, was on the right side after we exited Porac.
There were a lot of different attractions, and the ticket price was based on which attractions you wanted to accomplish. The most expensive one where you can do all attractions is Php 650 per head. Since the Cupcake and I didn’t want to do the Aerial Walk and Wall Climbing, we got the Package C ticket for Php 450 each, which included the Giant Swing, Rappelling, Free Fall, and Roller Coaster Zipline. (To view the complete rates and packages, visit Alviera’s website here.)
I highly recommend coming here on a weekday, because there were less people and no lines at all! Also, since Sandbox is right in the middle of what feels like a desert, with no trees nor shade, make sure to wear comfortable clothes and bring sunblock, sunglasses, and a water jug. We were lucky that even though the sun was scorching, there was still a little wind that made the weather tolerable. But Sandbox was definitely a fun and adventurous way to start our day.
We left Sandbox a little past 1pm, and made our way to Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga. The trip took about 50 minutes. From Porac exit, we drove southbound of SCTEX and took Concepcion exit. From there, we passed the Magalang-Concepcion Road, turned left on Don Luis Dizon Drive, then turned right onto the PAC Roundabout. Apart from Waze’s help, there were a lot of signs that led to Abe’s Farm, so it was really easy to find.
Abe’s Farm, which is run by the LJC Group (the same group that runs Abe, Fely J, Larry’s Cafe and Bar, Lorenzo’s Way, and Cafe Havana), is a resort, restaurant, and spa located on the foot of Mount Arayat. It’s a very charming haven with a serene ambiance perfect for relaxing and escaping the city.
As soon as we arrived, we were able to take a shower and freshen up, before getting a full body massage (for only Php 750 per hour). After the massage, we then checked out the mini museum (entrance fee was Php 30 per head) which showcased a lot of Emilio Aguilar Cruz’s paintings, writings, and valuable possessions.
Mini Museum inside Abe’s Farm
We had late lunch and pigged out on fresh lumpia, sisig, liempo, garlic rice, fresh coconut, mango shake, bibingka, and brewed coffee. I fell in love with the place so much that I’m looking forward to spending an overnight trip here soon, just because it’s so tranquil and the staff were really friendly. Accommodations are reasonably priced, too. Php 2,990 per night for two persons. If you’re a large group, you can book their Family Suite for 12 persons for just Php 15,000 a night inclusive of breakfast. For more information, you can visit their website here.
So that’s how I spent my birthday! We left Pampanga at around 6pm and got home in time for dinner with my family. And with that, I just want to thank everyone again for the sweet birthday messages. 26 was a really good year for me, but I’m hoping 27 will be even better!
Day Trip to Pampanga: Sandbox and Abe’s Farm