All About Bataan
Bataan is a province in Luzon well-known by tourists and locals alike for its historical importance and different monuments which symbolise important events in Philippine history- aside from the rich culture and heritage of the location, however, there is so much more to Bataan than meets the eye. There also happens to be mountains, beaches, great restaurants, bird watching sites, and more, making it a great location to tour around for all ages- not to mention that Bataan is not very crowded, a good pick for weekend getaways from all the people. If you’re curious to know more about the historical province, here is a comprehensive guide to Bataan- what to see and do, where to go and eat and how to get there.
Where to Go
Bagac is a town in Bataan which will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time because of the rich Spanish heritage in the area. The Town Bagac is littered with old, traditional houses built with Spanish architecture which you can explore and visit. Not to mention, the location is also near a beach if you wanna enjoy, relax and sit by the sand or take a swim in the sea. Here you will be able to see some popular tourist destinations, such as the Bagac Friendship Tower and the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, both sites which are rich with Filipino symbolism as well as historical relevance. Some additional spots to see while in Bagac, Bataan are the municipal hall and the Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish Church.
Pilar, Bataan is a very picturesque location in the Bataan province, as it is full of different attractions that will tempt you to bring your camera out and snap a picture. Thw town of Pilar is near the port meaning you can catch views of the serene water and even visit the lighthouse. It is also near Mt. Samat which is home to an exciting attraction- the longest zipline in the entirety of Luzon. Some other locations you can visit while in Pilar are the Veteran’s Park, the Mount Samat National Shrine, The Flaming Sword which is a popular landmark of a hand holding up a sword in symbolism of the Filipino patriots, and the Dunsulan Falls as well. Overall, Pilar is a great town to visit for people who are into taking pictures as well as thrill seekers who would like to go on an adventure.
The municipal of Morong is filled with natural spots great for pictures and active fun. Morong is near beautiful bodies of water which boast the beautiful and clear blue coast of Bataan, making it a great spot to go island hopping, swimming, and diving. Some great spots for those are the Playa La Caleta, Caragman Cove, Biga Cove and the Velasco Pink Beach. Other than enjoying the sand and the sea, you can also visit some historical destinations such as the Lady of Pillar Parish Church, Municipal Hall, and more.
Mariveles, Bataan is home to many of the province’s best attractions- chock full of them, in fact, which makes Mariveles a must see when you happen to be in the area. Like the other municipals and towns in Bataan, Mariveles also happens to be located near the water so you can visit beaches and coasts like the Sisiman Bay and watch the beautiful sunset. You can also go and see the Mariveles Five Fingers, Freeport Area of Bataan, Mariveles geothermal area, Mount Mariveles, Lazareto de Mariveles, Parish Church of Saint Nicholas Tolentine, and the historic and solemn Zero Kilometer Death March Marker. Overall, Mariveles is a definite must see especially for those who place values in monuments and historical landmarks.
Balanga, Bataan, is home to a multitude of different great spots- both historical locations as well as areas where you can get in touch with and enjoy the presence of nature. Here you can go to one of the most popular tourist destinations in order to go bird watching, the Tortugas Bay Park. Some other great stops are the Balanga Wetland Park, Plaza Mayor de Balanga, Bataan Capitol Compound, Bataan Peninsula State University, Bataan World War II Museum, Galleria Victoria Mall, The Plaza Hotel Balanga City, GAP Plaza Hotel, La Vista Balanga, Inland Resort, Center Plaza Mall, Balanga Public Market, Balanga Cathedral, Fall of Bataan, Marker, Balanga Surrender Site Marker, and finally the Divine Mercy Shrine of Diocese Balanga. Overall, Balanga is full of a variety of different places to visit, and when you’re here it’s hard to ever grow bored.
Where to Eat
Again, Bataan may be full of beaches, scenery, and historical locations but there’s one thing that makes this great province in the north stand out even more than it already does- and that’s food! Here are the places where you should grab a bite when you happen to be on a trip up north in Bataan.
– Coffee in Beanery – Coffee is a delicious drink to be tried in all parts of the Philippines, and Bataan also happens to have it. They serve tea, coffee, pastas, and more but of course their best sellers are their coffee drinks. Beanery is Bataan’s most popular coffee shop, so it is probably a good spot to see and stop by when in the north, especially if you need yourself a pick me up. There are two branches located in Bataan, so feel free to choose whichever from the two for your caffeinated needs.
The Beanery Main Branch, Capitol Drive, San Jose, Balanga City
– Angelitos – Angelitos is a family owned restaurant which serves various Filipino homemade dishes that will make you feel hearty and at home. The restaurant itself has a relaxing, calm and homey ambience and another plus is the fact that they serve up affordable, delicious dishes with a 100 peso price range. Some examples of the items from their menu is the nachos, pancit, binagoongan, tofu, and more.
M plus C Building, Tenejero Orani, Bataan
– Saverde – If you’re craving for delicious, hot beef tapa, then Saverde is the place you should go. They serve delicious comfort food like beef tapa rice wrapped in omelette, milkshakes, and other Filipino delights with an additional modern twist. All in all, Saverde is a restaurant built to curb you appetite.
Gabon St., Abucay, Bataan
Where to Stay
– The Plaza Hotel – One of the best places to stay in Bataan is the Plaza Hotel, which is located in the very heart of Bataan and is close to various locations which means you don’t have to travel far from your room in order to have a nice and enjoyable time. An additional plus is the hotel’s very contemporary and old style exterior making it great for pictures and the view is amazing as well. Not to mention, the service staff in the hotel are friendly and amicable. The rooms are comfortable and clean, which is a plus. If you want to book yourself a room at the picturesque Plaza Hotel, you can do so by visiting their address here:
J.P. Rizal Street, Poblacion, City of Balanga, 2100 Bataan
How to Get there
Bataan is a wonderful location up north, and is relatively accessible using both public and private transportation. By car, simply drive up north via the via E1/R-8 and Jose Abad Santos Ave, passing by Malolos and San Fernando and in around three hours time, you will finally arrive in Bataan.
If you’d like to save money on gas and other vehicle expenses, you can choose to opt for the public transportation option and instead take the bus. You have a variety of bus lines to choose from, all of them stopping at Bataan- they are Victory Liner, Sinulog, Genesis and Bataan Transit. The fare will set you back around 200 pesos and the bus ride will take you around two to three hours in total.
Festivals in Bataan
One thing that tourists like to visit Bataan for are their popular festivals. There are plenty of festivals that occur in this historic province, but here are some which visitors consistently flock to when they are up in the north:
Bird Watching – Here, you will feel even closer to nature and the things involving it. You can go bird watching at the Puerto Rivas Balanga City, Bataan and see different fowls showing off their wings. Bataan just so happens to have a very high waterbird count so animal photographers out there might want to take out their cameras to snap pictures of the majestic birds during the bird watching festivals. Another plus is that, seeing all this won’t eve set you back that much money.
Pawikan Festival – The Pawikan Festival is another popular festival in Bataan. It takes place annually at the Pawikan Conservation center located in Morong, Bataan. Here they celebrate the releasing of baby sea turtles which have just recently hatched from their eggs. The baby turtles come from the babies of the turtles at the Pawikan Conservation Center. Here, guests are entertained with different events, shows, and activities while they wait for the turtle eggs to hatch. You can learn facts about the Pawikan and also how to save them, making the Pawikan Festival a worthwhile place to go.
Araw ng Kagitingan – Bataan is a province which absolutely goes all out when it comes to the celebration of the Araw ng Kagitingan, which is no surprise given the location’s prominent historic heritage. Araw ng Kagitingan also happens to be called Bataan Day, which shows how much it means to the province. Here you can join in as people parade through the streets of the towns, celebrating all of what the veterans did in order to save our formerly war torn country.
What to do:
There are countless available activities and things to do in Bataan, and here are just a few examples.
Bataan National Park
The Bataan National Park is a great site for walking and hiking because it boasts the province’s nature. It is full of trees, tropical jungle and mountain terrains as well as bodies of water like springs, rivers and waterfalls. It is also filled with many different flora like ground orchids and fauns like monkeys, insects and birds. The Bataan National park is a relaxing location and a great place to get in touch with nature.
Adventure in Vista Tala
For more adventurous individuals, you can choose to go on an active adventure at the Vista Tala, a resort and recreational park which is home to a striking view of the mountains, swimming pools, and most importantly designated areas for wall climbing, rapelling, ziplining, and other fun activities that will bring out the thrill seeker in you. What’s great is that Vista Tala also doubles as a resort, so you can check in for the night in order to have a lot more fun the next day.
The Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is another must see spot in Bataan. It features old reconstructed Spanish-era houses where you can walk around and feel as if you’ve travelled back into time during the Spanish colonization period. Not only can you see the beautiful architecture from the colonial period, but you can also go on a heritage tour to know more about the history of both Bataan and the Philippines starting at 999 pesos per person.