It’s been a hot minute since I wrote a post filed under “Travels”. In October of last year, we went to Orani to attend a wedding, and here are the 5 things you can do in Bataan this 2023.
The last time I visited Bataan was in 2015, and I enjoyed my stay there. Last year, we were there for a short time and for a different agenda, but we were still able to squeeze some wandering in. With that, I’m sharing with you the top 5 things that you can do in Bataan province in 2023:
1. EXPLORE THE LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR
The Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (Spanish for “Acuzar’s Philippine houses”) is located in Bagac. It is a beach resort, hotel, convention center, and heritage destination. It’s as stunning as I remember it.
When we arrived, we were greeted by friendly security guards (dressed as Guardia Civil) and directed to the reception area, where we bought our tickets for Php 2,900 per person. I know, it’s darn expensive, but the property is humongous and required to be maintained by numerous people, who you can all see busy working on the ground. So for me, the price is justified. Also, the day tour ticket already includes the use of the beach area, a guided tour, a kalesa ride (which we didn’t take because the horses don’t deserve it! ☹️), a balsa river cruise, and a set lunch. If you wish, you can also book one of their houses for your overnight stay.
We joined the guided tour at 10:30 AM. Our guide was funny and knowledgeable. We were with a group of family, mostly Titas and Titos, who was having a reunion, so our bunch was the loudest in the area. But in fairness to them, they were very attentive and participative. We were also with a group of 5 Tita friends who were all in floral dresses and matching brim hats, but all seemed uninterested in history. LOL. I associated them with my classmates in high school who would always go in a group and would rather make sure that they look beautiful than listen to our teacher. HAHA. After the tour, we had samalamig (a welcome drink) and we headed to the Binondo Hall for our set lunch. The food was okay—neither spectacular nor dull.
Then, it was our free time to roam around. We spent almost two hours just sitting on deck chairs in the beach area because the sea sounded relaxing and the sky looked peaceful. At around 4 PM, we watched the Teatro Las Casas (the best!!!) Afterward, we rode the balsa and watched the magnificent sunset. If you are able, please give some tips to the actors/ performers and kuyas who navigate the balsas. 😊
Cost: Php 2,900 per person (weekend) or Php 2,500 per person (weekdays)
Schedule: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Book: Las Casas Filipinas
2. VISIT THE MOUNT SAMAT SHRINE
Dambana ng Kagitingan or Shrine of Valor is erected on top of Mt. Samat in Pilar. It commemorates the heroism of Filipino and American soldiers who fought during World War II. We needed to walk uphill to reach the foot of the cross. The viewing room was under maintenance when we visited, so we just mostly took pictures.
Cost: Php 50.00 and Php 20.00 for general tourists and students, respectively
Schedule: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Details: Mt. Samat FTEZ FB page
3. DINE AT JOYOUS TANGUAY GRILL AND RESTAURANT
If you’re craving Filipino dishes, then the Joyous Tanguay Grill and Restaurant in Balanga is your best bet. We ordered their sinigang sa ayo (panalo sa asim!), inihaw na liempo, and buttered shrimp (yum yum!). The restaurant was featured in “Ang Pinaka” on GMA News and was lauded as the number 1 “Ang Pinaka Yummy sa Bataan”.
Cost: Php 1,000 to 1,500 for 2 persons.
Schedule: 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Details: Tanguay by Joyous FB page
4. EAT AT THE BEANERY
This is probably the best part of our visit to Bataan. The Beanery is their local Starbucks that felt homier and more authentic. Local people who would dine in mostly know each other. We visited their branch in Balanga. They boast an extensive menu of delicious drinks, sandwiches, pasta, rice savories, waffles, cakes, and pastries, but one of my favorites is their chocolate truffle cake (super yummy!). I don’t mind going back to Bataan for The Beanery, really.
Cost: Php 500 to 1,000 for 2 persons.
Schedule: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Details: The Beanery FB page
5. STAY AT THE PLAZA HOTEL
We checked in at the Plaza Hotel, which is at the heart of Balanga City. It is so convenient because most of the places (e.g., Joyous Tangway, The Beanery, Balanga Cathedral, and Plaza Mayor de Balanga) are just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. The package we got already includes a free breakfast.
Book: The Plaza Hotel
Among these 5 things, what will be included in your Bataan itinerary this 2023? Whatever it is, enjoy the beautiful province of Bataan and soak in the Philippines’ rich history, heritage, and culture.