empty-handed straight from Balanga Wetland or take the 20-minute trip to Mt.
Samat. “Boring. There’s nothing to see there,” the husband mentioned once. It wasn’t in the plan, but I was already in Bataan and knowing
he could never be dragged to Mt. Samat any day, I rode a jeepney to
Pilar to judge if there really ain’t nothing to see in this tourist-heavy
For the longest time, I have been nursing this ridiculous idea of hiking Mt. Samat, all eight kilometers up, with a 15-kilogram toddler. The trail’s well-established and cemented after all. But at its foot, common sense beat me. I had no one to alternate baby carrying with, the heat was terrible and there’s no way my daughter will oblige to trekking that 3-hour long trail without throwing her signature toddler fits. I hailed a tricycle after haggling for a roundtrip ride for P350 (on the way back the driver brought me to the crossing where Manila-bound buses stop at no extra charge).
“There’s a one-kilometer trail left for you to hike,” he said upon dropping us off at the Colonnade. Private vehicles can bypass this route and proceed immediately to the parking near the Shrine, but PUJs are only permitted near the gates.
One kilometer. Should be easy peasy. That’s only half of what I treaded going to Mt. Manalmon.
|The 1-kilometer path. Not as easy as it seems.|
That was probably the stupidest thought I had that day. For that steep, zigzagging one kilometer path albeit bloodstone-paved, made my body sore for two days. In fact, majority of ‘rents who carried their infants and toddlers up had to switch every now and then. Imagine if Lia didn’t walk on her own for half that trek.
There’s nothing to see there.
There are the usual historical articles: a gallery housing WWII
artifacts, canyons, a stained glass-surrounded altar, sculptures by
national artist Napoleon Abueva, and the massive Dambana ng Kagitingan/ Shrine
of Valor that leads to a lookout on top. That last bit can be frustrating though
with the looong queue to the elevator. There’s only one going up – the same one
that takes guests down. Per way it can only accommodate eight passengers max,
so depending on how early you get there, getting to the lookout may take up to
That lookout however, defied the husband’s perception of Mt. Samat. It is small, most times packed, but no less impressive. It offers you a bird’s eye view of Manila Bay, Corregidor and the entire Bataan Peninsula – all while enjoying AC-like mountain breeze from the easterly mountains.
I My daughter wanted to live there if she could. She shrieked and galloped like a mad horse the ENTIRE TIME we were there. Definitely our favorite at the park. More than eating hotdog and ice cream at the picnic sheds.
And of course it doesn’t hurt to pay homage to the brave forefathers, you know.
Seeing is objective. At Mt. Samat, I saw more than a slice of history. I saw happiness in my kid that I wouldn’t see had we stayed at home. That alone, is not nothing.
- Park is open daily from 8am till 6pm.
- You may park by the gate, by the Colonnade, or further up near the cross.
- Entrance fee is P20 per adult; P10 for kids. Toddlers enter for free (yey for me!)
- There are several picnic sheds near the Cross. A couple of stalls selling hotdogs, softdrinks and chips too. No rice meals though, so pack some if you intend to stay well into lunch time.
- Souvenirs are available in one of the stores. Got me a ref magnet for P55.
- Early morning visits are preferable. It can get pretty humid and hot by noon. It’s a mountain, but there’s little shade and air going up.
- Taking pictures is not allowed in the museum.
- I came here from Balanga Wetland. Took the jeepney to Cabog-Cabog from the “ordinary bus terminal” in Balanga. There’s an ordinary bus terminal, and there’s a separate A/C bus terminal nearby for Genesis and Victory Liner buses. From Manila, take a bus to Balanga, then a tricycle to the ordinary bus terminal. Tell the barkers you’re going to Mt. Samat.
- Alight the jeepney when you see the at the Dambana ng Kagitingan Arch at the left side of the road.
- From there, you can either hike your way up (2-3 hours) or arrange for a tricycle driver to take you there. It’s P100 per head (RT) for a group of four. If you’re traveling alone you have to pay the full P400.
NEARBY DESTINATIONS YOU CAN CHECK OUT:
- Mt. Samat Zipline
Located a little ways down the road, a few kilometers from the Dambana ng Kagitingan Arch. P350 per zip ride. Currently the longest in Asia.
- Dunsulan Falls
- Balanga Wetland and Nature Park