About Batangas City
Alternatively known as the “Queen of the South,” Batangas City is a first-class component city in the Philippines. It is a part of Batangas province, and it is the capital city of the province. The city is located on the southwest shore of Luzon island, about 107 kilometers south of Manila, and is considered an industrial center.
Batangas City is one of the most progressive cities in the Philippines. It is rich in culture and heritage, and its people are some of the most friendly and hospitable you will ever meet. The city government is doing a fantastic job of promoting tourism and making the city an excellent place to live and do business.
There is plenty to see and do in Batangas City, and its strategic location makes it an ideal point for exploring the rest of Luzon. The people are warm in Batangas City. It is well-known for its world-class beaches, a major tourist draw. The city is also home to Taal Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It is one of the prime economic and trade centers in the Calabarzon region.
The city is home to the Batangas International Port, one of the Philippines’ busiest passenger and container terminals. It also houses its largest oil refineries, three natural gas power plants, and several other major industries. Furthermore, the city serves as the province’s educational, industrial, and transportation hub.
There is so much you can learn about the city, starting from its history to various geographical and cultural aspects. Let’s dive into it.
Due to group migration, the first Spanish missionaries arrived in Batangas City in 1572. After the end of the Kuomintang Kingdom in 1581, Spanish authorities governing the Philippines established a pueblo in the area that included the hill (now Hilltop) where the current Provincial Capitol of Batangas stands.
The town was named “Batangan” because of the abundance of large logs known locally as “Batang” in the area. Don Agustin Casilao was appointed as Batangan’s first gobernadorcillo by the Spanish government.
In 1894, the title “little governor” as head of the pueblo or Municipio was replaced by “capital municipal.” It is unclear who succeeded Casilao, nor is it known whether any subsequent capital municipal appointments occurred. Don Agustin Casilao is also known as Agustino or Augustino.
Under Republic Act 5495, Batangas became a city on July 23rd, 1969. Pedro S. Tolentino was elected as the city’s first mayor.
Geography and Demographics
Batangas City is located in the southernmost part of the province of Batangas, facing Batangas Bay. It is edged to the north by San Jose, to the south by Verde Island Passage, to the east by Ibaan, Taysan, and Lobo, and to the west by San Pascual. The Calumpang River flows from northeast to southwest through the city.
Batangas City has seen an incremental shift from an agricultural to an industrial economy with the expansion of Batangas Port, the operation head of various heavy industries.
The city’s northwest is home to various commercial establishments, while the lowland areas surrounding Batangas Bay are home to the city’s heavy industries. Nonetheless, despite its gradual transformation into a significant commercial/industrial hub for CALABARZON, it retains rural landscapes in the city’s north. The Poblacion neighborhood is the city’s central retail and commercial district. It is densely packed with banks, restaurants, and small businesses.
As a major port city, Batangas has seen an increase in migrants from neighboring provinces, islands, and even nation-states such as China, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
The Department of Education also has a branch in Batangas City. There were 80+ public elementary schools and 18 public high schools for the 2013–2014 academic year. For the 2016–2017 academic year, 50 private schools ranging from pre-school to college level have a legal permit to operate in the city.
Below are some top-ranking universities of Batangas:
- Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Sto. Tomas Sto. Tomas, Batangas
- De La Salle Lipa Lipa City, Batangas
- Lyceum of the Philippines University (Batangas Campus)
- Westmead International School
- University of Batangas
- Batangas State University – Alangilan Campus
Agriculture continues to be an essential source of food and income for rural barangay residents. Subsidy farming is practiced by residents in rural areas, with some of their harvest sold at lowland public wet markets. Coconut, corn, vegetables, and mangoes are among the most important crops.
Batangas City’s industries are concentrated around Batangas Port, the Tabangao and Pinamucan areas. Shell owns large refineries in Tabangao through its Philippine subsidiary, Pilipinas Shell, and supplies most of the fuel sold in Shell gas stations in southern Luzon and Metro Manila. JG Summit Holdings operates a petrochemical facility with plans to expand to accommodate a coal power plant, which has sparked outrage among residents and environmentalists. Other companies established refineries for distribution to the province as well.
Shopping malls in Batangas City include SM City Batangas, which SM Supermalls operate, and Bay City Mall and Nuciti Central, which local retail companies own. There are many supermarkets in urbanized areas, some of which are part of malls and others are stand-alone neighborhood markets that compete fiercely with local public markets.
The Diversion Road, built to divert traffic from the city proper to Batangas Port and Bauan, is seeing an increase in retail stores and industrial space. Several car dealerships are being built along the length of the road in the barangays of Alangilan and Balagtas. Fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Shakey’s Pizza are also sprouting up near Batangas Central Terminal.
The Poblacion neighborhood is home to many shops, restaurants, banks, pawnshops, and other businesses. The city’s two major public markets properly serve produce from the city’s rural barangays and neighboring municipalities.
Real estate companies are developing subdivisions to accommodate growing populations in response to population and economic growth. Large-scale developments are present, mostly from local developers, but major developers such as Ayala Land and Vista Land (via Camella) are also present.
Batangas real estate is not limited to the infrastructure but performs well in other commercial and housing real estate properties. This generates outstanding investment opportunities and better accommodation facilities for the citizens.
As the second richest province in the country in 2020, Batangas is a major contributor to the economic prosperity of the Calabarzon region. Batangas City, registered the highest revenue in 2020, amassing almost P3B in income. The district is known as the Industrial Port City of Calabarzon, as it is classified as one of the fastest-growing urban cities in the country.
How to Get Into Batangas?
The main point of departure for Batangas is Manila in Luzon, which is about 100 kilometers away by land. Here are some options for getting to Batangas.
By Way of Land
The most common mode of transportation to Batangas is by land. Private vehicles must travel through the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to the STAR Tollway before entering various towns and cities throughout Batangas.
Numerous bus companies travel to Batangas via major terminals in Pasay (Buendia-Taft) and Araneta Center Bus Terminal in Cubao, Quezon City.
Batangas Port is one of the country’s major ports and is home to a RORO terminal (Roll-on, Roll-off) serving Calapan in Oriental. In addition to serving as a maritime gateway for services to and from Calapan, Abra de Ilog, and Romblon (all gateways to Boracay), the Batangas Port is one of the busiest in the Philippines. It is another way you can take to come to Batangas.
By Plane (For Those Outside of Manila)
The nearest airport to Batangas is Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila, the Philippines’ central airport hub. After arriving at these airports, you will take a three-hour land trip to Batangas.
When is the Best time to Visit?
Because most of the tourist attractions in Batangas are outdoors, it’s best to plan your trip during the months when there’s less chance of rain.
From November to May, the weather is dry and warm.
While there are still enough windows to enjoy a vacation in Batangas during the monsoon months, it is the best time to visit during the clear and sunny weather. Please keep in mind that crowds may thicken at some popular tourist destinations during the summer months of March to May.
Every year, several notable Philippine festivals are held in the province of Batangas. Some of the most popular festivals are as follows:
- Balsa Festival
Every May 18th, the Balsa Festival is graced by a parade of bamboo rafts on the waters of Matabungkay Beach. It is an excellent time to visit Batangas.
- Parada ng Lechon
On June 24th, the Feast of St. John the Baptist is celebrated. People parade roasted pigs (Lechon) through the streets during this festival. After a lively ceremony, locals and visitors from other places will feast on the Lechon at night.
- The Ala-Eh Festival
The Ala-Eh Festival takes place every December 8th and lasts a week. The festival commemorates the province’s founding; every city and town participates in a colorful street dance competition.
- Sublime Festival
This two-week celebration begins every May 2nd in Batangas City. The celebration honoring the Sto Nino is accompanied by street dancing and ceremonial worship. People come together and enjoy the festival.
Other notable festivals are as follows:
- Festival of Calacatchara (held in the town of Calaca every October)
- The Anihan Festival (held in Lobo town every September 27th)
- Festival of Sigpawan (celebrated in Lemery every August 15th)
- Festival of Kambingan (in the town of Tuy every August 12th)
Every year, a dozen more festivals are held in Batangas’ smaller towns, making the province a fantastic place in the Philippines for cultural experiences.
Where to Stay in Batangas?
In the province of Batangas, there are numerous lodging options. Finding a place to stay in Batangas for your staycation in the Philippines will be easy. The region is a central tourism hub and a business and industrial haven, with decent lodgings in every city and municipality.
Accommodations in Batangas
The province of Batangas offers a wide range of accommodations, from high-end resorts to mid-range hotels, budget inns, and vacation house rentals. Choosing your lodging before your scheduled trip to Batangas is critical. Start with a better plan for your travel budget.
- Luxury Hotels and Resorts
Because Batangas is a vacation destination and a hub for business travelers, many hotels and resorts cater to the high-end market throughout the province. These luxury hotels and resorts are excellent choices for those planning a honeymoon in the Philippines.
- Hotels in the Mid-Range
Batangas province also has several bed and breakfast establishments, boutique hotels, and other affordable accommodations. These can give you a little luxury with ease on your budget.
- Accommodations on a Budget
Backpackers and other low-budget travelers should not be concerned. There are numerous low-cost Batangas beach resorts and accommodations to choose from. These will be friendly in your pocket and provide the best experience.
- Rentals of Vacation Homes
Small and modest vacation home rentals are also available throughout the province. You can rent vacation homes for a few days, a week, or monthly.
Here is a list of some of the most highly recommended hotels and beach resorts in Batangas province, organized by luxury, mid-range, and budget categories.
Here are some of the best hotels in Batangas you can check out if you’re willing to splurge.
Nayomi Sanctuary Resort
With stylish bungalows set amid Batangas’ lush tropical palms, the Nayomi Sanctuary Resort is every bit the secluded hideaway it touts in its name.
They also offer glamping-style accommodations in spacious tents with a veranda and an en-suite bathroom. All of this, plus an outdoor swimming pool with a view of Taal Lake and other amenities.
This Batangas resort with a pool is inspired by Greek architecture and evokes a vibrant seaside Santorini. Camp Netanya, near Aiyanar Beach and overlooking Balayan Bay, offers luxury accommodations with all of the amenities one would expect from a luxury property.
Also, Camp Netanya’s Greek Restaurant is a must-visit for food lovers. It offers a fusion of Greek, Mediterranean, and Filipino fare.
San Benito Farm
Amidst a forest, this resort exudes a rustic vibe and is perfect for unwinding. The restaurant offers a diverse menu of vegan options.
A health and wellness resort provides various services to provide its guests with a Zen state of mind. Its accommodations include modern tropical villas, tree houses, and loft-styled rooms.
Hotel 1925, a boutique hotel with Spanish colonial architecture, has three nicely decorated rooms: Balcony Suite King, Suite King, and Suite Twin—all with eye-catching interior design and patterns. To have a luxurious experience, you must have stayed there.
The AniSiam House
Because of its remote location in Anilao, AniSiam House is a popular retreat for scuba divers and non-divers. AniSiam is a private resort that only accepts 12 guests and offers 5-star service in an intimate setting.
Accommodations in the Mid-Range
Here are some mid-range accommodations where you can stay for the best comfort and value for money:
Paradiso Rito is a remote hideaway with eight suites in the resort’s Art House by the beach and two dorm rooms with beds for sharing. The property is situated between a forested area and a beach with views of the coral-rich waters of Batangas Bay.
Lima Park Hotel
Lima Park Hotel, located within the Lima industrial estate, offers luxurious rooms ideal for leisure and business travelers. It has a total of 136 four-star rooms.
Villas by Eco Hotel
This resort, located at the foot of Batangas’ rolling hills and surrounded by the lush greenery of the countryside, is the ideal place to unwind.
Villas by Eco Hotel takes pride in its environmentally friendly and other sustainable practices, and it offers cozy rooms with a view of Taal Lake.
Club Balai Isabel
Club Balai Isabel is located on the Taal Lakeside in Talisay and is a short 10 km away from Tagaytay Picnic Grove. It is an excellent place to unwind and get closer to nature.
Other resort amenities include the inflatable Aqua Water Park, which is highly recommended. The resort also has an inflatable Aqua Water Park, a must-see day-trip destination in and of itself, and a wedding chapel.
Eagle Point Resort
Eagle Point, arguably the most popular dive resort in Batangas, is regarded as a one-stop dive resort in the province. Simply check-in and bring your scuba diving equipment, and they will take care of the rest, including transporting you to the best dive spots in Batangas.
How to go Around in Batangas?
As a large province with several cities and municipalities, buses and jeepneys are the primary modes of transportation in Batangas, with tricycles serving as secondary transportation in every city and town.
Using Jeepneys and Buses
Jeepneys and buses are the most cost-effective and convenient modes of transportation in Batangas. Bus routes connect all major cities and municipalities, whereas jeepney routes connect two neighboring cities or municipalities. Senior and student discounts are available on all jeepneys and buses.
On a Tricycle
The tricycle is the most common mode of transportation for getting around a municipality or city. Tricycle terminals are typically found in downtown areas near the marketplace, churches, residential areas, schools, commercial districts, and government districts.
Private and Shared Tours
You will have the most convenient mode of transportation in the province if you take advantage of private or shared tours. Check out Batangas tours that include an all-inclusive package that includes going to and from all places you want to visit in Batangas.
What to See and Do in Batangas?
Batangas has so much to offer, from beaches to mountain trails to diving spots to gastronomic adventures, that their attractions can quickly fill up your travel itinerary. Here are some of the best tourist attractions and activities you should not miss:
Go to the Malabrigo Lighthouse
The Malabrigo Lighthouse, one of Batangas’ two Spanish-era lighthouses, stands on the cliffs of Lobo. Guillermo Brockman designed it, and it was completed in 1891.
Like other Spanish-built lighthouses in the Philippines, it was built of bricks and had a circling metal stair leading to the top. A National Historic Landmark overlooks the beautiful ocean and lush countryside. It is a nice place if you want to go with your family.
Enjoy Island Sightseeing and the Beaches
Batangas has an abundance of swimmable beaches and islands with scenic backdrops. A trip to Batangas would be incomplete without frolicking in the sea waters. There are white sand beaches, diving sites, and quaint coastal towns to choose from.
- Calatagan Beach
A popular weekend getaway destination for companies and families, Calatagan Beach, another coastal town with cozy Batangas beach resorts, has a long shoreline and fine sand. Don’t miss out on the Calatagan Sandbar, which appears at low tide.
If you come here early in the morning, you can walk the whole length of its nearly 500-meter-long sandbar and swim in the surrounding crystal-clear waters. Starfish Island is another sandbar near Calatagan that you can visit.
- Laiya Beach
Laiya is one of Batangas’ most well-known beaches. Swimming, scuba diving, and other water sports can be found here. People come here to unwind and have fun. With its many amenities and Batangas beach resorts that cater to leisure and mid-range travelers,
- Masasa Beach
You can find the fine sandy beach of Masasa at the foot of Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato in Tingloy. There are numerous low-cost accommodations along the beach’s length.
Many visitors come here after hiking the nearby peak of Mag-Asawang Bato for the day. Some of the activities available are beach bumming, island hopping, snorkeling, banana boating, and beach volleyball.
- Verde Island
Witness and experience the simple island life on this modern-free island. From the island’s rustic and charming setting to the underwater gem of the water surrounding it—the Verde Passage—Verde Island is also a diver’s paradise.
- Island of the Sombrero
Sombrero Island, so named because it looks like a sombrero (Spanish for “hat”) from a distance, is famous for its white sandy beach and tall coconut trees.
There are a plethora of colorful corals beneath the waters off Sombrero Island, so bring your snorkeling gear—or, better yet, your diving equipment.
- Fortune Island
Fortune Island, located off the coast of Nasugbu, features replicas of the Parthenon columns in Greece, which overlook the deep blue waters of Nasugbu Bay.
The structures were the ruins of an old private island resort. Visitors can now pay an entrance fee to visit Fortune Island. Rent a boat from Fortune Island Resort in Nasugbu or take a tour to get there.
Explore Diving Spots
Batangas has diving spots that are regarded as some of the best in the world. There are numerous dive shops and resorts that cater to experienced and novice divers.
The Verde Island Passage, which is surrounded by a body of water rich in marine resources, underwater caves, and shipwrecks, makes Batangas a favorite diving destination among Filipino divers and divers from all over the world.
Batangas is the ideal place to go on a diving vacation, shortlisted by numerous travel magazines in numerous best diving spots in the world listicles.
Many resorts in the province offer diving trips and even diving certifications, particularly those near the beach.
Take a Tour of the Visita Iglesia
You can go on a Visita Iglesia tour around Batangas to marvel at the magnificent architecture of the province’s many old churches.
Among the many churches, these are some you can visit:
- Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours
- San Sebastian Cathedral
- Padre Pio Shrine in Tanuan
- Our Lady of Caysasay in Taal
- Mount Carmel Church
- Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate.
Hike the Batangas Mountains
Batangas has become a popular hiking destination in the Philippines due to their geographical terrain, surrounded by a long shoreline and rugged mountains (there are said to be 70 mountains). Here are some must-hike destinations in Batangas to help you plan a hiking trip to the province:
- Mount Batulao (Nasugbu)
Mount Batulao’s hiking trail screams Instagram-worthy images, with a vast grassy meadow leading to rolling slopes and surrounded by the majestic landscape.
A leisurely hike of 2-3 hours will take you to its pointed peaks, which open up to a more breathtaking view of Batangas’ surrounding countryside.
- Mount Gulugod Baboy (Anilao)
It is so named because the peak resembles a pig’s spine. Gulugod Baboy’s easy to moderate hiking trail is ideal for beginners and provides a scenic ocean view.
It is one of the many peaks in Batangas where you can enjoy a day of hiking followed by a trip to the beach.
- Mount Maculot (Cuenca)
Mount Maculot, one of the most popular hiking destinations in the country, is an easy climb that rewards hikers with a breathtaking view of the Taal volcano and lake from the “Rockies,” a ridge section on the mountain’s side.
A large campsite is a few hundred meters from the Rockies. The hike to the Rockies takes about an hour or two, and the return trip takes another couple of hours.
- Mount Talamitam (Nasugbu)
This mountain is a little more challenging to reach than other peaks in Batangas, but the views on the way are worth the effort. Most hikers prefer the rocky sections of Mt. Talamitan, where the ascent becomes more challenging.
- Mount Daguldol (San Juan)
This mountain appears to have it all: ocean views, mossy and wooden forests, plain meadows, and side trips to nearby Naambon Falls and Laiya Beach. The Mt. Daguldol trail is moderate to difficult, requiring 4-5 hours of continuous hiking.
- Mount Manabu (Sto. Tomas)
A flat meadow resembles a garden in the sky beneath the massive white cross atop this mountain.
Mount Manabu is one of three peaks that make up the Malipunyo range; the other two, Malipunyo and Susong Dalaga, are also popular hiking destinations.
The Cape Santiago Lighthouse is a Sight to Behold
The other Spanish-era lighthouse in Batangas is the Cape Santiago Lighthouse. It looms over a cliff in Calatagan, a coastal town.
It was built in 1890 and was designed again by Guillermo Brockman. The lighthouse, which overlooks Burot beach and the many diving spots that surround Calatagan’s shores, is an ideal place to visit.
Take a Heritage Tour in Taal Town
Taal is a town where you can find old houses from the Spanish period. The best part is that you can enter some of the heritage houses here, as some of them are mini-museums and bed and breakfast inns.
The town also has two old churches, Taal Basilica and Our Lady of Caysasay Church. Taal Town is also a popular destination for purchasing handcrafted Barong Tagalog and other Filipiniana dresses. In the municipality of Balayan, there is another heritage town.
Where to Eat and Drink in Batangas?
It’s no surprise that fiestas and festivals are held throughout the province. This is because Batanguenos enjoy cooking as much as they enjoy celebrating their traditions. As a result, the province has a culinary-rich culture that has given birth to several food establishments that contribute to the province’s tourism appeal.
Many people come to the province solely to take food tours. As a result, visiting the area will provide you with the best of both worlds: a bountiful natural environment and a satisfying selection of delectable cuisine.
Here are some highly recommended restaurants to taste local Batangas cuisine to help you fuel up the many thrilling activities in the province.
- Café de Lipa Origins
- Jorjhane’s House of Special Bulalo
- Don Juan Boodle House
- Kainan sa Dalampasigan
- Abadi Restaurant at Cintai Corito’s Garden
Valuable Information and Tips
It is critical to read up on these practical tips for a hassle-free and convenient trip to Batangas province. These will be helpful, especially if you’re visiting the province for the first time:
Batangas province is a safe place, and the people are pleasant and welcoming. It could be best to have a local guide if you are going on a hiking trip, not for security reasons, but to avoid getting lost and help the local economy.
Every city and municipality has a police station, and almost every barangay has a tourist office where you can report any security concerns. Feel safe wandering around the city.
The Philippine Peso is the main currency in Batangas (PHP). There are numerous banks and ATMs in all provinces’ cities and municipalities. Many establishments also accept credit card payments.
Batangas’ native language is Tagalog. It is Tagalog with a strong accent and a grammar structure based on old Tagalog phrases. But language is not a barrier anywhere in the Philippines because their second language is English. It s better to learn some local slang just to get the touch, but you don’t need to worry much about communication issues.
With so much to do and see in Batangas, it can be challenging to plan an itinerary that covers everything—unless you have at least a week to explore the province.
Batangas is more than just weekend getaways from Manila. With so many activities and attractions to do and see, planning a more extended stay or multiple visits to fully explore all of this province’s beautiful offerings is a must.
Get to know the best of Batangas through this travel guide; these tips will help you plan every aspect of your stay, from your arrival to planning your activities in the province. Enjoy the best that Batangas offers, from its white sandy beaches and islands to scenic mountain hiking trails, diving destinations, heritage towns, and rich local cuisine.
Once you get familiar with the city, you are likely to stay here for a long. For an extended stay, you can explore accommodation options like a condo for rent or a townhouse for rent. Settling in Batangas with your family can be an option you can consider as there are so many good schools and universities in the city. Just get into the city and let it get into you!