It is the fourth richest province and the ninth most populous in the Philippines. It is also the cradle of the Tagalog culture. Being near to Metro Manila, Batangas is a frequently visited area in Southern Luzon, with its share of resorts and heritage sites. The province is also a growing destination for pilgrimages with its number of Roman Catholic churches as well as various pilgrimage sites.
- Western Batangas (Agoncillo, Balayan, Calatagan, Calaca, Lemery, Lian, Nasugbu, San Luis, San Nicolas, Santa Teresita, Taal, Tuy) - Mostly coastal and flat, it is home to beaches and luxurious resorts, colorful festivals, and a glimpse of its colonial past.
- Eastern Batangas (Alitagtag, Balete, Batangas City, Bauan, Cuenca, Ibaan, Laurel, Lipa, Lobo, Mabini, Mataasnakahoy, Padre Garcia, Rosario, San Jose, San Juan, San Pascual, Talisay, Tanauan, Taysan, Tingloy) - Densely populated areas and a mixed mountain and plain landscape. It is home to the province's economic, educational, political, and population centers.
Cities and municipalities
- Batangas City - Provincial, educational and cultural capital, and major seaport.
- Lipa - Commercial capital of the province, better known for its barako coffee.
- Mabini - Diving spots not far from Manila
- Nasugbu - Luxury resorts and mountains, as well as a glimpse of the local sugarcane industry.
- Santo Tomas - northern gateway, and home to a shrine for St. Padre Pio
- Taal - a historic town known for its heritage houses, the Basilica of St. Martin of Tours, and its butterfly knives (balisong)
- Talisay - entrance to Taal Lake and Volcano.
- Tanauan - Hometown of Apolinario Mabini
Batangas is characterized by a mix of plains and mountains, and most population centers are found in the flat areas. The province is also dotted by mountains, such as Taal Volcano, Mount Maculot, Mount Batulao, and Mount Malarayat. Beaches are concentrated in the western coastline, where many resorts stand.
Batangas, in general, has a wet and dry climate. Rainfall is infrequent in the dry season for most of the year, but it generally rains frequently in the east, even in the summer months of March to May.
Batangas has ben historically inhabited by the Tagalogs before the Spanish colonization, and the present-day has been historically called Kumintang (which lends its name to two barangays in Batangas City). The Spaniards arrived in the 16th century and founded its original capital at Bonbon (present-day Taal). In 1578, the predecessor of the current province, Bonbon, was founded and the local Tagalogs were Christianized. Bonbon was soon merged with Mindoro, southeast Laguna, Quezon, Marinduque, and Camarines to form. A devastating eruption of Taal Volcano forced the relocation of the capital to an area on the Calumpang River (present-day Batangas City). The Spaniards built a trade outpost at Nasugbu, and became an important point for the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade. During the Philippine Revolution, Batangas also led the rebellion against the Spaniards.
Agriculture and fisheries are two major sectors of Batangas' economy. The locals rely primarily on agriculture, with coconuts, pineapple, sugarcane, rice, corn, and coffee as key crops. The easternmost area has a vibrant livestock sector, and is centered at Padre Garcia, which has cattle auctions during Saturdays. The central area of the province, where the transportation backbone and the major cities lie, is undergoing industrialization and commercialization. Batangas is also a key electric power producer, with 5 major power plants that are critical to the power supply of Luzon.
Batangas has a population dominated by Tagalogs, with a significant Visayan minority driven by migration to Luzon. Chinese minorities exist in the key population centers. The local population are largely devout Roman Catholics, with a sizeable Muslim minority and significant numbers of members of other Christian denominations, notably of the Iglesia ni Cristo and Ang Dating Daan. Religion mostly play a major part in the local life.
Most key cities and municipalities of Batangas are reachable by bus, from Manila. Batangas City, Lipa, and Tanauan are reachable by bus travelling the busy corridor following STAR Tollway or the Jose P. Laurel Highway, and are operated by ALPS The Bus, Inc., Jam, DLTB and Dela Rosa Bus (using the N. Dela Rosa Liner brand), all operating routes from Metro Manila. Taal can be reached by bus from Metro Manila via Lemery, with bus services operated by Jam and DLTB. Nasugbu, Lian and Calatagan can be reached by bus from southwestern Metro Manila, either via Tagaytay (via Aguinaldo Highway) or Naic (via Ternate-Nasugbu Road, completed in 2013).
There are a number of major roads that lead to Batangas from the surrounding provinces. Batangas City, Lipa and Tanauan lie along STAR Tollway and Jose P. Laurel Highway (Route 4), which serves as the major transport corridor. STAR Tollway is a toll road that serves as the major highway from Metro Manila and Laguna, but is a tolled one, so, if you wants to avoid the tolls, you may take the parallel but older Jose P. Laurel Highway, that is mostly congested in the major cities. From Cavite, you may take the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Road (Route 410/407), Ternate-Nasugbu Road (Route 407), Diokno Highway (Route 410) or Ligaya Drive (Route 421). From Quezon, you may take the Quezon Eco-Tourism Road (Route 422/Batangas-Quezon Coastal Road), or Batangas-Quezon Road (Route 435).
You can use passenger jeepneys to go to different parts of the province, but you can use tricycles for short trips. Tricycles could take you to the exact place that you want to go because jeepneys have routes like buses do. However, tricycles are small and cramped, and could only comfortably accommodate three passengers (2 if the passenger is over six feet tall).
By jeepney or bus
Jeepneys are the cheapest way to travel around the province, but these make more stops, and are crowded. Buses are a better option when travelling long distances within the province, but most routes only serve the key cities and municipalities.
Starting fare for jeepneys is ₱7 for each passenger for the first kilometre travelled. Senior citizens, students, and persons with disabilities passengers enjoy a discount. The fare schedule (in English) is typically posted inside the jeepney for travellers, although you may ask the driver or other passengers themselves if you are not sure how much you should pay. Many locals, like in most other spots in the Philippines, can understand and converse well in English.
The province has an expansive network of national roads, as well as provincial roads. The STAR Tollway and Jose P. Laurel Highway serve as the backbone of the highway system. You may need to drive a car to reach destinations where public transport is inefficient.
Despite the excellent road network, driving can be a nightmare. Most of the city and town centers in Batangas are built in the Spanish colonial era, with grid-based streets that are not designed for the automobile, and are narrow and congested. Parking is nowhere to find in most city or town centers. In relatively large cities such as Lipa and Batangas City, traffic can be congested, especially in rush hour, just as in Metro Manila. As with the rest of the Philippines, driving habits can be aggressive, that a local driver may suddenly cut through your lane or overtake you dangerously.
'''Ala-eh! Batangueño eh!'''
The Tagalog dialect in Batangas has various words that are peculiar to the Tagalog typically spoken in Manila. Here are some common ones:
The principal language in Batangas is a dialect of Tagalog, which is very distinguishable by its resemblance to Old Tagalog, spoken before the Spanish colonization. Local speakers are noted for a distinctive accent, use of the particles eh at the end of sentences and ga as a question particle equivalent to ba, honorific use of pronouns, and use of words now considered archaic in other Tagalog varieties. People from Batangas that are living in Manila are usually jeered for their peculiar Tagalog language.
English is well understood as a second and official language, and is taught at schools and used in official government documents. The Visayan minority speak their native languages in addition to Tagalog and English.
- Taal Volcano at Taal Lake.
Having your own Taal tour is easy. Taal volcano tour is an easy trek from the shore of the volcano island to the rim via the regular trail. If you're more adventurous, try also the Calauit trail. This allows one to go down to where the crater lake is and see the volcanic activities up close and personal.
- Fire trees (caballeros), southeast Asia's answer to Japan's famed cherry blossoms, typically bloom during late summer (April) till the start of the rainy season (June).
- Basilica Minor of St. Martin of Tours, located in the Taal section of Batangas, one of the biggest Catholic churches in all of southeast Asia.
- Mount Maculot, a 947-m mountain in the town of Cuenca. The mountain has a great view of the Taal Lake and you can also see the Mount Makiling and Tagaytay Ridge.
- Kick back, relax, and soak up the tropical ambiance. That's what this place is all about!
- Swimming and snorkeling around Ligpo Island, Sombrero island to see the corals. Beautiful colors!
- Scuba diving in the entire strip of Balayan Bay is home to the most diverse species of marine life in the world being in the world's coral triangle. Try scuba diving with experience programs for first timers using reputable dive operators.
- Explore the mountains on a mountain bike with the Batangas Mountain Bikers, a group of local cyclists based in Batangas City.
- You may also go to Taal Batangas where it is rich in pre-Hispanic houses, and Taal Batangas has lots of beach resorts.
- The Barong Tagalog, one of the Philippines' trademarks, as it is worn during special occasions.
- Batangas is famous for the Balisong knife (commonly called Butterfly knives outside of the country). If you do buy these knives, and you live outside of the Philippines, you risk having the knife confiscated.
- Batangas is famous for its panutsa (Peanut Brittle), Sinaing na Tulingan (small tuna simmered in a broth of water, rock salt, sampaloc/tamarind, and dried kamias), suman (rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves), and the longganisa and tapa made in Taal Town, the achara of Calaca, and Bagoong of Balayan towns.
- Sweets like macapuno, ube and pastillas are famous in the town of Malvar, particularly the Elsa's Sweet Candies in San Gregorio Malvar Batangas.
- Saplot Batangenyo, Batangas novelty shirts.
- Ask the locals about their "kilawin", it is fresh fish soaked in vinegar and acidic juices like lemon, lime, or the local kalamansi, with lots of tiny chopped onions, fresh garlic, and hot peppers, its really good when the fish is still very fresh, as in just caught and straight ahead to the chopping board.
- Fried longganisa and Tapang Taal with Atchara
- Beef Kaldereta and Beef Tadyang at the A & M Restaurant
- Hamburger at the Hungry Hippo in Batangas City
- Gotong Batangas at Gotohan sa Barangay in Lipa City
- Crispy Pata at The Only Place and The Other Place Restaurants
- Pritong Tilapia caught fresh from Taal Lake
- Maliputo is a delicious fish found only at Taal Lake
- Tawilis is another delicacy - small fishes caught only in Taal Lake
- Pancit Tikyano (red stir-fried noodles) from Letty's in Batangas City
- Hot Chocolate in a roadside stand en route to Mabini and Anilao
- Kapeng Barako, the coffee that made the province famous particularly in Lipa City for its famous Cafe de Lipa (with branches at SM-Mall of Asia, SM City Lipa, Petron Star Toll, Market Market and main office at 032 San Carlos Drive Mataasnalupa Lipa City, opposite to Robinson's Lipa Exit
- Bulalo and Halo-Halo at Almarius Grill in Lipa City
- Lomi Noodles at Lomihan sa Bario in Ibaan Batangas
- Tapang Taal
- tamales of rhemars in Ibaan batangas.
if you want refreshing drink, try the mura juice with mura meat. its is young coconut juice with the fruit's meat, really good when served very cold mixed with condensed milk for sweetness.
Try Lambanog from San Juan town. It's a local brew from cane.
The reputation of Batangas as a tourist destination has resulted in the sudden growth of one-stars, numerous bungalows over the water accessed by boardwalks, with wooden stairs leading down to the sea, and three-stars that are cheap by international standards.
- Lima Park Hotel, Lima Technology Center, Malvar, ☎ , fax: . Executive Suite or Deluxe Rooms, or opt to stay in Standard and Superior Rooms, all equipped with cable TV, IDD/NDD telephones and safety deposit boxes. Facilities and services are Salon, spa and massage services. ₱3,996.
- Canyon Cove Resort, Far East Road, Piloto Wawa, Nasugbu, ☎ . Accommodations equipped with coffee/tea maker, mini-bar, cable TV, and electronic safe. Some of its facilities and services are swimming pool, massage and spa services, game room, children's playground and a beach. From ₱4,754.
- Lago De Oro Cable Ski Park and Resort, Bo. Balibago, Calatagan, ☎ . Facing South China Sea, Lago de Oro Beach Club is in Balibago, in the town of Calatagan. The first cable wakeboarding park in the Philippines. The beachfront resort offers cable television, refrigerator, and a mini-bar in their rooms. They also have a balcony/deck.
- Anilao Outrigger Resort, Solo, Anilao, Mabini, ☎ , fax: . The resort provides complete diving equipment and houses a restaurant and bar. There are about 185 steps down to the resort from the parking lot. Porters will carry your luggage up and down, but you have to climb all of those stairs, which can be strenuous. From ₱2,800.
- Chateau Royale, Km 72 Batulao, Nasugbu, ☎ , fax: . Chateau Royale Sports and Country Club stands on fifteen hectares. Accommodations are in log cabins.
- Evercrest Golf Resort, Batulao, Nasugbu, ☎ , fax: . Conference rooms, tennis courts, swimming pools, and a golf course.
- Matabungkay Beach Resort, Brgy. Matabungkay, Lian, ☎ . Its rooms are all equipped with spacious verandas, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. Also on premises are drink and food, function rooms, a spa, and a steam sauna.
- Cintai, Balete/Lipa City, ☎ . A Bali-themed resort with multi-function pavilions, 18 villas, 4 pools, and roaming animals. It is less than an hour away from Manila.
- Hotel La Corona, Lipa City, ☎ . Hotel La Corona de Lipa is a party hotspot. It has 37 rooms, KTVs, function rooms, and a bar and restaurant. It's a 90-minute drive from Makati City.
- Mount Malarayat Hotel and Suites, Dagatan, Lipa City, ☎ . Within Mount Malarayat Golf & Country Club. It has furnished suites, a golfer's lounge, a spa, sports pavilions, a fishing lake, a ballroom, and restaurants of various cuisines. From ₱5,440.
- The Coral Beach Club, Matabungkay, Lian, ☎ . Less than 2 hours drive from Manila. European and Asian cuisines, a pool and jacuzzi, a hot stones massage, and a hair salon are available on premises, and the Calatagan Golf Club is nearby. ₱1,999.
Beaches and diving
Watch out for rip currents when swimming, and do not forget to use sunblock, as temperatures can reach over 37 °C (99 °F), and ultraviolet radiation can be another health danger even in water. There is also a risk of decompression sickness after diving.
Petty crimes is not much of a problem, but violent robbery is common. Further in the countryside, crime is rare, but theft and murder can be risks. Batangas City, Lipa, and Tanauan has crime as a major concern. Drugs, especially shabu, is common and there are routine raids against drug dealers. Avoid venturing into an obvious slum area, and you'll be safe.
With Taal Volcano in the center of the province, there is a significant risk of a volcanic eruption. Taal Volcano has a record of destructive eruptions in 1755 and 1910, that destroyed villages and claimed lives. Follow eruption warnings and evacuate whenever possible.
Earthquakes and tsunamis
While largely unknown to the locals, the coastal areas of Batangas are very vulnerable to earthquakes and also, tsunamis. A fault under Batangas Bay has a potential to cause earthquakes and tsunamis, and the latest recorded earthquakes occurred in 1994 and 2017. Another fault forming near Taal Lake can trigger eathquakes inland. Follow basic earthquake safety advice, and when in the shore, immediately evacuate to high ground.
The key cities and municipalities have good coverage of hospitals and clinics, as well as pharmacies and drug stores. Elsewhere, they are spotty.
Dengue is a general health concern, especially during the rainy season from June to September. Vaccines against dengue is available, but because of health concerns, it has been taken off the shelves. Bringing mosquito repellant is adequate.
Stray cats and dogs are widespread in most parts of the province, and rabies is another concern. Antirabies vaccines is recommended, especially when dealing with local animal life.
Heat stroke can be another risk during the summer months, and do not forget to drink lots of water and wear light.
People in Batangas are generally religious, socially conservative, and environmentalist. Politics, religion and the environment are generally sensitive topics for discussion. The Roman Catholic church has major influence in the politics in the province, and environmentalism is widespread. Tread carefully when pointing out fossil-fuel power plants, as locals are generally stirred because of their negative effects to the environment.
Tagalogs in Batangas normally speak with a fast and loud accent, and it can be offending to those not used to hear it anywhere. Having a basic grasp of Tagalog will suffice, but attempting to speak with an accent is too much.
When going to churches and religious shrines, do not forget to follow prescribed dress codes. Women travellers should wear modestly: a T-shirt or blouse along with jeans or a long skirt, or a sun dress will suffice. Shorts and miniskirts are discouraged, and in some places, sleeveless tops and dresses are also prohibited. Some locations will provide shawls or wraparound skirts for those who did not follow the dress code. Men should worry less about dress codes, but sleeveless shirts and jersey shorts are discouraged. Caps and sunglasses are also prohibited.
- Bureau of Immigration Batangas Office Diversion Road, Bolbok, Batangas City
Many travellers transit through Batangas to catch a ferry to another island. Batangas has a large port with ferries going to many places in the Philippines. The boats/ferries called RoRo (Roll-on, Roll-off) usually can accommodate your own vehicles. Schedules change frequently so check ahead of time. Also, the terminal is a focal point for many islands and therefore sees a lot of traffic. Expect longer lines and waiting times especially during public holidays, especially Holy Week. The Filipino culture observes and respects queueing so lines move orderly and quickly.