Bulacan is an underrated vacation spot in the Philippines that you should include in your itinerary. Rich in history, theme parks, resorts, and food, you’ll be surprised about what this province can offer you.
Just north of Metro Manila and Rizal, Bulacan is bordered by the provinces of Pampanga to the west, Nueva Ecija to the north, and Aurora and Quezon to the east. It’s proximity to Manila might have some locals dismiss it as a viable tourist destination, but there’s plenty to do for anyone who wish to take a short, weekend break from Manila.
Bulacan is just a two-hour drive from Manila and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), so there’s no need to take a plane. You could, however, take a public bus, private van or car service to Bulacan.
Bulacan is all terrain, so the most convenient transportation mode is by land.
There are plenty of options for you to travel to Bulacan by land. If you intend to go straight from NAIA, there are car rentals that can take up to 8 people starting at P1,400 one-way to Malolos, the capital city of Bulacan.
You can always take a taxi and go to any of Manila’s main bus terminals (Manila, Pasay and Quezon City) to take a bus ride to Bulacan. Philippine Rabbit, Victory Liner, and Aladdin Transit pass by Bulacan via the Tabang exit. Baliuag Transit, California Bus Line, Sampaguita Liner and Royal Eagle can take you to the municipalities of Baliuag, Balagtas and Hagonoy.
Like in most urban areas in the Philippines, jeepneys and buses are the primary modes of transportation when commuting in Bulacan. Tricycles, or motorcycles attached to a sidecar, are used when travelling to short distances.
Exploring Bulacan is best done like a road trip, as there are a lot of awesome sights to take in. The Angat Afterbay Regulatory Dam in Bustos, for example, is a sight to behold. Also known as Bustos Rubber Dam, Angat Afterbay is made out of rubber (!). Swimming though is prohibited, but it’s a great place to take selfies. Make sure to also schedule a tour of the heritage houses around the area with the municipal office for free.
Bulacan is home to the Philippine Arena, a large multi-use venue with a dome over 9,000 square feet. Watch concerts and sports events here to know what it's like to be under the world's largest indoor arena!
Check out Bahay Resiklo, which houses a quirky exhibit by Lercita Cristobal. Then cool your weary body off with a dip at the Bakas River in Norzagaray. Make sure to just stay close to the banks for your safety.
Exploring theme parks in Bulacan would be the best way to go to get your money’s worth. Among the notable ones are: Adventure Resort, which also offers wall climbing, zip lines and a virtual tour around the world via its mini versions of the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and Great Wall of China; Galilee Wonderland with its replica of Noah’s Ark; and Malamig Park Resort at night with its wave pool decked with rainbow-colored lights.
Crispy pata, or deep-fried pig trotters/knuckles isn’t really Bulacan’s official dish, but they certainly make the best ones there. Head to JL Jamie’s Crispy Pata in Norzagaray and enjoy the crispy-soft goodness of the fried pork. To get the full “probinsyano” dining experience, you can dine at A&T Native Food House for exotic dishes like adobong sawa (snake), adobong kabayo (horse meat), and kalderetang kambing (goat).
Don’t forget to purchase local pastries like pilipit, Herschel’s candies in Bustos, minasa or uraro cookies made with cassava, and barquillos, or crisp flour rolls.
Most of the nightlife here are usually located near or at provincial capitols, shopping malls and retail establishments. Some resorts also offer cafes, restaurants and live music bars for staying guests to hang out and chill.
The Malamig Park Resort is perfect for a group of friends who are looking for decent accommodations. Air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom are at Php3,000 a night for four people. If you are looking for more luxurious digs, try Hotel Masfino in San Rafael, which also offers a lap pool, Raging River, a biking and dune buggy trail, and a spa as amenities when you check in to a Deluxe or a Suite room. Klir Waterpark Resort in Guiguinto is also a good alternative, as it is accessible to the city’s tourist destinations.
Be prepared to take public transportation. Make sure that you bring loose change with you. Although there is a sign inside the jeepney/tricycle that shows the fare rate, it’s also best to ask the driver how much you should pay.
If you plan to do a lot of walking, bring at least your rain gear or umbrella to protect you from the elements. Slap on sunscreen as well.
It’s best to time your itinerary with a major festival. This way, there’s a lot of activities that you can partake while learning the culture of the city or municipality. Plus, people are more friendlier!