By Jack Catania
A Glimpse Of Clark
In 1991, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo saw the Clark Air Base close. Four years later, the CSEZ (Clark Special Economic Zone) was formed. This is now known as the CDC (Clark Development Corporation). The land area of the former base is home to a number of industrial buildings, casinos, landmarks, and duty free retail warehouses. Companies based within the CDC receive some of the best tax incentives in the world.
Clark is a vast space almost the equivalent size of Singapore. The expanse of over 33,000 hectares hosts an international airport with two runways and many sporting and business events. Perhaps the most well known of these yearly events is the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta that takes flight each February, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators from not only here in the Philippines, but regionally across southeast Asia. This year you can enjoy the air show any time between February 9th and 12th. (For more information visit www.philballoonfest.net)
Clark has a little bit of everything including numerous hotels like Kingsley’s Inn (featured above), great restaurants, and superb specialty outlets such as Yats Wine Shop. It’s a place where you can learn how to fly, enjoy your favorite games at one of many international standard casinos, go off-road driving, visit a shooting range, or try horseback riding.
The CDC is famous for its parks, including the Puning Hot Spring and various well kempt resort golf courses. To be added to this list is B&B International’s Clark Aqua World, which is scheduled to open to the public sometime in the next 2-3 months.
El Kabayo & Amante
The El Kabayo experience is like going back in time to an old western town. The stable’s roadside facade boasts a bank, general store, blacksmith, and saloon. It is the brainchild of owners Gabby and Rina - an equine Disney Land where anyone can live out their cowboy fantasies just like in the old spaghetti western movies. The atmosphere is fun, friendly, and a great day out for the entire family.
During our visit, we enjoyed some excellent food and had the opportunity to catch a whiff of something else from their kitchen that seems utterly amazing – their steaks.
Every year, El Kabayo hosts their annual Horsefest. The event takes place over two days and always falls on the first weekend on or after the 15th of November. This year it will be their 10th Festival, which will bring in over 7,500 people including 2,000 members of Mad Dogs Motorcycle Club. During the Horsefest they have a hunter-jumper course with twelve obstacles, barrel racing, and mounted games.
If you ask Rina nicely she will show you an incredible letter that a [then] eight year old Gabby wrote to Santa asking for 2 cowboy hats, 2 pairs of boots, 2 gun holsters, and 1 horse. He doubled up on his wish list so he could share his dream with his best friend.
This is exactly what El Kabayo does today – share’s cowboy and horsey dreams with friends. (For more information please visit www.elkabayo.com)