After the week-long battle in the corporate jungles of Metro Manila for more than 10 years now, it is always a welcome respite to see my hometown. My friends and I now have been swayed too to catch up on each other’s lives at the mall — and of course to dine, watch movies, or shop. And being the “transient” among the group, I would always wonder how Pampanga improved over time. I was amazed to see improvements in the infrastructure, and even sights and places that I usually see only in Manila. But of course, I could never discount the improvement of our people. “Ali tana mitatawli keng nanung mang bayu…” It made me laugh actually to learn that the “noisiest” mall in the country is actually SM Pampanga. Well, I am not surprised as we Kapampangans are so much vocal about the good things that we see around. We love to appreciate good things, especially food – and being such, we are also very critical at things that do not look good (or taste good for that matter).
Whenever the northbound bus would pass by Pulilan, I know that I am about to cross the boundary, not just the physical one though. I can see my transformation from being a “Manila Boy” to the proud Kapampangan that I have always been. The lush rice fields relax my senses. How I love to see the vast greens carpeting the landscape of the rice bowl of Central Luzon.
At my far right is the mystical Mount Arayat that stands tall and rekindles the heroic stance of my forefathers. It is the ultimate insignia of my being a proud son of the heart of Central Luzon. Traversing the new North Luzon Expressway is a breeze now. That is why I have been lured to go home so often.
Concluding my sentimental journey back home is the San Fernando exit — right where the longest mall in the Philippines is located (I hope I am right in claiming this…). It is there where I usually alight to accept the offer of the perfect oasis for my homecoming. Indeed, SM Pampanga has become my beacon to signal that I am home. Truly My City.