From Manila to the north, you will pass by Bulacan, Pampanga, then Tarlac provinces. Via North Luzon Expressway and Macarthur highway, the last town of Pampanga before crossing a relatively new and beautiful bridge to Tarlac is Mabalacat. This bridge with a high arch and smooth road was constructed only after lahar flows from Mt. Pinatubo in the mid-90s have stabilized.
1) Bamban -- this is the first town of Tarlac after crossing the bridge. Nothing seems spectacular and notable to see in this municipality from the highway. The municipal hall -- and other municipal offices like the police, social welfare, etc. -- is rather far from areas which are densely populated.
2) Capas -- the next town. Prominent to see in this municipality is the Capas public market, and some rows of tricycles around it. Further north is a Y-junction road at a big Caltex gas station. Here, there are a number of fastfood shops. If you turn right at this intersection, you will reach the municipality of Concepcion. You turn left to go to Tarlac city and the rest of northern Luzon. About 300 meters from this intersection is the cool building of Capas municipal hall.
Capas Shrine is about 7.5 kms. from a small intersection before the municipal hall. The shrine is home to more than 30,000 names of dead Filipino and American soldiers who perished in WW2 during the infamous "Death March". The place is beautiful to visit, with a good hanging bridge behind the shrine; thousands of mahogany trees were planted around the shrine, itself surrounded by a fence.
The shrine was constructed and financed by taxes. Before, entrance was free. About a year ago, the managing agency, the AFP, started collecting entrance fee of about P30 per adult and another P30 parking fee. You're a taxpayer and you did not bring extra cash for such fees and the government, the soldiers, will not allow you to see a structure that was financed from the tax money you surrendered to the government a few years ago.
3) Tarlac City -- the provincial capital. If you're seated in the front of a car or a bus, you will not miss the big arch that says "Welcome, Tarlac City". Before the city proper, you will pass by Luisita Park, where they have Luisita Mall, and a number of big fast food and coffee shops, wide parking spaces, and huge, several decades old rain trees (aka "akasya" trees). A sugar central, wide sugar plantation, a golf course, and other projects of the Cojuangco and Aquino clans are located to the east of the Luisita park.
Being halfway to Baguio, the city is the main "stop and eat/rest" area for many buses and private motorists. Hence, there are a number of restaurants and bus terminals of big bus lines here. At the Y-intersection in the city at Siesta restaurant, Victory and Five Star buses stop here for 20 minutes rest/stop. You turn left in this intersection, you are headed to the province's 3 municipalities in the western side, as well as western Pangasinan's towns and city (Alaminos and Bolinao especially).
4) Sta. Ignacia -- less road traffic going here and the succeeding municipalities compared to the highway going to the Ilocos region and the mountain provinces of Cordillera. A number of hilly and winding roads here, a respite from the flat, straight (and boring) roads of the previous municipalities and cities. Again, nothing so spectacular to see in this town.
5) Camiling -- a good intersection for many municipalities. Coming from Tarlac City and Sta. Ignacia in the south, to the right is Paniqui; to the north are the municipalities of central Pangasinan (Malasique, Bayambang, Calasiao, etc.); and to the left is Camiling town proper and the municipalities of western Pangasinan.
The city has numerous volume of tricycles! There are just too many tricycles around the big public market, that there seems to be no streets around it where there are no parked 3-wheeled small vehicles.
The road infrastructure going to Camiling is also deteriorating. There are simply plenty of cracked roads, uneven and potholed roads.
6) San Clemente -- After Camiling, the roads are better and less dilapidated; traffic volume is also fewer. The town proper is small, not much to see, except that the municipal government has constructed a new and modern-looking municipal hall along the highway.
At the Camiling intersection before the bridge, if you turn right, you will reach the town of Paniqui. At Tarlac City Y-intersection, if you turn right, drive several kms. more, you will also pass by an intersection leading to Paniqui.
7) Paniqui --
8) Ramos --