Bataan peninsula juts sharply southwards from the western shores of central Luzon, forming the enclosed and well-sheltered Manila Bay to the east that is nearly cut off from the open China Sea in the west. The narrow outlet separates the peninsula from Corregidor Island and Cavite to the south. The provinces of Zambales and Pampanga form common boundaries to the north. About 80% of Bataan is mountainous or hilly with Mount Mariveles and Mount Natib dominating the interior. Most of the agricultural portion of Bataan is in the north and east. The province experiences two pronounced seasons; dry from November until April and the wet from May to October.



The province of Bataan was settled by Tagalogs along the coast and by Aetas in the interior mountains when the Spaniards arrived in 1572. Dominican missionaries began the task of bringing the people under the influence of the Catholic Church along the eastern coast of the peninsula while later Recollect missions brought Christianity to the western coast. Under Dominican direction, Abucay developed into an important center of religious activity. Tomas Pinpin, famous Filipino printer, worked with the Dominicans to produce the first printed book in the country from presses in Abucay.

The corregimiento of Mariveles was established over the towns of Mariveles, Bagac, Morong, in the western coast of Bataan and Maragondon in Cavite. The eastern towns were placed under the jurisdiction of the province of Pampanga. In the 17th century during Spain's conflict with the Low Countries, the Dutch made several attempts to invade Bataan. In 1600 and 1609, Dutch ships fought naval battles with Spanish and Filipino defenders but were thwarted off the Mariveles coast. In 1647, after a series of humiliating defeats, the Dutch naval forces landed in Abucay and massacred hundreds of Filipinos before being finally driven away.

In 1754, seeing the great benefit of uniting the Tagalog-speaking towns of Pampanga with the western towns of the peninsula, Spanish Governor Pedro Manuel Arandia established the province of Bataan.

After the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Japan in 1941, Bataan became a strategic retreat point for Filipino and American defenders. For four months, the peninsula held out against the superior arms and equipment of the Japanese, in the hope of relief from the United States. About 80,000 men (65,000 Filipinos and 15,000 Americans) heroically defended the peninsula from the Japanese, until a revitalized Japanese army broke the defense and forced the American military to surrender the peninsula on April 9, 1942. After the surrender, the Filipino and American soldiers, weakened by months of deprivation, were forced to walk to detention camps in Tarlac. About 10,000 men died along the infamous trail of the Death March. A marker in Mariveles indicates the spot where the Death March began, while a Shrine of Valor was erected in Mount Samat to commemorate the historic defense of Bataan.


People, Culture and the Arts

Most of the 424,000 people living in Bataan are Tagalogs. Kapampangans comprise a significant minority of less than 10% and are concentrated in the municipalities adjoining the province of Pampanga. Recent rapid industrialization has lured thousands of people from other provinces to settle within Bataan.

The province of Bataan has always been linked closely to the culture and economy of Manila. Much of what the province produces is exported to Manila. The primary traditional industry of Bataan is fishing. It is the home of thousands of fishermen whose industry has spawned a unique craft of net and fishtrap making. Nets produced in Bataan take on various forms and shapes like the panli, kalukutok, pambonot, pansiliw, panitig, mananacag hipon, panglusong, hila-hila, kitang, pangapak, bintol, salambaw, dala, bating, pangalabaw and the gulgureta. Each net type responds to various needs and uses. There are also various fishtraps like the saluhin, paclang, aguila, panghipon and pangalalo.

The province exports the excess of its fish catch and the town of Orion is famous for its tuyo, or dried fish. Orani used to have large tracts of nipa groves, which used to produce a native beverage called tuba. Tuba is still produced but in smaller quantities and primarily for local consumption.


Trade and Investments

Bataan guards the entrance to Manila Bay and is at an important juncture between several important growth centers. The province is blessed with farmland along the coast and river valleys that produce an assortment of crops such as rice, bananas and mangos. Along the coast are some of the most important fishing grounds in the vicinity of Manila Bay. Iron ore, rock aggregates and limestone exist in huge quantities in the mountains of the province. Bataan’s population of half a million people provides the necessary supply of highly skilled labor force to the different industries.

Bataan is only 3 to 4 hours by land or 45 minutes by ferry from Manila and a few minutes away from the Subic Bay Free Port. Good roads connect the province with the industrial centers of Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon. The ports of Lamao and Mariveles are capable of handling international shipment, while the port of Orion is currently being developed into a roll-on/roll-off port to serve international and domestic traders and tourists. The province is also the first and, so far, the only province to be 100% energized. Bataan is continuing to improve its infrastructure to meet the demands of current and future investors.

Bataan’s strategic development plan is focused on maintaining a balance between agriculture and industry. The province continues to be a good agricultural resource provider with continued abundance of rice, corn, sugarcane, fruits, root crops and vegetables. Next to farming, the fishing industry in Bataan continues to bring to the local and export markets a rich catch of fish, crabs, prawns, and other marine products. With an abundance of ready materials and accessible and proximate markets, food processing is an investment possibility waiting to be realized. Food processing is currently limited to drying and smoking fish and manufacturing shrimp paste or bagoong.

Due to its proximity to rapidly industrializing centers of Subic, Clark, Cavite and Metro Manila, the province provides an excellent site for manufacturing operations. The provincial government has recognized the strategic importance of Bataan to the manufacturing industry and several economic zones and industrial estates have been created to facilitate the entry of new investments. There are currently five eco-zones that continue to bring in hundred of investors and they include the Bataan Economic Zone in Mariveles, the Hermosa Economic Zone, the Bataan Technopark in Morong, the Petrochemical Industrial Estate in Limay and the Diversified Plastic Film Systems in Mariveles.

Bataan also has a great potential as a tourist destination. It has long varying stretch of coastline with fine sand beaches and sheltered coves as well as wild life preserves such as the rain forests adjacent to Subic Bay, the national parks of Mounts Samat, Mariveles and Natib. Outside of the natural beauty of Bataan, the province is also an important shrine to the heroes of the Second World War. Kilometer Zero of the Death March and the Shrine of Valor at Mount Samat draw tourists as well as veterans from throughout the country, Japan, and the United Sates. Tourist related endeavors would find Bataan a very good place in which to do business.



Central Luzon




Leonardo B. Roman

Income/Financial Resources (1999)

P530.5 M

Income classification (1996)


Expenditure (1998)

P490.5 M

Population (2000 projection)


Labor Force (1998)


Land area

1,331 sq. kms.

Major Dialects/ Languages

Tagalog, Kapampangan

No. of Barangays


No. of Towns/ Cities


Municipalities/ Towns

12 (Abucay, Bagac, BALANGA, Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Limay, Mariveles, Morong, Orani, Orion, Pilar, Samat)

Infrastructure Facilities

Ports and pier facilities (public/ private): 6/6; Paved roads and terminals for land transport: Helipad/ airstrips:7; Postal station: 19; Public/ private telecommunication facilities; Banking and finance institutions:62; Schools (public/ private) pre elementary: 34/ 9; elementary: 168/ 13; secondary: 22/ 14; tertiary: 7/ 4;

Major Products

Palay, corn, vegetables, rootcrops, legumes, coffee, banana, mango, and livestocks (swine, cattle, carabao and goat); fishery products

Major Industries

Petrochemical Plant; Asia Brown Bovery (power cables), Phil. Explosives Corp. Limay Bulk Handling Terminal, Inc., Columbian Carbon, DND Ammo Plant, Petron Bataan Refinery, Bataan Pulp and Paper Mills, Garments, etc.

Natural Resources

Land suited for agriculture; beaches and seas

Indigenous People



Development Initiative Highlights: