Bataan is a province at the Central Luzon region of Luzon. A peninsula surrounded by Manila Bay to the east and the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea) to the west, it is known in history as the last stronghold of the Americans in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded it during World War II.
Cities and municipalities
- 1 Balanga - Provincial capital and the only city
- 2 Mariveles - the largest town with more than 100,000 residents, it is where the infamous Death March began.
- Bagac - Has the Philippine-Japanese Friendship Tower and Las Casas de Acuzar.
- Dinalupihan - Border town at the boundary with Pampanga
- Morong - Where the controversial Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which remains closed (as of 2018), is located.
- Orion - Known for Cayetano Arellano Memorial Shrine
- 3 Pilar - Houses the Shrine of Valor atop Mount Samat.
Bataan is one of the majority Tagalog provinces of Central Luzon, but it also has a Kapampangan minority, on the towns of Dinalupihan, Hermosa and Abucay. The Mariveleño people or the Ayta Magbeken, a subgroup of the Aeta (Negritos), were the indigenous inhabitants of the area; they were displaced by the Tagalogs from Cavite by the 16th century.
Bataan is a mostly mountainous province, occupying the entirety of the namesake Bataan Peninsula. Much of the population is concentrated on the east coast facing Manila Bay, much of which being plains; this includes most of the province's municipalities and the capital Balanga. The western coast facing the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) is mostly sparsely populated; this includes the rural municipalities of Morong and Bagac.
Bataan was founded as province in 1757; it included some towns of Pampanga, and the military district of Mariveles, which included also Maragondon in Cavite.
After Japan invaded the Philippines in December 1941, the combined US and Filipino forces were being gradually overrun and General Douglas MacArthur moved his troops to the Bataan Peninsula in an attempt to hold out until a relief force could be sent from the U.S. Japanese forces started a siege of the peninsula on January 7, 1942, and launched an all-out assault on April 3, a few months after the Battle of the Points. The majority of the American and Filipino forces surrendered on April 9 and were forced to march more than 102 km (63 mi) from Bataan to Tarlac, which became known as the Bataan Death March.
Bataan is over two hours away from Metro Manila by car. From Manila, you can take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and exit at San Fernando, and from there, follow the Olongapo-Gapan Road/Jose Abad Santos Avenue straight to Bataan. A longer alternative is to exit at Angeles, connect with the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and exit at Dinalupihan.
A bridge is being proposed to link Bataan from Cavite, but this fixed link is still on the planning stages. An expressway from Metro Manila via the coastline of Bulacan is also being planned.
Getting to Bataan by bus takes around three hours. There are bus lines, specifically Genesis and Bataan Transit, in Cubao, Pasay and Manila that offers daily trips to Balanga City and Mariveles, Bataan. The fare going to Balanga costs ₱240 as of April 2016 from Avenida, Manila terminal. Victory Liner have buses to/from Olongapo City (2 hours, ₱100).
As of May 2018, the ferry boat going from Manila to Bataan is operational through the FAB Town Terminal in Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB), Mariveles, Bataan, which has a direct ferry service from FAB to Esplanade Seaside Terminal at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Metro Manila. The Port of Capinpin in Orion, Bataan is another ferry terminal in the province, having a route from Orion to Manila.
Driving is the best way to explore Bataan, but roads are generally narrow and winding especially on the west. There is one major highway traversing the province, the Roman Superhighway (Rte 301), which serves the eastern coast, with a route that mostly bypasses the old town centers. Rte 302 (the Gov. J.J. Linao National Rd), connects the western coastal towns of Bagac and Morong; it also serves Mt. Samal.
Buses connect the major towns on the east coast. There is limited bus service to the western coast from Balanga.
- First Abucay Catholic Church
- Mount Samat – Hosts the Mount Samal National Shrine, containing the cross-shaped Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) built to honor Filipinos and Americans who died during their last stand at Bataan daring World War II.
- Bataan Death March Marker – Kilometer posts are found along the route of this infamous march across Bataan.
- Bataan National Park
- Zero Kilometer Death March Marker – The Bataan Death March began in Mariveles and stretched for 102 km (63 mi).
- Mariveles Volcano
- Bataan Death March Marker
- Mt. Natib
- Dunsulan Falls
- Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac. It is a living museum housing a collection of Spanish-era buildings, which are either reconstructions or replicas.
- Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong – The Philippines first and only nuclear power plant, which never operated (though plans to reactivate it remain).
- D'Samat Hotel. Camacho Street. phone +63 47 2373869. AC single/double rooms with own bathroom from ₱600.
- Bataan General Hospital. Balanga City. +63 47-237-1274. (DOH Hospital)