A province in Central Luzon, Bulacan prides itself in being the birthplace of heroes and the site of events that shaped Philippine history.
These include Francisco Balagtas, whose poems spoke about resisting Spanish rule, and the poet’s nephew Gregorio del Pilar, who led the Battle of Tirad Pass in 1899. A visit to Bulacan will ignite Filipino pride, as you wander through its historic attractions and immerse in its culture and traditions.
Since it is one of the nearest provinces to Metro Manila, Bulacan is a popular quick respite from city life.
There are many things to see and experience, from heritage tours to eco-parks to Bulakenyo delicacies. These include Empanada de Kaliskis, Chicharon, and Pastillas, which are popular treats that tourists bring home. Those with green thumbs can also take a trip to the town of Guiguinto to find garden plants at very affordable prices.
Take that short and scenic drive to Bulacan to experience these attractions and more:
This Baroque stone church in Malolos, Bulacan plays a pivotal role in the struggle for Philippine Independence.
After General Emilio Aguinaldo transferred the capital of the Revolutionary Government to Malolos, Barasoain Church became the site of the country’s first national convention. The assembly was held on September 15, 1898 with 193 delegates from different provinces all tasked to write the Philippine Constitution.
This gives the Philippines the distinction of being very first Asian Government to promulgate a Constitution. Visitors can better appreciate the historical events that unfolded in Malolos at the church’s light and sound museum that is managed by the National Historical Institute.
Casa Real Shrine
Casa Real in Malolos, Bulacan has served many purposes throughout Philippine history. It was built in 1580 as the town’s Casa Tribunal, Ayuntamiento, and Casa Presidencia Municipal and was the residence and Office of the Gobernadorcillo during the Spanish era.
During the time of the Philippine revolutionary government, it served as the Imprenta Nacional, with its printing press used to make copies of the 1896 Constitution and the Heraldo de Revolucion. It also served as a public library before becoming the seat of the American military government. After which, it went through different iterations: hospital, an annex to the Bulacan High School, and then the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce during the Japanese Occupation.
Today, it is a historical shrine that holds memorabilia from its different iterations, including relics of the 21 Brave Women of Malolos. Dr. Jose Rizal dedicated a poem to these women for their courage to set up a school against objections from the towns friars.
To have a taste of history, head to Bistro Maloleño Events Place & Restaurant that has a menu based on the favorite dishes of Philippine heroes and historical figures: Andres Bonifacio’s Nilitson na Manok sa Saha, or roast chicken stuffed with lemongrass; Jose Rizal’s Tinola, which he preferred to cook with squash; Marcelo del Pilar’s Pochero, which is the restaurant’s bestseller, Gen. Gregorio del Pilar’s Arroz ala Cubana, which was served during the Bulacan liberation; and Mariano Ponce’s tempura, from a recipe he brought home from Japan.
Bulacan ancestral houses
With distinct architectural styles reflective of different eras in Philippine history, Bulacan’s heritage houses offer visitors a chance to travel through time.
The Bautista mansion in Kamistisuhan Street in Malolos is a two-story mansion built in 1877 that used to house the Ministry of Interiors during the First Philippine Republic. Among its distinguished guests was Dr. Jose Rizal during the time of the La Liga Filipina movement.
The home of ophthalmologist Dr. Luis Santos is another mansion that is a must-visit. It is a study in Art Deco architecture and it has a ceiling mural done by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo and a garden sculpture by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino.
San Rafael River Adventure
Eco-adventures abound at the San Rafael River Adventure Park. Situated along the banks of the Angat River, the park has exciting water activities available to guests: boating, jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, banana boating, wake boarding, and fishing from a floating hut.
For those who prefer to stay on dry land, they can try other activities such as riding an ATV, biking, or horseback riding.
There are amenities available for glamping or for those who want to experience luxe accommodations in the middle of nature. These unique lodgings include their glass villa or stilt glass cabin that have private bubble pools.
The nature-bound activities of San Rafael are included in the Department of Tourism Eco-Farm Circuit that links it to a sweet potato farm in Moncada, Tarlac.
Bulacan beckons with its historical sites and natural attractions, and to fully experience the excitement that the Province offers to urban-weary tourists, it is important to keep the safety of everybody in mind.
All tourist destinations in Bulacan have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip, check the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, or download it from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.