Balanga has been transformed into a high-tech city and a haven for investors
BALANGA, PHILIPPINES: Seeking a modernized city with a touch of nature as its surroundings isn’t hard to do when in Balanga City. It is a residential-agricultural city situated at the eastern part of the province of Bataan. The word “Balanga” was derived from the word “banga” (clay pot); a product used to be produced by the city and considered as one of the best.
Balanga today. From being a hearth of the region this city has transformed into a high-tech city and a commercial haven for investors. It is now the center for trade, commerce, and education. With its vision to be “A World Class University Town by 2020”.
Living in the city
Living here is a combination of modernized and countryside style. At the heart of the city lie all the amenities from banks, restaurants and shopping malls to hotels, inland resorts and even hospitals. Pollution and traffic is not a problem. Balanga is also surrounded by fields and bodies of water that’s why fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood are abundant at the public market.
Peace and order
When it comes to security, the government of Balanga City takes peace and order seriously. CCTVs are installed everywhere and police patrol units are always present in the busiest parts of the city but of course, it would still be better to take caution when you go around at night, especially if you’re alone.
Locals friendly with a smile
One of the most important things we remember when we travel is the people we meet and how they treat you. The locals of Balanga City are very nice and more than hospitable to local tourists and even to foreign visitors. And most important of all, the people of Balanga always wear a smile on their faces.
Balanga City is located about 124 kilometers from Manila. It is only a two to three hour ride by car or by bus depending on the time of the day you travel. To reach Balanga you may choose two major roads, the National Road or the Roman Superhighway.
If you’re traveling from Bataan’s neighboring provinces and cities such as Olongapo, Pampanga, Bulacan, or even from Manila, you may utilize the newly established Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to get to Balanga City faster.
Things to do
Like any other city in the Philippines, Balanga City offers the basic services you can enjoy and all of it can be found at the heart of the city, the Plaza Mayor de Balanga (Balanga City Plaza). You may simply sit at the benches around the plaza where you can have a nice view of the buildings and other establishments or you may just stare at the giant LED television and the colorful and dancing fountains that lights the city at night that is one of the main attractions in the plaza.
Aside from the plaza, the most notable establishment at Balanga City today is the Galleria Victoria Mall. Galleria Victoria is not only a shopping mall but it becomes more of a recreation center for families and teenagers who are looking for a quality time together while staying at the center of the city.
When traveling into a new place, we also search for a place to feeding our souls and with that, you may visit the Saint Joseph Cathedral just across the Plaza Mayor de Balanga.
During nightfall, Balanga City is more peaceful but lively. There are live bands and performers that entertain people at the plaza. But if you’re looking to party and drink then try Razz Bar.
Eat with the locals
Balanga City has a bunch of local and internationally recognized food chains. If you prefer a coffee break, you may visit The Beanery. Taste a fine dining experience at Louis Restaurant and at the Fortune Hongkong Seafood Restaurant. But if you’re craving for stake or other foods off the grill, then try Nico’s Terrace Grill.
Here to stay
Balanga City showcases a handful of hotels where you can check in and stay as long as you want. Two of its widely known hotels are the Crown Royale Hotel and Gap Plaza Hotel, both have large facilities that often cater a large group of people for different kinds of events. They can be reached via a ten-minute ride from the city plaza. You may also stay at Elison Hotel near Galleria Victoria. If you’re on a budget, plenty of small lodges can also be rented in the City of Balanga such as Buenavista Lodge or the D’ Samat Lodge.
Places to visit
The Wetland and Nature Park is located at Barangay Tortugas. It is the first park that features nature as its outdoor recreational museum. It is recognized as one of the newest birdwatching sites in the country. The park features two viewing decks and floating Nippa Huts where you can have a fun picnic. The City of Balanga also celebrates the annual “Ibong Dayo Festival” (Migratory Birds Festival) every December.
Inside the park you can do boat riding, biking, kite flying, mangrove planting and coastal clean-up. Balanga City along with its mother province Bataan, are also known for their rich history.
Plenty of Resorts
Outside Balanga City, you can find plenty of beach resorts to visit. You may also have a trek on the way up to the famous Shrine of Valor in the town of Pilar or cherish the beauty of mountains at Bataan National Park. If you are looking for an inland resort, try La Vista Resort just behind Crown Royale Hotel.
Final words. Traveling to Balanga City is a one-of-a-kind experience you’ll surely remember. It doesn’t have the characteristics of Manila but what it has to offer is already enough to fulfill your needs and satisfy your desires. If you’re a tourist planning on a trip to the Philippines, then Balanga City should definitely be at your list.
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