Fontana Waterpark (Clark Special Economic Zone, Pampanga)

The next day, we all donned our bathing attire and visited the adjoining Fontana Water Park, the ultimate cool spot in Pampanga and the finest of its kind in the area. I brought along my 2 kids Jandy and Cheska.  Joining us were my balikbayan aunt Tita Cita, my brother Frank and his wife Ate Cherry.  This tropical jungle-themed park features a world-class wave pool that can electronically produce 6 types of simulated waves (ranging from mild to strong) up to 3 ft. high.

Tita Cita and Ate Cherry at the Wave Pool

We waited patiently for the waves which came every 30 mins.. When they did arrive, we kept on jumping about so that the waves, which last for 15 mins., won’t lash our faces.  This,  plus three giant aqua thrill slides, provided all the spills and thrills we wanted in a water amusement park. They also have kid-friendly pools with water level from 1 to 2 ft..  A replica of a pirate ship (the “Admiral”), with 4 mini water slides, continuously spouts streams of water into the shallow pool.  Lifeguards were everywhere, providing for a safe environment for adults and children alike.

Jandy tries out one of the Aqua Thrill water slides

A meandering  Lazy River swirls around the water park and one can ride around it in huge, animal-shaped (crocodile, snake, dinosaur, etc.) yellow life savers.  At the Mad Scientist Water Factory, so called because of the contraptions found in a horror movie, a wrong turn here will cause water to splash all over our face.  Adorning the water park are huge statues of elephants said to have been imported from Malaysia.  There are also statues of monkeys, an octopus, frog, dolphin and a swan.

L-R: Cheska, Kuya Frank, Tita Cita and Jandy

Fontana Water Park: Fontana Leisure Parks & Casino, C.M. Recto Highway, Clark Special Economic Zone, 2023 Pampanga.  Open Mondays to Thursdays, 8 AM-6 PM (entrance fee: PhP375) and Fridays to Sundays, 8 AM-6 PM (entrance fee:  PhP475). Tel: (045) 499-1179.

Fontana Leisure Park (Clark Special Economic Zone, Pampanga)

My brother Frank invited our balikbayan relatives (Tito Vit and Luz Mamawal, Tita Cita Reyes) to an overnight stay at a rented villa at Fontana Leisure Park, an early celebration of their upcoming silver wedding anniversary (December 17).  My family and I, as well as my siblings Tellie and Salve, were also invited to join them.  We left for Clark in the late after and arrived there in time for the anticipated mass officiated by my uncle Fr. Ben Mamawal.

The 3-bedroom villa we all stayed in

Fontana Leisure Park, operational since 1998,  has row upon row of duplex bungalows (called villas) with 2 to 3 bedrooms per unit.   We all stayed in a 3-bedroom unit. All units have all the amenities of upscale living such as centralized airconditioning and cable TV.  An “investment option” entitled one to membership and its attendant privileges such as 7 free tickets to the Water Park every month and an annual week’s stay at the villa in which you only pay the maintenance fee.

Tita Cita and Cheska dancing the “Otso-Otso”

The resort also has a 9-hole short golf course, a sprawling clubhouse complex with lobby lounge and coffee shop/restaurant; a convention center, and a Fun Park and Lagoon Area. The convention center has a 1,200-pax hall, a 600-pax ballroom a 150-pax theater plus meeting rooms and function rooms.

Rizal Shrine (Calamba City, Laguna)

After hearing mass at the Church of St. John the Baptist in Calamba City, Jandy Cheska and I crossed over to visit the Rizal Shrine, the birthplace of our National Hero Jose Rizal.  This bahay na bato, the first in Calamba, took two years for Rizal’s father to build. Now a property of the national government and administered and maintained by the National Historical Institute (NHI), this reproduction of the original Spanish Colonial-style, 2-storey house has a red tile roof, thick stone ground floor walls, doors wide enough for a carriage to enter, wooden upper walls of narraand molave and balustrades and capiz shell windows.  

Rizal Shrine

However, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside.  Its controversial stairway (questioned by old folks to be slightly misplaced saying it should have been a little closer to the wall), with its circular base, leads to the caida (the banquet hall which served as library to Don Francisco and is in turned connected to the sala(living room) by an ornate doorway.  On both sides of the sala are the bedrooms. The house contains replicas of Rizal’s antique family furniture, household articles, library and Rizal memorabilia. Antique items include a very old coffee grinder, a punka (ceiling fan) and a water filter that purifies water from the well.  In the garden are various Philippine fruit trees, an empty stable with a square-shaped calesaon the side and a bronze statue of Rizal as a child done by Duddley Diaz (unveiled on 19 June 1998). The shrine also has a souvenir shop.

Rizal Shrine: J.P. Rizal St. (formerly Calle Real), Calamba City, Laguna.  Lectures and guiding services can be arranged. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.  Admission is free.  Tel: (092) 545-2010.  
How to Get There: Calamba City is located 55 kms. from Manila and is accessible via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).  Take the Calamba Exit.