Mariveles is located in a cove at the southern most tip of the Bataan peninsula and is about 173 kilometers from Manila through the North Luzon Expressway, Gapan-Olongapo Road and Roman Highway. It can also be reached through jet ferry plying the Mariveles to Manila route that has an approximate travel time of 40 minutes.
Originally known as the “Village of Kamaya”, it was founded as a pueblo by a Franciscan Friar in 1578 and was made part of the Corregimiento of Mariveles which includes the towns of Bagac and Morong, the Island of Corregidor, and the town of Maragondon in Cavite.
When Bataan was declared as another province separate from Pampanga pursuant to Superior Decree on July 1754, Mariveles became a part of the new province. It served as the checking point for ships entering or leaving Manila Bay.
When the Philippines fell to the Americans at the turn of the 19th century, Mariveles was placed under American rule. They established the country’s first quarantine station in the old Spanish Leprosarium Hospital to check all incoming and outgoing shipments from any communicable and deadly diseases from spreading. Today, this quarantine station is converted to a National Mental Ward.
Today, Mariveles has metamorphosed from a small fishing village, to a war-torn community in the 2nd World War into an industrial city of Bataan. As employment opportunities inside the town continue to expand, migration of workers from the other parts of the country continue to grow. The tiny population of 5,000 in the 1970’s now registered at 104,410, the biggest in the entire Province of Bataan per 2006 census.
Mariveles has a total land area of 15,390.00 hectares representing 12% of the total land area of Bataan Province. Of this, about 69% consist of the pastureland, 19% of forestland, 6% agricultural lands and the remaining 6% for residential and industrial use. Based on the 1995 census, the total population of Mariveles is 102,844 where 78% reside in the urban areas and 22% in rural areas. Population growth rate per annum is 4.71% or twice that of the province itself.
Agricultural resources of the municipality include rice, mangoes, legumes, vegetables and coffee. It also has aquatic resources like round scads, grouper, mussel, and abalone; mineral deposits of granite and basalt and forest products like vines and bamboo. Mariveles takes pride as the host of the very first economic zone in the country, the Bataan Economic Zone, formerly Bataan Export Processing Zone.