In the years since Clark transformed from an American base to what’s now known as the Freeport Zone, it’s undergone another kind of transformation – into a grand-scale amusement park for Filipinos and travellers alike. Visitors come here for holidays, to relax, to shop and to party.
Start with the Clark Veterans Cemetery, an important landmark and one where Americans and Filipinos who lost their lives during 20th century wars are interred. The Salakot, an arch crafted in the style of a traditional farmer’s hat, is another notable site, as is the Clark Museum, which delves deep into the history of the area. It’s a good source of information on U.S.-Philippines relationships, and also houses photos of the major 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo and a selection of traditional Filipino crafts. Here you can also walk around the green Parade Grounds, a park that often hosts events.
Outdoor activities are one of the biggest draws in the Freeport. The Fontana Water Park, with slides and wave pools, offers playful respite from the sun and the El Kabayo Stables are perfect for renting horses and going on treks down to the Sacobia River (the stables are dressed up to look like a scene from the Wild West). There’s also go-kart racing and paintball for adrenaline junkies. Shopaholics will have a field day in Clark, which is jam-packed with duty-free stores and shopping malls where travellers can stock up on everything from kitchenware to sportswear. And restaurants range from upscale Italian to local Filipino snacks, with everything from Japanese to American options in between.