Among the 7,107 islands we have that boast of a picturesque landscape and just breathtaking spots and natural resources you must visit, there’s Bataan: a small, beautiful peninsula that finds its sweet spot between the West Philippine Sea and the Manila Bay.
Besides the annual Araw ng Kagitingan that falls on April 9th (also known as Bataan Day to the locals), as far as local tourism goes, Bataan is pretty underrated — and this is coming from someone who has grown up in the quaint province all her life! Indeed, Bataan poses itself to be a burgeoning tourist destination if given the time of day — the province is surrounded by different kinds of bodies of water, with a pristine coastline that easily rivals the beaches of nearby places such as La Union and Batangas!
Image Credit: Bataan Tourism Facebook page
Beyond the beautiful beaches, the interesting role in history the province has leads to other sights and activities that are just as compelling to visit. Sprawling fields, historical houses, and vast beaches — what’s there not to love about Bataan? What’s more, Bataan is just 2.5 – 3 hours away from Manila by land, and 45 minutes by ferry from Manila Bay, making this the perfect quick getaway from the bustling Metro Manila scene!
Take it from the native: let me show you around my beautiful hometown with seven underrated spots you HAVE to visit. Plan that trip with your friends now!
When In Bataan: 7 Underrated Spots You HAVE To Visit For The Summer!
7. Mount Samat Shrine, Pilar
What lies among these halls is more than just history – it is memories and fallen heroes that have once walked this world. #mtsamat #mtsamatshrine #marble #hall #shrine #white #history #historic #travel #travelingram #traveller #livelife #liveauthentic #livefolk #vscocam #vscogood #vsco #vscophile #vscoph
Arguably the most recognizable landmark in the province because of the annual Araw ng Kagitingan Commemoration, the Shrine of Valor merits a mention in this article simply because of the fact that a lot of people still don’t know that Mount Samat is actually a destination worth paying a visit to! Old cannons, weapons, and other World War II memorabilia adorn the place and the underground museum.
A photo posted by Mike Dash (@kingsmediaphotos) on
The best part of Mount Samat, however, has to be the view up the cross (yes, you CAN climb the cross!) that shows a 360-degree view of Bataan — sprawling mountains, lush plains, and vibrant towns, with the cool breeze swishing in your face.
Barangay Diwa, Pilar, Bataan
6. Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga, Balanga City
While Bataan’s sights may paint of a sleepy, idyllic backwater, its capital, Balanga City portrays a different picture entirely — a sprightly city with an Old World charm, married with twenty-first-century elements, like its own Starbucks, for example. The magnificent Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga, located in the heart of the city, cannot be missed. The plaza comes to life especially at night, with a spectacle of lights and dancing fountains. Check in at the nearby Plaza Hotel, a charming boutique hotel that meshes the modern and the quaint.
5. Pasukulan Falls, Abucay
For those adamant on exploring Bataan’s great outdoors, the province has several waterfalls for one’s enjoyment. Pasukulan Falls is a popular sidetrip for mountain hikers already familiar with the nearby Mount Natib.
A three-hour trek will lead you to a majestic sight — pristine waters cascading from almost 200 feet above and into a pool. Judging from these photos, that trip is well worth it.
Sitio Pasukulan, Barangay Salian, Abucay, Bataan
4. Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an, Morong
Image Credit: Bataan Tourism Facebook page
One of the most interesting hole-in-the-wall places in Bataan is Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an in Morong, a humble, unassuming eatery that sells Vietnamese-influenced dishes, something you’d never think you’d see in this tranquil town. Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an opened in the 90’s, after refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia sought temporary shelter in Bataan’s Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC). Two decades later, the refugees have long gone, yet this chapter in world history lives on through this modest joint. Must-trys are the Vietnamese noodle soup, hu tieu, and their special take on the banh mi.
3. Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park, Orani
In a quaint village called Tala in Orani, is a scenic haven by the mountains. Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park is a mountainside resort, decked with villas and a beautiful cliffside pool overlooking a view of lush mountains and trees.
A photo posted by Vista Tala (@vistatalaph) on
There are also jacuzzis, an in-resort spa, and a recreation center, providing a respite from the chaos of urban life. The place exudes serenity all over, making it the perfect escapade for some needed rest and relaxation.
2. Stella Mariz Resort, Bagac
Bataan is abound with luxurious beach resorts, but for those who search for a more peaceful and unadulterated paradise (as well as those on a tighter budget), Stella Mariz Resort lets you be one with nature. Away from the bustle of the city, simple cottages, picnic tables, and pine trees adorn the beach, instead of concrete, plush hotels and villas.Bask in the warm sun and sand between your toes, set up camp by the beach and spend your nights by the shore. Conversations with friends by the campfire, while listening to the crashing waves and lying under the stars? You bet.
Governor J.J. Linao Road, Bagac, Bataan
1. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bagac
Of course, one does not leave Bataan without visiting the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, a heritage resort that’s just a marvelous sight by itself, with opulent Spanish-era houses, cobblestone streets and a majestic canal, all perched by the sea. Las Casas has been a popular setting for period films and television shows in recent years, such as GMA-7’s Zorro, the sleeper hit Heneral Luna, and Lav Diaz’ 8-hour film Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis. Book a night at their heritage house, take a dip in the sea as a calesa strides by. It’s just like being transported back in time.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attractions and activities to do in Bataan! Visit the Bataan Tourism Facebook page for more details on other sights to see.
Have you been to Bataan? What other places have you visited? Let us know!