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.
Wikivoyage's regions for the province mostly share the same boundaries as the original four legislative districts of Batangas, except for Lipa which is included in the Taal Lake Area as an important hub for that region.
|Eastern Batangas (Ibaan, Padre Garcia, Rosario, San Jose, San Juan, Taysan)|
Rather a rainy region, this region hosts most of the province's livestock industry. You may see a glimpse of the cattle and poultry industry in the towns of Padre Garcia and San Jose, but you may also relax on the beaches in San Juan.
|Metro Batangas (Batangas City, Bauan, Lobo, Mabini, San Pascual, Tingloy)|
Contains Batangas City, the administrative, cultural, educational, industrial, and political capital, as well as its suburbs. Not far from the city is Mabini, popular as a diving destination.
|Taal Lake Area (Agoncillo, Alitagtag, Balete, Cuenca, Laurel, Lipa, Malvar, Mataasnakahoy, San Nicolas, Santa Teresita, Talisay, Tanauan)|
Its main tourist magnet is the Taal Lake and Volcano, the world's smallest volcano, and the province's symbol. Other tourist draws are the Lipa Cathedral, inland resorts, Padre Pio Shrine, Mabini Shrine and Mount Maculot. Here also lies the city of Lipa, the largest city and religious center of the province.
|Western Batangas (Balayan, Calatagan, Calaca, Lemery, Lian, Nasugbu, San Luis, Taal, Tuy)|
Mostly coastal and flat, it is home to beaches and luxurious resorts, colorful festivals, and a glimpse of its colonial past. You may explore the historic town of Taal, or relax in the seaside resorts in Nasugbu, Lian, and Calatagan.
Cities and municipalities
- 1 Batangas City - Provincial, educational and cultural capital, and major seaport.
- 2 Lipa - Commercial capital of the province, known for kapeng barako coffee and religious sites. It is unofficially nicknamed the "Rome of the Philippines".
- 3 Mabini - Diving spots not far from Manila
- 4 Nasugbu - Luxury resorts and mountains, as well as a glimpse of the local sugarcane industry.
- 5 Santo Tomas - Northern gateway city, home to a shrine for St. Padre Pio
- 6 San Jose - The "Egg Basket of the Philippines", it is small agricultural town along the old highway between Lipa and Batangas City.
- 7 San Juan - A small town at the border of Quezon, the rural municipality around it has a white beach and a growing number of seaside resorts.
- 8 Taal - a historic town known for its heritage houses, the Basilica of St. Martin of Tours, and its butterfly knives (balisong)
- 9 Tanauan - Hometown of Apolinario Mabini.
- 1 Taal Volcano - An active volcano, noted as an example of "a lake with a volcano with a lake", a provincial symbol, and a recognized natural monument. It is generally reached via Tagaytay in neighboring Cavite province, but the volcano and surrounding lake are in Batangas province.
Batangas had long been inhabited by the Tagalog before the Spaniards arrived. Today, it has become one of the richest provinces of the Philippines, and has benefited from tourism and foreign investment. Its beaches and resorts are the main draw, but there are also many historical sites, cultural attractions and religious sites. Being not far from Manila, Batangas gets a lot of visitors.
What is now Batangas started as two pre-Hispanic kingdoms, Kumintang and the sultanate of Balayan. The Spaniards first arrived in the 16th century, and recreated the two as the provinces of Balayan and Bonbon, which were eventually merged into Batangas. The original capital was in Taal (then Bonbon), but was moved to what is now Batangas City after the deadly 1755 Taal Volcano eruption. The name "Batangas" derives from the Tagalog word batangan, a reference to the logs used to create rafts used to cross the Kumintang River.
Batangas has a tropical wet and dry climate, but this depends on where you are in the province. Western Batangas has a dry climate, while eastern Batangas has a wetter climate and the rest of the province, including the major cities, lie in between. It can be sunny in Nasugbu, while it may rain in San Juan in the same day.
The province has a population of 3 million in 2020. It is a Tagalog region, but there is a significant Bicolano and Visayan minority, many being migrants from Cebu. Batangas City has significant numbers of Chinese Filipinos and Muslims, mostly integrated into the local community. Batangas residents are called Batangueños, and speak a distinctive dialect of Tagalog.
The culture of Batangas is distinctive from its other Tagalog neighbors, as it preserves old Tagalog traditions that have disappeared elsewhere, and so, the province is the cradle of Tagalog culture. Many Batangueños live in large households, distinct from other Tagalogs which have embraced the nuclear family. The Tagalog dialect spoken in the province has a peculiar accent and preserves some vocabulary inherited from the ancient Tagalog language but now archaic in most dialects (including the standard Manila dialect).
Batangueños are known as the "hybrid" Tagalog, who proudly defend their distinctive culture. They are friendly, welcoming and hardworking, but they can be as fierce as a bull when angered.
The population is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic; religion is integral in everyday life, locals are noted for their devotional practices, Mass attendance remains high, and Batangueños are mostly socially conservative. All that said, many Batangueños continue to practice aspects of the pre-Hispanic religion, such as the rainmaking dance called subli which has been integrated into Roman Catholic devotions. Batangueños (and the Tagalog in general) consider Mount Maculot in Cuenca as sacred, and superstitions continue to be taken seriously.
Batangas is traditionally a politically conservative province by Filipino standards, but this is relative, with the province's high level of development. Batangueños are economically liberal but socially conservative and environmentalist.
- 2 Batangas Provincial Tourism Office, Capitol Site, Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City, ☏ . 8AM-5PM daily.
Most of Batangas are reached by bus from the rest of CALABARZON.
From Manila, there are multiple operators, with ALPS the Bus, Ceres/Gold Star, DLTB and JAM Liner the largest. As of 2021, buses only depart from Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) south of Manila and near Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The Manila-Batangas routes are one of the busiest bus routes, with departures at approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.
From Quezon Province, two companies have routes headed for Batangas: Supreme Transport, which plies the Batangas City-Lucena City route with economy class buses, and P&O Transport, on the daily Batangas City-Tagkawayan route using a deluxe bus stopping only at major cities and towns.
From the other islands of the Philippines, buses take the ferry, with a stop at Batangas port, before continuing onward to Manila via the expressway or through slower routes along the older highways.
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).
Numerous ferry routes connect Batangas with Mindoro and the other islands of the country.
- Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ferries forming the Nautical Highway system serve the Batangas-Abra de Ilog and Batangas-Calapan routes, both taking 2½ hours.
- Ferries also connect with Romblon, Roxas City and Caticlan port near Boracay.
Bus services serve most of Batangas's largest cities and towns, plying the province's primary highways except most places along Route 4.
- BSC has one route plying Batangas City – Nasugbu every hour
- JAM operates the Batangas City-Lipa (via STAR) and Lipa–Lemery routes.
- Supreme's Batangas City–Lucena route serves the largest towns of eastern Batangas along Routes 435 and Route 422.
The province has an extensive network of national roads, as well as provincial roads. STAR 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, but parking is most often hard to find in most cities and towns.
The key routes are:
- Route 4: Mostly named the Jose P. Laurel Highway (often shortened to J.P. Laurel), it connects all the established cities in the province. While its importance waned with the opening of STAR, it still remains congested, especially at Lipa.
- Route 433: The main link between Lipa, Lemery and Taal, and western Batangas in general. It is mostly straight and flat, except for a winding section at the foot of Mount Maculot, and is also the main street of Cuenca
- Route 435: Officially the Batangas–Quezon Road, it links Batangas City with eastern Batangas, and onward to Quezon Province. It is quite narrow, with most segments passing through towns. At Rosario, the major town served by the route, it links to Route 422 (Rosario-San Juan Road), which leads to San Juan and also onward to Quezon Province.
- Route 436: Officially the Palico–Balayan–Batangas Road, it serves as the main east-west route connecting Metro Batangas with western Batangas. It starts at Nasugbu, passing by Balayan, Calaca, Lemery, Taal and ending at Batangas City. At Lemery and Taal, it is a congested main street of those towns; a bypass to the north provides an alternate route.
There are also numerous provincial roads, some of them the only main route to some towns. Most of these are narrow, and have a lot of tricycles and slow traffic. A lot of these roads are in poor repair.
Batangas City and Lipa have extensive jeepney route networks, serving nearby suburbs as well as some towns farther afield. Jeepneys are the only practical way to travel without a car to the towns along Route 4 (where most intercity buses take STAR), as well as to the resorts at Mabini.
Most cities and towns have tricycle service within their town center and between rural barangays.
Batangas is a Tagalog-speaking province, but features a distinctive dialect called Batangas Tagalog, also called Batangueño or less commonly Batangan, also spoken in parts of Laguna and Quezon Province, and most of Mindoro. Batangueño retains many features of ancient Tagalog in terms of grammar, accent, and vocabulary, which are also shared by Tayabas Tagalog (Tayabasin), which are collectively known as the southern Tagalog dialects. Some of these features are:
- A distinct set of prefixes and suffixes to form words. Na- (as opposed to standard -um) is used to form the present tense or perfective form of verbs (e.g. nakain nuh-KAH-en "eating"), and a common butt of jokes from speakers of standard or Manila Tagalog. Pagka-, similar to Spanish -ísimo/a is used for the absolutive form of adjectives, which is absent in all other Tagalog dialects (e.g. pagkaganda pug-kuh-GAHN-dah "so/very/most beautiful").
- The distinctive Batangueño accent, usually marked by the "closed syllable" in some words, where a consonant on one (usually the last) syllable moves into the previous one, and replaced by a glottal stop. For example, gabi ("night") is pronounced in Batangas as gahb-EH (with a glottal stop before the i sound) as against the standard gah-BEH. This also manifests in the Batangueño spelling, where the glottal stop is written with a hyphen or em-dash (e.g. gab-i).
- The interchanging of e and i, and o and u, similar to Visayan languages. Unlike with speakers of Visayan languages, this generally does not manifest when Batangueños speak in English.
- The use of ho instead of po to indicate politeness.
- The use of sila (see-LAH) as a polite third-person pronoun, similar to Italian lei. For example, Sino ho sila? may mean "Who are you?" if you are older than the speaker.
- Divergent vocabulary, carrying on from ancient Tagalog, e.g. guyam GOO-yahm for "ant" (standard langgam), hawot HUH-woht for "dried fish" (standard tuyo), hinaw HEE-now for "wash hands" (standard hugas ng kamay), mabanas mah-buh-NAS for "hot" (standard mainit), tubal for "laundry" (standard maruming damit). Some of these have cognates in other Philippine or Austronesian languages (e.g. hinaw is cognate with Cebuano hunaw and Bikol hanaw, mabanas with Malay and Indonesian panas)
- Demonstratives such as are/ire ("this") and dini ("here"), instead of the standard ito and dito.
- The interjection ala eh!, similar to Tayabasin hane and Marinduqueño ngani. Eh, as a particle, is also commonly used to end a sentence, like the similarly spelled and used but unrelated Canadian English expression.
Batangueños customarily shun code-switching, but this is becoming less common, especially on large cities like Batangas City and Lipa, and towns along STAR. People who can only speak Batangueño are most common in the most conservative areas of western Batangas. Most Batangueños, by the way, can also speak in standard Tagalog or Filipino and English, but may speak with an accent.
- 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.
The province is very busy during the school vacation between March and June, particularly during Holy Week. The rainy season drench the province beginning as early as May and ending no later than November, but it will not keep you from exploring.
The coastal regions has an active beach and diving scene, concentrated in western Batangas, but if peak season bothers you, there are other seaside destinations as well. Inland resorts with swimming pools, some with slides, are another option, if you want to escape the crowds.
The province provides many destinations for history buffs; most towns have old downtowns with houses and churches deserving a mention. Taal is one major destination for historical travel, but the larger cities of Batangas and Lipa also provide cultural and historical options.
- The barong tagalog, a type of shirt used as formal wear for men.
- Batangas is famous for the balisong knife, commonly called butterfly knives outside of the country. They are illegal in many countries, so if you buy one you risk having problems at Customs, perhaps even being prosecuted.
- 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 (pork sausage) and tapa made in Taal, the achara of Calaca, and bagoong of Balayan.
- 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.
The Batangueños culinary scene is dominated by both Filipino and Chinese cuisine, and the province has its contributions to the Philippine culinary scene, such as lomi, goto, tawilis, maliputo, bulalo and tamales.
What to eat
- 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
- 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
- tamales of rhemars in Ibaan batangas.
if you want a refreshing drink, try the mura coconut juice. It is coconut juice with young coconut meat, really good when served very cold and mixed with condensed milk for sweetness.
Try lambanog from San Juan town. It's a local wine made from sugarcane.
Batangas and neighbouring Cavite Province both have a local coffee variant called kapeng barako.
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.
Temperatures don't reach beyond 37 °C (99 °F), but the heat index can soar. Always have sun protection when on the beach. Weather is very changeable during the hot dry and wet seasons, and it's possible to be sunny and rainy within the same day. Heavy downpours are common, but flooding is less of a concern. Typhoons are possible to hit Batangas from June to October.
Roads outside STAR Tollway, in the province are of medium to high quality, but can be narrow, with houses encroaching the shoulder. Driving habits can be unnerving, and motorcyclists are suicidal; many road accident deaths in the provinces are due to impaired driving or dangerous overtaking especially by motorcyclists.
Tricycles are readily available from hotels or bars to transport terminals and vice versa in Batangas City, but watch out for unscrupulous drivers who overcharge. Trips by tricycle from the east and west sides of the Calumpang River are notorious for scam attempts during evening hours when jeepneys are at short supply. Better take a jeepney if possible.
Petty crime is rare in the province generally, but watch out when staying in the cities, especially if you look touristy. Pickpocketing at jeepneys is possible during rush hour.
There is risk from Taal Volcano, roughly at the center of the province. Destructive earthquakes are rare, but can happen. In 2017, an earthquake off Mabini has damaged some structures around the Metro Batangas area and some coastal towns to the west, including historical churches such as the Taal Basilica and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception; the former having masonry falling off its façade and the latter being closed for six months for repairs.
The key cities and municipalities have good coverage of hospitals and clinics, as well as pharmacies and drug stores. Elsewhere, they are spotty.
Dengue fever is a concern, especially during the rainy season from June to September. Vaccine against dengue is available, but because of health concerns and ongoing controversy, 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 vaccine 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.
By and large, Batangueños are relaxed over their Manila counterparts and they usually don't take themselves very seriously, but common jokes or stereotypes about Batangueños or the province from Manileños are not welcome. Batangueños are proud of their province, prosperity and culture.
Common superstitions are taken more seriously in Batangas, and many Batangueños still believe in mythical creatures like goblins (nuno) living around termite mounds, and mermaids (sirena) and mermen (shokoy) at the beach. Mt Maculot in Cuenca is considered sacred for the Tagalog.
Batangueños are more modest in terms of dress, and wearing smart casual is advisable anywhere in the province except in the beaches or large cities. Churches or religious sites strictly enforce dress codes, and you may be required to wear a shawl or sarong if you are dressed immodestly.
Unlike in other Tagalog areas, kinship titles are less used outside family circles, so, don't always expect your friends will call you kuya (KOO-yuh, "big. brother"), ate (UH-tay, "big sister"), etc., or the other way around. General Tagalog honorifics still applies, despite the dialectal differences.
Visa renewals can be done at the Bureau of Immigration office in Batangas City, minutes away from the port.
Many travellers transit through Batangas City 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.