Only a few hours ride from Manila, the Province of Batangas is one of the most famous city getaways in the Philippines. Famous for the Taal Lake, the Taal heritage town and numerous diving spots in Anilao, anyone can find something of interest for them. Even though it’s best visited on a weekend trip, spending one day in Batangas is just what you need to unwind and relax thanks to its many activities.
What’s the best time to visit Batangas?
The Philippines are a year-round destination. However, as a tropical country, the Philippines have only two main seasons throughout the year. The Batangas region is better visited during the dry season, from November to April. In the rainy season, the occasional shower can ruin pretty much all outdoor activities. The highest temperatures as well as the humidity occur from May to July, so if possible skip traveling during that time of the year.
a Few facts about Batangas
Batangas is a province in the Philippines located on the Luzon Island, with the city of Batangas being the capital of the region. Unlike the rest of the Philippines, the region doesn’t offer the most beautiful sand beaches like elsewhere in the country. Instead, the region is popular because of its rich marine life, with Anilao being the ultimate center of extraordinary marine biodiversity, which is why it’s sometimes called the Center of the Center of Marine Biodiversity.
One Day in Batangas Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Batangas.
Visit the Taal Lake and hike the Taal Volcano
If you’re traveling from Manila, make your first stop at Taal Lake. What makes this lake so special is the Volcano Island that lies nearly at the center of the lake. There is a crater lake at the top of the Volcano Island with its own tiny island, making it the third order island in total.
Book a tour of the Volcano Island and prepare yourself for an adventurous boat ride (especially if wavy) and hike with the guided tour all the way to the crater lake on the top of the Taal Volacano. In case you want to skip the hike, book a horseback ride.
The atmosphere on the Volcano Island is completely different than the one on land. This is due to the dark volcanic soil on the perimeter and geothermal area around the crater. The ground heat is so strong in some areas that you can notice the steam rising up from the ground. That’s why while standing on some spots you can feel your feet burning.
And since it‘s covered in sulfur, the whole area reeks. However, its yellow color and the texture make the whole place an extraordinary visual experience. If you’re into it, you can do a swim in the crater lake, supposedly it has healing properties.
Visit the Taal heritage town
Only a short ride from Lake Taal, you’ll find the Taal heritage town. It’s a small town with ancestral houses and structures dating back to the 19th century and the Spanish colonial era. There are more than hundred of heritage structures, so you obviously won’t have time to explore all of them. However, don’t miss Taal Basilica Minore de San Martin de Tours and several museums where you can learn a bit more about the history of the town and read some incredible stories from the Spanish colonial times.
Go scuba diving in Anilao
As already mentioned, Anilao is the center of extraordinary marine biodiversity and therefore very popular with divers and snorkelers. There are many beaches along the coast, but don’t expect divine sand beaches like those in Boracay. Anilao is more of a diving paradise, therefore you’ll mostly meet tourists interested in diving. There are several diving centers in Anilao, where you can arrange trips to diving spots at very affordable fares. Make sure to contact the centers at least day in advance if you’re short on time.
Stroll the Mabini downtown
Mabini downtown is a busy area worth a short walk. Stroll the main street, indulge in the local atmosphere and meet friendly Filipinos along the way. There are a few supermarkets, a market and quite a lot of street vendors selling basic local street food.
Enjoy the sunset in Anilao
The best time of the day to spend at the beach is right before the sunset. The heat is reduced and the sky colors are enchanting. Most of the resorts and hotels offer terrace with nice sea views, so at times you don’t even have to leave your accommodation to enjoy the beautiful sunset.
Try Filipino specialties for dinner
There are many authentic dishes from this particular region, but not many restaurants have them on the menu. Since you’re staying in the coastline region, you should definitely go for a seafood dinner. One of the best Filipino seafood dishes are Tuna kinilaw (marinated raw tuna), Sinigang na bangus (milk-fish in sour broth), Sinigang na hipon (shrimp in tamarind soup) and Adobong Pusit (squid adobo).
Where to stay in Batangas?
Mabini Circumferential Road, Sitio Saimsim, Barangay Mainit
Rated as one of the best value deals in Mabini, Paradiso Rito offers a relaxing stay in a tranquil atmosphere with an amazing beachfront view. The resort offers a fusion of modern furnishing, antique pieces of furniture and Filipino artwork. The rooms provide a bright and super comfortable stay.
Camp Netanya Resort and Spa
Bauan-Mabini Road, Barangay Ligaya, Anilao
Camp Netanya Resort and Spa is a luxurious, Santorini-inspired resort, located on Mabini peninsula. The resort faces the sea and therefore offers some stunning views, especially at sunset. It features 25-meter infinity lap pool overlooking the beauty of Balayan Bay. The rooms feature modern comfort and minimal Greek-themed design. The resort is family friendly, but it’s also a great pick for couples and friends.
Extra tips for visiting Batangas
– If you’re traveling from Manila, the best way to reach the Taal Lake is to catch a bus from the Manila bus station. In case you want to do the diving first, the same bus drives all the way to Mabini downtown where you can catch a tricycle or a jeepney to reach Anilao.
– The Volcano Island hike can be physically demanding. Consider wearing good sneakers and sports clothing. Bring some bottled water because you are surely going to need it.
– Batangas is a budget friendly destination. PADI diving courses are much cheaper than regular and that’s why many people decide to do a PADI course in Anilao. The accommodation and the food in the restaurants are also much cheaper compared to the other coastline destinations in the country.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).