As someone who spent her childhood and teenage years in the province, Bataan is home to me. Two hours away from Manila, Bataan is a small province that is on the cusp of progress, mixing both the old and the new.
Photos by Kevin Liao (@kevinliaooo)
Despite it flying relatively under the radar when it comes to local tourism, this tiny province truly has breathtaking sights to see — it seems to have it all, from sprawling mountains to blue-watered beaches, and a host of other natural sites such as forests, waterfalls, rivers and hot springs, ideal for a nature eco-trip.
It is because of this that Bataan has a certain charm whenever one visits. Its old-world charm is also contrasted by booming businesses left and right. Since moving to college in Manila until I graduated and found myself a career, I am home at least once a month or so. And in each of those weekend trips, I always feel like a visitor seeing Bataan for the first time, as there’s always something new that wasn’t there before.
One of these particular gems is The Oriental Bataan, a magnificent getaway of a hotel located at the freeport zone in the coastal town of Mariveles. Just when I thought I’d known all there is to the province I call home, Bataan continues to surprise me every time!
“Beautiful” doesn’t even begin to describe The Oriental Bataan when I pulled into the driveway and the facade came into view. I let out a gasp: the circular-shaped hotel was on top of a hill, with a 360-degree view of the mountains and the nearby coast. We were truly at one with nature.
Hotels by The Oriental Group normally occupy old or abandoned properties, breathing new life into these areas, and The Oriental Bataan is no exception. What once stood in its place was The Hilltop Hotel, a grand hotel in the 70’s that catered to celebrities such as Fernando Poe Jr. But while the grandeur of the past has long been stripped down, in its place is an oasis that redefines staycations.
What I love about The Oriental Bataan is that every guest is treated like a VIP with the staff’s genuine service. We were greeted with leis (flower necklaces) and a special dance that everyone — from the front desk receptionists and restaurant servers, to even the hotel guards — performed. It’s The Oriental Bataan’s special way of welcoming their guests. What I quickly noticed was the genuine hospitality that The Oriental Bataan’s staff exuded, ready to help you with a warm smile.
The Oriental Bataan’s interiors and amenities are exquisite, with tropical influences given a casual elegance. They knew well to integrate their scenic surroundings with the hotel’s design, making this place a true paradise for the weekend.
After immediately checking in, we were helped to a sumptuous lunch courtesy of the hotel’s in-house restaurant, Cocoon.
I love how Cocoon’s menu is cohesive, serving mainly Southeast Asian-inspired dishes. We tried the Yang Chow Fried Rice, Ayam Goreng, The Oriental Bataan’s signature Seafood Chopsuey, and Salted Egg Shrimp. Their menu won’t break the bank — in fact, they are affordably priced and offered in generous servings.
If there is one dessert you have to try at The Oriental Bataan, order the Delphine’s Secret, which will truly be a hit with chocolate lovers. Grab a spoonful of indulgence in every bite with their chocolate brownie bites covered in salted caramel, served with a chocolate mascarpone mousse on the side and a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.
As Mariveles, Bataan is by the seaside, naturally you can expect a lot of seafood. Get your seafood fix at their seafood buffet.
When lunch was done, we decided to take a dip in the pool, which has a panoramic view of the hotel. Also just by the pool is an outdoor lounge, with beds and couches if you just want to enjoy the afternoon breeze.
While The Oriental Bataan is wonderful in itself, what would have to be my favorite part of my stay at the hotel is the spa, which was exactly what we needed to unwind after a long and busy week in Manila. Entering the spa is already like coming into a sanctuary, with a tranquil ambiance.
You can choose to get pampered in one of their private rooms, or as what I did, be led to their outdoor spa, with its own pool and massage beds by the trees. To maximize the outdoor experience, it’s best to come in after sunset.
Trust me when I say this: you have to try their signature Oriental massage. It’s 90 minutes of pure bliss with Swedish, Shiatsu and Thai techniques, as well as some traditional influences. Easily the best massage I’ve ever had so far. If you want to maximize your staycation, go for this.
At night, we sat outdoors while chilling to the live music at the Forest Grill, a casual outdoor resto bar serving up Pinoy favorites in an open kitchen.
Kansi, a flavorful beef broth dish from Bacolod
Must-tries are the Bacolod broth dish kansi, their gising gising, and their garlic chicken, best served with a cold beer on the side!
After a few drinks and a food coma, we retired to our chambers for the night.
Photo by Glenn Paolo Imperial (@glennimperial)
The beach is five minutes away from The Oriental Bataan. If you’re looking to do a quick trip to the seaside, you may inquire at the front desk for assistance. They can also arrange a cove-to-cove adventure tour for you to explore Mariveles’ Five Fingers, including snorkeling, underground cave visiting, and even a boodle fight.
If you’re looking for a quick escape from Manila that’s nearby, The Oriental Bataan would make for that perfect staycation — their luxurious amenities come at a bang for your buck with affordable and reasonably priced rates. It’s an escapade for everyone that will leave you rejuvenated.
Rooms start at P3,230 for deluxe twin or queen rooms, inclusive of taxes and other fees. For reservations, you may contact them at (047) 612-3930 or 0927-886-8887, or at their e-mail and website below.
The Oriental Bataan
Freeport Area of Bataan Compound, Barangay Malaya, Mariveles, Bataan