Why Should You Include Bataan In Your Must-See Places in PH?
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(Balanga, Bataan) – The Philippine is full of wonderful places to visit. Some of these places are not only breathtaking, they are historically important too — one of them is the majestic province of Bataan.
The province of Bataan is majorly associated with the most significant events in the country’s history, including the Fall of Bataan and the Bataan Death March. Luckily, we were invited to witness the province and witness everything firsthand. Going around the province, we did not only see the monuments and markers of Bataan, we also love its outdoor adventure and nature.
Should you put Bataan in your travel bucket list? YES, you definitely should! Here are the nine reasons why Bataan is worth the travel.
Pay Homage to the Soldiers of World War II at Mt. Samat’s Shrine of Valour
The shrine in Pilar is dedicated to the American and Filipino soldiers who fought and risked their lives to free the country. Completed in 1970, this shrine consisted of a towering 92-meter memorial cross.
The memorial cross is situated 555 meters above sea level. It also showcases a viewing gallery that offers the views of the nearby mountains as well as the West Philippine Sea.
The shrine also has a museum where you can find some war artic ants and learn more about the events that happened in Bataan during the Second World War.
View The Colorful Mansions of Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar
Step out of the millennial century and walk in the 18th Century Philippine Architecture.
The Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar has rows after rows of beautifully reconstructed mansions. Take some photos and be in awe of how colorful these mansions are.
You may shop in 18th Century Style in Paseo de Escolta. Ride on a horse like a true aristocrat or you snap a photo at the postcard-perfect places. You may also be treated like a la señorito or señorita in the first class heritage house, the Cash Bizantina.
Stay At The Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga
At The Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga, you can stay in the newest hotel in the city built in 2014. We stayed at The Plaza Hotel, an architecture icon in Balanga.
The Plaza Hotel is a mixture of the new and the old, just like what Bataan. It is a combination of modern age and Spanish architecture.
At night, The Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga will remind you of Spain as it comes to life. There are colorful lights and people are just chilling with their families and friends.
See Birds In Their Natural Habitat At The Balanga Wetland And Nature Park
It is hard to see birds in the Metro, thanks to the pollution and a large number of population. But if you would like to see migratory birds, the Balanga Wetland And Nature Park is the place to be.
You can see thousands of migratory birds in their natural habitat at the Balanga Wetland And Nature Park. The place has a natural beauty that you will surely love.
They have a mangrove trail and a museum showcasing the life of migratory birds. You may rent a cottage or a pair of binoculars and see the migratory birds from afar. The Balanga Wetland And Nature Park is a perfect place for a family or a barkada get together.
Attend A Mass At The St. Joseph Cathedral
During the Second World War, the St. Joseph Cathedral was used to bombard Mt. Samat. Later on, it was renovated by the bishop. It was named after the patron saint of the province, St. Joseph.
The Cathedral is another historical site in Balanga since it survived the horrors of World War II.
Masses start as early as five in the morning every Sunday. Since it is the heart of the city, you will surely not miss it! If it’s your first time to visit the cathedral, make sure to make a wish.
Visit the Surrender Site Marker
Located inside the Balanga Elementary School is a historical site that you should see. The Surrender Site Marker is an actual site where the major general signed the surrender documents stating that he is sundering Bataan (and the Philippines as a whole) to the Japanese. This happened on April 9, 1942.
According to the tour guide, the surrender happened not because the Philippine and American soldiers could no longer fight but because they already lack the supplies needed to continue. The major general decided to wave the white flag to avoid losing more soldiers.
Hear The History First Hand At The World War II Museum
Another historical site located inside the Balanga Elementary School is the World War II Museum. This museum was built for the heroes of the province.
The World War II Museum was built by volunteers who are survivors of World War II. They serve as guides and share their first-hand accounts of the war.
One guide, in particular, Lola Maria, was 12 years old when the war happened. During our visit, she was still able to describe everything in details about the horrors of the Japanese invasion. Listening to her stories while looking at the artifacts will make you appreciate the museum and the sacrifices of the soldiers even more.
Outside the museum, you will also see the actual torture chamber used by the Japanese. Although it is off limits to the public, it still looks scary outside.
Take A Stop At The Zero Kilometer Death March Marker
The Zero Kilometer Death March Marker was the starting point of the Bataan Death March on April 11, 1942. You will see the said marker in Mariveles too.
The Philippine and American soldiers who surrendered were gathered together and were forced to do a torturous and brutal walk to Capas, Tarlac where they were executed.
Experience Araw ng Kagitingan
The reason why we went to Bataan is through the invitation of the Bataan Tourism Center to witness the programs that they have for the Araw ng Kagitingan. At first, we all thought that it’s an ordinary event — until we witnessed the different programs that they have.
Balanga, Bataan’s Araw ng Kagitingan celebration is a bright, colorful, and historical one. They had Drum and Lyre competitions, Arc Competitions, and a night Fun Run. The best part of the celebration is giving honors to the World War II veterans.
Whether you are a history lover or a nature lover, the province of Bataan has a lot to offer. With just a two and an hour drive from Manila, this province has a rich history, especially of World War II stories.
Are you looking for the best places to eat in Bataan too? Stay tuned for our next article! We will introduce the best places to eat in the province — whether you are there to splurge or you are traveling on a budget!
Bataan Tourism Center
Address: Roman Superhighway, City of Balanga, 2100 Bataan
Telephone: (047) 237 4785
Other Bataan Related Stories:
- LOOK: Ferry from Mariveles to MOA in 50 minutes
- List of Beach Resorts in Bataan
- Travel Tales: What I love about Bataan