A 40-ft jump from a cliff at Five Fingers Mariveles. Screenshot from drone footage courtesy of Travel ni Bes.

If you’re the type of traveler who’s always up for something adventurous, your next destination should be the north, specifically Bataan. Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Manila, it’s an understatement to say that there are lots of hidden gems there waiting to be discovered by the curious and the casual tourists, even for seasoned travelers.

Aside from historic monuments (Mt Samat Shrine in Pilar), cultural destinations (Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar), and awesome restos and coffee shops (The Food Project, Hashtag, and the Dreamery Spoon), Bataan has a lot of outdoor activities that should excite travelers who want to add a dash of thrill and excitement to their trips. Here are some:

  1. Cliff dive at Five Fingers cove

Seen from above, the Five Fingers cove in Mariveles looks like a hand with outstretched fingers, hence the name. Once a small fishing town, Mariveles has long been the industrial center of Bataan. But the local government continues to capitalize on the natural wonders in its locality, which is where Five Fingers comes in. One of the more exciting activities to do here is to jump off a 40-ft cliff. Suffice it to say, this isn’t for the faint of heart. Getting to the edge of the cliff is already a challenge (sharp rocks, steep incline), but the fantastic view is enough to distract travelers from what they’re about to do. The tour guide usually jumps first to show travelers how it’s done. This also allows him to wait for jumpers on the water. PS: Bring a drone for better photos and videos.

2. Shoot arrows at La Jolla 

Pretend you’re Oliver Queen from “The Arrow.” Photo: Kenneth M. del Rosario.

The ATV ride at the La Jolla Luxury Beach Resort in Bagac is nothing to sneeze at and is awesome in its own way. But what got us excited—and something that sets this resort’s activity offerings apart—is the chance to shoot arrows in its archery range. Guests can finally live out their dreams of becoming Oliver Queen in “The Arrow” TV series or Hawkeye in The Avengers. They have a basketball court, too, should guests prefer to shoot hoops instead. 

3. ATV ride, trail biking at KDR Adventure Camp

Riding an ATV or a buggy is as exciting as it sounds. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario.

Outdoor lovers would have a field day at the KDR Adventure Camp in Orani. Right off the bat, the KDR gives off a fun and exciting vibe. Some sections are open to the public, while other activities are reserved for members. We enjoyed the ATV and buggy ride around the property. Those who also want to work up a sweat can also try trail biking. There’s also an obstacle course that looks challenging (but very doable) enough for adults and kids alike. After all these strenuous activities, visitors can have much-deserved refreshments at Daniel’s coffee shop. Coffee is life, after all. *wink*

4. Ride the zipline at Vista Tala

This is the best way to enjoy the view. Photo: Kenneth M. del Rosario.

Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park in Orani is an ideal venue for guests looking to have some downtime with family or friends, especially for large groups as they have rooms that can accommodate 20 people. It has viewing decks that allow guests to enjoy the awesome scenery around But the outdoor activities that guests can enjoy take the experience up a notch. Thrill-seekers can try riding a zipline, rappelling, and wall climbing.

We reached these destinations for the first time during an NLEX Lakbay Norte familiarization tour, meant to put the spotlight on tourist attractions in the north. But we have since returned on a personal trip while reviewing the Ford Territory. It was an awesome drive. The Territory, after all, is spacious, fuel-efficient, and comes with an awesome moon roof. It was the perfect companion for weekenders who want to go on a road trip, especially those with lots of things to bring or adorable pets to accompany them.