The Philippines is home to many pristine beach resorts and nature reserves that are favored by city-dwellers and foreign tourists due to their serenity, beauty, and atmosphere perfect for rest and recreation. Usually, when it comes to nature destinations, people think of Boracay, the Hundred Islands, Laguna, and Batangas. But tucked away on the coast of Bataan lies underrated yet premier spots perfect for swimming and unwinding with the rich landscape and blue waters in the backdrop.
Get your journal or bucket list and add these six nature destinations in Bataan that you should visit post-pandemic.
Mount Samat National Shrine
If you are interested in exploring Bataan’s historic past while relishing in the thick carpet of trees and cool breeze, then the Mount Samat National Shrine is perfect for you. Famously known as the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valour), this memorial shrine complex was built to honor and preserve the courage of Filipino and American soldiers who fought during World War 2.
The shrine is located at the summit of Mount Samat in Pilar, Bataan. You will be refreshed by looking at the thick greenery surrounding the Colonnade that leads up to the colossal Bataan Memorial Cross. This is also the perfect place for you to work on your cardio while reminiscing about our history.
You’ve perhaps heard or seen ads and projects on reducing and banning the use of plastic in establishments in the hopes of saving marine animals, such as sea turtles, from eating straws and plastic bags. The Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club is a residential community and resort in Morong that is characterized by its immaculate environment, beachfront accommodations, indoor and outdoor activities, and efforts for a more sustainable lifestyle.
The sea turtles conservation area at Anvaya Cove is home and breeding ground to thousands of green sea turtles. You might even get the chance to see cute baby turtles hatch from their eggs and waddle through the shore to roam the deep blue sea during the annual Anvaya Pawikan Festival.
The Pawikan Conservation Center
Yet another sea turtle conservation area, the Pawikan Conservation Center is also located in Morong, just a few kilometers away from Anvaya Cove. Inside the conservation center, you can see the sea turtles under rehabilitation, the eggs being taken care of, and the hatchlings to be released to the sea.
The Pawikan Conservation Center is the local government’s way of encouraging locals and tourists to help protect the endangered green sea turtles. It is best to go to the conservation center in November so you can witness the hatchlings being released to the wild during the annual Pawikan Festival.
Balanga Wetland and Nature Park
Bataan isn’t just home to marine wildlife and land animals. In fact, you can enjoy bird watching and learn about the ecosystem of many bird species in the Philippines. The Balanga Nature and Wetland Park is an 11-hectare coastal community in Barangay Tortugas that is home to many bird-viewing decks.
Here, you can watch migratory birds taking a stop at the mangroves and shores in the park. Some of the bird species you can witness are Egrets, Stilts, Kingfishers, Plovers, Doves, Terns, Munias, Cisticolas, Swallows, and Warblers.
The Five Fingers
This may sound like a location in Game of Thrones, but the good news is that you don’t have to sail to Westeros to explore deep crevices and caves and feel like a spelunker. Located in the municipality of Mariveles, The Five Fingers are a set of hidden coves that resemble fingers on the southern tip of Bataan.
Each “finger” offers hiking trails, cliff-diving points, lagoons, caves, and places where you can taste local snacks and dishes. Don’t forget to also check out the Sisiman Lighthouse and Grotto and Laki Beach.
Playa La Caleta
Located in the municipality of Morong, Playa La Caleta is an eco-tourism resort that has a one-kilometer white sand beach resort, a lush forest, three waterfalls, and a 100-hectare beach cove.
Not only is Playa La Caleta a beach resort, it is also a community comprising eateries, hiking trails, activity areas, and snorkeling and diving spots. The resort is also an advocate of sustainable living and preserving its pastoral environment. Some of the sustainability projects of the resort staff are monthly beach cleanups, eco-camps, eco-brick programs, ban on single-use plastic, tree planting, and conservation of marine turtles, giant clams, and eagles living in the area.
These nature destinations in Bataan aren’t only about swimming, relaxation, and resting from the hectic city. These places also allow you to revisit what happened in history and where you can start living sustainably. Don’t forget these places when you get a chance to explore the Philippines.