Savor a slice of paradise in the many seaside towns and villages. Dive into the depths of Anilao, Batangas’ very own underwater Eden. Swin and dive into the tropical waters of Verde Island Passage, described as the center of the world’s marine biodiversity. Frolic on Laiya Aplaya, San Juan town’s famous stretch of white sand beach, and hop around the many offshore islets.
Imbibe a bit of the rich history and cultural heritage of the province. See the sights around the different towns, where historical landmarks, shrines and museums display the memorabilia of many heroic sons and daughters of Batangas. Travel back in time at the Taal Heritage Village and marvel as the well-preserved ancestral houses dating back to the Spanish colonial era. Visit the many centuries old churches, each one architecturally awe-inspiring.
Indeed, a multi-faceted beauty, Batangas never ceases to catch the eye of the discerning visitor with its many charms and wonderful surprises.
The province of Batangas , just a few hours away by land from Metro Manila, presents an eyeful of discoveries for the traveler, Batangas City, the bustling capital of the province, is the center of commerce and the seat of governance. Known as the Industrial Port City of CALABARZON, Batangas City is one of the fastest urbanizing cities in the country today. Its international caliber port facilities serve as the focal point of both international and inter-island trade and commerce.
Get a healthy dose of nature. Explore the small wonder that is the Taal Volcano, surrounded by the mysterious depths of Taal Lake. Trek Volcano Island, or take on other mountains in the province, explore the many waterfalls, and enjoy the rich flora and fauna. The countryside is verdant with coconut plantations, mango orchards and coffee farms. Take a tour and experience the activities and lifestyle of the rural folk. Sample the local brews: rich Batangas coffee known as kapeng barako, and the potent coconut fire-water called lambanog.
Batangas, about 110 kilometers south of Manila, is easily accessible by land transportation. The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) is the main artery connecting Metro Manila to the 32 municipalities and three cities of Batangas. From the SLEX, take the Calamba exit, then proceed along the provincial highway until you reach the first town in Batangas, which is Sto. Tomas, and the nearby Tanauan City.
Travelers can take the Southern Tagalog Access Road or STAR a 43-kilometer extension of the SLEX that makes the drive that much smoother and traffic-free. The STAR leads to the major cities of Lipa and Batangas, the provincial capital. Batangas City has an international port where ferries and ships connect the province to Mindoro and other island provinces in the south.
Another route is via the Coastal Road, which winds alongside Manila Bay and through the towns of Cavite. The way to Batangas then continues along Aguinaldo Highway to Tagaytay City. From here, the road leads to the towns around Taal Lake, and further west to the resort towns of Nasugbu, Lian, Calatagan and other coastal areas.
The well-developed highway and road network in the CALABARZON Region links Batangas with its neighboring provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Quezon. Major bus companies in Metro Manila ply the roads to and around CALABARZON on a regular basis. Terminals are located along Buendia and Taft Avenues in Manila, at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, and along EDSA in Pasay City.
A Slice of Paradise
Anilao, Mabini A world-famous dive destination, the coastal village of Anilao has many sites worthy of any discriminating diver. The Cathedral is a giant rock formation at about 450 feet that looks like an underwater amphitheater. Seeded and restored with coral from other sites, it is home to throngs of eager fish waiting to be fed by visiting divers. Another site is Caban Cove, with plenty of small tropical fish and an interesting drop-off good for shallow dives. Layag-Layag Point has crystal clear water and coral heads teeming with marine life.
Matabungkay Beach, Lian A two-km long white sand beach facing the China Sea, Matabungkay is ideal for water sports, such as swimming, boating, yachting, fishing and snorkeling. Dotting the shoreline are several summer cottages and resorts.
Munting Buhangin and Natipunan Beach, Nasugbu The small cove of Munting Buhangin, a name that translates to “small sand,” is a favorite haunt of local and foreign tourists, and offers water enthusiasts a fine stretch of powdery white sand fringed with foamy blue waters. Natipuan Beach lies in a sandy cove with refreshing waters ideal for swimming.
Laiya-Aplaya and Hugon Beaches, San Juan San Juan town is fast becoming known as a premier area in Batangas with its sparkling stretches of white sand beach. The seaside village of Laiya-Aplaya is especially popular with its many beach cottages and dive resorts. Mahabang Buhangin Beach, which translates to “long sand,” also boasts a cave and a living colony of corals offshore. The beach in Barangay Hugon has white sand with a sandy bottom littered with smooth rocks ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Apart from its beaches, San Juan offers divers the best coral reefs and rich colonies of marine life offshore.
Sombrero Island, Maricaban The island resembles the shape of a hat. Underwater, it is shallow along the rim, down to about 50 feet. Another interesting site in the Mabini area is Batalan, a marvelous location for underwater photography because of its varied coral formations and abundant fish life.
Tingloy, Maricaban Island Merriel’s Rock and Papaya Point are interesting locations just off the town of Tingloy on Maricaban Island. The wide variety of corals and numerous reef fish are enough to fascinate even a marine biologist.
Mainit Hot Spring, San Juan Located ideally at the foot of a mountain with thick vegetation, Mainit Hot Spring offers therapeutic mineral waters and a refreshing dip for bathers.
A Healthy Dose of Nature
Taal Lake and Volcano One of Southern Luzon’s centerpiece attractions Taal Lake and Volcano can be reached through the lakeshore towns such as Talisay, San Nicolas, Agoncillo and Laurel. Known to be the smallest active volcano in the world, Taal Volcano is surrounded by a lake on a 8.8-km islet, itself lapped by a 27-km long lake. Both the lake and the volcano are situated within the crater of an extinct volcano. Adventurers can trek and explore the many geological features on Volcano Island.
Talisay One of the major jump-off points to Volcano Island, the town of Talisay has a number of resorts and a yacht club with facilities for sailing, kayaking, boat rental and camping in tents or in native cabanas by the lake.
Mt. Maculot, Cuenca One of the highest and most prominent peaks in the province. Mt. Maculot is a favorite with local mountain trekkers. It is said to have been the last stronghold of the Japanese Imperial Army. Several tunnels built by the Japanese soldiers are found in the area.
Verde Island Passage Described as the center of the world’s marine biodiversity by a joint research group from the American Smithsonian Institute, Verde Island Passage is an underwater wonderland. Accessible by pump-boat from Batangas City, the area is characterized by spectacular reef formations of more than 300 species of corals, and underwater rock canyons that host nearly 60 percent of the world’s shore-fish species.
Calijon Falls, Malvar Two major falls and two smaller ones make up this attraction. One of the bigger falls is about 10 meters high, with clear water rushing down to a shallow pool. The two smaller waterfalls form a series of small cascades and showers.
Ilijan Falls, Batangas City Ilijan’s waters originate from a big spring on top of a mountain and cascade gracefully down a series of bowl -shaped stone pools. The seven huge pools carved naturally from the rock face look like a beautifully arranged flight of stairs.
Calatagan Peninsula Surrounded by the South China Sea on one side and Balayan Bay on the other, the Calatagan Peninsula is a popular weekend retreat of Manila’s well-to-do, who frequent the resorts and vacation homes lining the scenic coast. There is also a small market where fresh seafood can be bought directly from local fishermen.
A Taste of Arts and Heritage
Taal Heritage Village, Taal Taal reigns as one of the most architecturally preserved sites of the Spanish colonial era in the Southern Tagalog region. The quaint and picturesque town showcases beautiful Antillean and art deco period homes, as well as old churches and historical landmarks associated with many key events of the Philippine Revolution of 1896-1898. It is also the embroidery capital of the region, with many skilled artisans producing delicately embroidered native cloth in fine, intricate designs.
Casa de Segunda Katigbak, 198 Calle Rizal, Lipa City The ancestral home of a prominent local family, the Casa is a typical Spanish colonial structure that has been adapted to tropical climes. It is named after Segunda Katigbak, reputedly the first love of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. It has been designated as a “heritage house” by the National Historical Institute for having harbored generations of artists, poets, and persons of learning and distinction.
Apolinario Mabini Shrine, Tanauan City The shrine houses the remains and personal memorabilia of the revolutionary hero known as the “Sublime Paralytic” and the “Brains of the Katipunan.” Mabini’s moral convictions and political principles inspired the Filipinos in their search for national identity.
Marcela Agoncillo Historical Landmark, Taal The birthplace of Marcella Agoncillo is now a shrine honoring the woman who sewed the first official Filipino flag during the Philippine Revolution. Displayed here are the different flags of the Revolution, and the family’s collection of memorabilia.
Gen. Miguel Malvar Museum and Library, Sto. Tomas Named after the last Filipino general to surrender to the Americans, this national landmark is a repository of the general’s memorabilia. It also houses a collection of oil paintings belonging to the family.
Laurel Park and Plaza Mabini, Batangas City Situated at the Provincial Capitol, Laurel Park is distinguished by a landmark bronze sculpture by noted Filipino artist Ed Castrillo. The park boasts a Multi-Purpose Center with sports courts and facilities for seminars and meetings. Plaza Mabini, situated in the Poblacion, is a landscaped oasis. The tree-lined park with its fountains, benches and gazebo is a favorite picnic and leisure area.
Jose P. Laurel Memorial Library, Tanauan City On A. Mabini Street is the former residence of the late President Jose P. Laurel, who served as head of state during the Japanese occupation. Now a historical site and public library, the house contains personal effects and a collection of memorabilia.
Special Interest Activities
Leisure and Sports
Trek across Volcano Island to Taal Volcano or take on the many mountains that tower over the province. Visit a coconut plantation, a mango orchard or a coffee farm and immense yourself in farm activities and the rural lifestyle.
Spend a relaxing vacation by the seaside resorts of Nasugbu, Calatagan, Mabini, Bauan, Lobo and San Juan towns. Explore the underwater world of Anilao, a world famous dive site. Hire a boat to visit outlying island in Balayan Bay, Batangas Bay and the Verde Island Passage. Facilities for diving, snorkeling, wakeboarding, windsurfing, jetskiing and island hoppin are available at many resort establishments.
For an alternate kind of relaxation and wellness experience, sign up for a stay at The Farm at San Benito in Lipa City. Here, visitors can avail of wellness treatments that rejuvenate and energize the whole being amidst meditative spa atmosphere.
Visitors can tee off on a great game of golf at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, at the Evercrest Golf Club and Resort in Nasugbu, Batangas, or at the Calatagan Golf Club, which holds the distinction of being located within an arboretum planted with over 3,000 species of local and foreign trees.
Hotels, inns and lodges in key cities and towns provides simple amenities for a quick countryside getaway. Coastal towns offer a wide range of accomodations: from coze and reasonably priced cottages with basic conveniences, to plush resorts with all the trappings of a luxury seaside hotel. Many resorts also provide water sports equipment and motorized boats for rent. Conference facilities are also available in the bigger resort establishments.
Batangas beef is considered the choicest and tastiest in the country. Enjoy a meal of steaming rice with the Batangas specialty dish mouthwatering bulalo or bone marrow soup, available at the many restaurants in the province. Also sample some kare-kare, the famous oxtail stew cooked in peanut sauce. Add a side dish of tangy green mangoes with the perfect condiment bagoong or shrimp paste from the town of Balayan.
For dessert, try the crunchy panutsa (peanuts cooked in molasses), the native rice cakes of Tanauan, or preserved sampalok (tamarind) fruit. Finish your native meal with a cup of robust barako coffee, or a swig of heady lambanog.
The town of Taal is renowned for its exquisitely embroidered pina and jusi cloths, used to make native-style formal wear such as the barong Tagalog for men and the baro’t saya for women. These delicate cloths are also made into bed and table linen, hanckerchiefs, and other items.
Souvenir and crafts shops in Batangas also carry a wide variety of handmade decor items crafted from rattan, bamboo and wood. Tropical fruits, vegetables and other produce can be bought at markets and wayside stalls. Take home a pack of Batangas coffee, regarded as one of the best-tasting coffees in the world. Another popular drink of the province is the bitingly sweet fermented coconut liquor known as lambanog and their homemade cutlery or knives called “Balisong.”
Taal Heritage Village
- Batangas Memorial Foundation Museum and Library Relics of a glorious past are displayed in this 18th century house on V. Ilustre Street that serves as the Batangas Memorial Foundation Museum and Library. The house has endured two world wars and has undergone two major renovations in 1870 and 1940 to attain its present state.
- Ilagan Ancestral House Marcela Agoncillo Street A well preserved residential structure constructed in the late Spanish period the house is still used by the descendants as a private residence. Visitors can be accomodated only by special arrangement with the owners.
- Leon Apacible Historical Landmark The ancestral house of Leon Apacible, one of the heroes of the revolution, now serves as a historical shrine that displays the personal effects of the hero along with his family’s collection of memorabilia.
- Basilica of San Martin de Tours, Taal Reputedly patterned after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Basilica was constructed in 1859 to honor the town patron whose feast is celebrated every November. The church, with its theatrically baroque facade silver tabernacle and richly complex design features, is an interesting study for architectural enthusiasts.
- Our Lady of Caysasay Church and Shrine, Taal Beside the Basilica of Our Lady of Caysasay Church, repository of Batangas Province’s many distinctive cultural artifacts from the Spanish colonial period. Among these relics is the 27-cm high image of the Virgin of Caysasay, which was fished out of the waters of Batangas in 1603.
- Santa Lucia Wells, Taal Connecting the Taal Church and Caysasay Shrine is a flight ot 123 rough-hewn marble steps branching off on a path to the Santa Lucia Wells. The site used to be a brook where the Virgin of Caysasay was believed to have performed miracles. Water from theses wells is believed to be curative.
- Escuela Pia, Taal Standing prominently in the town plaza is the Escuela Pia, a centuries old Spanish vintage edifice that used to serve as an educational institution during Spanish times.
Ligpo Island located on the western coast of Bauan, Ligpo Island is rich in coral formations of different types and huge gorgonians abound in the area.
Punta de Santiago Lighthouse, Calatagan Built in 1890, it is one of the earliest lighthouses that still functions up to the present.
Sepok Point, Marikaban Island Located on the northwestern part of Maricaban Island, Sepok Point has white sand shores typical of a tropical cove; it is a good place for swimming and snorkeling. There are good dive sites offshore. There is a cave at 125 feet, accessed by a tunnel, which makes for challenging adventure. There are excellent coral formations, abundant pelagic fish, and other outstanding photographic opportunities.
Verde Island An island off the southern shores of Batangas mainland, Verde Island has an extensive stretch of shoreline with a ribbon of fine white sand also called Mahabang Buhangin. At Tinalunan, wind-tossed waves surge against rocky cliffs supporting a long plateau. From atop the plateau, catch a breathtaking view of the surrounding seascape. Cueva Sitio is ideal for picnics. Its main attraction is a rock shelter that provides cool shade. The most popular dive sites offshore are the drop-offs found at 300 feet, and the remains of a Spanish galleon that ran around in 1620.
Other Churches to Visit
Batangas has many churches worth visiting, among them: the Church of San Jose, Tanauan Church, the Church of San Guillermo in Talisay, the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Bauan, and the San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa City.
- San Sebastian Library of the Arts, Lipa City The San Sebastian Library of the Arts opened its doors on February 10, 1996 starting with a modest collection of art books and memorabilia donated by Mr. Danilo Dolor, a prominent Batangueno and patron of the arts.
- Carmelite Convent, Lipa City A popular site for the devotees of the Virgin Mary, this convent of the Contemplative Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was the site of a mysterious “shower of petals” to a visionary nun after World War II.
Cities and towns in Batangas and their approx. distance in km from Manila
Agoncillo 120 Alitagtag 140 Balayan 106 Balete 92 Batangas City 111 Bauan 126 Calaca 117
Calatagan 115 Cuenca 86 Ibaan 110 Laurel 104 Lemery 129 Lian 100 Lipa City 78 Lobo 143
Mabini 140 Malvar 72 Mataas-na-Kahoy 82 Nasugbu 102 Padre Garcia 90 Rosario 96 San Jose 96
San Juan 115 San Luis 108 San Nicolas 120 San Pascual 118 Sta. Teresita 137 Sto. Tomas 65 Taal 130
Talisay 84 Tanauan City 68 Taysan 105 Tuy 98