Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Quick Tour in Balanga, Bataan

My husband and I had one wonderful weekend in the historic province of Bataan. We were able to avail a discounted room at Sinagtala Farm and Retreat Resort, thanks to Groupon PH. But before proceeding to the resort, we explored first some of the historical sites of the province.

Balanga City is the capital of Bataan. Buses from Manila ply to Balanga City on a regular schedule. On our case, we chose Bataan Transit which has terminals in Cubao (Quezon City) and Avenida (Manila City). Their terminal in Cubao is within Five Star Bus Terminal. We were at the terminal past 7AM and waited for a few minutes for the bus to arrive. Bus fare was 200php (this was in November 2012).

Since the endpoint of our bus was the town of Mariveles (Manila-Balanga-Mariveles buses), it did not enter the city center of Balanga. Instead, Balanga-bound passengers were dropped off along the national highway. People going to the city center had to ride a tricycle. There are buses that would go inside Balanga City (Manila-Balanga signboard) and their terminal would be between the fork of Don Manuel Banzon Avenue and Calero Street. This terminal though is a bit far from the Provincial Capitol of Bataan, so for people like us who wanted to visit the provincial seat of government, riding the Mariveles-bound bus and getting off at the Balanga crossing is a good option. It was our first time though to visit Balanga City so we had no idea how far the Capitol was from the crossing. When the tricycle driver told us that the fare was 30php (for two), we didn’t haggle. We thought it was still a long way to go. Later did we know how short the ride was. So, if you plan on taking the tricycle, haggle first or wait for other passengers going to the same direction.

It was a Saturday so offices in the Capitol were closed. We were the only people there at that time except for very few passersby. We then started our capitol-picture-taking. We really liked the capitol grounds where there was a park in the middle with landscaped garden and a small pond. There were lots of trees around the area making it a good place for a leisure walk or an afternoon jog. There was a marker in front of the Capitol doors giving us an early start of history lessons of Bataan province.

From the Provincial Capitol of Bataan, we planned to visit the Balanga Plaza de Mayor and the Catholic Cathedral. Instead of taking one of the many tricycles plying along Capitol Drive, we decided to walk since we saw that both sides of the road are filed with trees. The walk was refreshing even though it was nearing 12 noon. When we reached Gen. Kapinpin Street (the road going to the City Public Market), a buffet restaurant across the road caught our eyes. The cheaper price posted outside the building definitely got us, two “heavy eaters”, to check out their offerings.

View of Gen. Kapinpin Street going to Balanga City Public Market
(in front of Dela Fuente Building)

BNK Buffet is located on the second floor of Dela Fuente Building in Capitol Drive, Balanga, Bataan. The place is around 150 meters away from the provincial capitol gate. Their ample choices of food at a cheaper price made us finally decide to have lunch there. Check out their website.

After the hearty lunch, we continued our walk and reached the St. Joseph Cathedral, around 500 meters from BNK Buffet. The cathedral seemed close when we arrived so we just took pictures outside. Across the cathedral along Aguirre Street is the Balanga Plaza de Mayor.


I never thought that this building was a shopping mall.

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