Discovering Mariveles With The Oriental Bataan

June 13-15, 2017 marked my third time at The Oriental Bataan. Though I didn't feel much of the adrenaline rush of heading off to a new destination and discovering new things, I did feel the calm of heading to a place that already feels like home. It's an amazing thing to witness this place grow. On my first visit, half of it was still under construction. On the second, most of its facilities are up and running, including the team building facilities which our team had a blast in.

Now, on the third visit, it was more about exploring nearby places guests can explore during their stay. What sets this third visit apart is the way I found solace in the place. Our three days were full of wandering through previously unknown territories but at the end of the day, there's the feeling of assurance that I have a happy place to retreat to.

Photo diary: Mariveles, Bataan is such a beauty

Overlooking the view of Mt. San Miguel and the fishing village at Agwawan
During my first time in Mariveles back in 2015, this view immediately took my breath away. This photo was taken from the highway where we just parked the car at one side, went down, and simply marveled at the beauty right in front of us. This spot is just around 5-10 minutes from The Oriental Bataan.

Also just a few minutes from the hotel is Sisiman Beach which is absolutely breathtaking. While walking down towards the beach area from the point where we had our car parked, I can't help but stop for a little while to take in everything (and take as much photos of every angle I can). For a while, I thought I was somewhere else. New Zealand? Batanes? No. I was just in Mariveles, Bataan, just a few hours away from Manila. I could have just stayed here and sat down for hours just enjoying nature around me.

Sisiman Beach, Mariveles, Bataan photo dump

Nipa hut style small cottage guests can rent as they swim in the beach
Local kids running around

Light house at Sisiman Beach
Another side of the view

Sunset at Sisiman Beach
We also visited a few more hidden gems in Mariveles which guests at The Oriental Bataan can easily visit. Let me run down a few of them in photos and brief descriptions.

The first stop on our second day was Agwawan Beach where you can also find a fishing village nearby.

Driving around Agwawan Beach

A parked fishing vessel named Pangarap, a Filipino term for 'Wish.'

Boats at the Fishing Village along Agwawan Beach

From Agwawan Beach, we drove to Alion in Mariveles where we were taken to a center of nanays (elder women) who facilitate cashew processing. Here, we understood why cashew nuts are quite expensive.

Cashew processing and carving
The nanays wear protective gloves and some even have the tips of their fingers taped to protect themselves from the blade and the sticky extract from seeds which can cause a slight damage on the skin when left to dry.

A nanay peeling a cashew seed

Prior to visiting this cashew processing, I've always wondered why cashew nuts are quite pricey. Other than the fruit bearing only a single seed, I wondered if there was more to it. Through this cashew processing in Alion, we found out why. Providing cashew nuts in the market is hard work! So much love for the nanays who still kept warm smiles and welcomed us well despite their busy morning.

The nanays with my colleagues and friends, Mike Almazan and Jeff Tan
My favorite destination during this trip was Balon Anito, a hidden hot spring in Mariveles, Bataan; hidden, because it's a few steps up from a basketball court! Imagine driving through a small town with a basketball court on the side. You park on the side, head to the court, head up to a few steps, and see this:

Balon Anito in Mariveles, Bataan
Balon Anito is the mouth of a dormant volcano, hence the natural hot spring. No one knows how deep it is but rumor as it that years ago, a carabao lost its way to the well, fell, and drowned. Its carcass was later on found in Sisiman Beach at the other side of town!

From Balon Anito, we headed just a few more blocks away where a batis (stream) was. Here, you can see some locals washing their clothes at one end and swimming at the other. I didn't have the right shoes for it so I didn't go forth too much but if you enjoy a little adventure, this stream is just a few minutes away from The Oriental Bataan, too.

Finally, for a little historical touch, we visited the 0 KM of the Bataan Death March. You see, the Bataan Death March is something you'd get to learn about in your Philippine History lessons or read about on the internet but even if I already know what it is, reading its history at the very point where it started gave me goosebumps.

Another nearby attraction is 5 Fingers, a bunch of coves and white sand virgin beaches that had been garnering the attention of local and international tourists. We were told that marine life is rich here hence snorkeling will definitely be a treat, but unfortunately, time restrictions didn't allow us to visit anymore. But! Don't worry, because at The Oriental Bataan, the staff will be very much happy to assist you if you want to visit 5 Fingers. After all, it's just a short distance away from the hotel as well.

The Oriental Bataan in Mariveles, Bataan will always make me feel at home

The Cliff Lounge at The Oriental Bataan
It's my third visit here this year yet it's just as welcoming as our first. The Cliff Lounge is one of my favorite spots in the hotel because I can just chill here. It's best to spend time here at night, especially with a clear sky. The best!

The Oriental Bataan's pool area

Of course, the pool area will instantly be anyone's favorite. For me, it's the hotel's greatest asset because it's one of a kind. You can check in at one of the rooms around it: the first floor gives you an easy access to the pool while the second floor rooms will give you this stunning view:

Pool view from the second floor

Overall, if you find yourself in Mariveles, Bataan to explore its great places, you might want to have your stay at The Oriental Bataan. Currently they have a bunch of on-going promos including rates as low as PHP 3,230 nett a night and special rates for 4 persons. Check out the website for more information!

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