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Bulacan: The Prosperous Province Forged by History and Heroism

Bulacan Provincial Capitol, Located in Malolos City

Feel the heart and soul of the Philippines in Bulacan. Its history and tradition, its land, culture and its people. Truly a melting pot of the past and the present, the old and the new, the countryside and the urban. Bulacan is noted as the land of heroes, beautiful women, progressive cooperatives, and small and medium-scale industries. It is also known for excellent craftsmanship in making jewelry, leather craft, buntal hats, pyrotechnics, bone in-laid furniture and garments. Bulacan also has emerged into a reputable resort haven of Luzon. Just a few minutes north of Manila by car, Bulacan resorts provide an accessible and welcome respite from the pressures of city life.

Bulacan, officially called the Province of Bulacan or simply Bulacan Province, is a first class province of the Republic of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon Region (Region 3) in the island of Luzon, north of Manila (the nation's capital), and part of the Metro Luzon Urban Beltway Super Region. Bulacan was established in August 15, 1578. It has 569 barangays from 21 municipalities and 3 component cities (Malolos, the capital city; Meycauayan; and San Jose del Monte).

Bulacan prides itself on its rich history. The province figures prominently in Philippine History. Many national heroes and political figures were born in Bulacan. The province was also one of the first to revolt against Spain. The province is honored as one of the 8 rays of the sun in the national flag. It is the home of the "Three Republics." These are the Republic of Real de Kakarong de Sili (1896) in Pandi, the Republic of Biak-na-Bato (1897) and the very first Philippine Republic in Malolos (1899–1901). In recognition thereof, these three republics established in Bulacan have been incorporated in the official seal of the province of Bulacan.

In 1899, the historic Barasoain Church in Malolos was the birthplace of the First Constitutional Democracy in Asia. It is also the cradle of the nation's noble heroes, of great men and women; also home to many of the country's greatest artists, with a good number elevated as National Artists.

Bulacan has fast become an ideal tourist destination and an essential player in the tourism of the Philippines, owing to its vital role in Philippine history, and its rich heritage in culture and the arts. The province is popularly known for its historical sites; nostalgic old houses and churches; idyllic ecological attractions; religious attractions; colorful and enchanting festivals; swimming and various themed attractions; and a wide selection of elegant native crafts and sumptuous delicacies. It is also home to numerous resorts, hotels, restaurants, and other recreational facilities.

Brief History

The province's name is derived from the Tagalog word 'bulak' meaning cotton, which was its former principal product. Bulacan started with small fishing settlements along the coast of Manila Bay and expanded into the interior with the coming of the Spaniards. These settlements formed the nucleus of towns that were founded from 1572 (Bulacan and Calumpit) to 1750 (San Rafael). In 1848, the town of San Miguel was annexed to Bulacan from Pampanga. Bulacan was one of the first eight provinces to rise against Spanish rule. The first phase of the Philippine Revolution ended with the signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato in San Miguel in 1897 between the Filipinos and the Spaniards, after which Aguinaldo was exiled to Hong Kong. The second phase saw the drafting of the constitution of the first Philippine Republic by the Malolos Congress at Barasoain Church in 1898. The subsequently established republic had its capital at Malolos until President Emilio Aguinaldo transferred it to San Isidro, Nueva Ecija in 1899 when the Filipino-American War broke out. When the Americans established a civil government in the Philippines, they held the first election in the country in the town of Baliuag on May 6, 1899. Bulacan is the home province of heroes like Francisco Baltazar (Balagtas), "The Prince of Filipino Poets", Marcelo H. Del Pilar, "The Great Propagandist," and Gregorio del Pilar, "The Hero of Tirad Pass."

 

Tourist Attractions

HISTORICAL

Balagtas Monument (Balagtas, Bulacan)

  • Built in honor of Francisco "Balagtas" Baltazar, Father of Tagalog Poetry, whose masterpiece "Florante at Laura" is very popular.

Biak-na-Bato Cave (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Located in the suburbs of San Miguel de Mayumo on the northern tip of Bulacan, Biak-na-Bato became the refuge of the revolutionary army that fled Cavite and Batangas.
  • Today, hanging bridges and staircases connecting rivers and caves make for a pleasurable exploration.

Bulacan Old Train Station (Guiguinto, Bulacan)

  • Built in 1661, the Estacion de Guiguinto (Guiguinto Train Station) is the town's most acclaimed historical landmark and heritage site. It was upon this site that the Katipuneros (Filipino guerillas during the Spanish Regime) ambushed a train from Dagupan, killing six friars, including the parish friar of Guiguinto, Fr. Leocadio Sanchez, and a Spanish doctor. The incident inspired Severino Reyes to author the novel “Opera Walang Sugat” which was later made into a movie entitled “Walang Sugat.”

Calumpit Bridge (Calumpit, Bulacan)

  • Site of the first battle between Filipino and American soldiers during the retreat of Aguinaldo to the Ilocos Region.

Casa Real Shrine (Malolos City, Bulacan)

  • The shrine was built in 1580 and served as the seat of the government of the town of Malolos during the Spanish and American occupation. It also served as the office of the National Museum and National Printing Press during the first Philippine Republic where the revolutionary organs La Independencia, El Heraldo de la Rovolucion, Kalayaan and Kaibigan ng Bayan were printed. At present, it is a museum and library under the administration of the National Historical Institute. It was restored in 1852.

De Leon Ancestral Home (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • The De Leon House, built in 1914, was the home of LVN studio matriarch Dona Sisang de Leon. It still attracts people with its antique furnishings and Old-World feel. The airy two-storey mansion now holds a miraculous century-old statue, "San Miguel and the Devil," which has weathered wars, storms, earthquakes and floods.

Enriquez Ancestral House (Bulacan, Bulacan)

  • Constructed during the 1850s, it is one of the ancestral houses found in San Jose, Bulacan, Bulacan. Some of the documents of Marcelo H. del Pilar were found in this house. It houses a museum of rare antiques and historical artifacts. It is presently owned by acclaimed Filipino food historian Milagros Enriquez.

Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar Memorial (Bulacan, Bulacan)

  • Shrine and birthplace of the country's great propagandist and hero. Also known by his pen name Plaridel, he founded Diyaryong Tagalog, the country's first bilingual newspaper, and then became editor of the revolutionary organ, La Solidaridad. The patriot, writer and editor is honored with this monument

Gen. Gregorio del Pilar Marker (Bulacan, Bulacan)

  • The site marks the birthplace of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar. The hero of Tirad Pass, born on November 14, 1875, and died December 2, 1899. He is one of the youngest and trusted staff of President Emilio Aguinaldo.

Instituto de Mujeres (Malolos City, Bulacan)

  • The building is the same august hall where twenty determined Malolenas (the so-called Women of Malolos) set up a night school to learn (or improve their) Spanish - a language that was then the gateway to knowledge of the country and of the world.

Kakarong de Sili Battle Site (Pandi, Bulacan)

  • This shrine marks the battle where about 3,000 Katipuneros led by Maestrong Sebio (Gen. Eusebio Roque) died in the hands of Spanish soldiers in 1897. Maestrong Sebio was able to escape but was captured after a few days. He was summarily tried and executed on Jan. 16, 1897. It features a life-sized statue of Inang Filipina, a symbol of patriotism and nationhood. It is also the site of the Republic of Real de Kakarong de Sili of 1896.

Kamestizuhan Street (Malolos City, Bulacan)

  • A row of ancestral houses that are steep in history: Estrella and Pariancillo Sts. on where stands the Ejercito House which was the Department of War of the First Philippine Republic.

Lipana House (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Originally owned by Damaso Sempio and family where Gen. Gregorio Del Pilar once slept.

Mercado House (Bustos, Bulacan)

  • This house in Bustos, Bulacan is one of the several houses used as a fort by the Katipuneros. It boasts of unique architectural designs of stone carvings on its facade and walls and distinct turn-of-the-century Mexican villa air. Truly a masterpiece of Bulacan artisans

Meyto Shrine (Calumpit, Bulacan)

  • This is the cradle of Christianity in the province, where the first Catholic Mass was held by the Augustinian friars, armed with cross in 1572.

Plaridel Airport (Plaridel, Bulacan)

  • Covering a span of 11 hectares of land is the only existing airport in Bulacan. Constructed by the United States Bureau of Aeronautics in 1935, the runway is a historic landmark as it once became a battleground between the Americans and the Japanese forces during World War II. Together with three Filipino officers, the Americans were able to drive out the enemies from the town.

Siar Tree (Malolos City, Bulacan)

  • Popularly known as Kalayaan Tree or Peltrophorum Pterocarpum, located in the churchyard of Barasoain Church in Malolos City, Bulacan, this tree has been a living witness to many historic events that transpired in the area. It was in Barasoain Church where the three important events of our country took place: The convening of the First Philippine Congress on Sept. 15, 1898; the promulgation of the Philippine Constitution, popularly known as the Malolos Constitution on Jan. 21,1899; and the inauguration of the First Republic on Jan. 23, 1899, establishing the Philippines as the first democratic country in Asia. It was under the Siar tree where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo found temporary refuge. Revolutionary field officers waited under its shade to see the general and report on the battles won and lost by the revolutionaries. It was planted by President Aguinaldo during a lull in the Malolos Convention.

Tecson Ancestral House (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Three sons of the original owners were all officers of the revolutionary army of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. For some time, this house was used as the headquarters of Aguinaldo. The house is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Cenen Mendiola. Simon Tecson is the original owner.

Torch of Freedom Marker (Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan)

  • Marker for one of the base camps of the guerillas during World War II.

Viola House (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • The original owner is Dr. Maximo Viola, a companion of Dr. Jose Rizal in Europe while Rizal was writing his famous two novels: El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere. He was known to have financed the printing of the Noli Me Tangere. A doctor and a municipal councilor.

 

NATURAL ATTRACTIONS

Aguinaldo Cave (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Three prominent caves exist along the banks of the Balaong River that circumscribe the historic barangay of Biak-na-Bato, namely Bahay Paniki Cave, Aguinaldo Cave and Bukal Cave. The most notable of these is the Aguinaldo Cave where the late hero, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, once took refuge while leading the resistance movement against the Spanish and American colonizers.

Ambush Cave (Biak-na-bato National Park, San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Located at San Miguel Bulacan, Biak-na-bato National Park, this cave is two-hour-and-a-half ride by land from Manila. Its flora such as G. Melina, teak, buho, tibig and vines are found outside the cave and a few stalactites and stalagmites, and stone formations are found inside the cave, with columns and pool. It is also open even to inexperienced cavers.

Aroma Beach (Hagonoy, Bulacan)

  • A sandy beach with aromatic plants, it is frequented by local picnickers during summer months.

Bahay Paniki Cave / House of Bats (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • The cave located some 300 meters south of the Aguinaldo Cave is a bit risky to penetrate, considering the tons of debris filed by torrential flood-water (more conducive to cold-blooded snakes and poisonous scorpions). Beneath the gigantic portal, which stretches to about 30 meters up forming a large dome, are big boulders the size of a two-storey building and the way up the narrow and brittle natural bridges that lead to the inside is truly very dangerous. The cave is home to millions of bats. Tourists are treated to a rare and astounding display of natural beauty as the mammals fly overhead and out of the cave - aligned in two fronts and to converge some 200 meters into the sky on a single formation, only to disappear in the darkening horizon. In exactly 3 minutes at 6:15 p.m., the daily phenomenon ends.

Bakas (Norzagaray, Bulacan )

  • Located on this site are giant limestones at the core of a river, formed like giant footprints. Townspeople claim these were actually the footprints of legendary giant Bernardo Carpio.

Bayokbok Cave (Sitio Madlum, Brgy. Sibul, San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Located at sitio Madlum, Brgy. Sibul in San Miguel, Bulacan, or some 7.5 kms. from San Miguel town proper, this cave may be reached by any motor vehicle and hiking. Madlum River is adjacent to the cave with shrimps and biya. Species of fauna can be found on the river, while insectivorous bats and a few stalactite and stalagmite formations are found inside. This cave is recommended for inexperienced cavers because of its high tourism value.

Biak-na-Bato Nature Park (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Biak-na-Bato is a nature park located 12 kilometers from the municipality of San Miguel de Mayumo that provides a unique eco-adventure steeped in history. It is a mountain gorge sliced by the Balaong River that flows from Calumpit in Bulacan and empties into Candaba Swamp in Pampanga. The river trail winds through Aguinaldo's former natural fortress and leads to caves of natural and historical significance, observation outposts and ruins of stone fortifications.

Bukal Cave (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • The Bukal Cave (the name is vernacular for "spring") is situated on the approach of the Aguinaldo Cave. From the mouth of the cave flows crystal-clear icy waters emanating probably from a major groundwater recharge reservior. Marvelous stone formations like stalactites and flowstones deck the small dome of the cave. Faunal dwellers like mudfish, tilapia, biya, eel, freshwater shrimps, minimal bats and bivalves teem the undergound river. Bird species like kingfisher, layong-layong, tree sparrow and green doves are noted.

Cuarto-Cuarto Cave (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Biak-na-Bato - A cave with many rooms or cuartos, it is accessed by crawling through a low entrance with a downward slope about seven meters long. Swifts and swallows nest in the nooks and crevices of this cave. These birds' nests are havested and used as the main ingridient on the popular Chinese bird's nest soup.

Dona Remedios Trinidad Natural Wonders (Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan)

  • Because of its altitude, the town of Dona Remedios Trinidad has a cooler and moister climate than the rest of the towns of Bulacan. Its natural features include rivers, waterfalls, forests, springs, limestone formations mountains and hills. Magnificent and well-preserved caves can be found in Barangay Bayabas, one of which is called Puning Cave with a spring running down a mountain. Another beautiful cave is the Baras-Bakal spring cave located at Barangay Pulong Sampaloc and Madlum Cave in Biak-na-Bato National Park. It has several breathtaking waterfalls like the Tumutulo Falls in Brgy. Bayabas which drops from a height of fifteen meters into an attractive setting of white stone formation and marble and cascades further into an old stone formation called Simbahan ni Lapud (Brgy. Kabayunan), Mount Bato Falls (Brgy. Sapang Bulak), Verdivia Falls (Brgy. Talbak), Talon ni Eva (Brgy. Kalawakan) are ideal places for group picnics and outings. Preferred ecotourism activities include mountain climbing, bushwalking, rock climbing, camping, mountain biking, bird watching or simply enjoying the majestic view and landscape of the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges.

Hilltop (Norzagaray, Bulacan)

  • Also known as the Baguio City of Bulacan, this place mesmerizes tourists with a scenic view of the Sierra Madre Range. It is host to the Angat River Hydroelectric Plant of the National Power Corporation.

Hospital Cave (Biak-na-bato National Park, San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Located at San Miguel Bulacan, Brgy., Biak-na-bato National Park, this cave is a two-hour-and-a-half ride by land from Manila, with a few stalactite and stalagmite formations inside. Generally safe to inexperienced visitors and may also be utilized for economic purposes such as guano extraction and edible birds nest collection. Open to inexperienced cavers.

Liputan Islands (Meycauayan, Bulacan)

  • Surrounded by fishponds, these islands are accessible only through water transportation.

Madlum Cave (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Madlum Cave is a prominent feature in the Angat Limestone Formation which occupy most of the whole reservation of Biak-na-Bato National Park and is considered a shrine by the people of San Miguel, Bulacan. There are three giant portals to the approximately 50-meter-long cavern. An entrance to the right, which is about 30 meters from the water level of the Madlum River, is a statue of the Virgin Mary. It is the place where the town's patron saint, St. Michael, was found. It is located in Sitio Madlum, Brgy. Sibul Spring.

Mt. Lumot (Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan)

  • One of DRT's municipal parks, this mountain offers a wide array of eco-tourism activities like rock climbing, camping, mountain biking, mountain climbing, bushwalking, bird watching or simply enjoying the majestic view and landscape of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Pandi Mineral and Bath Spring Resort (Pandi, Bulacan)

  • This natural attraction is famous for its mineral water which is found to have medicinal and curative effects.

Pinagrealan Cave (Norzagaray, Bulacan)

  • This major cave in Norzagaray is a natural refuge used by Filipinos during the struggle against Spain and the Americans and during the last world war. Floral species observed on the hills encompassing the cave are limited to shrubs, vines, cogon and some types of plants that thrive on limestone with very thin soil substrate. A few unidentified birds are noted flying over the loose canopies of the thicket. and expert cave enthusiasts.

Pug-pog River (Norzagaray, Bulacan)

  • A river with clear water coming directly from the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Puning Cave (Sitio Tumama, Brgy. Bayabas, Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan)

  • Located at Sitio Tumana, Brgy.,Bayabas in DRT, Bulacan, the cave's physical features are mostly intact with some presence of dripstone and flowstone forms and stalactites. Flora like anabiong, hauili, kupang, narra,ipil bamboo and balete are seen outside, as well as birds (migratory & endemic), fish & shrimps. An estimated population of 4,000 fruit bats and insect bats are found inside the cave. It is open only during dry season and contain sensitive geological, archeological, cultural, historical and biological values or high quality ecosystem. The cave is open to experienced cavers or guided educational tour/visits.

Santol Cave (Biak-na-bato National Park, San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • Located within the area of Biak-na-bato National Park in San Miguel Bulacan, this cave is two hours and a half ride from Manila. Flora may be found outside the cave namely pakiling, buho, tibig, vines and santol. Insectivorous bats can be seen inside the cave with geological features such as columns of stalactites and stalagmites formation inside. This cave is highly recommended as an open cave to inexperienced cavers.

Sibul Spring (San Miguel, Bulacan )

  • The crystal-clear water that springs from this natural wonder is famous for its medicinal effect.

Tilandong Falls (San Miguel, Bulacan)

  • A natural fall which is now tapped as a source of electric power as well as for irrigation purposes.

Tumutulo Falls (Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan)

  • Located at Barangay Bayabas, this breathtaking waterfall drops from a height of fifteen meters into an attractive setting of white stones and marble and cascades further into an old stone formation called Simbahan ni Lapud.

Verdivia Falls (Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan)

  • Located in Barangay Talbak, this splendid waterfall is an ideal venue for group picnics and outings.

LOCAL WONDERS

Apo Iru Gatbuca (Calumpit, Bulacan)

  • Known as "Pottery Country", Apo Iru Gatbuca is the biggest producer of pots in the whole of Bulacan. So vast is the pot-making industry that most residents make their living out of pottery. Local artisans transform an ordinary mass of clay into an exquisite work of art - some of which are even made into glazed decorative ceramics.

Bagbag Bridge (Calumpit, Bulacan)

  • Site of the longest battle between the Americans and Filipinos led by Gen. Gregorio del Pilar which took place in April 25, 1899. The bridge still standing serves as a reminder of the valor displayed by the Filipinos who triumphed against the American forces.

Bustos Dam (Bustos, Bulacan)

  • The dam is one of the longest sector-gates in the world and serves as the huge reservoir of the Angat Hydroelectric plant at Barrio Hilltop. The dam was built in 1922 and serves as the source of electric power in the province and Metro Manila. It features a cool picnic haven with an inspiring scenery.

Grotto Central Cement (San Ildefonso, Bulacan)

  • This place is memorable because of the grotto and statue of the Virgin Mary, the beautiful landscape, and the natural scenery.

Hanging Bridge (Marilao, Bulacan)

  • A wooden bridge connecting Brgy. Lambakin and Brgy. Sta. Rosa. This place offers a scenic view of the surrounding area.

Ipo Dam (Norzagaray, Bulacan)

  • The place is a water impounding dam made famous by its name synonymous with gallantry, bravery and heroism. It is used as a reservoir for the La Mesa Dam which distributes water to Metro Manila residents. The green virgin forest and sky blue water make Ipo Dam an attractive place to visit.

Marble Making Industry (Tabang, Guiguinto, Bulacan)

  • As early as 1992, the Marble Association of the Philippines (MAP) conceptualized the establishment of a common service facility for processing marble tiles, and to serve as a training center for marble producers. This took the form of a polishing line for the processing of export quality marble tiles targeted to respond to the high demand in the export business.

Meycauayan Jewelry Art (Meycauayan, Bulacan)

  • The intricate craftsmanship and painstaking creative dedication that the town's jewelers pour into their creations have made the town the leading producer of silver and gold jewelry in the country. As a living museum of the town's famous jewelry art, the Philippine Jewelry Center was built to showcase the craftsmanship of notable goldsmiths and silversmiths.

National Manpower Youth Center (Guiguinto, Bulacan)

  • A center formed by the national government to help out-of-school youth by training them for jobs and livelihood projects.

Pulilan Butterfly Haven (Pulilan, Bulacan)

  • Located along San Francisco Street, this butterfly sanctuary is also a perfect place for nature lovers where they can witness the butterfly's fascinating life cycle, enjoy lush greenery which provide an ideal habitat for the butterflies and experience nature in an oasis of beauty and tranquility with butterflies flitting from one flower to another. Entrance fee: P50 Open: Monday - sunday, 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Sergio Bayan (Calumpit, Bulacan)

  • The place produces export-quality religious products and icons. Tourists flock to the shop area to witness workers transform an ordinary mass of clay into an exquisite work of art.

MUSEUMS

Bocaue Museum (Bocaue, Bulacan)

  • This museum houses a collection of municipal antiques and a priceless array of artifacts that depict the town's culture and traditions.

Bulacan Museum (Capitol Cpd., Bulacan)

  • The Museo ng Bulacan (Bulacan Museum) houses a collection of valuable relics and mementos, articles, documents and handicrafts of the Philippine revolution. Located in Malolos to promote the cultural heritage and tradition of the province. It is under the management of the Provincial Government of Bulacan.

NHI Ecclesiastical Museum (Malolos, Bulacan)

  • An ecclesiastical museum managed by the National Historical Institute where religious artifacts and religious mementos of the province are displayed. Also featured is the Barasoain Light and Sound Museum built in time for the celebration of the centennial of Philippine Independence in 1998.

 

Accessibility

By Air

Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific provide daily services to major cities and towns. Asian Spirit, Laoag International Airlines, and Seair service the missionary routes. There are also scheduled chartered flights to major domestic destinations serviced by smaller commuter planes.

By Sea

As the islands of the Philippines are separated by different bodies of water, the sea plays an integral part in travel. A range of seafarers are available, from huge cargo ships to small ferry boats; take long trips that last for a day or two with regular ship lines or take shorter ones with ferries. Major cruise liners call on the port of Manila.

By Land

The MacArthur Highway traverses the province from north to south. Most major towns can be reached through the North Luzon Expressway. A good number of motor vehicles owned largely by private individuals provide mobility to Bulacan's populace. Aside from five main highways that traverse the province, all roads are widely dispersed throughout Bulacan.

Bus terminals of Baliuag Transit, California Bus Line, Sampaguita Liner and Royal Eagle are in Baliuag, Balagtas and Hagonoy. The main bus lines of Philippine Rabbit, Victory Liner, Aladdin Transit that originate from their main terminals in Manila, Pasay and Quezon City and travel northward to cities and towns in Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales, pass through Bulacan via the Tabang exit.