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Exploring Batangas

Batangas is a province south of Manila and a popular tourist destination with Filipinos from the capital, just a couple of hours’ drive away. Here, visitors will find colonial heritage towns, mountains, a volcano island, great beaches, and beautiful tropical islands.

Batangas is the heartland of the Tagalog culture. The national language, Filipino, is based on Tagalog. It is for this reason that many regard Batangueno Tagalog to be the purest form of the language. To this day, there are still some Tagalog words used in Batangas which are incomprehensible to those living outside of the province.

The province has a long history predating the arrival of European colonizers to the archipelago. Archaeological evidence shows that the people of the early settlements here traded with Chinese, Indian, and Japanese seafarers as far back as the 13th century. When the Spaniards arrived from the newly established colonies in the south, Batangas was their access point for the rest of Luzon mainland and they established a colony which is today known as the town of Taal.

Sights nearby

A popular weekend getaway for city-dwellers, Batangas has a wealth of great tourist attractions and offers a good number of outdoor activities.

Taal town
The colonial town of Taal has preserved its Spanish heritage buildings. The foremost of these structures is the Basilica de San Martin de Tours. First built in 1575, the basilica is one of the largest Catholic churches in the Philippines and Asia. It is important as the home of a 17th century image of the Virgin Mary called the Nuestra Señora de Casaysay. The basilica’s bell tower is noteworthy as it is said to house the largest bell in the country.

Taal volcano
A big attraction in Batangas is the active volcano island of Taal. Often compared to a Russian doll, this scenic volcano is located within an inland lake. Within the crater is a lake. Visiting the volcanic island is possible via boat. From here, visitors can trek up to the crater. Accommodation in the area includes the charming Club Balai Isabel in Talisay.

Beaches and mountains
The dry summer months of April and May form part of the high season here as many people from the capital drive to Batangas’s beaches. One popular beach town is Nasugbu, an area in the west with nice sandy beaches and a number of resorts. Nasugbu is also the site of a national park which is home to Mount Pico de Loro, a mountain that is popular with weekend trekkers and mountaineers alike. Those looking to stay in Nasugbu for the night can book a room at Canyon Cove Resort. South of Nasugbu is the peninsula of Calatagan, also a prime destination for those interested in beaches. Batangas’s other peninsula, located east of Calatagan (Mabini Peninsula), is also a recommended destination for beach resorts. Anilao in Mabini is a great destination for diving and snorkelling.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Dining in the restaurants of Batangas means savoring traditional foods in the Tagalog heartland. Taal Bayview Bistro, located in Taal town, features on its menu fried tawilis, a small freshwater fish lightly breaded and deep fried, and kalderetang kambing, which is goat casserole. Kilawin, a local type of ceviche, is another dish that is worth trying in Batangas's seafood restaurants. The commercial centres of Batangas city, the provincial capital, and that of Taal town are the best places to shop in Batangas. Visitors are encouraged to buy local snack souvenir items like macapuno (sweetened coconut) and panutsa (sweetened peanuts).

Public transport

Access to Batangas is via two roads, depending on which part of the province you wish to visit. Those intending to go to Calamba, Lipa, and the coastal capital of Batangas city can take the South Luzon Expressway from Manila, the most convenient access route to the central and eastern portions of the province. Those heading to the beaches of Nasugbu and Calatagan in the west may use the Emilio Aguinaldo Highway which passes through Tagaytay city. Either way, the drive should not take more than three hours.