Bataan is a province on the Philippine island of Luzon that played a vital role during World War II . It is best known for the Battle of Bataan in 1942. That year, American and Filipino forces surrendered on April 9 (now celebrated annually as Araw ng Kagitingan), and were forced to march 100 kilometers from Mariveles, Bataan, to Capas, Tarlac, where thousands of men died (commonly known as Bataan Death March).
Bataan is highly accessible from Manila (2.5 to 3 hours) by land travel. It is definitely a promising weekend getaway. Here’s why.
To strengthen your faith, here are seven beautiful churches in Bataan province in Central Luzon recommended for the annual Visita Iglesia pilgrimage.
1. St. Peter of Verona Church (Hermosa)
2.Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church (Orani)
3.St. Catherine of Siena Church (Samal )
4. Sto. Domingo de Guzman Church (Abucay)
5.Diocesan Shrine and Cathedral Parish of St. Joseph (Balanga)
6.Our Lady of the Pillar Church (Pilar)
7. St. Michael de Archangel Church (Orion)
II. VISIT FAMOUS LANDMARKS
1.Plaza Mayor de Ciudad De Balanga
Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga or the Balanga Plaza has become a tourist spot due to its old charm and Spanish architectural style. You will also find the Balanga City Hall on the left, by the middle is The Plaza Hotel and a few dining establishments.
2.Mount Samal National Shrine
Also called the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valour), this historical shrine can be found at the foot of Mount Samat, the site of the bloody encounter against the Japanese army during the Battle of Bataan.
Bataan WWII Museum
This museum is located right behind the Balanga Integrated School, which was the headquarters of Japanese general Homma during WWII. The museum is filled with old photographs, donated artifacts, and dioramas depicting the struggles and victories of our countrymen during the Second World War.
3.Japan -Philippines Friendship Tower
The Risho Kosei Kai Group built the monument tower in 1975. A reminder that Japan vows never to engage in war again.
4.Pawikan Conservation Center
Farther south, marine turtles are hatched at the Pawikan Conservation Center. The pawikan lay their eggs from September until February. According to one of the members there, the best time to visit is in November where you can witness both the laying and the hatching of the eggs.
5. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Home to Jose Acuzar’s collection of restored Spanish-Filipino houses. This resort in Bagac, Bataan is more than a tourist destination, you will also appreciate Philippine History and Filipino craftsmanship.
photos from Las Casas site
III. FOOD BINGE
As I always say, no vacation is complete without food binge. Make sure to check out Bataan’s unique culinary offers. Here are few of food spots to keep in mind.
1.Plaza Brew Company
2.Ima Flora’s Pamangan
(Photos from restaurants’ respective FB accounts)
What are you waiting for? Move along, and plan your weekend getaway to Bataan. See for yourself all the fun you’ve been missing.