There is no place to compare with Bataan if it’s history you’re looking for in the Philippines. It is well-known for being the starting point of the infamous Death March, which killed many Filipino and American soldiers during World War II. As a result of being a battlefield, the province features many historical landmarks, shrines, and monuments, honoring the people who fought bravely during those times. Apart from historical sites, Bataan also has a lot to offer, starting from beautiful coves to theme parks and delicious local cuisine. Another great thing about the province is its location, for it is near the capital of the country, which is only a three- to four-hour drive or an hour when you take the ferry from Pasay City. In case you want to know what more to see in the province, read on, and discover our list of the best things to do in Bataan, the Philippines, and have the best holiday ahead.
1. Learn about local history at Bataan World War II Museum
Nestled behind Balanga Elementary School, Bataan World War II Museum is the only war museum in the Philippines honoring the fallen heroes of Bataan. Inside, you’ll see artifacts about WWII as well as dioramas depicting the situation during the war, including the prisoners of the war Death March and the surrender monument, among others. The museum is small but rich in information regarding the said event. Also, before you can explore the place, you will be asked to watch a brief documentary video about what transpired in the province during the WWII, giving you a glimpse of the life of the locals and the soldiers who fought in the war.
Bataan World War II Museum
Address: Jose Basa St, City of Balanga, Bataan
Website: Bataan World War II Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 4pm (closed on Sun)
Price: 50 PHP (1 USD)
2. See the Japan-Philippines Friendship Tower
A monument with three pillars connected by rings, the Japan-Philippines Friendship Tower signifies the reconciliation of the Philippines and Japan after World War II. The reconciliation didn’t happen overnight, but due to the continuous effort of both parties, including Japan nationals doing civic works, despite the negative opinions of the locals of Bataan. A Japanese Buddhist religious group, Risshō Kōsei Kai, and the locals who established the Bataan Christian Youth Civic Circle made the building of the tower possible.
Japan-Philippines Friendship Tower
Address: Gov. J.J. Linao National Road, Bayan ng Bagac, Bataan
Website: Japan-Philippines Friendship Tower
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
3. Watch a bird show at Magaul Bird Park
One of the top theme parks in Subic, Magaul Bird Park is the only bird park in the Philippines which features many species of birds that you can not only watch but also feed. Another highlight of the park is its bird show that can include 100 birds in one show. Apart from the birds, it also has some amazing facilities which you will surely enjoy, including the real-life Angry Birds, giant swing, aerial attractions, as well as activities like rappelling and wall climbing.
Magaul Bird Park
Address: JEST area, Upper-mau, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Bataan
Website: Magaul Bird Park
Opening hours: 8:30am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 350 PHP (7 USD)
4. Marvel at the beauty of Limutan Falls
One of the three major waterfalls in Bataan, Limutan Falls is located at the proximity of Mount Natib. This majestic waterfall is 30 ft (9.14 m) high. It is a perfect swimming spot during summer, where you can come to cool down a bit. You need to trek for an hour to get to the place, and you need to hire a guide to reach it. Guides are available at the community center, where you can hire them for a minimal fee.
Address: Bagac, Bataan
Another theme park in Subic, Ocean Adventure is the first open-water marine park in Southeast Asia and one of the most-visited attractions in Bataan. Here, you can learn about many aquatic animals and other underwater life, as well as wildlife like the Palawan Bear Cat. You can also watch different animal shows here, including Dolphin Tales Show, Sea Lion Marine Patrol Show, and Wild World Show. Other facilities are Ocean Discovery Aquarium, where you can view varieties of manta rays, sharks, stingrays and more, Ocean HeART 3D Wall Art, where you can have your photo taken with 3D sea creatures, and the Learning Center, where you’ll learn more about marines and wildlife.
Ocean Adventure Ticket in Subic
6. Hike Bataan National Park
If you’re into nature adventures and beautiful sceneries, you shouldn’t pass the chance of visiting the Bataan National Park. It has an area of 23,688 hectares (58,530 acres) which is covered with tropical forest and contains mountain terrains, rivers, springs, waterfalls, and more, which are perfect for hiking and trekking. Apart from hiking, bird0watching is possible in the area for a lot of migratory birds can be sighted here. Additionally, you can find rare species of flowers and ground orchids, as well as some wild animals like monkeys, birds, and insects.
Bataan National Park
Address: Samal, Bataan
A charming resort in Bataan, Playa La Caleta is a paradise of white sand beaches that offer numerous activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, camping, swimming, star gazing, and a lot more. The accommodations here range from tents to beach rooms and cottages. Another nearby attraction is Miguelito Island, which is a great snorkeling spot where you can see many colorful fishes. But, the island is quite rocky so make sure to be alert and careful while you explore it. One of the good things about this property is it is eco-friendly to help reduce the earth’s carbon footprint. A few of the resort’s efforts to save the environment include beach clean-ups, tree planting, ban of single-use plastic, and more.
Playa La Caleta
Price: from 34 USD
8. Learn about sea turtle conservation at Pawikan Conservation Center
If you want a memorable experience in Bataan, one that will bring you a different kind of joy, then you have to visit Pawikan Conservation Center. It was founded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to help save the pawikan or sea turtles. Here, they not only help breed this species and take care of them, but also educate the locals, the fisher folks, and the tourists on ways to help in the conservation. Also, they entertain visitors who want to watch the hatching of sea turtles as well as allow them to release it to the ocean. But, before going to the center, make sure you read the do’s and don’t’s when freeing the sea turtles–for example, you shouldn’t touch it for the sea turtles imprints, making it easy for them to find their way back home.
Pawikan Conservation Center
Address: Nagbalayong, Morong, Luzon, Philippines
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 20 PHP or 0.40 USD
9. Bird-watch at Wetland Park
Are you looking for a chill activity in Bataan, something that will let you have a quiet time and doesn’t involve much effort? If so, you’ll want to visit Wetland Park in Bataan. It is a serene place that is perfect for bird-watching. At a certain time, a lot of migratory birds from China and Canada pass by the area, for being an excellent food basket because Bataan is rich in mangrove forests, grasslands, wetlands, and other terrains. You can wait for the birds while you have a picnic with friends or while reading a book.
Address: Fourlane Commercial, City of Balanga, Bataan
Website: Wetland Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
Price: 20 PHP or 0.40 USD
10. Go swimming at El Kabayo Waterfalls
Another must-visit nature attraction in Subic, El Kabayo Waterfalls is located amid a forested area, where you have to hike for 15 minutes to reach it. It features two falls where the first waterfall is 3 meters (9.84 feet) high, while the other is about is 5 meters (14.40 feet) high. You can take a dip in the shallow part of the streams and have a picnic in the designated area where there are picnic tables.
El Kabayo Waterfalls
Address: Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Bataan
11. View the Flaming Sword
Poised in front of Bataan Municipal Hall, at the crossing of Pillar which is one of the historical landmarks in the city, the Flaming Sword is a monument that honors the Filipino and American soldiers during WWII; the same soldiers that were prisoners of war in the Death March. The monument is a giant sword that is pointing to the sky, which signifies the bravery of the soldiers. Make sure you visit the landmark and pay your respect to these courageous individuals.
Address: Pilar Gov Lina Road, Balanga City, Luzon, Philippines
Website: Flaming Sword
12. Get survival tips at Jungle Environment Survival Training (JEST) Camp
Do you love a challenge and are you open to learning new skills? If you answered yes to both questions, then you should never miss the chance to experience everything the Jungle Environment Survival Training (JEST) Camp has to offer. It features survival activities, a bird park, a bird arena, a pet cafe, and Kawayan Kitchen, where you can eat dishes cooked in bamboo. During the survival activities, you’ll learn how to cook without the usual conveniences, secure your tents, deal with mosquitoes, and acquire other survival tips in the jungle. Also, after the training, you’ll earn certificates which mention about the training you’ve undergone in the camp.
Jungle Environment Survival Training (JEST) Camp
Address: Aparri Rd, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Bataan
Opening hours: 8:30am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 450 PHP (9 USD)
13. Cool down at Dunsulan Waterfalls
If you want to visit one of the waterfalls in Bataan but want to skip the hike, then your best option here is Dunsulan Waterfalls, for it is just a five-minute walk from the parking area. Though the water here is not advisable for swimming, because of drifting twigs and leaves, it offers a scenic view with the many unique rock formations surrounding the 20-foot-high (6.10 meters) waterfall. It is also perfect for picnics and has several activities like horseback riding and tree-hopping experience.
Address: Pilar, Bataan
14. Hike your way to Pasukulan Falls
Another waterfall in Bataan, Pasukulan Falls is located at Natib Mountain and is a must-visit nature attraction in the area that will make you thank The Creator you’re alive to see such beauty. Visiting the waterfalls will take you about four hours of hiking through steep terrains. There are two waterfalls. You can jump into the cold water and swim to your heart’s content. The place is also a great picnic site as you can eat while hearing the sound of cascading waters.
Address: Abucay, Bataan
15. See the Zero Kilometer Death March Marker
Another historical landmark in Bataan is the Zero Kilometer Death March Marker. It was the starting point of the Death March during World War II. All in all, there are two zero kilometer monuments in Bataan, including the one in Mariveles, which is a port town. Also, you’ll find in the same town the Philippine Japan Friendship tower, which you should also visit to complete all the historical landmarks in the area.
Zero Kilometer Death March Marker
Address: Roman Super Hwy, Mariveles, Luzon, Philippines
16. Pay homage to World War II soldiers at Mount Samat
A historical mountain in Pillar, Bataan, Mount Samat features a national shrine near its summit. The shrine is known as the Shrine of Valor or Dambana ng Kagitingan in Filipino. It is constructed in memory of the brave soldiers who fought and died during World War II. It is the same place where the Filipino and American soldiers fought for freedom over the Japanese conquerors. In the shrine, there’s a big cross monument, which you can climb up to see and also have a spectacular and uninterrupted view of Bataan.
17. Get a glimpse of Manila Bay atop Mount Mariveles
A dormant volcano without records of eruption, Mount Mariveles is the highest point in the province of Bataan. It is adjacent to Mount Natib and features numerous hiking trails, like the trail to Tarak Ridge and Pantingan Peak, which will surely be enjoyed by nature enthusiasts. Along the way, you’ll encounter many species of wildflowers, plants, and more. You’ll also have the majestic view of the South China Sea and Manila Bay.
18. Chill with friends at Nico's Terrace Bar and Grill
If you’re wondering where the locals go to eat and hang out during the night, head down to Nico’s Terrace Bar and Grill and experience the province’s local cuisine. The menu is purely Filipino foods that are all delectable and affordable. The must-try dishes are pork sisig, chopsuey, tokwa’t baboy, sinigang na belly, and more. Also, every night, there is a live band to keep you entertained where you can also request your favorite song. Additionally, the restaurant offers varieties of beers and cocktails.
Nico's Terrace Bar and Grill
Address: Kinatawan Rd, City of Balanga, 2100 Bataan
Website: Nico’s Terrace Bar and Grill
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 5pm - 1am (closed on Sun)
Another wildlife theme park in Subic, Zoobic Safari is a 25-hectare (61.78 acres) adventure park that features numerous exotic and wild animals. One of the highlights here is the tiger safari, which is the only one of its kind in the Philippines. Another excellent attraction is the Zoobic Park, wherein you’ll have an up-close encounter with animals like bear, deer, monkeys, and more, and you will also be allowed to feed them. Other parts of the zoo include Zoobic Cave, Aetas’ Trail, Animal Muzooem, and more. Additionally, you can watch animal shows every weekend.
Zoobic Safari Admission Ticket in Subic
20. Discover the beauty of Mount Natib
Another dormant volcano in Bataan, Mount Natib is popular among mountain hikers and trekkers for its moderate level of trail difficulty. You can climb it as a really long day hike or have an overnight climb to really appreciate and see the area. Also, one of the highlights of the trek is the two waterfalls you’ll encounter, Pasukulan Falls and Kairukan Falls. The trail here is slippery so there is a roped area. Make sure your body is in condition for long hikes before joining this activity.
21. Explore Bataan Nuclear Power Plant with a knowledgeable guide
A must-visit attraction in Bataan for science and technology geeks, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was built in the ‘70s and was scheduled to operate in 1985, but because of the then-president being unseated, the project was shelved and it remained unused up to this day. If you’re in the province, you better schedule a visit before it’s too late. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to peek inside a fully functional nuclear powerplant, for most establishments like its kind won’t let you in due to radiation and other operating issues. Since it is never fueled, you can see everything it has to offer, including the electric gear, reactor room, control room, and turbine hall.
Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
Address: Govenor Joaquin J. Linao National Road, Morong, Luzon 2109, Philippines
Website: Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 8pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
Price: 60 PHP (1 USD)
22. Have fun with your family at Funtastic Park Subic Bay
A newly opened indoor theme park in Subic, Funtastic Park Subic Bay is an excellent choice of attraction in the province, especially for the whole family. It has many cool and exciting offerings like the mirror maze, a costume area, optical illusions, and more. And in case you get hungry, there are also a lot of food options on the premise. Additionally, to complete the experience and to remember the day you went here, don’t forget to buy a souvenir on the on-site souvenir shop. Everyone will surely have the best time here.
Funtastic Park Subic Bay
Address: Corregidor Rd, Ilanin Forest East, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Bataan
Website: Funtastic Park Subic Bay
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 350 PHP (7 USD)
23. See the 14 Stations of the Cross at Holy Land Subic Sanctuary
Considered as the new Jerusalem in the Philippines, Holy Land Subic Sanctuary is the best attraction to visit for Catholics, especially during the Holy Week Celebration, for it has sculptures depicting the suffering of Christ or the 14 Stations of the Cross. Also, you’ll see here sculptures mimicking important scenes from the Bible like the Annunciation, the miracles of Jesus, Jacob’s well, the birth of Jesus, and many more. Additionally, you can write a letter of prayer and slip it on the cracks of the Pilgrims’ Prayer Wall.
Holy Land Subic Sanctuary
Address: Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Bataan
Website: Holy Land Subic Sanctuary
Price: 200 PHP (4 USD)
24. Have your photo taken at Nagbintana Arch
Located in a cove in Mariveles, Bataan, Nagbintana Arch, or Little Finger, is a unique rock formation in the shallow part of the northern portion of the Five Fingers. Its name Nagbintana, from the root word bintana which means window in English, comes from the window-like tunnel that you’ll find in the center of the arch. The arch from afar looks like a dinosaur–so when you’re standing up there, you’ll look like you’re riding it. Additionally, there is also overflowing marine biodiversity that lies below the arch.
Address: Five Fingers, Mariveles, Mariveles, Bataan
25. Wait for the sunset at Mt. San Miguel and Sisiman Lighthouse
If you’re looking for a chill spot in Bataan to get some peace of mind, then this spot in Mariveles is right for you. With Mt. San Miguel as the backdrop and Sisiman Bay in front of it, the lighthouse will provide you the rustic scenery of the province. You can camp here, wait for the night, talk with the locals in the morning, or climb the peak of Mt. San Miguel for a great view of the sunset over the bay. There are plenty of things to do on this boulder beach so make sure you are up for the adventure, and at the same time, the serenity you’ll find here.
Mt San Miguel and Sisiman Lighthouse
Address: Sisiman-Agwawan Beach Rd, Mariveles, 2105 Bataan
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
26. Learn about this colorful insect at Butterfly Garden Subic
Located right next to Zoobic Safari, Butterfly Garden Subic is an excellent place to visit if you are into butterflies and insects. The butterfly garden is beautiful with flowers and plants and numerous species of butterflies flying around. Apart from the garden, the property also features a museum with exhibits like the butterfly pupae hatching cycle. It will only take you less than an hour to see everything here so make sure you squeeze a visit to the garden into your schedule.
Butterfly Garden Subic
Address: Road Y, Group 1, NAVMAG West, Ilanin Rd, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Bataan
Website: Butterfly Garden Subic
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 150 PHP (3 USD)
27. Shop at Galeria Victoria
An excursion to any place wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of its shopping malls to buy the essentials you’ll need, and in this case, Bataan offers you Galeria Victoria. It is a shopping center that offers numerous retail shops, dining options, and a lot of other services. Also, the shopping mall serves as an event place where famous local artists promote shows and local functions so don’t get surprised when you experience or watch one on your way to shopping.
Address: JP Rizal St, City of Balanga, Bataan
Website: Galeria Victoria
Opening hours: 9am - 10pm (daily)
28. Buy souvenirs at Bataan Tourism Center
Bataan Tourism Center must be the first thing you should visit before exploring the area for it will guide you with the attractions you must tour in the area. You’ll learn here about its history and culture. Also, there’s a museum containing life-size dioramas, depicting the scenes in Bataan during World War II, made from paper mache by the Bataan Artist Society. After exploring the province, make sure you head back to the center again to buy souvenirs, for it features a shop selling local delicacies and handicrafts.
Bataan Tourism Center
Address: Roman Superhighway, City of Balanga, 2100 Bataa
Website: Bataan Tourism Center
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
Price: 20 PHP (0.40 USD)
29. Dine at Loleng's Hu Tieu-an
Are you craving for Vietnamese food while you happen to be in one of the most historical places in the Philippines? If you really want it that much, you don’t have to worry, for Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an will surely satiate your hunger. It is a restaurant owned by Aling Loleng, who is a Filipina who worked on a Vietnamese canteen in the Philippine Refugee Processing Center. The food here is not just delicious and has the flavors of Vietnam, but also very affordable–as a matter of fact, almost all dishes here start from 1 USD. The restaurant is not fancy, and most customers are either bikers or students.
Loleng's Hu Tieu-an
Address: Mayor’s Street | Binaritan, Morong, Luzon, Philippines
Website: Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an
Opening hours: 7am - 9pm (daily)
The beautiful province of Bataan
A historic province in the Philippines, Bataan offers you numerous sights and activities that will surely capture your heart, from learning about the Death March up to saving sea turtles and exploring its many natural gems. Make sure you follow our list of the best things to do in Bataan, Philippines, when planning your itinerary to the province.
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