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Batangas City, Batangas, Philippines
Representing a province known for brave but peace-loving locals, Batangas City is the largest city of Batangas and recognized as the "Industrial Port City of CALABARZON." It is a vital trade center in the province and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. The flourishing commercial city is also the location of some of the biggest industries, establishments, and institutions in the region.
Plaza Mabini is a 2-hectare park located in the heart of the city. It was built in 1951 and was named after Batangas native and Filipino hero Apolinario Mabini, the first Prime Minister of the Philippines and one of the greatest minds of the Philippine Revolution. The park has a statue of Mabini and a woman believed to be Marcela Agoncillo, the seamstress of the Philippine flag and also a native of Batangas. Surrounded by coconut trees, benches, and lush gardens, the park has received a first prize award in 1969 for its design and landscape.
Near Plaza Mabini is the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, one of the main religious structures in the city. Built from 1851 to 1857, the church has undergone renovations and restorations, but it has retained its impressive Renaissance architecture. In 1946, the church was declared a Minor Basilica by Pope Pius XII.
Sublian Festival is a two-week celebration in Batangas City that aims to promote the practice of the lost art called "subli," a ceremonial dance to honor the Holy Cross. Parades, street dances, various competitions, and variety shows are some of the scheduled activities in the festival.
By Land Batangas City is located about two and a half hours away from Manila, depending on the traffic condition. Bus companies like Alps, Jam, or Tritran all have fleets headed for Batangas City, and they are often ply the major thoroughfares of the metro. The bus terminals are either in Cubao in Quezon City or Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue in Buendia, Pasay City, near the EDSA–Taft MRT Station.
If you are planning to go on a road trip, driving to Batangas City is also hassle-free. From the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), head to the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Expressway where the last toll exit leads you to Batangas City.
How to Get Around When going around Batangas City, tricycles are best for short trips. For longer trips, passenger jeepneys are more ideal. Most jeepneys have signboards on their windshields bearing the names of their destinations. If you’re unsure, you can always ask around or the driver directly for the best possible way to get to your destination.
What to See Just like any other city in the Philippines, Batangas City is highly urbanized and densely populated. As an important commercial center in the Calabarzon region, you can expect Batangas City to be in a constant state of hustle and bustle. If it’s rest and relaxation you’re after, there are a few ideal spots in the city, especially if you’re into history and culture. Batangas City makes for an interesting destination where you can immerse yourself in the traditional and modern lifestyles of its people.
In the heart of Batangas City lies the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The church was built in 1857 and boasts neo-classical architecture. The interior of the church is just as grand, with mesmerizing wall and roof paintings. Its hallowed interior is also a perfect spot for some blissful moments in the midst of the busy city beyond its wooden doors.
Fronting the basilica is the Plaza Mabini, also known as the “People’s Park.” It was built in 1951 and has undergone several redesigns and renovations since then. In the middle of the park is a monument built in honor of Apolinario Mabini, known as the “Brains of the Revolutions” and one of the most prominent Batangueños who have ever lived. There are benches scattered around the park where visitors can take a rest. There is also a mini amphitheater where events and gatherings usually take place. At night, the whole area becomes an illuminated venue where both locals and tourists alike gather to have a taste of local street food.
Not too far from the park and the basilica are some ancestral houses that have withstood the test of time. Built in 1883, the Pastor–Acosta Ancestral House is one of them. It is a private property so a visit may be limited to just its exteriors. But there are also other ancestral homes that are worth passing by like the Borbon-Rosales Ancestral House (the ancestral home of Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales) and the Babasa Ancestral House.
The Laurel Park is another notable park in the city, which is located near the Provincial Capitol Site. It features beautiful landscape and is a favorite venue amongst the locals for various events and activities. The park also features the Heroes Promenade and some sculpted works of art by renowned artist, Eduardo Castrillo.
About two hours away from the city center is the Mahabang Buhangin Beach. This undeveloped beach features pristine white sand and clear blue waters that beach bums out there will surely like.
For those who love trekking and climbing mountains, Mount Banoy would be the perfect place to go to. It is classified as an easy climb, with a difficulty level of three out of nine only. Even beginners would be able to conquer this mountain where a stunning view of Batangas City and the Batangas Bay awaits at the summit.
History buffs will be delighted to visit Museo Puntong Batangan. It was built in December of 2006 in order to showcase the history and the lifestyle of the Batangueños and how it has evolved throughout the years.
Batangas City is also home to SM City Batangas, which is the first SM Supermall built in the province. Inside the store are over 200 retail and dining establishments, which treat locals and tourists to an exciting shopping and dining experience right in the heart of the city.
Events and Festivals
Every July, Batangas City celebrates the Sublian Festival. It is held in honor of the town’s patron, the Sto. Niño. The festival derives its name from the word subli, which is a form of traditional dance performed to the beat of drums and chants.
Where to Eat Restaurants
Al Goto King is recognized as the first established goto and bulalo restaurant in Batangas City. They have been in business for almost 20 years and has become, in their own right, a dining landmark in the city. Visit this establishment for a bowl or two of their goto and bulalo.
Another well-loved restaurant in the city is the Treehouse Restaurant. They have been offering mouth-watering dishes since 1995! Patrons love their version of bulalo as well as their kaldereta and sisig.
If you dig German dishes, then El Torro Restaurant is the place for you. If you’re craving for some silog, check out what Irene’s Bulalo sa Kubo has to offer.
Of course, no visit to Batangas is complete without trying hearty bowl of loming Batangas. You can order one at the Mega Lomi House. Other restaurants in the city include Butch Restaurant and TNF Restaurant.
Fare: PHP 150.00 to PHP 200.00 The cost for the bus fare from Manila to Batangas starts at PHP 150.00 and could go as high as PHP 200.00 per head, depending on whether you’re riding a nonaircon or air conditioned bus.
When going around the city, a jeep ride starts at PHP 7.00. A tricycle ride, on the other hand, is PHP 20.00 minimum. The prices also vary depending on the destination. A tricycle ride for short destinations may cost PHP 50.00, while going to farther places may be priced at PHP 100.00 per one way trip. Do ask if the tricycles can be rented for the day and don’t forget to haggle.
Food: PHP 150.00 to PHP 350.00 Most restaurants in the city offer affordable meals for locals and tourists. You can set aside a budget of PHP 150.00 to PHP 250.00 per meal. If you stretch your budget to PHP 350.00 to PHP 500.00, you can already enjoy a feast in an upscale restaurant.
Shopping: PHP 50.00 to PHP 500.00 You can buy souvenir items to remember your trip to the city. Key chains and ref magnets go for PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 apiece. Souvenir shirts can go for as much as PHP 200.00, depending on the quality of the material and design. Other native products like balisong, panucha, or kapeng barako are priced from PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00.
You can also do a little bit of shopping in SM City Batangas. The prices are pretty much the same as in the SM Malls in Metro Manila.
Accommodations: PHP 1,500.00 to PHP 6,000.00 For the budget travelers, there are hotels in the city that offer basic rooms for as low as PHP 1,500.00 a night. But for those who want full amenities and services, rooms can be expensive: around PHP 6,000.00 per stay.
Activities: PHP 50.00 to PHP 100.00 You’ll do mostly sightseeing in the city, and most attractions don’t even charge an entrance fee at all. However, do consider the fare you’ll spend in hopping from one attraction to the other.
Other Fees and Activities: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 Tipping is no longer necessary in restaurants since a service charge is often included in the final bill. If you insist, it is a welcome gesture: leaving PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 should be okay.