Bataan is located in Central Luzon, bordered by Zambales and Pampanga to the north and facing the Manila Bay and South China Sea to the east and west respectively. It is famous for its beaches and for being a big player in WWII as the starting point of the Bataan Death March. It was a strategic area even before the Second World War, being the landing site of Dutch invaders in 1647, as well as the launching point of the pirate Lim Ah Hong's unsuccessful conquest of Luzon.
When to Go
It is best to avoid the rainy season, which, like most of Luzon, starts in May and ends in October, with typhoons concentrated in the months of June to September.
What to Do
Beaches - Bataan's temperate coastline means that the area has a lot of beaches-and beach resorts. Areas known for their shorelines include Bagac, Limay, Morong, Mariveles, and Orion.
Churches - Bataan has many beautiful churches of historical importance, including the Church of Abucay in Abubacay, which was the site of a between Pampango defendres and Dutch invaders; the Balanga Catholic Church Belfry in Balanga, which was used as the site for the Japanese artillery bombardment of Mt. Samat; and the Church of Orani in Orani, which was damaged by earthquake and fire before being rebuilt in the 1930s.
Ecotourism - Bataan is a birdwatcher's haven, with ornithologists gathering in Sibacan, Pto. Rivas, in the City of Balanga-a site with one of the highest waterbirds counts in the country. People interested in marine conservation can drop by the Pawikan Conservation Center in Nagbalayong, Morong.
Festivals & Cultural Attractions - One of the biggest cultural events in Bataan is Holy Week, when the whole province celebrates the death and resurrection with activities that start on Palm Sunday all the way to Easter. Another famous one is Bataan Day. Celebrated every April 5, it honors the soldiers who gave up their lives for freedom in the various wars fought in the province. Of course, there are the feast day fiestas that each town has to celebrate their respective patron saints.
Historic Sites - Bataan's history as a strategic location during WWII means that the province has a lot of historical sites for WWII buffs to visit. Three examples are the Shrine of Valor (Dambana ng Kagitingan) in Mt. Samat in Pilar that commemorates the soldiers of WWII; the Zero Kilometre Death March Marker in Bagac that marks the start of the march, and another one in Mariveles that marks its end; and the Maria Canon Statue in Sibul in Abucay, which was raised by the Japanese to invoke the repose of the souls of those who died in the War.
Man-Made Attractions - Perhaps the most famous man-made attraction the province of Bataan has ever produced is the infamous Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was never operational and has since been turned into a tourist attraction.
Mountaineering and Trekking - Part of Bataan is mountainous, thus offering numerous climbing trekking opportunities. Mt. Natib, located in the Bataan Natural Park in Brgy. Tala in Orlani is a dormant volcano and also the highest peak in the area. Located in the Morong part of the park is Mt. Silangan, which has an 80-ft. waterfall. The Tarak Ridge Trek offers trekkers five to six hours of beautiful views that include forests, rivers, and seven waterfalls.
Mountain Biking - Mountain biking is quite popular in Bataan, with a local club having mapped out trails that range from easy to extremely difficult.
War Games - Another activity that is gaining popularity in Bataan is Airsoft war games, which is similar to paintball. The province has different areas for airsoft campaigns situated in Pulong Bato in Orion, Mt. Samat in Pilar, and Sitio 31 in Brgy. Biaan in Mariveles.
What to Buy
Dried Mangoes - Dried mangoes are tasty examples of the result one gets when a province's agricultural and industrial activities merge.
Tinapa - Bataan is famous for its tinapa (dried fish), partly because the fish used are caught within Bataan itself.
Coco Jam - Another Bataan delicacy is coco jam. Brown, gooey, and very sweet, it is made from coconuts harvested and processed in the province.
The Philippine Rabbit and Pantranco Bus Liner have routes that go from Manila to Bataan, while Victory Liner has a route that goes from Olongapo to Bataan.
There are ferrys that travel from Manila to Mariveles and Orion, the latter more scenic as the ferry departs from the CCP Terminal and crosses the Manila Bay. The trip takes about 45 minutes.