Bataan peninsula is located southwards from the
western shores of central Luzon, forming the enclosed and well-sheltered
Manila Bay to the east that is nearly cut off from the open China
Sea in the west. The narrow outlet separates the peninsula from
Corregidor Island and Cavite to the south. The provinces of Zambales
and Pampanga form common boundaries to the north. About 80% of Bataan
is mountainous or hilly with Mount Mariveles and Mount Natib dominating
the interior. Most of the agricultural portion of Bataan is in the
north and east. The province experiences two pronounced seasons;
dry from November until April and the wet from May to October. During
World War II it was the scene of heavy fighting between Allied and
Japanese forces from January 6, 1942, to April 9, 1942. Bataan fell
to Japan on April 9 and was retaken by an American force on February
Several villages in the coastal plains of Bataan were already thriving
communities when Spanish missionaries found them in the 1570s. Bataan,
then known as Vatan, was part of the vast Capampangan Empire that
included what now are the provinces of Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac,
and some portions of Bulacan, Zambales and Pangasinan, These coastal
villages were inhabited by natives who were predominantly fishermen,
farmers and craftsmen. Meanwhile, the hillsides were inhabited by
nomadic Aeta tribes.
Bataan was established in 1754 by Governor General Pedro Manuel
Arandia. Before this, the region was divided into two parts: the
Corregimiento of Mariveles and the Province of Pampanga. The towns
of Mariveles, Bagac, Morong and Maragondon, Cavite comprised the
Corregimiento of Mariveles that was under the jurisdiction of the
Recollect Order of the Roman Catholic Church. The province of Pampanga
included the towns of Orion, Pilar, Balanga, Abucay, Samal, Orani,
Llana Hermosa and San Juan de Dinalupihan. The latter group was
under the charge of the Dominican Order. Limay, the twelfth town
of Bataan, was named only in 1917.
Long before the outbreak of Word War II, Bataan already earned herself
a secure place in the history of the Philippines. The prince of
Filipino printers, Tomas Pinpin, a native of Abucay, who either
authored or co-authored some of the oldest books in the Philippines
and printed them himself between 1610 to 1639 in the printing press
located inside the Abucay Catholic Church. In 1647, the plundering
Dutch Naval forces were resisted in Bataan, the defenders ultimately
chose the glory of death to the ignominy of surrender.
Bataan was among the first provinces to rise in revolt against Spanish
tyranny. Two of her sons, Pablo Tecson and Tomas del Rosario, figured
prominently in the Malolos Convention in 1898, and were instrumental
in ensuring that the Filipinos enjoyed religious freedom. Cayetano
Arellano of Orion became the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the
Revolutionary Government, and later on became the first Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court.
When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, the selection of the peninsula
as the locale of the last defensive stand by the USAFFE against
the invading Japanese forces brought fame and infamy to Bataan.
The loss of life and property cannot be estimated. Bataan then became
the symbol of valor and tenacity in its hopeless stand against the
much superior invading Japanese Imperial Forces. Today, a national
landmark called the Shrine of Valor (Dambana ng Kagitingan) stands
majestically on top of the Mt. Samat in Pilar as testimony to the
gallantry and sacrifices of the men and women who with their blood,
tears, and sweat made the grounds of Bataan hallow.
People, Culture and the Arts
Most of the 424,000 people living in Bataan are Tagalogs. Kapampangans
comprise a significant minority of less than 10% and are concentrated
in the municipalities adjoining the province of Pampanga. Recent
rapid industrialization has lured thousands of people from other
provinces to settle within Bataan.
The province of Bataan has always been linked closely to the culture
and economy of Manila. Much of what the province produces is exported
to Manila. The primary traditional industry of Bataan is fishing.
It is the home of thousands of fishermen whose industry has spawned
a unique craft of net and fishtrap making. Nets produced in Bataan
take on various forms and shapes like the panli, kalukutok, pambonot,
pansiliw, panitig, mananacag hipon, panglusong, hila-hila, kitang,
pangapak, bintol, salambaw, dala, bating, pangalabaw and the gulgureta.
Each net type responds to various needs and uses. There are also
various fishtraps like the saluhin, paclang, aguila, panghipon
The province exports the excess of its fish catch and the town
of Orion is famous for its tuyo (dried fish). Orani used to have
large tracts of nipa groves, which used to produce a native beverage
called tuba. Tuba is still produced but in smaller quantities
and primarily for local consumption.
Events and Holidays
Feast Days and Festivals
Feast days, or "fiesta", as more popularly known, are
always good memories to cherish. A lot of activities are in store
for the entertainment of the people. There are fairs, carnivals,
bargain shops, craft shops, amateur singing and dancing contests,
musical shows, beauty pageants, and even a Miss Gay contest to
the delight of the audience because of the hilarious and crazy
antics of the contestants. On the eve of a fiesta there is often
a "serenata" (brass band) exhibition or contest in the
plaza. On the big day, drum and bugle bands would march on the
streets with the "karakol" or street dancing lively
strutting along their wake.
Flores de Mayo (May)
A daily devotion to the Virgin Mary by offering flowers throughout
the month. Highlighted with "santacruzan" or "sagala",
a parade of beautiful Bataeña debutantes participate in
full regale amidst flowers.
Holy Week (March-April)
Holy Week is another awaited holiday for there are lots of activities
and events held in church or in the town plaza. Starting from
Ash Wednesday that ushers in the season of Lent, "kubols"
are set up in every barangay for the "pabasa", wherein
the life and passion of Jesus Christ is read through chanting
by devotees on all hours of the day. A week-long activity, from
"Linggo ng Palaspas" (Palm Sunday) to "salubong"
(Easter Sunday), is prepared in church. On Maundy Thursday, "pagulong"
starts in preparation for the "penitensiya" the next
day. Some devotees do the "Bisita Iglesia" and read
the Station of the Cross on different parishes. Early on Good
Friday people would flock the town plaza or main streets to watch
the "penitensiya" (flagellants) and the "senakulo",
a passion play depicting the sufferings of Jesus Christ. In the
towns of Orani and Samal you can see the real crucifixion of a
devotee. At twelve noon, the "Siete Palabras" (Seven
Last Words) is chanted in church. At night is the "libing"
or burial of Jesus Christ, one of the most attended procession
in the province. On Easter Sunday is the "salubong"
or "alleluia", another procession celebrating the meeting
of the Risen Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Bataan Day (April 9)
The Bataan Day Celebration is an annual event of the province.
War veterans and their families travel from all over the country
to Mount Samat every April 9 to reminisce the past and celebrate
the bravery of our soldiers who offered their lives for freedom.
Prior to the big day, the Provincial Government and the Provincial
Tourism Office sponsor activities like a photo contest and exhibit,
quiz bees, beauty pageants, trade fairs, and a drum and bugle
Paskuhan sa Mabatang (December)
Christmas is a much-awaited season for everyone. In Mabatang,
Abucay the joys of Christmas is extended to the streets. Every
"sitio" in the barangay is lavishly adorned and lighted
to the obvious delight of everyone. People from all over the province
and nearby towns would drive around Mabatang to check out the
new gimmick Abukeños have come up for this year. It shows
the creativity and ingenuity of the people.
Points of Interest
First Line of Defense Marker (Dinalupihan)
Marks the first strong line of defense of combined Phil. and
USAFFE troops against the Japanese invasion during World War II.
Situated at the provincial boundary between Pampanga and Bataan
which depicts the role of Bataan in the fight for freedom for
the preservation of democracy.
Death March Marker (Orani)
The folk arts statue commemorating the defiant spirit of Bataan,
where Death march marches passed on their way to the prison camp.
Tomas Pinpin Monument
In memory of first Filipino printer. It was in Abucay church
where Tomas Pinpin co-authored and printed the earliest books
in the country with Fr. Blancas de San Jose in 1610.
First Abucay Catholic Church
On this site a fierce battle between the Dutch and the natives
together with defenders took place in June 23, 1647. The church
is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It housed the
first printing press in the country which outdated any single
press in the US
The Main Battle Position (Abucay Town)
The battle possition of the USAFFE, known officially as the Abucay
-Morong Line, under the War Plan Orange 3. The then second Lieutenant
Alexander R. Miniger, Jr., 57th Infantry (PS) Gainsville, Georgia
was posthumously decorated the Congressional Medal for an action
on this line 12 January 1942, and became the first America´s
highest military decoration.
Abucay Municipal Building
A historic relic of one of the largest town of Bataan.
A newly created barangay where the Actas still maintain their
traditional customs and usages in accordance with our cultural
Zero Kilometer Marker. The start of the infamous Death March
that also marks the beginning of Japanese control over the nation.
This natural falls presents a project idea for tourism and recreational
This natural waterfalls remains to be developed.
Catholic Church Belfry
This was used as a site for Japanese artillery bombardment of
Mt. Samat where both Filipino and American Forces gave their last
Lamao World War II Marker
World War II exempted almost no place in the province that this
town overlooking Manila Bay and Corregidor deserves a marker.
A symbol of the Filipino courage and gallantry in the face of
external threats to the nation´s democracy and peace.
Final Battle Site Marker
To remember the coutage and heroism of Bataan defenders amidst
hunger, sickness and death.
Battle of Trail 2 (Capot Hill)
A point where several men died in defense of freedom and democracy.
Ideal site for pocnics and inland swimming.
A full-pledged barangay but a glorious example of a small village
which answered the call for the united defense against foreign
Fall of Bataan Marker (Balanga)
This commemorates the fall of Bataan, in memory of war veterans,
living and dead. The marker symbolizes the courage and the enduring
commitment of a Filipino soldier to his country.
Surrender Site Marker (Balanga)
Marks the spot where the grim surrender of Bataan and Corregidor
was signed by Maj. Gen. Edward King Jr., on April 9, 1942. Surrender
marker can be found within the compound of Balanga Elementary
Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) Pilar
Natural shrine atop Mt. Samat which immortalizes the agony of
the Filipino and Americans against the forces of aggression and
articulates the Commitment of the Filipino people to freedom and
Was the scene of the most heroic defensive battle during World
A cinica-shaped mountain cinsidered as a weather forcasting device
predicting a coming typhoon when its summit is covered with dark
Battle of Toul Pocket Marker (Bagac)
Marks the significant pockers where a battle ensued as a prelude
to the final defense in Bataan. The series of fights to eliminate
the Japanese forces known as the Battle of Pockets fought from
Jan 27 to Feb. 17.
A tourist potential with sulfuric swimming pool and wide area
for outdoor recreation.
A natural wonder at the valley of Mt. Natib which has fresh vegetation
and unexplored area.
Maria Canon Statue
This tower was erected for the repose of many dead souls in the
Philippines during World War 2 by the Mie-ken Daiichi Shueesec
of the Japanese Sohtohshuh Spot, September 1978.
Philippine-Japan Friendship Tower
This symbolizes that after a war, there is a period of reconciliation,
peace and friendship.
Roosevelt National Park
A forest reservation ideal for outdoor adventures and Boy Scout
Camporal area with facilities for irrigation and game hunting.
In Bataan every place is a place to go. No small creek or river
is without a tint of history and of practical value.
The Bataan export Processing Zone Authority is the site of many
foreign based factories and companies producing items ranging
from dolls to automobiles for export.
U.N. Refuge Center
Located in Morong Town. A temporary resettlement area and processing
center for Indo-Chinese refugees migrating to European, American
and Facific countries.
Nuclear Power Plant
The country´s first controversial commercial nuclear power
plant with a capacity of 620 megawatts.
Cayetano Arellano Marker
Located on Orion Town. This marks Orion, as the birthplace of
the first Filipino Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Francisco Balagtas Monument
In honor of the great Filipino poet and patriot, this monument
The climate in this province is of the forst type which is composed
of two pronounced season starts in November and ends up in April,
and the wet season from May to October.
Roman Chatholicism is the predominant religion followed by Protestantism
Language / Dialect
Tagalog as their common language is widely used followed by Pampango
How to get there
Land transportation is provided by three bus companies: The Philippine
Rabbit and Pantranco Bus Liner ply the Bataan-Manila route while
the Victory Liner services the Bataan-Olongapo route. An array
of mini-buses, jeepneys, and tricycles fill the gaps in the intermunicipal
road with Balanga as the Terminal point. Mini buses enroute for
Manila, Olongapo, and San Fernando, Pampanga are also available
in the capital town.
Travel by air is yet very limited. Bataan has no modern airport,
only low standard airstrips and helipads are available to government
and private airplanes and helicopters. There are 5 industrial
enterprises that have that have these airstrips for their usage.
These are the Bataan Pulp and Paper Mills, Inc. in Samal; Bataan
Export Processing Zone and Landoil Multinational Village both
in the town of Mariveles and Petrophil in Limay.
Travel by sea-Bataan waters are navigable by both inter-island
and international vessels to and from the province. Four (4) national,
one (1) municipal, and (4) private piers are serving and accommodating
vessels transporting gppds and passengers in and out of the province.
Passenger vessels consist of a ferry boat "Overcraft"
with three trips plying to and from Mariveles and Manila and EPZA
1 which ferry EPZA quests. Dicking point is at BASECO, Port of
Mariveles. Because of the short distance to Corregidor, passengers
prefer to travel by boat at a convenience as well as view the