Constantly faced with the question, ‘What’s a good driving-distance beach from Manila?’
Trust us, you’re not alone. As the heat gets unbearable in the city, the top-of-mind agenda is to bask in sun-drenched, skin-baring days by the sea. But when a 2-hour drive to Batangas is too conventional for your liking while a 5-hour road trip to Zambales too big of a commitment, where to next?
The middle ground: a 3- to 4-hour excursion to the coastal province of Bataan.
There’s more to this peninsular province than historical landmarks like Mount Samat National Shrine and its neighboring tourist spot, Corregidor. Recount Bataan’s map from your stock knowledge on Philippine geography—or do a quick search online, like most of us would—and you’ll find most of its districts jutting out to the vast South China Sea, which only means endless days under the sun, by the sand and sea.
From Manila, travelers can easily head to Bataan either by car (thank you, Waze!) or by bus via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) or the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Not many people know that travelers can even hop on a one-hour ferry ride from Manila! So mark your calendars, pack your bags, and get ready to be mind-blown by how rich Bataan is with its tropical treasures and fascinating sights.
Five Fingers Cove, Mariveles
If you’re in for an adventure-packed beach trip, Five Fingers Cove is the place to journey to. Named as such since the cove looks like an outstretched hand at an aerial view, this prized gem of Mariveles is slowly but surely catching on to tourists. And with its slew of thrilling activities, it’s no wonder why. Here you can enjoy island hopping, trekking, cliff diving, and sightseeing in stunning destinations like Talaga Beach, Apatot Cove, Pulong Kawayan Cove, Tinanlakan Cove, and Nagbintana Arch.
The quickest way to get here from Manila is via a one-hour direct ferry ride from Manila to Orion from Mall of Asia’s Seaside Terminal, then a 45-minute shuttle to Mariveles. Avail of the Mariveles Five Fingers Tour by BWP (Bataan Weather Page), a DOT-accredited travel tour that offers a day tour inclusive of a lunch buffet and an overnight camping package inclusive of three meals and a snack. Creatures of comfort can opt to book a stay in nearby hotels like The Oriental Bataan, Casa Veles Hotel, or The Wharf Transient Hotel.
Laki Beach, Mariveles
Privately owned and situated nearby Five Fingers Cove, Laki Beach is a virgin beach ideal for budget travelers and backpackers. Usually visited by day-trippers, the beach does not have any lodging spaces save for a few cottages for rent. As you step foot on its fine sand, behold a vast stretch of shore lined with inviting waters perfect for swimming and idle wading. Beachgoers will also be delighted by the beach’s tranquil atmosphere and expansive surroundings, which is a breath of fresh air from the more populous beaches.
To get here via public transpo, head to the Mariveles town proper via bus or ferry. Then, ride a jeepney or tricycle going to Brgy. Balon and ask your driver to drop you off at Porto. From there, you can rent a boat going to Laki Beach at an estimated cost of ₱3,000 for 10 pax.
Looc Beach, Bagac
Let fine sand and calm waters invite you to your most tranquil tropical getaway yet. Perfect for groups of friends who want to bask under the sun without breaking the bank, Looc Beach is an assuming yet nonetheless stunning beach that remains a hidden gem to many. Here you can expect clean and shallow waters, sweeping shores, and a relaxed atmosphere that makes you feel worlds away from everyday life. Word of advice: there’s little to no shade at the secluded beach, so make sure to bring a beach tent or rent a cottage for a minimal fee. You can also rent a tent or bring your own to camp overnight, or stay at nearby resorts like Stella Maris Beach and Farm Resort.
To get here via public transpo, ride a bus to the Balanga Bus Terminal, then take the Morong Bus and inform your conductor to drop you off at La Salle Bagac in Barangay Banawang. Upon arrival, rent a tricycle heading to Looc Beach. Contact Looc Beach to hire a boatman to pick you up.
(0916) 706 3748
Stella Maris Beach Resort, Bagac
Although its sands aren’t as white as its other counterparts, travelers are charmed by Stella Maris Beach Resort for its unique appearance. Adorned with Agoho trees reminiscent of Zambales’ Anawangin Cove and Nagsasa Cove, it boasts a mountainous vibe that sets it apart from typical beaches lined with coconut trees. This budget-friendly resort is a beachfront stay decked with no-frills cottages and huts fit for backpackers. It’s also a picture-perfect camping setting as it’s shaded by towering Agoho trees.
To get here via public transpo, ride a bus to the Balanga Bus Terminal, then alight a jeepney to Bagac Market. Upon arrival, take a tricycle going to Stella Maris Beach Resort.
(0920) 550 7360
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bagac
Although Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is primarily known for its Spanish-Filipino architecture, cobblestoned streets, and Old Manila charm, little do people know that it’s also home to a picturesque beach boasting Mt. Mariveles as its backdrop. A must-visit for anyone who wants an enriching travel experience, this highly-acclaimed resort has plenty in store for its guests: heritage tours, quaint restaurants, an infinity pool, and most notably, a beach to frolic and spend carefree summer days in.
To get here via public transpo, ride a bus to the Balanga Bus Terminal then transfer to a bus bound for Bagac. Upon arrival, ride a tricycle to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
Brgy. Ibaba, Bagac, Bataan
(02) 8833 3333 loc 116 to 117
(0917) 827 9361
(0925) 805 5232
Playa La Caleta Beach, Morong
With a name that literally translates to “Beach Cove”, Playa La Caleta is an eco-tourism resort boasting a 1-kilometer white sand beach in front and a verdant forest at the back. Its accommodations include air-conditioned beach rooms, gazebos, cottages, and tents for rent. Spend your sun-soaked days here engaging in water sports like stand-up paddling, kayaking, snorkeling, and even scuba diving. For overnighters, enjoy movie screenings, live band performances, and other special events.
To get here via public transpo, take a bus to Balanga Bus Terminal then ride a jeep to Bagac. Upon arrival, ride a tricycle to Fajardo’s Beach Resort, then ride a boat going to Playa La Caleta.
Check out this Playa La Caleta travel guide for more tips on what to see and do in the resort.
(02 637 9147 to 48
Morongstar Hotel & Resort, Morong
A prime choice for families, this well-loved resort is sure to impress with several exciting activities that will easily fill your vacation’s itinerary. Adults may engage in water activities like jet skiing, kayaking, and scuba diving, while kids will enjoy Morongstar’s adventure park and mini zoo. You can also play volleyball and sunbathe on its broad, spacious shores, then indulge in the delicious food that guests have been raving about. Plus, with its iconic jetty on its beachfront, you’ll have plenty of shots to post on Instagram for sure.
To get here via public transpo, take a bus to Olongapo and ask your conductor to drop you off at the Victory Bus Terminal. Upon arrival, board a yellow jeep that will take you to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). From there, alight a mini-bus heading to Morong and get off at the Morong town proper. Afterwards, take a tricycle to Morongstar Hotel & Resort.
Morongstar Hotel & Resort
(0977) 770 7456
(0906) 287 4687
(0922) 733 0003
(0922) 733 0007
(0947) 933 2005
Extending your stay in this charming province? Check out our Bataan deals right here.
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This article was last edited on October 17, 2019 by the DG Traveler team.
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