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Most travellers zip through the provinces north of Manila – Pampanga, Bulacan and Bataan – to the justly famed attractions of northern Luzon, but there are a few reasons to break the journey. Malolos has some historic distractions, while Mount Pintatubo and Mount Arayat provide energetic hikes and gasp-inducing scenery. Bataan is a surprisingly wild province, with some excellent beaches and World War II monuments, while Subic Bay is turning into an appealing beach, dive and outdoor activity centre. Buses connect all the main attractions with Manila, though fast ferries are much quicker to Bataan – if they are running.

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