There are plenty of historical spots in the Philippines that you can visit, but make sure to add the province of Bulacan in your itinerary. It is famous for the Barasoain Church, where the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated in 1899. Many of the country’s celebrated heroes and artists like Gregorio del Pilar and Francisco Baltazar are from this province.
Bulacan is also home to many natural wonders, as its landscape boasts caves, rivers, and mountains for hiking. There’s plenty of options for those who love exploring the outdoors. It’s also an ideal destination for those who want a quick getaway with their family or friends because it is only roughly 30KM north of the Philippine capital, Manila. No wonder it’s called the Northern Gateway from Manila!
We’ve put together 14 of the best Bulacan tourist spots so you can see what this province has to offer:
Located in the municipality of Doña Remedios Trinidad, Puning Cave was declared by the country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources as one of the caves in the Philippines that are critical to their ecosystem. On the way to the cave, you’ll pass by a rainforest that is home to monkeys, wild boars, deer, and several species of birds.
When visiting this cave, pack light and wear comfortable clothes and proper footwear, as the trek can be a bit of a challenge. Prepare to squeeze through narrow paths and wade into spring water. For long visits, you may rent cottages in the area where you can eat your packed food. You may also choose to order Filipino food cooked by the locals.
If you’re the kind of traveler who likes taking lots of pictures, be sure to schedule a stop at the Ipo Dam View Deck in Norzagaray. Not only does it offer breathtaking views of Ipo Dam and the Sierra Madre mountain range, but it also has several photo spots, including a huge man-made nest, a swing, a kubo (a wooden hut), and other wooden structures. Tip: come early to avoid the crowds and get that perfect travel photo.
The route to the view deck has many turns, so if you often have motion sickness, it’s best to bring medicine. You won’t have to worry about food, though, as there are a couple of eateries and stores nearby.
Photo by Malolos Cathedral
The Malolos Cathedral is famous for being declared the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception by Pope John Paul II and its distinct role in Philippine history. From September 1898 to March 1899, the convent was used as General Emilio Aguinaldo’s presidential palace. As he was fleeing from Americans, he ordered that the convent and the church be burned, making them useless to the enemy.
Fortunately, the convent and the church were gradually rebuilt, and in 1962 the church was inaugurated as a cathedral. Today, the cathedral serves as the ecclesiastical seat of the Diocese of Malolos. On your visit, don’t forget to check out the Kalayaan Tree (Freedom Tree), a centuries-old tree believed to have been planted by Aguinaldo himself.
This butterfly sanctuary in San Francisco, Pulilan is the residence of the Aguirre family, which was opened to the public so people can appreciate the butterflies living in their garden. A visit here will let you get close to different species of plants and butterflies and see a butterfly nursery, making it a good place to commune with nature or educate children about the importance of all creatures on the planet.
You can also explore the Bulacan Doll Museum, which is located within the property. It is host to 17 dioramas that depict historical events in the Philippines. If you’re visiting during the hotter months, you might want to bring swimwear as you can cool off at their pool.
This strawberry farm in Calumpit is four hectares and houses around 30,000 strawberry plants. Started by a self-taught strawberry farmer in 2013, Reyes Strawberry farm has attracted many visitors as it is also home to other fruit-bearing plants like grapes, dragon fruit, and rambutan.
The highlight of a trip here is the strawberries. Not only will you be able to take in the view of the rows upon rows of strawberry plants, but you can also pick some of the fruits yourself.
You’ll have several choices, as the strawberries growing here originated from different places like Baguio, California, Australia, and Hawaii. If possible, time your visit during December when a lot of the plants bear fruit.
Bitbit Bridge is not just your regular bridge. Its location in Norzagaray and its 100-foot elevation allow it to give you amazing views of the Sierra Madre mountain range and the Bitbit River.
Because of this, it has become popular with bikers who want a quick escape from the city. At one end of the bridge is the entrance to the Angat Rainforest and Ecological Park, which has its own trails and view decks.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try rappelling from the bridge down to the river, where you can take a quick dip after. Don’t forget to bring a drone if you have it, as the aerial views the area offers are also spectacular.
Another stop in Norzagaray that you should add to your list is Bakas River. It is believed that the markings left on some of the rocks along the riverbank are the footprints of Bernardo Carpio, a legendary being with superhuman strength. This is where the river got its name. Bakas means “trace” in Filipino.
The river is actually part of the Angat River and is located in Barangay Matictic. It has become popular for both locals and travelers from afar because of its clear and clean waters that are perfect for swimming.
If you’re planning to stay here the whole day, you can rent huts along the riverbank, as well as ring floaties. Just be mindful of where you walk or swim, as the current can be strong and some of the rocks are slippery.
Photo by Philippine Arena
This 140-hectare tourism zone in Bocaue is home to the massive Bulacan arena. Officially called the Philippine Arena, it has a seating capacity of 55,000 and is the largest indoor arena in the world.
Apart from the arena itself, you can also check out The Garden, where you can find thousands of colorful plants and flowers, all arranged to provide you with beautiful views and unique photo spots.
You’ll want to take pictures with the giant teddy bear, the big chess pieces, the green jeepney, and the huge peacock! Kids will also enjoy their visit here, as it has a playground, a trampoline, and a mini-zoo, as well as life-size statues of famous cartoon and comic book characters.
Photo by Our Lady of Lourdes, Grotto Shrine
Opened on February 11, 1965, the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes has been visited by millions of pilgrims to pray, meditate, and leave their offerings. If you look at the Bulacan map, you’ll see that this pilgrimage spot located in San Jose del Monte is just beyond Metro Manila’s boundary, making it accessible to those living in nearby cities.
If it reminds you of the Rosary Basilica in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France, that’s because the grotto was built as a tribute to the famous French pilgrimage site. Anita Guanzon was diagnosed with cancer but was cured after bathing in the Lourdes waters in France. After that, the Guanzon family converted their 20-hectare farm into the grotto that you can visit today.
Photo by GK Enchanted Farm
Named after its location in Barangay Encanto (a Filipino term for fairy-like creatures) in Angat, the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm aims to promote sustainable community development and encourage social entrepreneurship in the country. To help their mission, they’ve opened their doors to travelers.
If you're looking for Bulacan tour packages that offer you a unique travel experience, GK Enchanted Farm has that. You and your travel companions can take part in the farm tours, a buffet lunch, and social enterprise demonstrations where you can learn how to make cream cheese or stitch together your own plushies.
No need to worry about being tired after all the fun activities, the farm has private rooms and dorms, which you can rent for longer stays.
Photo by Pinagrealan Cave
One of the must-visit historical spots in the Philippines is the Pinagrealan Cave in Norzagaray. The cave is more than a kilometer deep and was used by the Katipuneros (members of the anti-colonialism revolutionary society) as a camp during the Spanish colonial period. It is also believed to have been General Emilio Aguinaldo’s hideout during the Filipino-American war.
Today, if you visit the cave, you’ll be able to see gorgeous limestone rock formations that vary in color (from pink to white and brown), as well as stalactites and stalagmites that seem to sparkle when the light catches them.
Exploring the cave requires you to squeeze through narrow passageways and wade through waist-deep waters, so make sure to dress and pack for those instances.
One of the mountains near Manila that have become popular for hikers is Mt. Balagbag. If you’re a beginner who wants to try Bulacan hiking, this mountain in San Jose del Monte is one of the best places to start.
The trek to the summit is fairly easy, but if you’re doing a late morning or early afternoon trek, make sure to apply sunblock, wear a hat, and bring lots of water as the trail can be hot.
If you want to pack light, just bring some money and buy food at the stores you’ll encounter on the way to the summit. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Sierra Madre mountain range and Metro Manila.
Bulacan tours are incomplete without a visit to Barasoain Church. Officially known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, the church was the site of the first Philippine Congress in 1898 and the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic in 1899. The Malolos Constitution was also drafted here. The church is also known for being featured in the last incarnation of the PHP10 bill.
The church itself was finished in 1888 and is made of stone and features Baroque architecture typical during the Spanish period. If you have a lot of time during your visit, you should also check out the Barasoain Museum or the Museo ng Republika ng 1899 (Museum of the 1899 Republic), which features dioramas of the historical events that happened at the church.
Photo by Biak-na-Bato National Park
Perhaps the most famous Bulacan park, Biak-na-Bato National Park is a protected area located in San Miguel. The 2,117-hectare park is known for its historical significance, as it served as the mountain hideout of Filipino revolutionaries as they fought the Spanish forces. This was also where the Republic of Biak-na-Bato was established by General Emilio Aguinaldo.
Today, the park serves as a getaway for those who want to connect with nature by doing hiking tours and explore rock formations, caves, and rivers. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes on your visit as some areas require a bit of a trek to reach.
Many hikers come to the park to climb Mt. Gola and Mt. Manalmon. If you want a bit of a challenge and can only choose one of these mountains to conquer, Mt. Gola is for you.
The trek to the summit can take an hour, and you will need to crawl through some steep trails to cross it safely or use a rope to pull yourself up. The trail also passes through a small stream, so be ready to get your shoes wet. Once you reach the summit, the view of the mountains and the Madlum River will greet you.
If you want a less complicated hike, try Mt. Manalmon. Your trek will start by passing through Madlum Cave, leading you through a shallow part of Madlum River before you begin to climb the mountain.
While the climb itself is easier than that of Mt. Gola, you’ll still be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Madlum River and Mt. Arayat when you reach the summit. It could take you roughly two hours to reach the top, so make sure you bring enough water with you. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you can also spend the night here by staying overnight at the campsite near the summit.
You don’t have to climb mountains to experience the park, though. You can also choose to explore Madlum Cave itself, which takes its name from the Kapampangan term for dark, “madalalumdum.” During World War II, the cave served as a hideout for Japanese soldiers.
Inside, you’ll see picturesque limestone formations and glittering stalactites and stalagmites. Even if it’s just a small cave, it can be quite an adventure to explore it because of its narrow passageways and its different elevations—you’ll need to rappel down some of the areas. Just be careful where you step on, as some rocks can be slippery.
If you’re still looking for a challenge after Madlum Cave, you should try spelunking at Bayukbok Cave. Exploring it will require you to twist your body to fit tight passageways, so be prepared to crawl your way through rock formations and stalagmites.
It will all be worth it once you reach what is called the music room, or a cavern with limestone formations that produce percussion-like sounds when lightly tapped. Don’t forget to wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to get wet, as there are times that the cave has water inside.
The Madlum River can also be found inside Biak-na-Bato National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a popular place for swimming because of its clear, cool waters and the gorgeous rock formations and lush greens along its banks.
But if you want to take a dip, you need to be mindful of the current as the waters can be strong and rise fast, especially during the rainy season. You can also try to traverse the monkey bridge, which is essentially just two hanging ropes—one for you to step on and the other for you to hold on to.
You may also explore the Balaong River, which also has beautiful rock formations along its banks. It runs through one side of the national park, with some parts of the river shallow enough to wade through from one side to the other (you may even spot carabaos wading with you!), while other portions are deep enough for a quick swim.
Along its banks, you’ll find more caves like the Bahay Paniki Cave, Bukal Cave, and Aguinaldo Cave, which is believed to be the hideout of General Emilio Aguinaldo and the place where the pact of Biak-na-Bato (which ended the Philippine Revolution) was signed.
Plan Your Historical and Nature Trip to Bulacan Province
With breathtaking natural landscapes and rich history, Bulacan is a playground for those seeking outdoor adventure or those who want to learn more about the country’s past. Some places even allow you to do both!
The province offers so many activities and adventures to try that it’s not enough to experience them all in one trip. Part of its charm is that there’s always something new to discover on each visit, and that’s what makes the province such a reliable destination. The attractions make it perfect for a carefully planned trip, and yet its proximity to the Philippine capital makes it easy to explore it on a whim.
So the next time you’re deciding where to go, whether it’s two months from now or this weekend, think of Bulacan. It might just be the trip you need.