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Mount Samat Dambana ng Kagitingan

During the old days, when the sky is clear, you can see the cross of Mount Samat from the roof of our house in Malabon, recalls my mom as I told her I was going on a trip to Bataan. That’s a long way off, about 50 kilometers way off. To step on the cross near the apex of Mount Samat had always been a dream of mine ever since having a glimpse of it from a window of a speeding bus during my high school years.

Mount Samat Dambana ng Kagitingan
THE PEAK OF THE CROSS, 555 METERS ABOVE SEA LEVEL

Dubbed as the Dambana ng Kagitingan or Shrine of Valor, the 73,665-hectare park built in 1966 is dedicated to the fallen heroes of the Second World War. The site itself is part of bloody battlefield where the Philippines’ last stand against the Japanese Imperial Forces took place.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Monday, February 8, 2016

St. Dominic Church Abucay Bataan Facade

The peeling white plastered walls of the St. Dominic Church in the town of Abucay tell a lot of stories. To be honest, I wasn’t really as impressed by its facade until I came to know the history that these silent walls have borne witness to.

St. Dominic Church Abucay Bataan Door
TWIN DORIC COLUMNS FLANK THE EMBOSSED DOUBLE DOORS OF THE CHURCH

Our group arrived at the church’s courtyard just as the sun was about to set. Too bad, it was descending right behind the edifice and it wasn’t too keen on giving off any drama that day.

The church doors, which was embossed with figures of a bull, a man, an eagle and what appears to be a jaguar, was closed. We thought then that that was probably it and started heading back to the van right after taking a few posterity shots.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cafe Kyoto Bataan

The culinary scene at Bataan has been surprising me at every turn. First we ate at a gelateria at Stregato Gelateria, then Kapampangan dishes at Ima’s Pamangan and finally Vietnamese food at Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an. And now,we’re turning to authentic Japanese cuisine at Café Kyoto!

Cafe Kyoto Bataan Lobby
THE PLAZA HOTEL’S MODERN LOBBY

The restaurant is set at the posh second floor lobby of The Plaza Hotel in Balanga City. The interiors aren’t quite as Japanese as the restaurant is; plush velvety chairs and no-nonsense dark wooden tables line the halls. I find the ambience a bit too intimidating especially for casual diners.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pawikan Festival Bataan

I was buying something from a sari-sari store somewhere in Bataan, a quick stop before we go to the site of this year’s Pawikan Festival, when the proprietor suddenly pulled up a basketful of pawikan eggs. Do I want some, he asked. I didn’t know what to say. I was shocked, to say the least. We were, after all, celebrating these gentle creatures’s existence and promoting their welfare. The exchange was a total opposite of why we were here.

Bataan Pawikan Festival
A SEA TURTLE HATCHLING, OFF TO THE SEA

But this is not new to me. I actually know someone close who used to eat pawikan eggs as if it were the norm. Well, to be fair, it was something natural to them, his uncles and aunts, heck, the whole town, was doing the same until it was banned. They really didn’t know that the practice wasn’t good until someone told them. Now, they know otherwise.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Friday, February 5, 2016

Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an in Morong, Bataan

One of the things that made its lasting mark on me during our Vietnam trip a few years back is banh mi; a bread snack hawked along the sidewalks of Ho Chi Minh. Imagine this, a French bread sliced in half and filled with all sorts of veggies, meat and cheese (Laughing Cow, at that), all for almost next to nothing. Never, in my wild imaginings that I would be mouth to mouth with this Vietnamese delight once again during our Pawikan Festival trip in Bataan.

Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an in Morong, Bataan
LOLENG’S SIMPLE STREET FACADE

Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an is a humble non-descript eatery located on one of the narrow sidestreets of Barangay Binaritan in Morong. The place is not air-conditioned, the furnishing is very simple, and its floor, left unfinished. You’d hardly take a second-look if not for its peculiar name and the number of people going in and out of its gate.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Thursday, February 4, 2016

Our Lady Of The Pillar Morong Bataan Church

I’ve visited the town of Morong in the province of Bataan a few times over the past years, but I never knew it harbors a colonial church worthy of a visit. During the second day of the Pawikan Festival, we checked out the church en route to our hotel, Brizo Resort, for a brief respite from the festivities of the day.

Our Lady Of The Pillar Morong Bataan Church Facade Details
THE LICHEN-COVERED WALLS OF BATAAN’S MORONG CHURCH

Morong church, not to be confused with the a similarly named church in Morong in the province of Rizal, is very squat. Set on an elevated patio, the facade is broad, but not very tall. I somehow find its proportions to be unsettling, being used to churches with towering heights.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ima’s Pamangan Bataan Dining Area

I’m not really that familiar with what Bataan has to offer when it comes to food. Being a peninsula, I know it has an abundance of seafood. During our first night in the province, our host surprised us with a Kapampangan culinary spot in the town of Pilar.

Ima’s Pamangan Bataan Dining Area
DIGGING THE VERY HOMEY CHARACTER OF IMA’S INTERIORS

Ima’s Pamangan Bataan Dining Area Details
WALL DECORS, BUSTED CLOCKS AND SUNGKA

Ima’s Pamangan Bataan Dining Food Trays
CARINDERIA-STYLE FOOD TRAYS

Well, I really shouldn’t have been surprised as the province of Pampanga is located just on the north-eastern side of Bataan. The restaurant’s full name is Ima Flora’s Pamangan, which is kampampangan for Mother Flora’s Food. Unpainted wooden benches and tables, faded stained floor, knick knack-filled wood-paneled walls dress the interiors of the restaurant; and on a counter, a spread of food, carinderia-style was set.

Indeed, the ambience felt like an upscale carinderia, except the food is still quite affordable.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Brizo Hotel & Resort Morong Bataan Pool

The town of Morong became our base of operation during our three-day tour around Bataan and Brizo Resort became our camp. The trip coincided with the province's Pawikan Festival and our accommodation of choice was perfect, being only a few minutes’ drive away from the festival grounds.

Brizo Hotel & Resort Morong Bataan Pool
VIEW OF THE POOL AREA AND THE SEA FROM THE RESTAURANT

Brizo Hotel & Resort Morong Bataan Veranda
OPEN VERANDA FROM THE ROOMS OVERLOOKING THE POOL

Brizo Hotel & Resort is a relatively new beach-side resort in Morong. The paintjob still seemed fresh as we walked into its open-aired mini-lobby and were assisted by its friendly crew to our second floor room.

Brizo Hotel & Resort Morong Bataan Room
SPACIOUS ROOMS GOOD ENOUGH FOR FOUR INDIVIDUALS

We were billeted at their Super Deluxe Pool View Room (Php 5,500.00 per night), one of the four room types in the resort, and it is huge. It sports a flatscreen TV, a fridge, two queen-sized beds and can easily accommodate four guests. It has an en suite toilet and bath with complimentary towels and toiletries. Furnishing and decors are a bit utilitarian, but everything is very clean.

Brizo Hotel & Resort Morong Bataan Toilet & Bath
CLEAN TOILET AND BATH

My only beef with our room is the connecting door to the next room. The guests at the other side can lock it, but we can't; a major privacy and security flaw which can be easily remedied by a simple metal lock. Good thing our friends were staying next door.

Brizo Hotel & Resort Morong Bataan Beach
AFTERNOON LOW-TIDE AT PANI BEACH

Brizo Hotel & Resort Morong Bataan Beach
A FISHERMAN’S BOAT DOCKED ALONG THE SHORE OF PANI BEACH

Brizo Hotel sits right along Pani Beach which stretches for a couple of kilometers (good for morning and afternoon walks). We immediately checked out the water the same night we checked in. The sand, as most in Bataan are, is gray and a bit course. It really wasn't a problem for us though as we were just too happy we could swim on the sea once again.

Brizo Hotel & Resort Morong Bataan Pool
FAMILY ENJOYING BRIZO’S SWIMMING POOL

For those not really enticed by gray sand, the resort has its own pool right by their Wheelhouse Restaurant. It’s not that large but is good enough for quick laps and a dip. We usually hang out here right after their set breakfast—which is complimentary, by the way—and during evenings, with beer and stories to boot.


Brizo Hotel & Beach Resort
Address: Pani Beach, Brgy. Poblacion, Morong, Bataan
Contact Number: (02) 998-1563 | (02) 998 1531
Email: info@brizo.ph
Facebook: Click Here
Room Rates & Booking: Click Here
GPS Coordinates Map: 14.670317, 120.265365

* OUR STAY WAS SPONSORED BY BATAAN TOURISM

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Friday, January 29, 2016