Bataan: Mt. Samat l Dunsulan Falls l Ima Floras Pamangan

There's some sort of a running joke now in the family, we call it the B series.

Mt. Samat National Shrine Pilar Bataan

Our first family road trip was in the Bicol region (located in the southernmost part of Luzon). I previously shared our stories here and here if you'd like to read them. For our annual vacation in December last 2018, we visited Bataan, also known as the home of the brave 

In one of the convos in the car on our way to Dambana ng Kagitingan, my niece Erin noticed the trend and ask, "where are we going next time?" We've been to Bicol and now we are heading to Bataan. Mica suggested, "probably Bohol or Boracay,followed by a roar of laughter.

Bicol and Bataan were pure coincidence but Bohol or Boracay isn't such a bad idea.

Bicol was a 12-hour drive from Bulacan to Albay and another 12 back. The drive was too long and too tiring for mom so we wanted to go someplace close enough this time but somewhere we have never been before. My sister sent me photos of her friend who was currently checked in at Vista Tala in Bataan at the time. It was a gorgeous place. It is green, it is up in the mountains, it is cold because it is in December and it is only a couple of hours away from where we live. It's perfect.

Bataan is rich in history. The Battle of Bataan was historical. It was one of the last stands of American and Filipino soldiers before they were overwhelmed by the Japanese forces in World War II. The Bataan Death March was named after the province, where the infamous march started. 80,000 American and Filipino soldiers marched for 112 km and some 18,000 soldiers perished.

War Statue in Bataan

Our first stop was Mt. Samat National Shrine also called Dambana ng Kagitingan located at the summit of Mount Samat in the town of Pilar. The memorial shrine complex was built to honor and remember the gallantry of Filipino and American soldiers who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. It is punctuated by a huge cross perched at the top of the mountain which is also an observation tower with a museum below it.

Mt. Samat Pilar Bataan

Mt. Samat Cross

That day we have overcast skies. The clouds hug the mountain, hiding the huge cross on top of it. The air was cold and breezy but it wasn't raining so it was a great day to visit.

Mom and kids at Mount Samat

The adults (ahem me) were more interested in history - checked out the museum

Mount Samat Museum

while the kids run outside on the vast lawn and checked out some of the armories

and mamang sorbetero. :D Who can resist sorbetes?!


yes, no one can. hahaha

Kids at Mt. Samat

One last group shot before we head down to our next stop

My Family at Mt. Samat Shrine

Dunsulan Falls is just a few minutes away from Mr. Samat National Shrine. It lies at the foothills of the mountain. If you are feeling more adventurous, use the zip line to reach the paved road if not.

You can ask the locals for directions if you are unsure of the way in. The road that leads to Dunsulan is nicely paved so you can drive all the way to the small parking lot near the entrance. Drive carefully as some areas are quite steep. It seems at first that the road to the falls is endless but with a little patience and you'll eventually get there.

Dunsulan Falls Pilar Bataan

The park is open from 9 am to 6 pm. It is a nice place for a family picnic, a nice place to relax, to spend a day and enjoy some quiet time. They offered a tree hopping activity too but unfortunately, it was under maintenance on the day of our visit. Nonetheless, we all had our own souvenir shot.

Kuya at Dunsulan Falls Pilar Bataan

MYB at Dunsulan Falls Pilar Bataan

MYB at Dunsulan Falls Pilar Bataan

Prince at Dunsulan Falls

Erin and Benjo at Dunsulan Falls

Lanna at Dunsulan Falls

Ate and Kuya at Dunsulan Falls

It was 5 pm when we left. In search of dinner, we found by chance Ima Flora's Pamangan (Mother Flora's Food), also located in Pilar.

It is an upscale carinderia, a buffet-style restaurant that serves affordable Kapampangan dishes.

Buffet Plate Ima Floras Pamangan

For a hungry crowd like us, everything tastes good, some better than the others, like the adobong balut and fern (paco) salad you'll find amongst the food on my dinner plate.

It was a great first day in Bataan, can you tell from our busolve happy faces?

Buffet Dinner at Ima Floras Pamangan

to be continued...

My Yellow Bells

Carla is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai who's thankful to call this ever-evolving city her second home. The pages of this blog are filled with stories about her expat life in the sandpit. It features dining and travel adventures in and around the city and beyond. It also features food recipes, parenting tips, and fashion style.

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