I asked few friends of mine about Bataan, what do they know and most of them would say Corregidor Island, the harbor defense of Manila Bay, the gruesome yet historic story of Bataan Death March, the Battle of Bataan and the likes. Nobody mentioned about white sand beaches, majestic rock formations, awesome sunset. One friend of mine once told me that there’s nothing to see in Bataan. Well this post will prove her wrong.
Where is Bataan? The province is situated in Central Luzon region of the Philippines, a peninsula facing South China Sea to the west, Subic Bay to the northwest and encloses Manila Bay to the east. Being surrounded by bodies of water, you can never ran out of water activities in the province.
What to do then? So I made some research of what to do in Bataan and found many posts about Five Fingers Cove, Batanes of the West and white sand beach all in the town of Mariveles, province of Bataan and that is when we started our plan to wonder if we will marvel in Mariveles, Bataan.
Going to Bataan. There are two bus companies operating from Manila to Mariveles and vise versa. Genesis transport which operates only from 6am to 8pm and Bataan Transit from 12am then 3am. Travel is approximately three to four hours from Manila. We planed to take Bataan transit leaving by 12am. Unfortunately we missed the first trip so we decided to take two rides, Manila to Balanga which leaves at 1am then take another bus going to Mariveles.
The Breakfast. We arrived in Mariveles before 5am and thought of having breakfast at Jollibee but man, there was already a long queue of customers waiting in line even before the restaurant opened for that day. So we went to the market instead which is about five-minute walk from Jollibee. There we had a special lugaw (special rice porridge) for only Php.40.00 and I tell you it is worth walking rather than waiting in a long line of queue at a fastfood restaurant. The best lugaw I had.
After breakfast we bought food for the group good for lunch, dinner and brunch for the next day. We took advantage of the seafood, they’re so fresh and not too pricey compared to Manila prices. Then we headed to Porto aplaya via tricycle. Php.15.00 each for a group of five or Php.75.00 one way for a tricycle, travel time is about 10 to 15 minutes.
Porto Aplaya. This is where the pick up and drop off point of tourist/visitors doing the Five Fingers Tour. Upon arrival you will be greeted by so eager locals asking if you already have a boat. If you are travelling in a group might as well reserve your boat in advance. The point person in Mariveles is Kuya Tikboy (09075946138) he will help make the arrangements smoothly. You will be asked to register your name in manifesto and pay Php.5.00 for registration fee. It is not as organized as the other tourist spots in the country but the whole experience is not as bad as you think.
The Overnight tour as locals call it is Php.3500 for a boat for 10pax. Any excess is Php.350.00 per head. This includes the Five Finger Coves to Cove tour and Drop you off to Laki Beach. For a Day tour it is for Php.2500.00.
Five Fingers Cove tour. It is approximately 3 to 4 hours of cove hopping. As mentioned before Bataan is a peninsula and Mariveles is blessed with several pieces of land surrounded by water, while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. From google map it looks like five stretched out fingers, hence the name is derived from.
The tour is consists of several spots:
Laki Beach. Our last stop to pitch our tents and have the rest of the day and stay for the night is Laki beach. There is no accomodation available no electricity as well so make sure to have yourself ready. There is Php.250.00 entrance fee per person at the beach. Several cottages are also available but it is on a first come first serve basis. We arrived at the beach around 1pm. As soon as we arrived at Laki it totally hooked me in an instant. Long white sand shore, crystal blue sea and long line of coconut trees. It never disappoint me.
Before sun down we walked along the shoreline and went to the tip of the left part cove where we witnessed the beautiful sunset. We also found a small lagoon where you can bathe for awhile. Just be careful with sea urchins.
Goodbyes. The following morning, we had a quick swim and then brunch while waiting for our boat to arrive. We left Laki beach around 11am. On our way back to Porto Aplaya the waves are too excited as if bidding goodbye and see you next time. They were endless and tirelessly hitting our boat, gentle at first then a huge one will come. It was so much fun and terrifying at the same time.
Mariveles is really a marvel. Surely we will be back and explore more other stops it can offer.