Mayor Edgardo “Ed” Pamintuan and his wife, Herminia “Miniang” Pamintuan, were not just born and raised in this highly-urbanized city but their parents were also native residents.
Mayor Ed, former human rights lawyer, is a son of one of the longest-serving vice mayors of the city.
Miniang, lover and supporter of local culture and arts, grew up in Balibago, the famous business and entertainment haven of Pampanga.
Miniang said “Angeles is more than just colorful night life as others know it.”
“It’s a destination for the food lovers or those who want to learn to love delicious recipes,” added Miniang, who fixes plants and gardens at the city hall during her free time.
Miniang disclosed that she and the mayor are making rounds of the restaurants in the city to “show our support to them.”
On Monday night, Miniang and her friend, Grace Muñoz, were at the K Café in Nepo, here.
Owned by Karen Kwong-Basilio, K Café is one of the new food and entertainment outlets in a strip at Nepo, here. Others at the new strip in Nepo are Dainty Tea House, New York Supreme, Ala Crème, Sugoi, Limone, Jumong Express, Harbor Gastro Point Cuisine, Gustav Café, Dos Mestizos, Binalot and Cisans.
Under the Pamintuan government, new businesses, notably food establishments, have mushroomed not just in Nepo but along MacArthur Highway in Balibago and Friendship Highway. Balibago is some five kilometers north of Nepo.
Miniang vividly recalled that Nepo was a shopping center filled with imported goods coming from the former U.S. Military Base known as Clark Freeport.
Miniang said that shopping still exists at Nepo even if the Americans had left in the early 90’s. “Now,” she added, “some night life also exists but is fit for wholesome fun and those wanting to relax.”
Miniang said local and international foods are abundant in the city.
“We have Korean, Mexican, American, Chinese, Japanese and other kinds of food and they all taste great. Actually, very good and affordable,” said Miniang.
Asked about her personal favorite restaurants, Miniang said “I have many and you can have your own by discovering them.”
Miniang said “even our beloved President Aquino goes to Angeles City to eat.”
Katen Morales-Sabile, law student and daughter of Mayor Marino Morales of Mabalacat City, said “you have everything you need in Nepo and other areas in the city.”
She added that Nepo “used to be alive with businesses during day-time.”
Mayor Ed said there was increased trust and confidence in his administration. He stressed that businesses “are now assisted and not harassed and they see me focus in pushing economic development.”
Mayor Ed said there are 10,139 businesses registered to them in 2013. The number is almost the same compared to last year, he added.
But he pointed out that there are 816 food outlets for this year. It’s is higher compared to 762 in 2012.
Mayor Ed said “there is massive improvement in the city’s surroundings.” He added that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) approved the plan to lighten up the city, notably it’s major highways and frequently used roads, using at least P100 million.
Mayor Ed pointed out that businesses, notably food bars, are also increasing at the so-called Korean village in Friendship. He could not say how many Koreans are living in Angeles City but added that “there are many and they do a lot of investments in the city.”
In Balibago, new hotels and restaurants are operating.
Jamie Tolentino of Balibago said there was an economic slowdown before Mayor Ed had first won as mayor in 2010. He added that long-time restaurants in the area, including City Lunch, closed.
“Now, we are very much alive in Balibago again,” said Pamintuan.
He added that the businesses at Diamond “are also improving in terms of clients.”
Mayor Ed said people of Pampanga, including in the nearby cities of Mabalacat and San Fernando, go to Angeles to experience “great dining and entertainment.”
“Sophisticated,” answered Mayor Ed when asked to describe the people and businesses in the city.
“That’s also the difference when you are comparing us to other cities and towns,” he added in jest.
Mayor Ed said “Angeles is a small and compact city but it’s complete with all the things you need to enjoy a visit.”
Angeles City has 33 barangays and its land area is about 60-square kilometers. Quezon City measures at least 166 square kilometers.
He disclosed that beautification will be done near the Nepo area, also known as “Old Angeles.”
Mayor Ed said some 7,000-square kilometers near the Angeles City Library will be transformed into business center with park. The property is owned by the Pamintuan-Tioseco family.
“The place is filled with small apartments and businesses. The area is not that pleasant to the eyes. But now, we can make it attractive adding to the beauty of the old Angeles,” said Mayor Ed.
Angeles City is also known for its girlie bars at Fields Avenue frequented then by American soldiers. But now, restaurants serving must-try food are aplenty at Fields, said the Pamintuan couple.
They added: “Indeed, Angeles City is more than just entertainment.” ●By Joey Pavia • Photos by Ric Gonzales
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