Disclaimer: All views expressed on this blog are my own based on my own experiences and do not represent of any entity with which I have been, are now or will be affiliated.

November 27, 2021
Bataan, Philippines

Bataan has played a great role in the history of the Philippines. The most well known is the Death March. After Japan bombed the US Naval base Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invasion in the Philippines began. When Japanese captured the capital city of the Philippines, Manila – The American and Filipino defenders retreated in Bataan. Death March happened during the World War II in April 1942 where the Japanese army forced the American and Filipino troops to march an arduous 65 mile/105km to prison camps. Many of them died in the scorching heat while being tortured by the Japanese guards.

Bataan is also very special to me because this is my mom’s birth place. We used to visit our relatives in Limay, Bataan. Bataan is in Central Luzon Region, III. It was a nice place – quiet and friendly. I actually miss my mom so I decided to visit this place again after almost 6 years. Being in Bataan feels closer to her.

The next reason would have to be meeting one of my closest friends, Toby. We haven’t seen each other for a year and I missed him terribly! And there were so many things that we’d like to catch up. I also met my new friend, Jayson who served us our host in his hometown. 😀

Travel Requirements

Getting to Bataan by bus takes about three hours. We rode Bataan Transit bus line at 630am in Cubao. I actually made an advanced booking in Bataan Transit FB page to make our travel efficient but I forgot to print out the tickets. I thought screenshot of tickets will suffice, I totally forgot I was in the Philippines and not in Singapore anymore where everything is already online! haha Anyway, we had to queue again to buy our tickets, the fare costs Php 278 from Manila to Bataan. There is no direct bus going to Bataan so we have to transfer to another bus line from San Fernando, Pampanga which was very tiring. You only need to present your vaccination card during checkpoint but they were really not that strict when it comes to the requirements now so travel at your own risk.

Domestic tourists can now visit Bataan and it’s attractions but since it’s pandemic, we still need to follow health & safety guidelines to ensure a hassle free visit.

Budget

I allotted Php 7,000 for my Bataan trip inclusive of food, transportation and accommodation.

Language

Bataan has no dialect and everyone speaks Tagalog.

Accommodation

I stayed in a Beach Loft in Playa La Caleta island. It costs Php3,800. It was an open space room with fashionable mosquito net, a beach view and a common toilet. I actually liked the experience of sleeping in an open space room, hearing the breeze of the sea and gecko when you sleep but I will never do this again! haha I’d prefer a glamping tent with my own restroom and a beach view.

Bataan Day 1

We met Jayson in Balanga, the capital of Bataan. He fetched and toured us to one of the food spots along the road. We also went to Mt. Samat, unfortunately, Mt. Samat is closed due to pandemic. I love this place because it’s really cold. After we ate, we head to Playa La Caleta. There was a shuttle waiting for us in the parking lot so it was more efficient. From parking lot to the resort will take about 15 mins of travel. But, going there was like a roller coaster ride of emotions because of the steepness of the road but I actually liked the view and the experience. Once we arrived, we were greeted by their accommodating staffs and assisted us to our room. Playa is an eco-tourism resort with lush mountains, cove and clean beach. At night, they lit up the whole place which gives a romantic vibe in the beach.

Food

Boss Mikko’s Bulalohan
Price: Php 200-1000 good for 3

We had an early lunch in Boss Mikko’s Bulalohan. Bulalo is a beef soup in the Philippines. We ordered bulalo, sisig, dinuguan (Filipino stew with blood’s pig and intestines), bopis (pork lungs and heart sautéed in tomatoes and onions). Apparently, we ordered internal organs for our lunch haha!

My favorite of all the dishes was the bulalo, the beef broth is thick and it was served with bone marrow that solidified the richness of the beef soup! The sisig, dinuguan and bopis were just fine for me, not the best but still good to try. I’d rate this food experience 4 out 5.

Scarborough Restaurant
Price: Php 200-1000 good for 3

The restaurant is located in the island where we stayed – Playa La Caleta. It was a bit disappointing that they did not serve shake. I expected a restaurant in front of the beach to have some refreshments but they failed here. They had buko juice but it’s not sweet and has no nutty taste, tasted more of just water in a coconut. We also ordered laing (dried taro leaves), bagnet (deep fried pork), pinakbet (variety of vegetables). The food was not appetizing in aroma and especially in taste. The laing was a disgrace in Bicolanos! It was not even spicy, overcooked, and the taste of ginger was evident. The bagnet was also a disgrace in Ilocanos. I was hoping to have the skin crunchy and meat tender. I will rate this 1.5 out of 5.

Bataan Day 2

We woke up at 630am, we wished to see the sunrise but we were not able to, so we just swam in the beach instead and drank coffee afterwards. Having my friends around was a different level of experience. Although there are other far better beaches, having them around made this trip a lot more relaxing and exciting.

I can’t recommend this resort to others but it’s a good experience to just be away from the city without Internet connection. If you love camping, this one is for you. For me, there are other islands worth exploring in Luzon with the same experience. I will rate this 3 out of 5 because I really liked their customer service.

Food

Loleng’s Hu Tieu-An
Morong, Bataan
Price Php 200-1000 good for 3

This small eatery is situated in Morong, Bataan just 15km away from Playa La Caleta. This eatery is popular as there were a lot of people dining in and also rich in history – the owner, Aling Loleng, used to work at a refugee processing center where refugees in the Vietnam war took temporary shelter. She bacame friends with some of the people in the camp and they imparted her the authentic recipes of Vietnamese food.

Toby found this place and since we have been eating a lot of Filipino food, we decided to try Vietnamese on our last day in Bataan. We ordered hu tieu or rice noodles, banh mi, prawn rolls. The hu tieu was a bit sweet for a soup, the banh mi is a Filipino version of the Vietnamese banh mi – instead of French baguette, they used plain buns. The coffee was thick and tasty too not the best but still good. The prawn rolls were okay, it tasted fresh. Overall, I liked all the food especially the banh mi and it’s pocket friendly as well so I’d rate this 4 out of 5.

Traveling to Bataan feels like a trip down memory lane where lush mountains and sea meet their history. I hope to visit the other parts of Bataan in time!

Love,
Maria, sometimes Niskie