Particularly when going to the more remote areas of Bataan, such as Bagac, be sure to have cash in your wallet.
When I went with some friends to Montemar Beach in Bagac recently, we were surprised that the establishment was not accepting credit cards and that there were no ATMs nearby. Good thing we had with us a friend who was known in the resort and could sign off bills easily.
Built in the Marcos years, the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Plant standing on a hill by the seacoast of Morong is let out in the open to rot without any use inspite of the continuous amortization being shouldered by the Filipino people. Not a single watt of power ever produced. No thanks to the alleged graft-ridden contract that hounded this project.
Definitely, this is the most expensive monument built in the Philippines - a monument that serves as a warning for Filipinos to not let their guards down against bad governance.
We really have deep waters surrounding Bataan. This baracuda was caught off the coast of Bagac by my uncles. Swimming too far out in the sea is not recommended as we also have sharks. South China Sea is very vast and deep so expect a lot of encounters with predators of the sea.
Hmm.. this should be a warning to the housewives and gfs. If your mate loves fishing, then dont let tell them about Bataan waters as chances are, you'd be left on the beach or house a lot, while the guys rent bankas and spend all afternoon deep sea fishing or angling by the shore.
To go up to the cross you have two choices. You can drive up to the base and park your car there or, you can go up the steps from the bottom of the shrine.
The first time I visited Mt. Samat in 1988, I was with some friends, one of whom was mean enough to play a trick on us and told us that the only way to get to the cross was by walking up the steps. Not wanting to be left behind, I grudgingly went up with all of them only to find him with the car at the base when we got up there.
Karen, Dante and I took 2 American friends there last February and we really wanted to see them go up the steps. We knew it was going to be torture for them but we also knew Sensei would have been spitting mad if he found out he had been tricked so after the first flight, we called them back down.
Try not to drive too fast or take the back roads with a flashy car. The "Nice People Around" don't take too kindly to that.
If you do have to take a back road, try to get out and back to the main highway before it gets dark.
Farmers often use the highways to dry their rice after harvesting. While this is illegal, the lack of cemented areas for drying makes the local government tolerant of the practice. They reason that it shouldn't cause that much traffic anyway this being the province.
What makes the practice really troublesome to drivers is that sometimes, to prevent the vehicles from crushing the rice under the wheels, farmers would sometimes put nail studded pieces of wood on the road before and after the drying rice. They also use logs or tree branches sometimes. There are instances where they occupy long stretches of road as in the picture leaving only a single lane. Sometimes, to avoid oncoming traffic... yes.... sometimes people cant wait in line, you are forced to run into the palay (rice) and might have your tires punctured if you are not so lucky.
Also, if you are caught unaware and are coming in too fast, if you break on the palay, you could skid on the rice and go into a tailspin. Oftentimes, there are no warning signs that the road ahead has palay obstruction so it pays to be wary when you are travelling the rural areas.