Bataan Weekend Trip: 10 Things to do in Bataan - The Filipino Rambler

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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Bataan Weekend Trip: 10 Things to do in Bataan


Several years ago, I frequented Bataan to immerse at the cool waters at the beaches of Morong. We  love going back because the place is so laid back and not so crowded. And while the waters aren't as pristine blue as that of Calaguas and its sands not as white and powdery as that of Boracay, it was clear and clean. I also had the chance to visit some old churches and the Mt. Samat National Shrine before.

I was recently back here for a weekend trip. If you're looking for a getaway outside the metro, Bataan will surely give you a wonderful time with the many things that you can enjoy. Check this list of ten things that you can do in the historical province of Bataan.

1. MT. SAMAT SHRINE OF VALOR


Also known as the Dambana ng Kagitingan, the Mt. Samat National Shrine is located near the summit of Mount Samat in Pilar, Bataan. Considered as the sentinel of Bataan, it was built as a fitting memorial of the heroism of the Filipinos who fought and died during the second World War. 


The park was commissioned by the then-President Ferdinand Marcos in 1966. It was completed in 1970. It consist of a Collonade and a large Memorial Cross. The Colonnade is a marble-clad structure surrounded by an esplanade, itself surrounded by marble-clad parapets. The outer side is covered with 19 high relief sculptures by National Artist Napoleon Abueva.


The cross is 90 feet in length; 302 feet in height. It is almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty (305 feet). The arms of the cross allows the visitors to enjoy the 360 degree view of the Peninsula.


2. ZERO KM DEATH MARCH MARKER


The monuments mark the start of the infamous Death March  of the Filipino and American soldiers in 1942. The monuments are found in Bagac and Mariveles and similar markers can be found along the route going to San Fernando, Pampanga and Capas, Tarlac.

History: The Bataan Death March was the forcible transfer by the Imperial Japanese Army of 60,000–80,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war from Saysain Point, Bagac, Bataan and Mariveles to Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, via San Fernando, Pampanga, where the prisoners were loaded onto trains. The transfer began on April 9, 1942, after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II. The total distance marched from Mariveles to San Fernando and from the Capas Train Station to Camp O'Donnell is variously reported by differing sources as between 60 and 69.6 miles (96.6 and 112.0 km). Differing sources also report widely differing prisoner of war casualties prior to reaching Camp O'Donnell: from 5,000 to 18,000 Filipino deaths and 500 to 650 American deaths during the march. The march was characterized by severe physical abuse and wanton killings, and was later judged by an Allied military commission to be a Japanese war crime. SOURCE. 

3. FEAST AT SEAFOOD BILAO AT TRIHOUSE, BALANGA


If you're hankering for seafoods, Trihouse in Balanga had you covered. It's a newly opened restaurant that offers a variety of food in their menu. Start your gastronomic feast with the Cream of Mushroom Soup and Nachos. Gobble up with the mouth-watering Seafood Bilao! Indulge in Crabs, Shrimps, veggies, chicken and pork bbq. It's a perfect treat for a hungry group! Finish off with a nice, cold fruit shake.



The Trihouse is super spacious. There's plenty of seats for families and friends. Or gather your office mates after a hard day's work- satisfy those cravings and make your tummies happy.

Trihouse
Bermuda St., Montecarla Subdivision, Balanga, Bataan
Instagram: @trihouse.hrd

4. WALK BACK IN HISTORY AT THE SURRENDER SITE MONUMENT AND BATAAN WORLD WAR II MUSEUM


The museum is through the initiative of HAS Club of Balanga Foundation. Inside you can see the saga of valor from peace time to war time. Don't skip the movie viewing- it's really informative. Also inside the museum are some memorabilia of former First Lady Luz Banzon-Magsaysay. She's the wife of former President Ramon Magsaysay and a native of Balanga.


Just in front of the Museum is the Surrender Site Monument. It's a life-sized monument built as a marker where Major Gen. Edward King signed the instrument of surrender on April 9, 1942. If you watched the movie inside the Museum very carefully, you'll be amazed how this 'scene' was depicted from real account. 


The site of the Bataan World War II Musuem is the actual concentration camp during the Japanese invasion. You'll see the old buildings and trees still standing as silent witness to the gruesome experience of the Filipino and American prisoners of war. Today, this area is a school. 

5. HAVE A PILGRIMAGE AT THE BALANGA CATHEDRAL


The Balanga Cathedral is also known as the Diocesan Shrine and Cathedral Parish of Saint Joseph. It was established on April 18, 1739 and celebrates its feast day every April 28th.



After the war, Bishop Celso renovated the church. Its walls were white and a number of chandeliers hung from the ceiling, the largest before the altar. Behind the altar was a structure painted green with stripes of gold and a statue of Jesus in the left, Mary on the right, and St. Joseph holding the hand of Baby Jesus. Beside the altar, there were two statues, St. Lorenzo Ruiz in the left and Mary at the right. There was a group of bells lined together vertically by metal grilles, the usual bell design in almost all of the parishes in Bataan. There was a statue of Jesus of Nazareth near the main door, which was kept for rehabilitation, believed to be miraculous. People lined up and gave sampaguitas to its neck and cross, they would usually wipe its feet. When Bishop Socrates was appointed he saw that the decorations were in bad shape; he renovated the inside with a new design. When it was finished, the white walls were replaced by a wall of bricks, the structure behind the altar became marble white, the floors were higher and the chandeliers were replaced by ceiling lights. SOURCE

During WW II, the church belfry was also used as a site for Japanese artillery bombardment of Mt. Samat, where Filipino and American forces gave their last stand.


6. STOP BY ROMALAINE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT AND LEISURE PARK


When you're in Mariveles, one of the better place to eat is at Romalaine. They have function halls- a perfect reception for any type of occasion. We love their pancit! A bilao is perfect for sharing.

We also ordered their sinigang na hipon, chicken buffalo wings, calamares, beef brocolli, fish fillet and buttered chicken. Their restaurant is overlooking a green garden with mountains as the back drop.


They also have a pool area. It's a nice place to beat the heat. They also have private rooms if you're looking for a place to stay in Mariveles.

Romalaine Restaurant and Leisure Park
Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan

7. HAVE A GASTRONOMIC FEAST AT CAFE INDUSTRIYA


Cafe Industriya is the newest food hub in Mariveles. Located inside FAB, they serve all-day breakfast- Tapsilog, Longsilog, Daingsilog and American Breakfast.

Everything they served was a tantalizing treat! Don't miss their Hainanese Chicken and their Beef Salpicao- each bite provides a forkful of comfort and flavor. The Asian Salad are from the best local ingredients. Their carbonara was heaven- the pasta was the perfect cradle for the sauce! The Philly Cheese Steak sandwich was also divine! Pair your food with a good, hot cup of coffee.

Indeed, we had a bounty of food, each bite more delicious!

Casa Industriya
Lot A Commercial Area 8th AFAB Mariveles, Bataan
0977 754 3631

8. TAKE RESPITE AT CASA VELES


Casa Veles is the newest home of every tourists and business travelers in Mariveles. Located inside the Freeport Area of Bataan, the rooms of Casa Veles gives one an industrial and minimalist feels.

After the tiring activities that we had at Bataan, it was great to take respite at the wonderful room that we had. Our room has twin beds and has the amenities every traveler looks for in a hotel. It's equipped with a cable LED TV, AC unit and a good desk if you wish to squeeze work. The WiFi was ultra fast. There's complimentary water, coffee and tea. We even had a wonderful view of a street with the mountains as back drop. 



The T & B was immaculate and clean. It has a hot and cold shower - a perfect treat to freshen up after a tiring day of exploring Bataan. Toiletries like soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste are available too. 

Just beside Casa Veles is Cafe Industriya, where breakfast is served. 

Casa Veles
Lot A Commercial Area 8th AFAB Mariveles, Bataan
0998 269 9438

9. WATCH THE SUNSET AT SISIMAN BAY


Sisiman Bay is located right across Mariveles Bay. Its rustic charm and rock boulders have attracted locals and outside visitors. 

Do not miss the Pebble Beach and the Lighthouse. The best time to visit the Lighthouse is at sunset- I bet you'll have a great time doing poses that's Instagram-worthy!

Photo: Jonathan Espina of Jon To The World

Do a little cardio and trek the San Miguel Peak. The 20 minute trek is sure to make you sweat and from above, you'll be rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view of the area.


10. WITNESS THE PADYAKAN SA BATAAN FESTIVAL


Padyakan sa Bataan is a mountain bike circuit race organized by The Provincial Government of Bataan in cooperation with the Municipality of Mariveles, Bataan Tourism Council Foundation, Inc. and the Bataan Trailriders and Adventurers Network (BaTAAN). It is held annually and is part of the activities commemorating the Araw ng Kagitingan. It is their 14th year already.

It is part of the annual Araw ng Kagitingan Celebration. So if you're planning to visit Bataan during April, better check their tourism calendar and make sure you include this in your itinerary.

Hundreds of bikers and bike enthusiasts from age 3 to 60 gather for a day of camaraderie and competition. It's open for both residents and non-residents of Bataan and registration is free.


HOW TO GO BATAAN:

COMMUTE

You can travel to Bataan in 50 minutes via 1Bataan Ferry. This cuts the 3-4 hours land trip to less than an hour. Fare is at P450/way. It travels from Esplanade SeaSide Terminal to the Capinpin Port of Orion, Bataan and vice versa.

Alternatively, you can take a bus from Cubao or Avenida. Fare is at 200/way. If your destination is beyond Balanga (Pilar, Orion, Limay, Cabcaben, and Mariveles), take the Mariveles bus and not the Balanga bus to avoid long travel time.Mariveles bus uses the highway and would skip the town proper of Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay and the City of Balanga.

PRIVATE CAR

Bataan is just three hours away from Manila by car and 124 km away from it. You can take either the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) or Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).  The exit of NLEX is in San Fernando and straight ahead going to the peninsula of Bataan.

BEHOLD BATAAN

There are many reasons why you should include going to Bataan on your next trip. It's rich history, culture, eco tourism, sports and adventure facilities, products and people are sure to give you a delightful and fun experience.

Drop by the Bataan Tourism Center to be well-assisted in your needs and make of the most of your stay here. It's also a one-stop shop- you can even buy pasalubong there. Know where to go, what to do, what to buy and everything Bataan here.

Bataan Tourism Center
0917 671 6995
www.bataan.gov.ph/tourism

THANKFUL


Big thanks to the Bataan Tourism Council for the invitation. Miss Erica Paula Gayeta, Kuya Vandolph and Kuya Alan Valbuena- thank you for the awesome time.

To my blog squad- Pia Bernaldo of PiaThought, Jonathan Espina of Jon To The World and Armela Patalud of Around The Metro Ph-- I had a fun time with you. Til next trip.

And if the pictures weren't enough, here's the video of our Bataan Getaway. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the bell button for more of my food and travel adventures.

**
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