The City of Balanga, capital of Bataan Province, was formerly a visita of Abucay before it was established as a mission of the Dominican Order in the Provincial Charter of April 21, 1714, and later declared as a vicariate on April 18, 1739, under the patronage of Saint Joseph. Upon the establishment of Bataan as a separate province in 1754, Balanga was made its capital by Gen. Pedro Manuel Arandia due to its favorable location at the heart of the new territorial jurisdiction. Balanga is located at the eastern part of the Province of Bataan and lies in the south western part of Central Luzon. Balanga City is bounded on the north by Abucay; on the east by Manila Bay; on the west by the mountains of Bagac and Morong; and on the south by Pilar. It is separated by the Talisay river, that starts from the mountains of Mariveles and meanders from the southwest to the northeast.
It is said that the name “Balanga” was derived from a kind of pot used for cooking or fetching water. This cooking pot is made of special clay and it is locally known as “banga” or “Balanga“. During the Spanish occupation people of this community often use this pot for fetching water and the Spaniards would ask what they call it, and they would answer, “banga”. The Spaniards would repeat the word until they adopt the name of the community. From then on this place was called Balanga.
On December 30, 2000, Balanga became a Component City by virtue of Republic Act No. 8984. During this period, Balanga was established as a Tech City. Today, being the center of excellence in education, Balanga is a fast-developing city. It keeps on striving and working for the realization of its vision. The City aspires to become “A World Class University Town by the year 2020, acknowledged as the center of political, economic, social and cultural interaction in the region.” Its mission is to “provide strong academic atmosphere that will ensure sustainable development for the City.”
Balanga is one of the richest towns in Bataan. Agriculture has always been its chief industry. Fishing also provides a steady source of income, especially for those who lived in barrios near the sea or near the rivers Ogon or Talisay. And this is especially true for Sibacan and Puerto Rivas. Different establishments have then set up their businesses here. Now, Balanga is a booming municipality being the center of trade and industry, and the seat of government in Bataan.
In terms of economic progress, the City is an investment haven. It is considered as the centre of entrepreneurship in the province. Investors acknowledge the City which is empowering entrepreneurs to succeed in their business ventures. Several big establishments are also starting their businesses like the soon-to-rise Galeria Victoria, a five-storey commercial building located at the heart of the City that is expected to boost employment, generate additional jobs, and create new work opportunities for local residents.
City of Balanga is located 124 kms. west from Manila which is 2 hours by car, or 3 hours by bus depending on the time of day you travel. It can be reached via 2 major roads – the National Road and the Roman Superhighway. It is also very accessible in neighboring cities like Olongapo, San Fernando, Angeles, Tarlac and Malolos and the town of Subic in Zambales. The newly completed Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) contributed further to the accessibility of the city to its neighboring towns and cities.