Today, The Manila Times Lifestyle is eager to begin a new space that refuses to be beaten by the coronavirus, no matter the variant of this awful global bane. Because just as we did the same time last year – when we followed the rules, kept safe at home, prayed and stayed optimistic in the face of uncertainty – we will get through this third wave and be free again. Much freer, hopefully, if this ECQ succeeds and more and more of our countrymen get vaccinated.
And so, as we hang on and prevail – because we will – let us keep looking forward to “when the lockdowns lift.”
For today’s “Places and Palates,” come and make plans to head up north with NLEX Corporation’s Lakbay Norte program as our guide in exploring historic and beautiful Bulacan.
NLEX Lakbay Norte is a media familiarization tour that aims to promote and accelerate tourism development in the northern part of the country. As the main gateway to the progressive north, the NLEX-SCTEX expressways provide the safest, most comfortable and efficient way to access destinations like Bulacan and beyond, where easy family road trips await.
Over the MGCQ (Modified General Community Quarantine), NLEX launched its first leg of Lakbay Norte in cooperation with the Provincial History, Arts, Culture, and Tourism Office (Phacto).
As part of the cultural heritage tour, the team visited the Santos Mansion known for its classical art deco architecture.
“This edition of NLEX Lakbay Norte not only intends to encourage people to drive to the north but also to help economic recovery. Tourist destinations have been adversely affected by the pandemic, and this is our way of safely boosting tourism in these regions and inspiring motorists to journey north through NLEX-SCTEX,” said NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi Bautista just before revving up a motorcade of media travelers.
Now in its 10th year, the program gathered select media members for a day tour in Bulacan. Having a total of 24 cities and municipalities, Bulacan is home to numerous churches and heritage sites. The province also has an abundance of shrines and ancestral houses. Easily reached by car in under one hour from Metro Manila, Bulacan makes the perfect destination for a quick getaway, with a combination of historical sites and opportunities for adventure.
Starting off the tour was a safety briefing given by NLEX patrol crews, where participants were given information on the tollway company’s 24/7 operations, implementation of traffic rules and regulations, and compliance with the health and safety protocols mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and other relevant government agencies.
NLEX Lakbay Norte participants were then toured around the Hiyas ng Bulacan Museum, which houses valuable relics, mementos, articles, documents and handicrafts of the Philippine Revolution. They then explored the historic Barasoain Church in Malolos, as well as the Casa Real Shrine.
The group also visited the Malolos Historic Town Center, the Camestisuhan or Pariancillo District, a long stretch of Spanish and American-era houses and government structures.
They then went to the municipality of Bulakan, the location of another historical site – the Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine which honors the writer and journalist during the Spanish era. There was also a visit to the Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion Church, a 19th-century Neo-Byzantine-Romanesque stone church. The group also enjoyed sumptuous meals at local restaurants in the City of Malolos: Kalye Mabini in Mojon, with its unique fusion of European and Filipino cuisine, and Casie’s Restaurant in Dakila, offering Italian-American dishes.
“This trip made me realize that I’m still a stranger to my own province. Who would’ve thought little jaunts close to home can be this much fun and enriching? I look forward to exploring my beloved province more through safe and convenient trips via NLEX,” said Kaye Mendez of La Bulakenya.
For Dennis Esplana of The Pinoy Traveler, “NLEX Lakbay Norte featuring Bulacan was a fun-filled travel adventure. The tour was excellent and provided a real insight of the province and its history.”
With the success of this year’s first leg of NLEX Lakbay Norte, the tollway company hopes to help the tourism industry and travelers once again satisfy their wanderlust, one trip at a time – when the lockdowns lift.