Things to Do in Balanga, Philippines

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Formerly a scenic landscape of Abucay, Balanga is the capital city of Bataan. The term “Balanga” originates from “banga” and translates to “clay pot,” which the town used to produce. Balanga is in the eastern division of Bataan province at the southwestern zone of Central Luzon. Commencing from the Mariveles Mountains, the city snakes its reach from the southwest to the northeast. It borders Manila Bay on the east and Bagac and Morong Mountains to the west. From Manila, it is only two hours by car or three hours by bus.

With approximate arrivals of only 27,000 in 2009, Balanga had almost tripled in terms of tourist arrivals by 2012, reaching the 84,000 mark—and it is still growing today. This is evidence of how the destination has grown to become a charming town for visitors. Truly, there is a magnetic pull for both locals and internationals alike. From the local culture to natural endowments, Balanga has plenty to offer, and it has emerged as a vacation destination of choice for the discerning traveler. Considering the Balanga City Wetland and Nature Park, The Surrender Site, The Plaza Mayor, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral, there are a lot of things for a vacationer in this town to exhaust in a single visit.

Balanga City Wetland and Nature Park

In the Philippines, this has emerged as the newest destination for tourists. It serves as the first park in the country to offer nature as an outdoor teaching aid and recreational museum for its visitors. As an adventurer, you will enjoy bird watching. In fact, the residents have a local bird festival called “Ibong Dayo Festival.” You cannot imagine the excitement of the event should you align your holiday with the festivity. Tourists also get involved in a spectrum of other activities in this park that include stargazing, kite flying, boat riding, jogging, walking, and a site for family bonding, among others.

The Surrender Site/Diwa ng Bataan Marker

This is a monument that marks the actual place where, after three months of blockade, both American and Filipino battalions were delivered to a Japanese Imperial Army on April 9, 1942. Over 75,000 soldiers endured the horrors of the death walk. Both students and the lovers of history find this an exciting site, a must-see in Balanga.

Fall of Bataan

At the Capital Compound in Balanga City, you will find this landmark. It reminds you of the strong and undying bond of comradeship and collaboration between the US and the Philippines. The symbol was sealed with blood by the valiant citizens and troops of the US and the Philippines who died fighting to safeguard democracy. This is also another site that draws many visitors throughout the year.

St. Joseph Cathedral

The Cathedral is a remarkable place to go. It resurrects the memories of the past as you get to know its history. Ironically, somehow the Japanese used the site to bombard Mount Samat, and the Filipino and American brigades lost the battle.

The Plaza Mayor

This is a town square of Balanga. Hispanic in style, the square is the most beautiful and stunning plaza in the whole of the Philippines. It evokes images of the Salamanca Plaza in Spain for those who have been there. Travel consultants will tell you that in the late afternoon when the sun is nearing the horizon, it is the best time to go and see the Plaza. From the rooftop of The Plaza Hotel Balanga, one gets some of the best views of the Plaza. The hotel, the Balanga Cathedral, and the Galleria Victoria Mall also form part of the Plaza. With Balanga being a high-tech city with Wi-Fi internet connections available, it has become a “wow” place. The Plaza has benefited in the process with enormous LED televisions that lure many to the site.

Mount Samat National Shrine

On your way to Bagac from Balanga is the Mount Samat National Shrine landmark. Tourists enjoy the artifacts found in the museum. There is also a monument and an enormous cross with viewing decks at the arms. Climbing the steps through the monument to the cross is an exercise itself that travelers enjoy.

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