THE HISTORICAL HEART OF CENTRAL LUZON
Bataan is a vibrant province in the Central Luzon region that spans over 1,372.98 square kilometers of land. Balanga is its capital city, while Mariveles has the largest local government unit in the province. It’s most known for being the starting point of the infamous Bataan Death March and the site of the Battle of Bataan, one of the last fortresses of Filipino and American soldiers before they were suppressed by Japanese forces during World War II.
A Historically Significant Province
Bataan played a key role during World War II. It was a military reserve used for defending the fortress island of Corregidor. The U.S. Navy also established a military base at the port of Mariveles.
Once the Japanese Army invaded the Philippines in December of 1941, General Douglas MacArthur relocated troops to the Bataan Peninsula while waiting for assistance from the US. When Filipino and American forces surrendered on April 9, they were forced to march for over 100 kilometers from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac — an infamous event widely known as the Bataan Death March.
A few of the other historical places one can find in Bataan include the Shrine of Valor in Mount Samat, The Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower in Bagac, Limbagang Pinpin in Abucay, World War II Museum in Balanga, and the Cayetano Arellano Monument and Hometown Market in Orion, to name a few.
An Emerging Economic Powerhouse
Bataan is emerging as one of the most progressive and highly-developed provinces in the Central Luzon region, and a significant driver of the region’s overall economic growth. The province boasts thriving agricultural, industrial, and technological industries.
The City of Balanga alone was recognized as one of the 25 emerging digital hubs by The Digital Cities 2025 program by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).
Mariveles also boasts the Freeport Area of Bataan which hosts numerous fintech and blockchain firms. Meanwhile, the municipality of Abucay is being developed into the province’s future Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) hub via the First Abucay Freeport Inc., a declared expansion area of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan.
The province of Bataan is supported by various industries, including:
Agriculture and Fishery Production
Farming, fishing, and aquaculture are the primary sources of livelihood for many residents of Bataan. The most common agricultural products here include fruits, crops, fish, shellfish, vegetables, and various marine species. It’s estimated that almost 44,000 hectares of land is dedicated solely to farming.
Bataan is also often cited as one of the top ten poultry and poultry product producers in the Philippines. Corporations like Bounty Fresh and San Miguel Corporation have built modern chicken dressing and processing plants in the area. Marine products in Luzon are also largely sourced from Bataan, particularly bangus, tilapia, mud crab, tiger prawn, oyster, capiz, and mussels.
Industries and Manufacturing
Bataan is home to several large industrial and manufacturing facilities. Most of these industries produce, distribute, and export petrochemicals, refined petroleum products, ammunition, luxury yachts, animal feed, cement, steel building materials, marine vessels, plastic products, textile and leather goods, and sporting goods and apparels.
The Freeport Area of Bataan, previously known as the Bataan Economic Zone or Bataan Export Processing Zone, is the fastest-growing freeport in the Philippines based on investments. Meanwhile, the municipality of Mariveles is an exclusive producer of tennis balls used in Wimbledon.
Among the largest industrial facilities found here include the Petron Bataan Refinery in Limay, Freeport Area of Bataan in Mariveles, Government Arsenal in Limay, Bataan 2020 in Samal, and the Bataan Technology Park in Morong.
PIT STOPS IN BATAAN
Shop to your heart’s content at these premier shopping centers and retail establishments:
- Vista Mall Bataan
- Centre Plaza Mall
- Galeria Victoria
- New Star Bataan
- Robinsons Place Balanga
- Capitol Square Balanga
Bataan boasts several top-notch universities that offer excellent educational programs. These schools are:
- Bataan Peninsula State University – Abucay Campus
- Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Bataan Campus
- University of Nueva Caceres Bataan
- Bataan Heroes College
- Tomás del Rosario College
- Bataan State College
- Limay Polytechnic College
Residents of Bataan can get all their health care needs met at these quality medical institutions:
- Bataan St. Joseph Hospital, Inc.
- Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center
- Bataan Doctors Hospital
- Mariveles District Hospital
- Isaac & Catalina Medical Center
- Bataan Women’s Hospital
- Bataan Provincial Hospital
- Orani District Hospital
- Centro Medico de Santisimo Rosario
HOW TO GET TO BATAAN
By Private Vehicle
Bataan is around a 2.5-hour drive from Metro Manila. You can reach the area via the North Luzon Expressway then exit at the San Fernando toll exit or the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
If you’re exiting from the SCTEX, take the Dinalupihan exit and turn right at Roman Super Highway towards the town proper of Balanga.
Otherwise, if you’re taking the San Fernando toll exit, head towards Jose Abad Santos Avenue (formerly known as the Olongapo-Gapan Road), then proceed to Lubao and Layac Junction. From Layac Junction, make your way to the Roman Super Highway, which will take you towards Balanga, Bataan.
A boat ride is a quick and efficient way to get to Bataan. All you have to do is board the Manila-Bataan Ferry Boat at the Esplanade-Seaside Terminal in SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. You’ll be able to arrive at Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan in around 50 minutes.
Public transportation is another worthwhile transportation option to consider when traveling to Bataan. It’ll take you about 3 hours from Metro Manila to Bataan by bus. There are numerous bus lines that ply the route towards these two areas, namely Bataan Transit, Genesis, Sinulog, and Victory Liner.
You can board these buses in any bus terminal in Pasay City, Avenida (otherwise known as Rizal Avenue), Sampaloc in Manila, Caloocan City, and Cubao in Quezon City.
There are no direct flights from any point in the Philippines to Bataan at the moment. However, if you’re flying in from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) or Clark International Airport in Pampanga, you can take any of these land and sea modes of transportation to get to Bataan.
HOW TO GET AROUND BATAAN
Just like any province in the Philippines, there are numerous transportation options available to you in Bataan. Jeepneys, buses, and private rental cars or vans are available for long-distance travel, while tricycles are there for short-distance commutes.
THINGS TO DO IN BATAAN
If you’re planning to visit this beautiful province, here are some activities you can try:
Journey to the Past at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
La Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is the country’s first heritage resort situated in Bagac, Bataan. The 400-hectare facility is considered a “living museum,” which houses nearly 30 traditional Filipino houses. There are heritage tours available to guide you through the illustrious history of each home, especially the prominent Paseo Escolta, which serves as a tribute to the district in Old Manila.
Enjoy the Natural Wonders of Bataan
Bataan is brimming with gorgeous natural sights to explore. Not only that, but there are also numerous exciting outdoor activities to try out in these locations, as well, from ziplining to hiking. Among the most popular locations to check out are the Five Fingers cliffs and Karagatan Bay View Peak in Mariveles, Mt. Samat Zipline and Dunsulan Falls in Pilar, and Mt. Tarak.
Relax and Unwind at a Beach Resort
After a tiring day spent enjoying all the best that Bataan has to offer, you might want to relax and unwind at any of the province’s premium beach resorts. These facilities are perfect for people of all ages, which makes it a great place to take your family to. One of the most notable resorts here is the Brisa Marina Beachfront Resort, which boasts an infinity pool, and the high-end Anvaya Cove resort, which has an 18-hole golf course, water park, and spa.
Celebrate With the Locals
Bataan knows how to throw an epic celebration, which is evident in the numerous festivals that they observe every year. The Pawikan Festival, Bataan Day Celebration, Banga Festival of Balanga City, Senakulo of Municipality of Samal Palis, Pagbubunyi Festival of Limay, Kuraldal Festival of Dinalupihan, and Alimango Sugpo Festival of Orani are just a few of the festivals to take note of.
Learn About the Province’s Illustrious History
If you’re a history buff, Bataan is the best place to be. The province is a significant center of culture and history. It’s here where you’ll find the Dambana ng Kagitingan at the peak of Mt. Samat, Corregidor Island, Bataan World War II Museum, Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower, The Fall of Bataan Marker, and the Zero-Kilometer (KM) Markers.
In case you’re interested in having your own home in Bataan, below are some of the popular communities you can move into:
Abucay is a developing town known for Brgy. Mabatang, the largest and most progressive barangay in the district. There are several tourist attractions within the area, namely Pasukulan Falls, Sibul Spring, and Abucay Catholic Church.
Balanga City is one of the wealthiest local government units (LGUs) in Bataan. You’ll find numerous commercial establishments in the area, as well as a thriving agriculture and fishing industry, which is the source of income for many who live here.
Hermosa is home to the Hermosa Special Economic Zone, which hosts various light to medium industries. The area is also known for the production of balut and salted eggs, garments, and hand-painted jars.
Limay is a first-class municipality with numerous business and commercial establishments, and consequently, a high employment rate. Many skilled and unskilled workers, engineers, and technicians from neighboring provinces and towns come here to find employment opportunities.
Samal is a peaceful town with few commercial and industrial establishments. It’s a tranquil place to live with several tourist sites, such as the Town Hall of Samal, Parish Church of Saint Catherine of Siena, and Samal Bay. The Senakulo sa Calaguiman also famously takes place here.