Batangas: enthralling,majestic

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When travelers hear the name of this province, it is unlikely that they would think of the beaches, the kapeng barako, or the balisong, among the many trademarks its good people have been known. I should know because I have been to this amazing place many times. 

Beyond that, Batangas  is endowed with destinations encompassing various natures – from natural to man-made, from preserved greatness of the bygone era to modernistic structures, from places where you can seek refuge to sites where one can be lavished with paramount Epicurean treat.

Batangas is both eco-friendly and economically efficient. The provincial government, under Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and Vice Governor Mark Leviste, protects and promotes with pride its resources and the natural riches.

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Gov. Recto believes that the province has become one of the thriving growth centers in the country today adding that its economic infrastructure, strategic location, rich cultural and historical heritage, and bountiful and diverse natural resources have made this transformation possible.

“My administration hopes to further facilitate this transformation and raise our people’s standards of living through investing government resources and mobilizing private resources on areas where we think there is a pressing and vital need for them,” she stressed.

Cultural and Heritage Sites

Historically speaking, Batangas is home to a number of important people that played a huge part in colorful history of the Philippines. Alongside the stories of courage and patriotism of Batangueños from the ancient years, some structures and memorabilia that reflect the culture of the locals from way back were preserved to let the generation of today stir in some awareness and appreciation in the glorified heritage bequeathed to them.

You may explore the fascinating sites of Casa de Segunda in Lipa City, Mabini Shrine in Tanauan City, Malabrigo Lighthouse in Lobo and Leon Apacible Historical Landmark in Taal. Also, the Taal Heritage Village is one of the most well-preserved Spanish colonial towns in the country. Scattered around the towns are dozens of ancestral homes, old school buildings, and other heritage structures.

Natural Attractions

Batangas is among the top vacation destinations of beach bums. Beachgoers flock to the towns of Calatagan, Lemery, Lian, Lobo, Mabini, Nasugbu, San Juan and Tingloy. Known for the enthralling wonders of its seas, Batangas is where diving in the Philippines was born. Diving spots in Anilao in Mabini town became world famous because of the magnificent underwater photo opportunities and the ‘natural high’ it offers for scuba divers.

Bring your feet down the Calatagan Mangrove Forest Conservation Park (Calatagan), Mt. Batulao (Nasugbu) and Mt. Malarayat (Lipa City) as well as the Tingloy shoreline and Verde Island passage in Batangas City. A sought-after destination, Taal Volcano is a unique geological masterpiece and a major landmark considered to be the heart of the province of Batangas. Lake Taal is the third largest in the country.

The man-made attractions in Batangas include Lago de Oro in Calatagan, Batangas Racing Circuit in Rosario, Fantasy World in Lemery, Batangas Country Club in Batangas City and Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City.

Festivals

The mother of all festivals in the province, Ala Eh! Festival is a colorful celebration which highlights the province’s foundation anniversary every December 8. It characterizes the union of all the municipalities and cities of this one great province.

All throughout the year, festivals are celebrated in nooks and corners of Batangas.  A festival is not just an exhibition of cheery dance moves and flamboyant ensembles, but more of a representation of a town’s or city’s culture, tradition, natural resources, and its beautiful people.

Worth mentioning are the Mahaguyog Festival in Sto. Tomas (Last Week of February-March 7),  Yamang Dagat Festival in Mabini (April 23), Pabitin Festival in Balete (May 1), Sublian Festival in Bauan (May 2), Balsa Festival in Lian (May 8), Pastulan Festival in San Pascual (May 14), Piyesta ng Tinapay in Cuenca (May 15), Grand La Paz in Alitagtag (last Sunday of May), Sigpawan Festival in Lemery (May 26), Regatta in Maria Paz, Tanauan City  (May 30), Sinukmani Festival in Rosario (June 9), Lomi Festival in Lipa City (June 20), Bancathon Festival in Calatagan (June 24) and Parada ng Lechon in Balayan (June 24).

For the next six months of the year, witness the colorful celebration of Sublian Festival in Batangas City (July 23), Maliputo Festival in San Nicolas (August 9), Kambingan Festival in Tuy (August 12), Bancaton Festival in San Nicolas (September 10), Anihan Festival in Lobo (September 27), Calacatchara Festival in Calaca (October 24), Kabakahan Festival in Padre Garcia (December 1), Mardi Gras in Nasugbu (December 2) and Lambayok Festival in San Juan (December 12).

Where To Stay and Eat

Experience Batangueño hospitality in hotels and resorts that offer superb facilities and exceptional services. Batangas is a major destination for food enthusiasts as well. And when you visit the province, you should not miss its culinary gems such as tawilis, bulalo, maliputo, adobo sa dilaw, caldereta, lomi, and goto. Some of the notable restaurants are Kainan sa Dalampasigan in Nasugbu, Lomi King in Lipa City, Casa Rap in San Jose, Rose and Grace in Sto. Tomas and Taal Bistro in Taal.– Migrant Pen

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IMG_3984THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, speechwriter and publicist who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique.  While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.

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