Clark Special Economic Zone, situated in Angeles City, Pampanga has been known for its Duty Free shops after it was converted into a Freeport Zone following the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991. In 2006, SM City Clark was constructed, giving the supermall experience to Angelenos. But before all these, there were the Nepo Mart Complex and Apu Market at the heart of the city, the major shopping destinations very popular to the locals.
Nepo Mart Complex
Different kinds of Pampanga treats for pasalubong are also available at the Nepo Mart Complex
The Nepo Mart Complex was established in 1968 and owned by the Nepomuceno family, who was known to have founded a number of business establishments in Angeles City. The complex is referred to by the locals as simply “Nepo.” It was originally famous for being the go-to place for PX goods (imported items) outside Clark when the Americans were still present in the air base. But since the volcano eruption in the early 90’s, it has become the main shopping site for a variety of shoes, bags, and clothes, whether branded or not. Pampanga’s specialty ”pasalubong” treats like pastillas, butongpakwan, cashew tarts, and peanuts, as well as make-up and skin care products, household products, gifts and souvenirs, fruits and vegetables, and a lot more can be found in Nepo.
No worries for parking; there are available parking spaces within the area of the Nepo Mart Complex.
Photos by Writer
Aside from shopping, Nepo is also known as a food trip destination. Numerous restaurants and eateries that serve local and international cuisine are located in the area. There are the ”karinderya” type of meals; ”pulutan” partnered with ice-cold beers; and street foods or ”tusok-tusok” (fishballs, kwek-kwek, calamares, hotdog, kikiam, etc.). And the perfect ending to this kind of food trip is the refreshing buko-lychee sherbet from Gills.
Enjoy Kapampangan dishes and pulutan of different choices from the eateries just beside the Nepo Mart Complex.
Recently, renovations were done and new stalls are added for a more convenient shopping experience catering to different social demographics. The Nepo Mart Complex is situated in the central business district of downtown Angeles City, surrounded by government offices and several business establishments. It is accessible to public utility vehicles and can be reached by private cars. It has ample parking spaces, both paid and free, with parking attendants, so car owners should not worry about the safety and security of their vehicles.
Ready-to-wear clothes sold on the streets at Apu Market
Angeles City also boasts of the Apu Market as its main “makamasa” (for the masses) shopping location. Indeed, it is for the general masses looking for the cheapest buys. There you can find new and used RTW clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, household products and decorations, textiles, religious items, and a whole lot more at the lowest, bargain prices. You can purchase ‘pambahay’ shorts, shirts or pajamas at 3 pieces for PhP100.00; or second hand-clothes and household items for as low as PhP10.00 to PhP20.00. With only PhP500.00, you get to have a complete outfit with pants, a shirt, and a pair of shoes or sandals. You just have to scour the stores in the area to find a good deal and the best score for the items that you need.
Textiles of different kinds are also available at Apu Market.
Photos credit to Mario Dahino
Apu Market was named after the “Apung Mamacalulu” statue depicting the burial of Jesus Christ found at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Christ our Lord of the Holy Sepulchre. Every Friday, different stores are set up within the vicinity of the church at Barangay Lourdes Sur, Angeles City, as church goers and devotees flock the shrine to hear mass or offer their special prayers and petitions to the “Apung Mamacalulu.” After their church visit, they go to the market in search for their best bargain finds. It is like the Quiapo of Angeles City, but the market can be visited only during Fridays.
The façade and altar of Archdiocesan Shrine of Christ our Lord of the Holy Sepulchre;showing the statue of the Sto. Entierro or the Apung Mamacalulu
Photos by Writer (left); Apung Mamacalulu Facebook Page (right)
Good to note:
There are a few roadblocks and closed streets due to the stalls set-up along the streets. Parking is also quite limited for private car owners. When visiting, you will have to walk a few meters from the main roads and parking areas to get to the market itself. Nevertheless, you will already pass by some stores on the way and can start your bargain shopping. But beware of pickpockets and snatchers, as the streets can really be crowded, even if police officers and barangay security have increased their presence in the area.
For your retail therapy and comfort buys, with a gastronomic side trip or otherwise, experience the Nepo Mart Complex or Apu Market only here at Angeles City without hurting your pocket. It is just two hours away from Metro Manila.