It was morning, and I just came from Laiya Beach. Dang! I had a hangover that morning…must have been that brandy I took when we were having a party with my officemates last night. Bad shot, stomach’s sour, head was heavy and the gravity on earth seemingly increased to 2Gs!I was hungry and I was really craving for that hot thick and rich bowl of noodle soup called Lomi, Batangas‘ answer to savory hot noodles like the mami and the batchoy (and of course, ang walang kamatayang instant noodles!). I was looking for one at San Juan town proper but the food shops are not yet open. So I went all the way to Lipa City, an hour away from San Juan, just to have that heavy soup!
When we say San Juan in Batangas, everyone would say–Laiya! Yup, this strip of cream white sand beach at this town has made this town a pilgrimage site for sun and sea lovers. From an obscure town in the southeastern portion of the province, it became an instant celebrity. Yet a lot of tourists or perhaps people in general took for granted the other San Juan, before Laiya went boom. Yes, I know it’s boring for the most, but the town center or poblacion itself is a treasure worthy of cultural recognition due to numerous heritage ancestral houses and buildings.
It was a much unexpected outing. Our boss from Los Angeles came into town and of course, would like to get a taste of the Philippine sun and sand. After browsing and inquiring several beach resorts near Manila, we finally decided to head for Laiya, the last beach frontier in Batangas. I read and heard rave reviews about this new fun place under the sun, and I was simply curious about it. In fact, I haven’t been here! ‘Twas my opportunity to conquer this Batangueño treasure, even if it hurts my budget for July.
Laiya is located some 20 kilometers away from the heritage town proper of San Juan de Bolbok in southeastern Batangas, bordering already the province of Quezon in the east. It was an outdoor campers’ secret. Its relative isolation and inaccessibility has preserved many of its laidback assets. It was only recently when the government has constructed good roads from the town proper that made this several kilometer long cream-white sand beach more accessible to tourists.
It was Christmas Day, well a lot of urban-dwellers of Manila and its suburbs like to spend some time with the company of family and friends. My family though decided that we go to Tagaytay and pass by Pink Sisters then head on to one of the last “shack cottages” overlooking Taal Volcano and Batangas Province. It was cold and was drizzling when we went there. Tagaytay as expected would be crowded on a long weekend, but we never expected such mass exodus that would unfold later that day. …continue reading
After scaling the mountains of Lobó, we head our way back to Manila. However, instead of passing by the main road going there from Manila, we went on the road less traveled—the coastal road between the town of Lobó and Batangas City, right along the busy Verde Island Passage. As for us, it is retracing back memories of one particular barangay along the lonely road—Ilijan…
The route was more than a 40 kilometer sojourn from Lobó poblacion to Batangas City, about 10 kilometers longer than the main mountain pass road where most jeepneys and cars pass. The route traverses the rugged and isolated barangays of the two localities, notably Barangay Banalo of Lobó and Barangay Ilijan in Batangas City.
With paved roads, it is easier to travel now from Ilijan unlike the by-gone days. However, there is one particular part of the road where I remember it has a very dangerous incline towards the cliff and the sea. It is where my dad’s personnel had an accident when their truck fell off the road. Beautiful, it is reminiscent to that of Batanes. Moreover, it has become a place of controversial pilgrimage. They call it Montemaria or Mountain of Mary. From this point, you could see the busy ships passing by and a magnificent panoramic view of Verde Island, Mindoro, Batangas Bay and even Batangas City from afar (hey, we’re still 20 kilometers away from the city center). Wow! This place is such a sight to behold (minus the cow dung everywhere).
My family and I went back to Lobó in Batangas province to have a break from the urban jungle and my dad’s inspection on the project site at one of the mountain barangays of the town. We went on to one of the most isolated towns in this part of Southern Tagalog region. Protected by rugged mountains and bordered by the Verde Island Passage, it seems that the town has been encapsulated in time by nature herself! When before, I had a brief visit to Malabrigo Lighthouse, this time I went off the beaten track and return to the placed I was enamored when I was in Grade 6 and a realization of an uphill countryside struggle for survival.
It was very unexpected that I’ll be going to the town of Lobó in Batangas province with my dad for his routine trip for his work. It was my first time there, and it was the Barangay Elections Day all throughout the country. However, that old Spanish lighthouse is the ultimate destination that I like to go — Malabrigo Lighthouse or Faro de Punta Malabrigo. Since I haven’t been to Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Ilocos or even Malabrigo’s sister in Calatagan, Batangas, this was my opportunity to see that lonely sentinel perched on a hill overlooking Verde Island Passage. After convincing my dad, I’m off to Malabrigo!
Situated some seven kilometers away southeast of Lobó’s town proper, Malabrigo is a barangay that seemingly being edged by the mountains to the sea. Yes, it reminds me of Cebú or even Barangay Ilijan in Batangas City. The faro is situated on top of the hill. A steep climb for vehicles and for the tricycles that serve town proper-Malabrigo route. If you’re commuting, better disembark at the Malabrigo Resort gate and ascend towards the lighthouse on top of the hill. Malabrigo is one isolated community in Batangas–seemingly defying the notion that the province is easily accessible from the great metropolis of Manila!
Vivid memories of summer of my childhood. Floating rafts at the sea while watching the sunset over the western horizon. This is how I remember the ever famous beach of Matabungkay in Batangas Province. Tagal na pala nun! The last way I went here, it was during my childhood days. I remember eating our merienda to dinner in the middle of the sea…err, just a few meters off shore actually. Together with my family, I was reunited with the pigment of my past.
Matabungkay Beach is situated at the town of Lian (nope, its not Nasugbu which is north of the town), more than a hundred kilometers south of busy Manila. Passing through the panoramic Tagaytay and down into the foothills of Batulao and Pico de Loro, Matabungkay was 0nce one of the most popular recreational sites near the big city. Because of its easy accessibility from the capital and the rest of the Region Tagala, it became a tourist fave. Kaya pag-weekend, dagsa ang mga tao dito, mula noon hanggang ngayon!