We went to Bataan for Holy Week earlier this year! Since extreme traffic is usually experienced during this time of the year, what place is close to Manila for a weekend and at the same time, not suffer from traffic? We then thought of Bataan because there’s no need for long land travel to get here, you can take a ferry to Bataan! It’s not my first time to take the 1Bataan. A few years ago, we tried the direct ferry from Esplanade Terminal (in MOA) to Camaya Coast in Morong. Recently, they introduced a new route that takes you from the same terminal in MOA to Port Capinpin in Orani, Bataan. They offer a free shuttle going north to Dinalupihan and going south to Mariveles. We really don’t know what there is to see in Orion or Dinalupuhan so we decided to book our Airbnb in Mariveles. Also, because we really wanted to go to Laki Beach. Five Fingers is another really famous attraction there, but we just wanted to relax, and not trek or hike or deal with so many rocks. Hahaha. So the ferry ride takes about 50 minutes, I came from work so I just slept through the boat ride and the additional 45 minutes of land travel from Port Capinpin to Jollibee in Mariveles, which is the last drop-off point.
Our ferry schedule to Orion was 7:30am so we were there pretty early. We had breakfast first in Jollibee (where else? LOL.) By the way, right next to Jollibee is the Km 0 Death March Marker in Mariveles. (Is this why it’s a famous meet up or drop-off point in Bataan?) This is located in a small park near the municipal hall in the center of town. Our Airbnb’s location is pretty good, we can walk to this area or take a short tricycle ride if it’s too hot.
Our check-in at the Airbnb was not until 2pm but we looked for it and actually found the place after asking around. The host was not there (our fault – we were too early), but I guess the owner was there and we were able to speak to the owner’s daughter so we were given a room and were allowed to check in early. This is the room we stayed in. It does look beautiful in person, and I really like the stuff they put in the room. They are all super expensive though – they had a list in the room of how much each costs, in case you break one of them. They had a tall table at the corner of the room where I worked at night. Hihi. I guess my only complaint was, the pillows were uncomfortable! Although, I must say I didn’t really do much sleeping because I worked at night and we would go out during the day.
We didn’t really do much on our first day, we had lunch at Pupung’s Grill, went to Mattel Beach, and then went back to the Airbnb. We all fell asleep after lunch and I didn’t even get up until It was time for me to work. I asked my friends to buy dinner for me because I can’t even be bothered to get up to eat. LOL. We really loved Pupung’s Grill though! We just loved it so much, we went here twice – for lunch on the first two days. The food is great, not super expensive, and has a good view of the sea. I bet it’s also beautiful here at night, but we never got to go. Mattel Beach is quite interesting. According my friend, it was named Mattel Beach because Mattel (as in the company that creates Barbie dolls) was right there next to the beach, or close to the beach. It’s right by the main road, too. It’s a public beach so there were many locals enjoying some time at the beach when we went there. Yup, even at noon. It was truly too hot to do anything at that point, so we just went back to our room.
On our second day, we finally went somewhere LOL. We didn’t have any plans, but we really wanted to go to Laki Beach. So what we did was, we flagged a tricycle at Jollibee to take us where the boats are – in Porto. Tricycle drivers know where it is, so we didn’t need to do any explaining. Anyway, so you rent a boat there and it’s expensive if you are a small group like us. The tricycle driver knew someone who lives there and rented us a small boat (big enough for us three) and the boatman. It is still expensive though. I remember, we spent PHP800 each for the boat rental + entrance fees. It was Holy Week so expectedly, there were a lot of people. We still did really enjoy our time here though even if it’s just a few hours. We had our boatman guard our stuff so we were free to swim and roam around. We even got to trek a bit, because the beach is in a secluded cove so there are rocks everywhere. It’s pretty much the same deal as Playa La Caleta. We went up to a high point and had a good view of the beach and the sea.
I’m still baffled why the sand in Laki Beach is different from the rest of the beaches I’ve been to in Bataan. I’m shook. Anyway, also want to comment on the really expensive entrance fee (PHP300 for day trips) when there are really no facilities here. I heard there are (unclean) toilets but we didn’t really see nor used them so I can’t exactly comment on that. It’s beautiful but since it is privately owned (and there’s a lot of shit going on behind the scenes apparently according to the ates sa tindahan ng halo-halo), it will be difficult to regulate this and they can just charge how much they want even if people feel like it’s too much. LOL, just my opinion.
We went home a little after 12nn because just a few hours in the sun is a lot! I think I got even darker while we were on the boat on the way back to Porto. Since we were in a small boat, it didn’t have any roof and the sun was already too much for the skin at that point. Before going home, we decided to have some halo-halo at a stall near the basketball court in Porto and had a good chat with the locals. There were tricycles in the area so we just flagged one again to take us back downtown. We asked the driver to take us to Pupung’s Grill for lunch. We love Pupung’s Girl!
After a busy morning, we decided to take a nap and just go out again for sunset. We have made a deal with our tricycle driver, Kuya Renato, to pick us up in the afternoon. He took us to the Sisiman Bay and Lighthouse + San Miguel Peak. The vehicles can only take you to the entrance and then, you’ll have to walk inside to the bay and lighthouse. But it’s not far, so it’s totally fine. I was wearing my Caribbean flipflops and they worked fine. (Anyway, these flipflops have always been super dependable during beach + trekking activities. I’ve had it for years! LOL, wagas makapag-promote hahaha)
The view of the sunset from here is the best! I always love sunsets so I’m happy we got to wake up this time to see this (because we didn’t the previous day). Kuya Renato was super nice because he even accompanied us to the bay and even helped take photos. I was really expecting that he’ll just wait for us at the parking lot.
We then went to a beach on the other side of Sisiman, which is Agwawan Beach. This is another public beach and it was almost dark when we got there so people were already leaving. I think this is much cleaner than Mattel Beach, because I read that this has been rehabilitated. We went back downtown after visiting this beach. We were supposed to go back to our room first but the Holy Week processions changed our plans.
There was not one, but two processions in town! It caused massive traffic, but that is expected during Holy Week. The explanation was, there are two Catholic churches in that area and each had their own processions. We definitely understood, got off the tricycle and watched the procession. The police and officers tried their best but it’s really hard to regulate traffic when two different processions are filling up both ends of the road. After watching the procession, we decided to have dinner at Pasta Blvd, this is located on the main road but still really close to our Airbnb. Luckily, Kuya Renato saw us on the way and still took us here. Seriously, he is freaking nice!
Pasta Blvd is a small place and they have an extensive menu (although there were some that weren’t available, which is fine). It was a good dinner and I enjoyed my meal, but the only gripe I have is the music! They play such loud music that I feel like doesn’t much the ambiance of the place and prevents people from actually having a conversation. Like I said, the place is small, so loud music in such a place seems too much. After dinner, we walked back to our Airbnb. I didn’t have a lot of sleep (I think just an hour and a half) before starting my work that night.
On our 3rd and last day, we visited The Oriental, which is a really famous hotel and convention center in Mariveles. They also have this in Legaspi. We checked out the place and while it’s way out of our budget, we can still spend part of day here, swimming and enjoying their breakfast buffet. We definitely enjoyed the buffet, food was super delicious and truly loved the desserts! I freaking love breakfast buffets! The price is always worth it! We passed on swimming though. We went back to our room after and stayed until check out, which is at noon.
Our ferry back to Manila is not until 4pm but since we had to catch our shuttle to the port, we went there early. We had a lot of time to kill, but we really didn’t have anywhere else to go. I think I will keep coming back to Bataan. Maybe during Holy Week again in 2020? Would be nice to just have a staycation by the beach.