When thinking of a place for a quick weekend getaway, Bataan is usually not your top of mind destination considering the province is just a 2 ½ hour leisurely drive from Metro Manila using a private vehicle either via NLEX or SCTEX. Could the reason for this be because Bataan doesn’t have a cool breeze like Tagaytay? Or maybe since the place doesn’t boast of white powdery sand and pristine waters?
Some people would ask, “Why Bataan?” My answer is, “Why not?”
If you just want to have a romantic stroll by the beach, a well-deserved R&R, or if you just want to appreciate and relive some of our country’s history, Bataan has got you covered! Bataan is a province that is perfect for the family with kids in tow to know more about the Philippines’ rich culture and beautiful environment. When you are in Bataan, you get closer to nature and its amazing history at the same time.
Let me tour you around Bataan’s historical landmarks and notable destinations starting off with…
Bataan World War II Museum
The Bataan World War II Museum is the only war museum in Bataan that was built as a tribute to the heroes of Bataan.
A diorama of the Bataan Death March can be found inside the museum.
You will also find the WW II Surrender Monument at the back of the school compound. This life-size marker was the spot where Maj. Gen. Edward King signed the instrument of surrender to Japan on April 9, 1942.
Another must see (although creepy) spot is the Torture Chamber that was used by the Japanese during WWII. According to our guide, this room was preserved as is and is practically untouched. Though padlocked, you can peep inside through a small open window.
9AM-4PM Monday to Saturday (except holidays)
Php20 for students
Php40 for senior citizens
Php50 for regular visitors
Balanga Elementary School Compound
Jose Rizal St., Balanga City
C: 0922-5639197 / 0920-5425256
Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga
This place carries a delightful old world charm inspired by Spanish colonial architecture. Here you will also find the City Hall, The Plaza Hotel Balanga and a few dining establishments.
I was surprised to find out that this Galeria Victoria is actually a mall!
Whether daytime or nighttime, this plaza is an absolute charmer!
Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga
2100, Balanga City,
Philippine-Japanese Friendship Tower
The Friendship Tower which was inaugurated back in April 8, 1975, symbolizes the lasting friendship between two peoples. It also shows that after the war, reconciliation, peace and friendship can be achieved.
Located at the junction of the Gov. Linao National Road and the road to the Bagac town proper.
Zero Kilometer Death March Marker
This was the starting point of the Bataan Death March back in April 11, 1942. You will see these markers in Mariveles as well. The Fil-Am soldiers who surrendered were gathered together and then forced to do this brutal and torturous walk to Capas, Tarlac.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
This heritage resort is pretty much the go-to place in Bataan nowadays. It is like a town trapped in time which instantly takes you back to the 18th-century! From the architectural structures of a bygone era that were reconstructed brick by brick and plank by plank from different parts of our country – making it a living museum of Philippine heritage. A place where old and new harmoniously meet.
You’ll undoubtedly spend a good time exploring this 400-hectare estate. The old-world ambiance and charm of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is its selling point. So, get your lenses and smartphones ready because you’ll be doing a lot of snapping. This beautiful place is truly picture worthy!
Apart from the place being picturesque, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar has everything one could ask for – accommodations, a pool, private beach, spa, restaurants, gaming center, conference & banquet facilities, cultural shows and a heritage tour.
You definitely won’t regret making it your home away from home the next time you’re in Bataan. But if you’re not planning to stay, a worthwhile field trip is most definitely well worth it!
At Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, you will also see a replica of the Hotel de Oriente which once stood in Binondo.
The facade of the new Hotel de Oriente Convention Centre was designed according to old photographs of the original hotel. The convention centre features three floors of meeting spaces.
Construction began in 2013. Completion was in 2015 just in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting scheduled in Bagac, Bataan. The APEC Seniors Official Meeting was held here.
Hotel de Oriente used 7 different kinds of wood: kamagong, yakal, red narra, gemelina, bangkal, balayong and molave.
Bagac, Bataan (Central Luzon), Philippines
Manila Sales Office:
Mezzanine Floor Victoria Towers, Timog Avenue, Quezon City
T: +632 332-5338 / +632 332-5286
Shrine of Valor (Dambana ng Kagitingan)
The Shrine of Valor or Dambana ng Kagitingan can be seen at Mt. Samat – a historic mountain in the town of Pilar. This Memorial Cross is dedicated to fallen Filipinos and Americans during World War II.
While you’re there, make sure to take the elevator and go straight to the top of the structure. During our last few hours in Bataan, I just enjoyed the view from the Dambana ng Kagitingan’s most photographed View Deck.
It goes without saying that Bataan has exceeded my expectations! Practically everything in this place is a scene fit for a canvass. Apart from that, the province boasts of with hospitable Bataeños which I have grown fond of. I’ve yet to explore Bataan more and I look forward to coming back very soon!
My Bataan trip won’t be complete without sampling their flavorful dishes. I am sure you’d want to check out what restaurants are great to visit in Bataan. I have listed a few good dining establishments that serve good food and won’t even hurt your wallet. Click here to check them out.
How To Get To Bataan
Private Vehicle: Take either the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) or Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
Bus: Take a bus from Cubao in Quezon City that will take you to its capital Balanga.
Bataan Tourism Center
Roman Super Highway,
City of Balanga, Bataan
Philippines – 2100
T: +6347 2374785 / 2374476 / 935-0364
Instagram: @BeholdBataan / @1Bataan