Famed for the Carabao Festival held in honour of San Isidro Labrador each year, Pulilan is a former rural town that’s been enveloped by Manila’s northern sprawl. It’s now a bustling commercial hub that’s home to several heritage residences and an impressive parish church, as well as a campus of the Bulacan State University.
Things to do
Admire the 19th-century Baroque architecture of San Isidro Labrador Parish Church, which features a Neoclassical-inspired facade and a three-tiered bell tower. It’s a famous pilgrimage site during the Holy Week celebrations when water buffalos are paraded through the streets, accompanied by colourful floats, dancers and marching bands. On arrival at the church, devotees kneel in tribute to San Isidro Labrador, the town’s patron saint.
One of the most beautifully preserved houses in Bulacan is the Casanova-Aguirre Ancestral House where the 2006 Filipino film “Moments of Love” was filmed. Also of note is the Adriano Salvador Heritage House, which once served as the municipal administrative hub of both Quingua (now Plaridel) and San Isidro (now Pulilan). Learn about its role as an important gathering place for political figures and as a classroom of the Escuela Publica during the late 19th century.
For a chance to see colourful butterflies up-close, pay a visit to Pulilan Butterfly Haven where a variety of species native to the Philippines is on show. You can learn about butterfly characteristics and behaviour at the small on-site museum before taking a dip in the sanctuary’s swimming pool.
Pulilan is around an hour’s drive from Manila and 1.5 hours from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Buses and jeepneys are the main means of getting around the city, while private taxis and tricycles are also readily available.