Bataan Province, My Chosen Residence When Living In The Philippines

One of the difficult choices I have to decide on when I planned to live in the Philippines again was where to set my long term residence.

I lived half of my life in my motherland and was a former resident of Manila and Quezon City but this time, I do not want to reside in those cities because I feel that it does not fit my lifestyle anymore. Traffic, pollution and congestion are my primary reasons for avoiding Metro-Manila but I could cite more if need be.

I have considered Cebu, Davao, Batangas, Laguna – places in the Philippines that is close to the beaches and the countryside but was not able to check them out entirely because honestly, I don’t know anyone in those places to give me an idea on where best to locate.

Center Plaza mall in Balanga, Bataan
Center Plaza Mall
Balanga Bataan Municipal Office and City Hall
Municipal Office and City Hall
Balanga Bataan People's Center Plaza
People’s Center Plaza
St. Josephs Church in Balanga, Bataan
St. Josephs Church


Discovering Balanga City in Bataan province was coincidental. I never even considered residing there. It started when together with a partner who was from there – we setup a search engine optimization business to help me promote our travel agency in Canada and also some other websites that I own.

It was 2008, I think when I first stayed – it was only for 2 days. I don’t know anyone except my partner so getting to know the place have been slow. The first time I went around, I spent time getting to know the main City of Balanga using only the available public transport – the tricycle.

My first impression then was that the city is nice and clean. There’s basic services available like hospital, lying in clinics, dental clinics, groceries, hardware stores, etc.

But what impressed me most was the public market.

I have been in public markets in many places in the Philippines but this palengke (market) have everything I drool over when it comes to Filipino foods.

the Tricycle, mode of transport in the Philippines
Tricycle in the Philippines
Balanga, Bataan Public Market
Public Market
Dried fish and other dried sea food section at Balanga Public Market
Dried Fish Section
Dry goods section at Balanga Public Market
Dry Goods Section


The front portion of the market have all kinds of dried sea foods: dried galunggong, dried pusit, dried bangus, tuyo, dilis and others. The fresh sea foods section, which is just next to the dried sea food section, is teeming with freshly caught fish of different varieties and other seafoods. There’s tilapia, bangus, tanigue (blue marlin), galunggong (big and small), crabs, shrimps (sugpo) and even sharks and sting rays. If you live in Canada where most sea foods are frozen – this place is heaven.

In the middle section of the market are freshly slaughtered meat – chicken, pork or beef and fresh vegetables of different kinds. The end section is the native delicacy section – bibingka, puto bumbong, kalamay, puto, suman, etc.

Just a little bit down the meat and vegetable section is a food court where different Filipino food is being served. I didn’t see a lot of stores opened, probably because it’s too early?

Across the wet market is the groceries section, not quite like our grocery in Toronto but what they stock-up on mostly were cooking oil (they have Canola oil imported from Singapore), vinegar, fish sauce, rice, sinigang mix and almost any other item that we need for cooking.

Fresh catched bangus at Balanga Bataan Public Market
Fresh bangus
Fresh chicken at the public market
Fresh slaughtered chicken
fresh meat section at Balanga public market
Fresh meat section
fresh sea foods of different variety at Balanga public market
Fresh sea foods section


I won’t be discussing the dry good section in this post, but for those who don’t know, the dry goods section is where clothes, shoes and the like are being sold.

Most of those fresh food products sold at the public market, I’d like to add, is very cheap. I approximate them to be 30% cheaper than in Metro-Manila. That means your dollar stretches a bit more.

Next thing I liked about the City of Balanga is the plaza area. This is where most of the action happens. It is so busy with activity because of the People’s Center – a public recreation and meeting area where provincial government sponsored activities are held. Public aerobic classes, mini concerts, night market, sports specials and public meetings are just some of the events held in that area.

This is also the area of concentration of most businesses, fast food superstars like Jollibee, Macdonalds, Chowking and Max’s Fried Chicken, to name a few.

A mall with two movie theaters (Center Plaza Mall) with business shops inside is also closeby. The main church of the city of Balanga, St. Joseph’s Church, is also located just a few steps.

The Municipal Office and City Hall is just beside the People’s Center. This is the office where you can get information about visiting or processing documents when investing in the city of Balanga and it’s environs.

Vegetables sold at Balanga public market
Vegetable section
Fruits section at Balanga public market in Bataan province
Fruits section
native delicacy like puto, kutsinta, kalamay, ube at Balanga public market
Native delicacy section
kalamay, biko, kutsinta and other native delicacy at Balanga public market
Native delicacy section


All in all, even from my first encounter, I found Balanga City a perfect place of residence for me when living in the Philippines for extended periods.

I didn’t stop there, though. To make sure that I will like it in Bataan, I sent my stepson to Balanga to live there and report to me everything he’d learn about real living conditions. From his continous reporting, it seemed every piece of information is positive, so finally, I have to verify it myself.

Fast forward to today, almost a year ago since I sent my stepson to Balanga City – it’s my turn to experience living in the province of Bataan – after getting a good review from him.

You know what? After staying longer in Balanga and doing some exploration myself, the more I don’t want to reside in Manila anymore. I’ve personally compared the advantage and disadvantage between the two — hands down Bataan province have more to offer in terms of what I’m searching for when moving in the Philippines.

But, that’s just me. People differ and I know that what maybe a suitable place for me maybe be boring to others. Important thing is, when looking for a place to live in the Philippines, researching and experiencing where to locate has to be part of the preparation so that you’ll at least know what to expect in your second home – and there are more than 7,000 islands to choose from in the Philippines.

packaged meat like hotdogs, bacon, ham, langgonisa, tocino, embutido sold at Balanga public market
Packaged meat section
kangkong, sibuyas, bawang, calamansi, petsay and other vegetables sold at Balanga public market
Vegetable section


This is the first of the future post that I will write about my second home in the Philippines. I plan to write about the places and destinations in Bataan I explored close to my new residence plus information on how to get there.

For further reading, visit Philippines destination – Bataan Province or visit the website of the City of Balanga at http://www.cityofbalanga.gov.ph

My other post that is about living or visiting Bataan: How I rate living in Bataan as retirement place, cheap hotel to stay-in temporarily in Bataan, Mt. Samat in Bataan

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.


for hire vehicles and car rentals Philippines to explore Bataan province

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14 thoughts on “Bataan Province, My Chosen Residence When Living In The Philippines

  1. Very nice article. I must explore Balanga City myself soon. We regularly travel through the northern tip of Bataan on our way to and from Zambales.

    You may have hit on a hidden benefit to Filipinos working overseas (or migrating to other countries more permanently)… the ability to see their own home country with a fresh vsion.

    One think I find a bit interesting, having lived in about 30 or so of the 50 US states myself, is that Filipinos tend to be very hesitant to even travel to another province here in the Philippines.

    I have friends in Quezon City (just a few kilometers from my present Bulacan home who tell me they can’t conceive of living ‘out in the provinces’ as I do.

    And even close family members are floored by the idea that my manileña wife and I, long-term, want to move to ‘far off’ Davao City. From the reaction some of them display, I might as well propose living on the moon.

    Congrats on being open to learning and exploring your own home country and helping others to see it with new eyes as well.

    May I use a couple pull quotes from this article and link to it from my “places to Live in the Philippines’ PhilFAQS section?

  2. Hi Dave,

    Thank you for those kind words, Dave and yes you may use part or even the whole article for PhilFAQS – I will be very honored.

    You are right about the fact that many from Manila wouldn’t even consider living in the provinces, even when they’re at a worst situation in Manila. My own parents are like that. I took my mom (who has never stayed longer than a week outside Manila) and my aunt (who’s from Canada) to Balanga so I can convince them to stay with me while I am in the Philippines. My aunt was very enthusiastic but my mom wasn’t, so I was forced to bring them back to Manila because my aunt wouldn’t stay without my mom.

    I guess very few Manilena/Manileno know that living in the province has its advantages. Most are only concerned about the figures they earn while working in Manila without considering the economic and health benefit to them if they live out in the province.

    I say this because, two of my part-time writers who are originally from Legazpi city in Bicol rejected my offer for them to relocate back to their home town for 3/4 their salary with their present employer so they can work for me fulltime, eventhough my offer is way above the highest pay in their province.

    Living in Manila is stressful, costly and unhealthy. That is why whenever anyone from Canada ask me, I don’t recommend residing there.

    I love it in Balanga not only because of the fresh foods, but also because of its proximity to the beaches (Mariveles, Bagac and Morong), to birding sites (Tortugas, Sibacan, Monark and Puerto Rivas), to the mountains (Mt. Samat, Mt. Mariveles, Mt. Natib, etc.), it is clean and safe (marshalls closely patrolling every busy locations) and very close to nature while also living in a city like environment with all of its amenities for less than the cost of living in Manila or even Cebu.

    If you’re planning to explore Balanga, send me an email (mmaniquis@rogers.com) of when you’re going and I will ask my stepson to show you around the city, if I’m not there.

    Thanks for visiting my site again.

    Manuel

  3. Hi, I was in Bataan recently when I spent 4 months traveling around the Philippines and really thought as you do about the province. So clean and beautiful everywhere. If I were to settle as an expat from US Bataan would be at the top of my list. Ahead of Cebu and certainly Manila. Thanks for your article

  4. Hi Rod,

    Thank you for visiting my site. Yes, as far as an expat requirement is concerned, Balanga is close to everything we could possibly need. And it’s not too far from Manila, too. I’d like to consider Cebu but the city is fast becoming like Manila.

    Manuel

  5. Manuel,

    Like others have mentioned, if one is married to a Filipina you’re are pretty much going to retire where her family is from…That being said, doesdo you have any information about retiring Biliran?

    Thanks!

    Joel

  6. Hi Joel, thanks for dropping by. Unfortunately I don’t have any information on Biliran, except that the main town is called Naval. I’m sure the Province is no different from many 4th class Provinces in the Philippines – not too populated, nice air, nice people, nice scenery but lacking the modern amenities of big cities like Cebu or Manila or Davao. If you ask me, that’s where I prefer to live when in the Philippines. You’ll find plenty of information on the internet about Biliran, I just don’t have them yet.

  7. Hello po ask lng po sana ko,my hinahanap po kc ako akung tao.tga balanga bataan po cxa.san po pwedi mag simula mag hanap??kng pupunta po ng city hall ng balanga san po mag tatanong??salamat po.!

  8. Hi Swanie, medyo mahirap yata ‘yang gagawin mo. Pero pwede kang magtanong sa munisipyo baka sakaling matulungan ka nila kung computerized ang munisipyo. Subukan mo din sa Land Transportation Office sa Balanga o kaya sa Comelec branch ng Balanga. Basta computerized sila, mahahanap naman siguro yung taong kelangan mo. Malaki ba utang nya sayo? LOL.

  9. Halu po searching po ako regarding place to retire sa pinas..im married to uk national and bith working in middle east..we planned to settle sa pinas .naisip kompo bataan because of beach and approximity sa manila at clark airport. Ang tanong ko po saan po ba city ng bataan ang magandang maghanap ng lupa na d po masyadong mahal. Me nagsuggesylt morong and bagac..between the 2 saan po mganda salamat

  10. Hello Anna, una sa lahat, salamat sa pagbisita sa website ko. Kung ako ang tatanungin parang malayo na ang Morong sa Balanga – siguro mga 1 oras na biyahe. Although, di pa rin kalayuan yun. Kaya ko binanggit ang Balanga, kasi andun lahat ng kakailangan mo sa araw-araw. Andun ang doctor, ospital, munisipyo, etc. Samantalang ang Bagac, less than 30 minutes nasa Balanga ka na. Kaya para sa akin, sa Bagac ang mas preferable. Pero ang pinakamaganda, pumunta ka mismo dun sa dalawang lugar na yun para ikaw mismo ang maka-tantya kung saan kayo komportable tumira – ayon sa budget at saka environment na favorable sa inyo. Parehong magandang lugar iyun. Goodluck.

  11. salamt po sa time. Ganun n lang po gagawin ko we will vist bataan next year . We might explore luzon para makapgdecide saan namin mas gusto. Isang taning pa po pwede.asawa ko po kasi worried about baha at bagyo.d nmn po bahain ang bataan db?

  12. Anna, salamat sa comment mo. Tungkol sa baha, kung sobrang lakas talaga ng bagyo, bumabaha din sa Balanga. Remember, malapit sila sa Manila Bay. Kung ayaw nyo ng baha, ang Bagac mataas ang location nya. Mga 30 minutes by car from Balanga ang Bagac. Punta kayo dun, explore nyo yung area para makita nyo at matantya kung ok sa inyo dun. Maraming magandang lugar sa Luzon, pero kelangan talaga mag-spend kayo ng time para mag-explore. Goodluck.

  13. hi I am coming to the Phil and will be staying in manila a cpl days then to balanga to check it out. was wondering if u know a place i can rent for a short stay.

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