Summer’s the best time to visit the Philippines. Its more than 7,000 islands promise sun, surf, and beach. But there’s more to the Philippines than just island life. And when we say it’s more fun in the Philippines, that’s because there’s so much to discover—heritage, culture, natural resources, and man-made landmarks. When you’re planning a trip in Manila and got just a few days to spend, you don’t have to go far. South of the metropolis just a couple of hours or even less is a destination that’s heaped with diverse attractions. Here’s a fun list of 24 things that you can see, do, eat, and experience in rich Batangas.
1. Devotion is so much alive in Batangas. Your first stop should be at the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in San Pedro, Sto. Tomas. Offer flowers and prayers for your intentions.
2. Apolinario Mabini is marking his 153rd birthday on July 23rd. Know more about this genteel hero at the newly-revitalized, high-tech Museo ni Apolinario Mabini in Tanauan. One of the biggest museums under the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, this museum exhibits the life and heroic deeds of Mabini. It is open from 8 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Sunday.
3. Watch a horse race at the Batangas Metro Turf.
4. Play a round of golf at the world-class Summit Point Golf Estate or Mt. Malarayat Golf & Country Club.
5. Enjoy a huge bowl of Batangas lomi swimming in hot soup thickened with cassava flour. This local noodle dish first became popular in the ‘80s and is served carindenrias that dot the roadsides. The best place to eat Batangas lomi? Head over to Lomi King in Lipa.
6. A pilgrim’s haven, Lipa City is dubbed the “Little Rome of the Philippines” for its numerous Catholic churches, convents, seminaries, and retreat houses. Take time to visit any one of these religious destinations for a glimpse of Catholic devotion.
7. Admire the beautiful Romanesque architecture of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian (San Sebastian Cathedral), established by Pope Pius X as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lipa in 1910.
8. Visit the image of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, now enshrined at a side chapel within the grounds of the Shrine of Our Lady of Carmel of Lipa, where the supposed 1948 apparitions and the shower of rose petals happened.
9. Attend a novena mass to Our Lady of Perpetual Help at the Divino Amor Chapel Redemptorist in Lipa. The Redemptorist in Lipa started attracting devotees when the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was said to have appeared in a tree trunk that was cut by a church worker in 2009.
10. Visit the Casa de Segunda heritage museum in Lipa, the ancestral home of Segunda Solis Katigbak who is the first love of Philippine hero Jose Rizal.
11. Take a spin on your bike through the winding, picturesque trails of Balete, known as the Biking Capital of Southern Luzon.
12. Explore the beautiful gardens of Marian Orchard, a pilgrimage site in Balete. During the summer months, get lost in the myriad of exploding colors of the bougainvillea that blanket its gardens.
13. When at Marian Orchard, spend quiet moments of prayer and reflection at the Via Crucis, a linear garden with life-size statues depicting the passion of Christ.
14. Enjoy freshly-made suman with a steaming cup of kapeng barako alongside locals near the talipapa of Balete for some local taste and color.
15. Did you know that Taal Volcano has 47 known craters and four maars? Find out things you did not know about Taal’s lake, volcano, and the islands at the Taal Lake Conservation Center (TLCC).
16. Get on a banana boat ride or try your hand at rowing a dragon boat in Taal Lake.
17. Navigate through Taal Lake and discover the numerous islands and rock formations that dot the lake on board the 30-seater Lady of the Lake
18. Take a trek along the Lava Walk on the Taal Volcano Island.
19. Bird-watch at the bird sanctuary of San Nicolas, one of the towns under the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape. Every year, migratory herons and egrets escape the cold winters and seek shelter in San Nicolas. You’ll also find kingfishers and ducks here.
20. At the break of dawn, head to the shores of Balete to watch fishermen haul in the day’s catch of tawilis. If you’re lucky, they can cook tawilis that you can enjoy for breakfast.
21. View the Volcano Island up close and personal. Bask in the breathtaking view of the lake and the islands from the shores of Balete.
22. Balete is home to numerous honey bee farms. Drop by to see how honey is harvested, then take home a bottle of real honey, or try the honey vinegar.
23. Bring home sumang magkayakap, a local delicacy made from glutinous rice (kaning malagkit), wrapped in banana leaves, then bundled together. Best served with a special coconut caramel sauce. Yum!
24. At the end of a full day, come home to Lima Park Hotel. Enjoy a dip at the Horizon Swimming Pool. Nurse a cold bottle of beer under the stars at the La Terrazza Bar. Cap your night with a cup of freshly-crafted artisan coffee while listening to live jazz sessions at the Brew Company. Then have a blissful slumber in one of its 136 tastefully-appointed guest rooms and suites.
– Lima Park Hotel is a 4-star hotel located inside the master-planned Lima Technology Center in Malvar, Batangas. It’s a 45 minute-drive from the Makati Business District via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the STAR Tollway. For room reservations and to book a tour, call +63 43 981.1555. Send an email email@example.com. Visit www.limparkhotel.com. Like us on www.Facebook.com/LimaParkHotel.
Lima Park Hotel is a 4-star hotel located inside the master-planned Lima Technology Center in Malvar, Batangas. It’s a 45 minute-drive from the Makati Business District via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the STAR Tollway. For room reservations and to book a tour, call +63 43 981.1555. Send an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.limparkhotel.com. Like us on www.Facebook.com/LimaParkHotel.