Bataan spearheads the Philippines third region. It is usually described as an amazing cultural and historical province, reached within an hour from Metro Manila via ferryboats. In the previous years, Bataan was not a traditional tourism destination, but surprisingly, it has managed to emerge as a promising tourist haven because of its multitude of exciting places to see and many interesting activities facilitated. This province simply has much to offer: pristine beauty of unspoiled beaches, a rich history and culture, and of course, the warmth and hospitality of its people, characterized as genuinely Filipino.
Bataan was founded in 1754 by then Spanish Governor General Pedro Manuel Arandia. Since then, the province has had its share of important historical events. During World War II, the province housed artillery and heavy aircrafts used against the raging Japanese forces. Beleaguered Filipino and American troops defended this last bastion up until the ‘Fall of Bataan,’ which made history in 1942.
The province occupies the entire Bataan Peninsula on the major island of Luzon. It shares borders with the provinces of Pampanga and Zambales to the north, while at the same time touching the vast South China Sea in its west, Subic Bay in the northwest, and Manila Bay to the east (where ferries from Metro Manila travel). Bataan has 11 towns and a component city, Balanga City (the provincial capital).
It is most famous for fine beaches, historical sites, markers, natural wonders, and unique products. The towns of Bagac and Morong have some of the most breathtaking beaches in this part of the Philippines. Dunsulan and Pasukulan Falls are natural spectacles that are perfect for swimming and family picnics. Sibul Spring in the town of Abucay is a promising tourism destination because of its sulfuric swimming pools and a vast area for fun, outdoor recreation. Many locals believe that this natural spring could bring about muscle pain relief and natural treatment of several ailments.
Because Bataan is entirely Catholic, old churches serve as awesome tourism spots as well. Among these religious structures are the Catholic Churches in Abucay, Belfry, Hermosa, Orani, Orion, and Samal. Historical edifices are frequented by local travelers like Dambana ng Kagitingan in Mt. Samat, Tomas Pinpin (famous Filipino painter) Monument, and the Philippine-Japanese Friendship Tower, which is symbolic of a post-war period of reconciliation, friendship, and peace between the once fighting nations.
Aside from sports, historical, religious, and sight-seeing tourism, Bataan is also popular among tourists for its numerous festivities. Topping this list is Bataan Day, held every April 5. This yearly event commemorates the courage Filipino soldiers offered to bring about freedom to the country during the war years. Paskuhan sa Mabatang is a Christmas celebration extending to the main streets of the Mabatang town.
All throughout the year, different towns all over the province hold annual fiestas, coinciding with the feast days of their municipal patron saints. Fiestas involve flamboyant celebrations when carnivals, fairs, flea markets, song and dance contests, craft exhibits, and musical shows are staged. Every household prepare lavish and sumptuous meals for guests and tourists.
How to get there
Land transport is the best way to reach Bataan. There are regular bus ride schedule from Metro Manila to specific destinations in the province. Ferry trips from Manila via Manila Bay are also occasionally offered.