See a lake within a volcano or sink your teeth into some stewed goat in this coastal province known for its idyllic beaches. Located just south of the Philippines’ capital Manila, Batangas has a dramatic landscape that attracts nature and adventure lovers from around the world. Rolling hills surround mountain crests and volcano craters more than 3,200 feet (1,000 meters) above the sea. In addition to intrepid adventure opportunities, find luxury resorts or vacation bungalows for a restful and relaxing escape.
At the center of the region you’ll find Batangas City, a sprawling metropolis with one of the largest ports in Southeast Asia. Explore on foot to visit its parks, historic sites and restaurants. In the city center is Laurel Park, a large man-made leisure area with sports and picnic facilities. Sample local food along the city’s main thoroughfare, P. Burgos Street. Try kalderetang kambing, a stewed goat dish that is considered a delicacy.
Hop into a chauffeured tricycle, the easiest way to travel short distances, to reach many of Batangas City’s local beaches. Despite being close to the city center, many of the beaches remain undeveloped and secluded. Dive the strip of reef that runs through Balayan Bay or boat to Sombrero Island for snorkeling in the shallow water.
Hail a jeepney to explore farther afield or rent a car for complete schedule control. Travel north to Taal Lake, one of the region’s most breathtaking sites. In its center, Taal Volcano Island rises from the water. Trek up the side of the volcano to peer into the crater, where another lake is found. Be sure to adhere to all safety warnings, since Taal Volcano is active, although generally quiet.
Batangas is just over an hour from Manila by bus or train. Flights arrive in the capital from many international destinations. Many hotels in Batangas offer airport transfer services. Consider treating yourself to a year-end holiday vacation when the Batangas weather is most pleasant.