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Itinerary Philippines

A Day Trip Guide to Mariveles, Bataan



Last weekend, I returned to Bataan for the third time and went as far as Mariveles, a municipality in the southern tip of Bataan peninsula. Formerly known as Village of Kamaya, Mariveles has 18 barangays (villages) and a population of around 127,000 (based on the 2015 consensus). Probably the most popular tourist destination in this part of Bataan is a group of coves called, Five Fingers, named so due to their coastal features similar to the interdigital folds of a hand, at least when you check its aerial view. But we are not going to talk about Five Fingers, I am going to show you what else you can see in Mariveles for a day.

 

How to get to Mariveles

There are 3 ways in which you can reach Mariveles: drive, take a bus, ride a ferry. Travel time by land takes 3 to 4 hours.

To know your travel options, click the buttons below.

By Bus

Bataan Transit has daily trips to Balanga and Mariveles from their 4 terminals in Metro Manila; Cubao, Boni, Avenida, and Pasay. The fare rate from Cubao/Avenida is ₱280 ($5.26), while it’s ₱290 ($5.45) if you’re coming from Pasay or Boni. See the table below for the Avenida/Cubao schedule.

Route First Trip Last Trip Interval
Cubao to Mariveles 12:00 a.m. 9:30 p.m. 20 minutes
Avenida to Mariveles 2:30 a.m. 8:00 p.m. 30 minutes
Mariveles to Cubao 12:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m. 15 minutes
Mariveles to Avenida 2:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. 20 minutes
Bus schedule information is based from Bataan Transit site.

 

Another bus company that plies the same route is Genesis.

TipTo avoid a hassle, book your ticket online. Both Bataan Transit and Genesis offer online booking option.

By Ferry

If you want to cut travel time by half and want to enjoy a much-relaxed trip, then take a trip with El Greco. They have 3 scheduled daily trips from Manila to Mariveles and vice versa.

Schedule Fare Rates
Manila to Mariveles Mariveles to Manila Lower Economy 195 ($3.66)
5:30 a.m. 7:30 a.m. Upper Economy ₱210 ($3.95)
9:00 a.m. 10:30 a.m. First Class ₱235 ($4.41)
3:30 p.m. 5:15 p.m. V.I.P Cabin ₱350 ($6.58)

 

By Car
Though the prospect of reaching Mariveles after only 2 hours is far more appealing, it’d be difficult to get around Mariveles if we didn’t have our own vehicle. Thus, we took the option of renting a van. I posted on my Facebook wall asking for recommendations and that’s how I found out about Aloha Transport Services. The transaction was a breeze, the person who entertained my inquiries was very responsive. The van rate for our day trip to Mariveles is ₱6,500 ($122.11) and that’s all in. The call time was set at 3:30 a.m. and the driver, Kuya Gelly, arrived on time. I highly recommend this transport service.

 

What to see in Mariveles

A few weeks prior, I searched for some of the places that we could visit. I did the due diligence of checking Google maps for each of their location so we don’t go around aimlessly. The plan is to go to the farthest location then drive back so by the time we’re ready to go home, travel time wouldn’t be as long. Here are the key places that we visited.

 

Bataan Death March Zero Kilometer Marker

When you visit Bataan, you might notice the several kilometer markers on the road, most of them along MacArthur highway. These are not just any ordinary markers but ones that hold a historical significance. In 1942, over 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of wars walked—a great number of them to their death—along the 160-km stretch of road from Bataan to Pampanga. This point in history is called, the Bataan Death March, one if not the most terrible of atrocities in recollection during the Japanese occupation.  

There are 138 markers, 100 of which can be found in Bataan. The remaining markers can be seen in Pampanga (31) and Tarlac (7). There are two Zero KM markers in Bataan, one in Bagac and another one in Mariveles. The marker that we visited is in the Freeport Town of Mariveles, sitting just beside a Jollibee branch. I know the story of Bataan death march from reading the book, Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides years ago. Because of this, I didn’t feel right about taking a selfie in the monument, hence I just stopped to take a picture of the marker.

 

Panoypoy Cove

Indubitably, the most beautiful spot we visited on this day trip is the Panoypoy Cove, also known as the Batanes of the West. It can be found inside a resort called Claubel, weird name, which I’m pretty sure is two names merged into one (maybe Claude and Annabel? Who knows?!). If Claubel is too hard for you to remember, then ask people about “Hawla Beach”, another name for this resort. Why does it have another name? Go figure.

There is a 100-peso ($1.88) entry fee per head and they will tell you that it’s required to rent one of their cottages for ₱500 ($9.39). We had no intention of going swimming or staying there for long, we only wanted to take pictures of the cove. We begged the attendants to let us in without paying the cottage. It took some convincing but they finally let us through. It turns out that we really won’t be needing the cottage because we decided to skip the beach.

We took the path that goes down to the viewing point of the cove. There, on top of the hills, you can see the amazing view of Panoypoy Cove. I haven’t been to Batanes so I can’t make a valid comparison, but I was impressed by the view nonetheless. 

My friends and I had to do a little hike across the hill to get to a better spot. I knew that there’s some hiking involved but I wanted to be “extra” and wore a dress and a pair of gladiator sandals. Ill-dressed for the task but highly determined, I started climbing the rocky hill with one of my friends, Patit. We noticed that the mountain is bald and dry, the grasses are more brown than green. Patit wondered what happened to the trees, I echoed her sentiment. I took extra caution, carrying my tripod on my left shoulder, my brown bag on my right, as I walked on the slightly moist stony ground. The trek was short and doesn’t take a lot of effort, at least if I would compare it with all of my previous climbs. Before long, we were already on the other side to gaze at this view.

When everyone else has gathered to this side of the hill, I called for a group photo. As you can see, my friends are as extra as me, lol. By the time we decided to leave, I was nearing dehydration because of the sun. If you’re ever thinking of going there, make sure to bring water and slather on the sunblock.   

Address: Porto Del sol, Circle Brgy. Balon Anito

 

Balon Anito

Have you ever been to the mouth of a volcano? Well, you can easily do that in Mariveles by visiting Balon Anito. The locals call it a hot spring, but in reality, it is the mouth of a dormant volcano. True enough, you can see bubbles coming up on the water’s surface. The water is the color of moss and the crater itself is just the size of a regular swimming pool for kids.

The spring is in the back of Balon Anito Barangay Hall and basketball court. People go there to dip their toes because of the alleged healing properties of the water. I entertained thoughts of dipping my feet but the idea of wetting my sandals changed my mind. I did play with water a little with my hands just to know if the water is warm, it is but not as hot as I thought it’d be.

There were no other tourists when we went there. A local told us that if we don’t know how to swim then it’s best not to do it because the spring may be small, but it is deep.

Address: Barangay Balon Anito, Freeport Area of Bataan

 

San Miguel Lighthouse & San Miguel Peak

The smallest lighthouse I have ever seen can be found on the tip of Sisiman. San Miguel Lighthouse lies on the foot of a small mountain called, San Miguel Peak. My friend, Pancake, climbed this mountain with her son on her previous visit. By the time we reached the place, the sun was at its highest, taking out any thoughts of conquering the peak.

Going to the lighthouse entails a few minutes of walk over a dirt road sandwiched between San Miguel Peak and Sisiman Bay. There are small rundown cottages on the side of the bay, empty saved for one that looks like it’s being used as a place of residence.  

Walking at around 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon heat can be oppressing, thus I used my umbrella. It only succeeded in shading the upper part of my body, I had to endure the heat on my feet. At last, we reached the white lighthouse that no visitors are allowed to climb. It looks so small and lonely. On the back of the lighthouse, somebody pitched a tent. I looked at it and wondered how could anyone stay in there under the intense heat of the sun.   

I went down to the shore bedecked with huge boulders and rocks to take some photos. The wind that was blowing was a small mercy, but it was not enough to make us want to stay longer. My guesstimate is that we were only there for no more than 15 or 20 minutes.    

Address: Barangay Balon Anito, Freeport Area of Bataan  

Manila Airport Transfers

Where to eat in Mariveles

For our lunch, we went to Pupung Grill, a Filipino restaurant. It can be found on the side of Roman Superhighway facing the Mariveles Bay. They serve Filipino food but the area in which we were seated had a Japanese theme going on. I was momentarily disoriented but the place looks decent so I guess, it was no big deal.

We went there after having coffee, thus we were not starving and had the patience to wait for the food. We ordered several dishes for sharing, my most favorite of which is the sinigang na bangus and ensaladang talong. Price range plays between ₱200 to 500 ($3.76 – $9.39).     

Address: Ave of the Philippines, Freeport Area of Bataan  

 

Where to get coffee in Mariveles

There is not a lot of cafes in Mariveles to my disappointment. On googling we found Iwahori Coffeeshop, the in-house cafe of Iwahori Guesthouse. It claims that it offers healthy coffee, I was naturally curious. We entered a rather drab looking place, small and aesthetically unimpressive. It doesn’t look anything like the cafes that you can find in the city.

I ordered a cup of hot latte ₱60 ($1.13), which according to the barista is their bestseller. I was disappointed to find out that they are offering instant coffee from a product that came from Malaysia. It’s not that I don’t drink instant coffee, it’s just that it’s supposed to be a cafe, of course, I would expect that at the least they’d serve brewed coffee. There was nothing spectacular about the latte that it got me wondering how it became a bestseller. Nonetheless, I finished my cup in peace, not the best but I’ve had worst. At least the staff was nice to us. We asked them what else we could see in Mariveles but all of their suggestions, save for Five Fingers, were already included in our itinerary.  

Address: 156 Lakandula St. Poblacion

 


We couldn’t find Sisiman Beach, our supposed last stop. It was a little before 3:00 p.m., too early to go home, but that’s what we ended up doing when somewhere along the way it started raining hard. The trip back to the crowded city took longer considering the traffic. Nevertheless, we all agreed, it has been a successful day trip.

This trip pushed through at the request of Pancake who is leaving for Ireland soon. It’s been a long time since our group went somewhere together, it was nice to have a sort of a last hurrah before one of us leave the country for good.


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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Shreya Saha
    June 29, 2018 at 11:12 PM

    I have never heard of Mariveles before. The place looks great. It is small yet has so many spots to visit. The death March reminded me of the Hellfire pass in Thailand. Broke my heart. But the happy part is the beautiful cove. Is there no other way to visit the cove except going there through the resort? That’s a little inconvenient I guess. Is it a private cove?

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      July 3, 2018 at 1:08 AM

      It’s not a popular spot in the Philippines but it has the potential to be the next best destination.

  • Reply
    sam
    June 29, 2018 at 5:59 AM

    Totally love your pictures with the girls! I have been to Mariveles, Bataan to climb a mountain. That’s Mt. Tarak, a major climb that takes 10 hours back and forth. Bataan is really one of the historical places especially during the American occupation. It’s also a great place to visit every April 9, during Araw ng Kagitingan since Bataan played a huge role during the war.

  • Reply
    neha
    June 28, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    Mariveles seems to have some really awesome spots to enjoy. Panoypoy Cove particularly appears to be very beautiful cove. I like your snaps in particular, with the blue waters surrounding the green mainland. And I am sure the village tour would help bring the tourists closer to the culture of the region.

  • Reply
    Karie
    June 26, 2018 at 6:24 PM

    I’ve not heard of Mariveles before but it seems like a marvelous place.. sorry for he silly pun..hehe..Also didn’t hear about the Bataan Death March..that was quite sad. That view from Panoypoy Cove is gorgeous and interesting to know about the dormant volcano Balon Anito . Thanks for sharing all the information on how to get there!

  • Reply
    Ambuj Saxena
    June 26, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    I totally echo your emotions about the instant coffee served to you in the cafe! Even i prefer heading to quaint cafes to get authentic taste in tea or coffee so I understand what you say. Thanks for a well written blog!

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