Balayan served as a trading center for centuries, from the pre-colonial era as the center of a Muslim kingdom, but since the end of the Spanish and American eras, it lost its position to nearby Nasugbu.
Balayan can the most conservative area in Batangas, and life here is quite relaxed. Locals learn English at school, but will be reluctant to use it over Tagalog on everyday conversation; some elderly can still speak and understand some Spanish.
Balayan is at the junction of two highways, joining at a roundabout north of downtown:
- Balayan Baywalk. Once a littered waterfront, it has been cleaned in 2019, and provides views of Balayan Bay that are similar to those in Manila.
- 1 Immaculate Conception Church (Balayan Church). Baroque church built with coral stones, and completed in 1752. Parts of the original structure have been demolished due to earthquake damage.
Balayan has some ancestral homes on its downtown, such as Casa Cacao, but they are not as much known as those in Taal.
- Parada ng Lechon (Lechon Festival). June 24. Mostly a celebration for a plentiful harvest, it also doubles as the feast day of St. John the Baptist. The day starts with water battles on the streets, like those also done at Watah-watah in San Juan in Metro Manila. In the morning, prepare to get wet with pails of water and water cannons from fire engines, and have a Super Soaker ready. After the water battles, lechon (roast pig) dressed in different ways are paraded through the streets. The festivities end with sumptuous feasts at every home.
- Espineli's, 250 Dr. V. Ramos Street, Poblacion, ☏ . Relatively new hotel with air-conditioned rooms. Has free WiFi, parking. Free breakfast served at rooms. From ₱1550.