Sharing a rich history with the rest of the province of Pampanga, Mexico is becoming one of the favourite local destinations for its remaining Hispanic-era edifices and equally astonishing San Nicolas biscuits exquisitely made by Kapampangan culinary guru, Lillian Lising Borromeo.
Hundreds of tourists, both domestic and foreign, troop to Mexico to taste the creamy San Nicolas cookies moulded from an 18thcentury-old wooden mould inherited by Borromeo from her ancestors, the illustrious families of Hizons and Lorenzos.
Aside from her famous cookies, Borromeo is frequently visited by food critics and enthusiasts for her traditional Kapampangan cuisine such as kare-kare, hito with burung asan (catfish with fermented rice), pindang damulag (cured carabao meat), pastel de lengua, tibok-tibok (coconut pudding) and brazo de mercedes.
Mexico is also known for the San Jose Matulid chapel, which is believed to be the oldest Catholic chapel (commonly called as visitas by the locals) in Pampanga. Based on the accounts of Augustinian friars, the visitas of Masansan and Matulid were established along with the town of Nuevo Mexico (now Mexico) in April 24, 1581. Although there is no direct record of the exact date of construction of the San Jose Matulid chapel, the locals claim that it is older than the Sta. Monica Parish Church, which was built by Fr. Jose dela Cruz in 1665. The San Jose Matulid chapel is still being used today while only the Belltower of the original Sta. Monica Parish Church (located in Barangay Parian) remains standing to date.
Near the 17th century Belltower of Mexico, one can also find the St. Benedict’s Institution de Mexico, an Augustinian convent that was constructed in time with the Sta. Monica Parish Church in 1665. Although Augustinian records such as the Estado of 1612 indicates that Mexico has one convent and two priests during that time.
Meanwhile, Mexico has a different face that likewise attracts tourists from all over. One of the largest, if not the most beautiful recreational park in the region, is located at Km. 71 in the village of Lagundi, Mexico – that is, the Lakeshore Park. The Lakeshore has a 12-hectare man-made lake spread on a view of the majestic Mt. Arayat. It has a lighthouse, a restaurant and various facilities for other recreational activities such as fishing, boating, picnics, jetski, water-peddling and more.
Mexico has a tropical climate similar to the whole Central Luzon while it has a number of food stops and shopping stores located at SM City Pampanga, as well as at the downtown market in Barangay Parian. The town is very accessible from Metro Manila. It is only a 45 minute-drive from Balintawak. The town could also be a very good stop to the famous Candaba swamps. Mexico is only 40 minutes away from Candaba.
The town, with its flat terrain, can be accessed via a two-wheel or four-wheel vehicle. It has an impressive road network with various points of entries from the Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Road in the City of San Fernnado, Mexico NLEX Exit, San Jose Malino road (north of San Fernando), Quezon Road from Sta. Ana town, and the Magalang-Mexico-Arayat Road from Arayat.
(Sources: Angels in Stone, Augustinian Churches in the Philippines by Pedro G. Galende, O.S.A., municipal records from the Office of the Mayor, Sta. Monica Fiestang Balen Souvenir Program 2006, interviews from Lillian L. Borromeo and the Lakeshore management.)