Visit the province of Bataan and discover historical and natural attractions here. Learn about the best time to visit, how to go, top tourist spots, local foods to eat, and experiences to try.
Bataan’s history, especially its vital role in World War II, is so rich that the map of this province feels like a treasure map of historical, cultural, and natural wonders. It’s a popular go-to weekend destination in the Philippines for locals based in the metro who want a slice of Philippine history and a relaxing beach escape with stunning mountain views.
Two important events in Philippine history are named after the province. First, the 3-month-long Battle of Bataan in 1942, which represented the most intense stage of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during the war.
Second, the infamous Bataan Death March, wherein 72,000 American and Filipino war prisoners were forced to march between 60 and 69.6 miles from Bataan to Tarlac. As the name implies, thousands of Filipinos and hundreds of American prisoners-of-war died during the march.
Despite its tragic history, the province of Bataan is emerging as a must-visit ecotourism and historic destination in the Philippines. Today, visitors can enjoy turtle sanctuaries, birdwatching sites, majestic waterfalls, adrenaline-pumping hikes and treks, and a living museum of beautifully restored traditional homes.
The province of Bataan is located in the southwestern part of Central Luzon, Philippines. Bataan is considered as the smallest province in Central Luzon. It is roughly 2.5 hours away from the Philippine capital, Manila, by car.
A trip to Bataan feels like a trip back in time. It is a breathtaking destination where history meets the mountains and the sea. If this is your first time to visit the historical province, here is an ultimate guide to the best Bataan tourist spots that you can add to your itinerary.
As a tropical country, the Philippines has only two seasons: the dry season and the wet season. In general, it is best to time your travels to the province of Bataan during the dry season (November to April), especially if you’re traveling by sea.
The Holy Week season in the Philippines (from March to April), is one of the best times to visit Bataan if you want to join the activities and immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. However, expect that many Bataan tourist spots get crowded during this time.
May is the hottest month of the year in Bataan while January is the coldest. If you are planning a trek, do check the local weather. If you plan to go birdwatching, the best time to go is between October to March where migrating birds are of spotted starting at 6 o’clock in the morning.
Bataan is also famous for its turtle sanctuaries. If you want to see the turtle hatchlings released into the sea, set your Bataan trip during the last week of November to enjoy the week-long Pawikan Festival in Morong, Bataan.
At present, there are no direct flights from Manila to Bataan. If you’re flying in from outside Manila or Luzon, you can fly first to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila or Clark International Airport in Pampanga. From there, you can ride land or sea transportation options.
You have the option to go to Bataan by private transport like a hired van or your own car, or a commuter bus.
The province of Bataan is about 124 kilometers away from Manila. This makes for a good 2.5-hour leisurely drive. It is best to leave early in the morning to avoid the rush hour gridlock.
From Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway then take the San Fernando toll exit or the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
If you take the San Fernando toll exit, drive towards the Jose Abad Santos Avenue, formerly known as the Olangapo-Gapan Road. Drive all the way to Lubao, a municipality in Pampanga and Dinalupihan, a municipality in Bataan.
Once you get to the Layac junction, head towards the Roman Super Highway that will lead you to the city center of Balanga in Bataan.
If you’re taking the SCTEX route, simply take the Dinalupihan exit. Then make a right turn at Roman Super Highway towards the city center of Balanga.
If you don’t want to bring private transportation to Bataan, hopping on a bus from Manila is the most convenient way of traveling. Travel time by bus is roughly 3 hours from Manila to Bataan.
Several bus lines, including Genesis, Bataan Transit, Victory Liner, and Sinulog are found in Avenida (also known as Rizal Avenue) and Sampaloc in Manila, as well as in Pasay City, Caloocan City, and Cubao in Quezon City.
Victory Liner and Sinulog bus lines only pass by Dinalupihan in Bataan and go straight to Olongapo City in Pampanga instead of Balanga in Bataan. From Olongapo, you can take another bus that will take you to the city center of Balanga.
Major airlines fly to Clark International Airport in Pampanga daily. From the airport, hail a cab or take the bus going to the Dau Bus Terminal. From here, you can ride a UV Express, a van utilized as a form of public transportation, which would take you to Balanga City in Bataan.
If you want a fast way to go to Bataan, simply hop on the Manila-Bataan Ferry Boat at the Esplanade-Seaside Terminal in SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. This will take you straight to Port Capinpin in Orion, a municipality in Bataan, in just 50 minutes!
Operated by 1Bataan Integrated Transport System. Inc., the ferry boat travels three times a day from Manila to Bataan.
Getting around Bataan is convenient thanks to a myriad of options for public transportation. There are jeepneys that travel between different towns in Bataan, as well as tricycles for shorter commutes.
If you didn’t bring a private car to Bataan, you can rent a car or a van as well.
Like a treasure map, the wonders of Bataan are just waiting to be explored. The tours in Bataan will walk you through the shrines, monuments, markers, and museums that echo the Filipino heroism during the war.
There’s also access to hidden coves, lagoons, beaches and more! If you’re planning a trip to Bataan soon, here are the top things to do in Bataan that you can add to your itinerary.
One of the best sites to kick off your historical tour is the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) at the peak of Mt. Samat. You can then head to the Bataan World War II Museum, which is located at the back of the Balanga Elementary School. It features fragments of the war era, particularly the tragic Bataan Death March.
Corregidor Island is another famous World War II site. While it’s actually part of Cavite, the island’s close proximity to Bataan makes most people think it is part of the latter. Tourists can add Corregidor Island in their tours and see the ruins, tunnels, canons that once made up this powerful fortress.
Other notable World War II sites on the Bataan map include the Zero Kilometer (KM) Markers, the Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower, the Fall of Bataan Marker, and the Layac Junction.
Ecotourism is a booming new industry in the province of Bataan. The best one to start with is the Balanga Wetland and Nature Park, which is home to about 35 bird species. It is quite famous among the international birdwatching communities, but you can also just spend a quiet day here, watching the birds or having a picnic with friends.
Love turtles? Head to Pawikan Conservation Center, a sanctuary for the Philippine pawikan (sea turtle) against egg gathering, illegal fishing, poaching, and even slaughter.
If you want to learn about the unique camaraderie between Filipinos and the Indochinese refugees during the 1970s, go to the Bataan Technology Park.
It was once the Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC) for refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Today, the park houses memorials, shrines, and a museum for relics from its refugee camp years.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is the Philippines’ first-ever heritage resort located in Bagac, Bataan. This 400-hectare “living museum” is the home of over 30 traditional and opulent Filipino houses.
There are also majestic bridges patterned after the famous Jones Bridge in Manila; a beachfront, a church, and intricate food carvings and metal sculptures.
A heritage tour at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar will walk you through the history and interesting stories of each structure, including the famous Paseo Escolta, which pays tribute to the once buzzing business district in Old Manila.
Bataan has a bit of everything for tourists who want a taste of nature. From ziplines to bike trails, from mountains to waterfalls, you’ll definitely have your fill of adrenaline-pumping activities in Bataan.
First off, you can explore the hidden coves and lagoons, and jump off cliffs at Five Fingers in Mariveles, Bataan. Brave enough to take on the longest zipline in Central Luzon? Head to the Mt. Samat Zipline in Pilar, Bataan. The 540-meter zipline lasts about an entire minute at the height of 43 meters above sea level.
Love biking? Bataan has several mountain bike trails that you can conquer. Starting with the short but challenging Karagatan Bay View Peak, a 5-kilometer circuit. If you’re an advanced biker, take on the 34-kilometer Killer Loop Trail that takes about 3 to 5 hours to complete.
If you like trekking more, you can take on the so-called “Blue Mountain” or Mt. Tarak any day. For more experienced climbers, go on and conquer the more challenging Mt. Natib in Orani, Bataan, a dormant volcano that stands 1,253 meters above sea level.
Nature lovers will definitely love the abundance of waterfalls in Bataan, especially the geometrically stunning 20-feet tall Dunsulan Falls. Other notable falls in Bataan include the Ambon-Ambon Falls in Bagac, the Limutan Falls near Mt. Natib, the Pasukulan Falls and Kairukan Falls in Morong, and the Pilis Falls in Samal.
Photo from Brisa Marina Beachfront Resort
Tired of all the exploring, biking, and hiking? Bataan has a lot of beach resorts to choose from with activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Some of the best include the Brisa Marina Beachfront Resort with its infinity pool facing the pool and ocean-view rooms; and the exclusive, 470-hectare Anvaya Cove that has high-end accommodations plus water parks, an 18-hole golf course, and a spa.
Like most provinces in the Philippines, Bataan has year-round, colorful festivals celebrating its riches, history, and faith. The Banga Festival in Balanga City is an annual festival celebrating the humble beginnings of the people of Balanga or Balangueños.
The word banga is the Tagalog term for a cooking pot. The week-long festival is celebrated during the last week of April.
The annual Bataan Day Celebration takes place yearly from April 6 to 9 and is considered a national holiday in the province of Bataan. It commemorates the heroism of the Filipino and American troops during World War II and Filipino soldiers during the Fall of Bataan.
If you love seafood, you should attend the week-long Alimango Sugpo Festival in Orani, Bataan held every first or second week of March. The event is a loving tribute to the town’s patron saint, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, for the abundant supply of seafood, particularly sugpo (prawns) and alimango (crabs).
Turtle lovers will definitely enjoy the yearly Pawikan Festival held during the last week of November. Apart from the street dances, parades, and local products showcase, the major highlight of this annual event is the release of turtle hatchlings into the sea.
The abundance of Kapampangan dishes in Bataan is due to its close proximity to the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, Pampanga. One of the most famous go-to places for home-cooked local dishes is Ima Flora’s Pamangan, an eat-all-you-can restaurant in Pilar, Bataan.
You can enjoy local eats such as bangus with salted egg (fried milkfish with salted egg), bulalo (beef marrow stew), and adobong balut (boiled fertilized duck in adobo sauce).
Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an is a road-side eatery in Morong that serves up authentic Vietnamese dishes including banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) and bun tit nuong (rice noodles with grilled meat). You can get the hu tieu special (pork broth with rice noodles) for only PHP 50.00.
Apart from the Bataan beach resorts that you go to for a fun family trip, there are plenty of options for accommodations in this historical province. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, here are the top Bataan hotels and inns that fit your budget.
Willing to splurge for the top hotels and resorts in Bataan? Check out these establishments.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Feeling opulent? Splurging on a hotel room or even an entire casa (house) at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is worth it! Imagine waking up in 18th century Philippines with views of the sea, mountain, and manmade, restored heritage pieces.
Hotel rooms, suites, and bedrooms in casas are air-conditioned. The resort has a restaurant, a pool, a bar/lounge, and free breakfast.
The Oriental Bataan
This luxury hotel prides itself on the authentic Asian experience it offers. It has beautiful interiors, hospitable staff, tranquil surroundings, and luxe air-conditioned rooms and suites.
The Oriental Bataan also caters to corporate events such as business conventions. The hotel has a pool, gym, restaurant, and a spa.
The Plaza Hotel
The hotel’s luxury vibe comes from it being an architectural icon. The Plaza Hotel’s old-world charm comes from its Spanish colonial architecture, decorative but modern undertones, and its striking facade. Its 34 rooms and suites come with flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, refrigerators, and free breakfast.
If comfort is your top priority in accommodations, here are some options to choose from. These are best for vacationing families who want extra space but don’t want to spend too much on hotels.
Crown Royale Hotel
The hotel is recognizable with its yellow and blue facade. The air-conditioned rooms come with large beds, providing extra space for big groups. The hotel also has an in-house restaurant, a gym, bar/lounge, a business center and free breakfast for guests.
The Duyan House at Sinagtala Farm Resort
If you want to commune with nature, some of the guest rooms at Sinagtala Farm Resort have patios or balconies with stunning nature views. All of their rooms have private bathrooms. This Bataan beach resort has an infinity pool, a restaurant, and a barbecue area.
Hana Natsu Resorts Beach & Hotel
The all-white facade of this hotel echoes the simple but comfortable accommodations it offers. All rooms have flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms with overhead showers. Some of the rooms have terraces that overlook the beach. The resort has an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and free breakfast for guests.
If you’re traveling on a tight budget, here are some budget-friendly accommodations in Bataan:
BTH Traveller's Home
This hostel features a shared kitchen and lounge, a garden, air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms, and TVs with satellite channels. The rooms come with a terrace facing a small garden. Plus, they provide free water for the guests!
The air-conditioned rooms come with a flat-screen TV, a desk, and a private bathroom for guests. What’s great to know is that the inn has its own bar and restaurant! It provides free breakfast for guests.
This townhouse has 3 bedrooms, a fully functioning kitchen, and a shared living room. It also has a shared flat-screen TV and 2 bathrooms. The host is nice and there’s free breakfast for guests. If you’re traveling solo, this is a good option. You can even do your own cooking!
With everything Bataan has to offer, we highly recommend dedicating at least 4 days to your trip. Here’s a sample itinerary to help you get the most out of your vacation.
Here’s a sample 3 days and 2-night itinerary to make the most of what the island has to offer.
06:00 AM - Departure from Manila via ferry boat
07:00 AM - ETA in Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan
07:30 - 08:00 AM - Leisurely breakfast near Port Capinpin
09:00 - 12:00 NN - Sinagtala Farm Resort day tour. Go swimming and try exhilarating activities like sky swing and sky bank.
12:00 NN - Lunch at Ima's Pamangan
02:00 PM - Check-in at The Plaza Hotel, rest
03:00 - 04:00 PM - Visit the Saint Joseph Cathedral Explore Balanga Plaza de Mayor
05:00 PM - Head to Balanga Wetland and Nature Park
06:00 PM - Dinner at The Plaza Hotel 8:00 PM Call it a day. Start bright and early the next day.
08:00 AM - Early breakfast at The Plaza Hotel
09:00 AM - Make your way to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Ask your hotel for a transfer. Better yet, book a tour!
10:00 AM - Arrival at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Join the heritage walking tour
01:30 PM - End of Tour
01:30 PM - Late Lunch at Cafe Marivent in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
03:30 PM - Visit the Japan-Philippines Friendship Tower
05:30 PM - Early dinner at The Food Project
07:00 PM - Back at The Plaza Hotel, rest
08:00 PM - Call it a day. Start bright and early the next day.
08:00 AM - Breakfast at The Plaza Hotel
09:00 AM - Drive to the World War II Museum
12:00 NN - Lunch near the museum
01:00 PM - Head to the Mt. Samat Zipline, which is often a part of a Bataan day tour
02:00 PM - Explore Dunsulan Falls
04:00 PM - Head back to The Plaza Hotel Freshen up, relax
05:30 PM - Shop for souvenirs at stores near the hotel Dinner near the hotel
08:00 PM - Call it a day. Start bright and early the next day.
08:00 AM - Leisurely breakfast at the hotel
11:00 AM - Early hotel check-out
12:00 NN - Lunch at IMA Flora's Pamangan
02:30 PM - Board the ferry back to Manila at Port Capinpin
03:30 PM - Arrival at SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City
If you’re taking a tricycle up to Mt. Samat, 4 persons can actually fit the tricycle. However, better keep it down to 3 persons maximum because some parts of the road are pretty steep.
If you’re joining a day tour in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, make sure to get there on time to avoid missing parts of the tour.
Wear comfortable clothes and bring your own water bottle for the walking tours. Even on a cloudy day, wear sunblock and sunglasses.
Always bring extra clothes with you so you’re ready for a quick change after physical activity like ziplining.
If you’re taking public transportation like buses, jeepneys, and tricycles, start your day early to avoid dealing with large crowds.
Some of the best food souvenirs include tinapa (dried, smoked fish), cashew butter (similar to peanut butter), bottles of Spanish-style tuna, and arrowroot cookies.
Other local delicacies include alimango sa misua (crab with thin noodles), adobong alimango (crab in adobo sauce), halabos na sugpo (shrimp cooked in salt and water), and kinilaw na talaba (oyster ceviche).
Make Your Way To Bataan!
Bataan is a living example of how history and culture meet nature and manmade innovations. The province’s stories of valor and its dedication to preserving its history and natural beauty are evident in its living museums, heritage sites, beaches, ecotourism sites, and festivals.
Whether you’re looking for a quick beach/nature getaway or a week-long cultural and historical immersion, a trip to the province of Bataan will not disappoint.
Planning a trip to Bataan soon? Check out Bataan tours and activities in this historical province to maximize your trip!