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Travel

Written by: Kurt G. Ibañes

SISIMAN

Sisiman is a Barangay in Mariveles, where most of the bigger fishing boats that navigate the waters around Bataan are anchored, waiting for their scheduled trips for the big catch. Strategically located in the southern tip of the peninsula, it is surrounded by coves, rocky shores and beaches, flanked by the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB). It is a contrast of sights, sounds and food, and a convergence of land features both natural and man-made. Neatly tucked at the southern foot of mount Mariveles, it is a perfect location for landscape, travel photographers and hobbyists alike, and a favorite place for those who want to learn the craft.*

Sea coves, mountains and the sun generally stand on their own when photographed, but when the place holds a deeper story, it calls for a stay. This place offers a variety of surprises and when you’re patient enough, you’ll eventually find yourself in a deeper journey. Sisiman is a place where fishermen mend their nets and thoughts as they ease their spirits after an arduous fishing trip. The complex lifestyle peppered with age-old fishing traditions make up this unique combinations that bring out the real colors of this fishing village.

GETTING THERE


Mariveles is the last town in the southern part of Bataan, and an easy drive from within the province. Roman Superhighway will lead you straight to Mariveles in no time. If you prefer the comfortable bus ride from Manila, hop on a Genesis Bus from their Pasay City, Cubao, Quezon City or Avenida, Manila terminals and take the Mariveles ride. A little over 3 hours of highway rolling and you’ll reach the place.

When driving from Manila, head northbound and take NLEX. Exit in San Fernando and take Jose Abad-Santos Avenue. This will take you straight to Bataan. A relatively easy drive, directional signboards are positioned along the way. Upon reaching Ala-uli intersection in Pilar, turn right. Governor J. J. Linao National Road will take you to Morong in less than an hour.

WHERE TO STAY?


There are number of guest houses and hotels in the area that fit your budget, location choice and purpose. Dudice is a choice by many, both locals and foreign visitors who mean business or leisure.

If you are looking for a bed, good food and a pool, head to Mt. Tarak Resort and Restaurant while Romalaine’s Seafood Restaurant also offers budget rooms and accommodation, aside from serving a wide array of food choices ranging from local cuisine and regional flavors. These suggested accommodations are located along Roman Superhighway and are relatively close to the slopes of Sisiman where you can enjoy the magnificent sunrise and a bird’s eye view of the fishing village with San Miguel Rock looming in the background.

However, if you choose to stay in downtown, you will never run out of options. Iwahory Guesthouse and Coffee Shop is located in the middle of the town, rendering access to the local market and everything you need from food to souvenirs.

BRING OUT YOUR CAMERAS!


Get up early. Yes, very early. The night sky never waits. If you’re serious in getting the right shot, it’ll all be worth it. Make your first stop at the Mariveles Bypass road, where you get a bird’s-eye view of the village under the night sky. Sisiman is low on light during these hours, and when the weather is right, the stars put on a good light show. Depending on the time and astronomical patterns, the Milky Way can be observed from here. Many photographers and enthusiasts also station themselves here for the night. In my case, I usually make it here between 2:00 AM to 4:00 AM. Bring everything you need, since it can get pretty cold here at dawn. You’ll never go wrong with jackets or windbreakers.

As the sky starts to brighten up, head down to the village proper where you get to choose between two locations. One is a place where large fishing boats are anchored adjacent to their make-shift dry docks where a lot of their gears are kept and repairs are done. For the seasoned photographer, there’s so much story to tell from here. Calm waters, the silent boats resting in the tide as the morning sky starts to warm up. As the sun starts to climb, the place slowly awakens and the local’s start their daily routine, a true place of life and beauty.

We’re not done yet. Afternoons here mean great sunsets and we’re heading to Sisiman Lighthouse just behind the San Miguel Rock. We’ll have to spare a few minutes at the Barangay Hall to let them know we’re heading there. They will assist us on our way to the lighthouse. Be sure to set things earlier if you want to catch the warm afternoon landscapes well before sunset.

Mariveles is an anchorage area for large ocean-going vessels doing repairs and waiting docking schedules. Ship traffic here is dense, as it is where FAB is located and on the other side, the shipping lane in and out of Manila - perfect for ship-spotting! Corregidor Island is also on sight. In a place like this, a lighthouse is needed, and one is located here. It gives a unique accent to the landscape so typical of Bataan.

Spend the rest of the day here and you’ll surely bring home a lot of eye-popping photos!

Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse
Sisiman Lighthouse