It’s definitely more fun in the Philippines, where its more than 7,000 islands promise sun, surf, and beach. In the Philippines, we work hard, but we party harder. We’ve got celebrations for all reasons and occasions. In fact, we seriously plan for holidays. Check out our tip sheet for all the long holidays in the Philippines for 2018.
And when you’re planning a trip back home and got just a few days to spend, you don’t have to go far. South of mega Manila just a couple of hours or even less is a destination that’s heaped with diverse attractions.
Here’s a serious fun list of 24 things that you can see, do, eat, and experience at the Lakeshore District of rich Batangas.
01 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.
02 The year 2017 marks the 153rd birthday of the true son of Batangas—Apolinario Mabini, the Brains of the Revolution. 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.
03 Get on a banana boat ride or try your hand at rowing a dragon boat in Taal Lake. Want a twist? Gather the squad and try a unique tug-of-war (or tug-of-oars, if you please) on a dragon boat.
04 Are you a cycling enthusiast, a devotee, or both? Get on your bike and head out to visit the beautiful churches of the Batangas Lakeshore District for a unique Bisikleta Iglesia.
05 Enjoy a huge bowl of Batangas lomi swimming in hot soup thickened with cassava flour. Batangas lomi is a local noodle dish that first became popular in the ‘80s and is served in carindenrias that dot the roadsides. The best place to eat Batangas lomi? Head over to Lomi King in Lipa.
06 A pilgrim’s haven, Lipa City is dubbed the “Little Rome of the Philippines.” Take time to visit any one of its numerous Catholic churches, convents, seminaries, and retreat houses, and other religious destinations for a glimpse of Catholic devotion.
07 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.
08 Visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Carmel of Lipa, where the supposed 1948 apparitions and the shower of rose petals happened.
09 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 was 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 Head to the instagram-perfect Marian Orchard in Balete. A pilgrimage site dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Marian Orchard features fountains and gardens blooming with bougainvillea in a riot of colors. Points of interest are the Sacred Heart Chapel, Sacred Heart Tower reminiscent of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Via Crucis, the Rosarium, and a tower of 14 bells that chimes every 15 minutes.
13 When at Marian Orchard, spend quiet moments of prayer and refection at the Via Crucis, a linear garden with life-size statues depicting the passion of Christ. Light an LED candle for your personal intentions at the Hall of Petitions, and say a prayer of gratitude at the Thanksgiving Hall.
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 Spend a night under the stars while listening to the gentle whisper of the Taal Lake waters. The TLCC welcomes overnighters and backpackers who are genuinely in love with nature.
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 catamaran.
18 Take a 30-minute trek along the Lava Walk on Volcano Island in San Nicolas. The trek will take you over a terrain covered in black basaltic rocks. The dark-colored rocks are actually hardened volcanic materials spewed by Taal Volcano in past eruptions. Before leaving the island, bring home some dried fish that is a source of income for the small local community on the island. Choose from biya, bangus, red tilapia, even shrimps—all caught from the lake.
19 Going for a little more challenge? Try taking the extreme descent to the crater lake. The trip can be done on foot, or you can rent a horse for the 45-minute trip down to the main crater where you’ll find the blue-green waters of the crater lake. Be sure to bring some eggs and try to boil these in the lake’s hot waters.
20 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 king fishers and ducks here.
21 At the break of dawn, head to the shores of Balete to watch fishermen haul in the day’s fresh catch of tawilis, the only freshwater sardine in the world found only in the Philippines, right at Taal Lake. If you’re lucky, the womenfolk can cook tawilis that you can enjoy for breakfast.
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. Indulge in bistecca and other Italian dishes at the La Terrazza. Enjoy a cold bottle of beer under the stars at the Deck. Cap your night with a cup of freshly-crafted artisan coffee while listening to live jazz sessions at the Brew Company. Then fall into a blissful slumber in one of its 136 tastefully-appointed guest rooms and suites.
Lima Park Hotel is the first and only 4-star hotel in Batangas located inside the master-planned Lima Technology Center in Malvar. It’s thrice voted for three years in a row now as top-performing hotel as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor.