Batangas owns major anecdotes in the pages of the Philippine history. The revolution of 1896 saw the emergence of Filipino patriots and intellectuals from this fertile land that was known for centuries as Bombon. It has produced one of the highest numbers of revolutionary heroes from among the provinces that rose against the colonial rule of Spain. That is why the tour of Batangas is never complete without visiting the museums and landmarks dedicated to them.
With its new international seaport, Batangas City is the biggest city across the Southern Tagalog Region. It is also the starting point of the 919-kilometer Western Naughtical Highway that ends in Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao.
Batangas is a major recreational, religious, commercial, industrial and educational center in the province. Tourists going to the resort Puerto Galera across the Verde Passage, a vital route of all domestic and foreign cargo and passenger vessels going to and from the South, Take the ferry from here.With the completion of the second part of the P1.5-billion Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) that connects Batangas to the South Luzon Expressway in Lahuna, travel time between Manila and the international seaport has been reduced to just under two hours.
Beyond the annals of history, Batangas is bequethed by nature with wonders.From the city, you can go to the heritage town of Taal and Anilao, a popular dive spot in the town of Mabini.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Taal Lake and Volcano in Batangas
This unusual and picturesque lake has the distinction of containing the world’s smallest volcano, making it Batangas’ most popular tourist attraction. A 20 mile-long lake surrounds the volcanic islet, which is a great place to do some hiking. There are seven small towns surrounding the lake, most of which have accommodation, transport and restaurants. Many visitors head to Tagaytay City first, which offers a panoramic view of Taal Lake from its ridge top location. You can also take a boat from one of the lakeside towns to reach the volcanic islet.
Church of San Juan in Batangas
Of the many impressive old churches which dot the Batangas landscape, the Church of San Juan in Batangas City is one of the standouts. Built by Augustinian friars in 1788, this lovely structure has many interesting features which separate it from other Spanish era churches. Visitors approach the church via a 19th century bridge which crosses the Malaquing Tubig River, which in itself is a highlight. A multi-tiered belfry and its massive main altar surrounding an image of Saint Joseph are also priceless details.
Spanish Architecture in Batangas
Absorb the Spanish colonial architecture of Batangas. The legacy of the Spanish is evident all over the Philippines, and is best represented by the enduring 400-year-old buildings which bear their style. Many consider Batangas to have the best collection of this Spanish architecture, particularly around the Taal municipality. Vigan City, Ilocos Sur and Batangas City also have wonderful old churches and houses dating from this period. For even greater detail, head to the town of Laguna which is famous for its exquisitely carved wooden furniture, the design of which is influenced by the Spanish.
Contained in the shrine are some of the writings and individual stuff of the late revolutionary hero and “Brains of the Katipunan” Apolinario Mabini. He is also known as the “Sublime Paralytic”. A reproduction of his natal house and tomb can be viewed at the site.
The shrine is located at Barrio Talaga in the town of Tanauan and around 15 minutes drive from the town proper. The shrine is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Punta de Santiago Lighthouse
One of the most impressive landmarks in Batangas is this lighthouse in Calatagan. It was built in 1890 and still functions as a beacon to approaching ships, making it one of the oldest functioning lighthouses in existence. Visitors can tour the tower which offers wonderful views over the nearby town of Calatagan and the South China Sea.
Batangas City is 2 1/2 hours away from Manila when using the old inter town route. Using the STAR Tollway route, one can reach Batangas City for just 1 1/2 hour. Tanauan City is about 1 hour away and in between Tanauan City and Batangas City, one will find Lipa City. ALPS The Bus, Inc. is one of many bus companies that travels the said route.
Travelers can take air-conditioned buses in going to Batangas City. Those who want to go to Nasugbu, Calatagan and Lian towns (Matabungkay) can pass via the Tagaytay route.
Travelers going to Puerto Galera can take direct air con buses from Manila (Cubao) to Batangas pier. The best services are BLTB (every hour) and JAM transit (also every hour) from Kamuin Cubao bus station. Sometimes, esepcially during peak hours, buses run every 30 minutes. The last stop is Batangas pier (ask the conductor before hand) from where one can take a ferry to [Puerto Galera]
When driving one’s own vehicle to Tanauan-Lipa-Batangas City, travelers will pass through the South Luzon Expressway, then the STAR Tollway and can just follow the directional signs along the highway.
For short trips in the desired destinations, passenger jeepneys abound, and then tricycles.
You can use passenger jeepneys to go to different parts of the province, but you can use tricycles for short trips. Tricycles could take you to the exact place that you want to go because jeepneys have routes like buses do. However, tricycles are small and cramped, and could only comfortably accommodate three passengers (2 if the passenger is over six feet tall).
Current starting fare for jeepneys is Php 8.00 (eight pesos) for each passenger for the first kilometer traveled.
The fare schedule (in English) is typically posted inside the jeepney for travelers to refer on, although you may ask the driver or other passengers themselves if you are not sure how much you should pay. The locals, like in most other spots in the Philippines, can understand and converse well in English.