by Katrin Arcala
Despite having the much-awaited “MEGA FIGHT” of the century the next day, my friend and I decided to have our equally much-awaited rest for the week. Without any planned itinerary and resort reservations, we impulsively hopped on a bus and went on a weekend trip to escape the never-ending city noise of Manila.
Long weekends are like presents to professionals, particularly to those living in the city. It is the only chance to move out from the concrete jungle and experience the ambiance of a paradise nearby.
Some people spend luxuriously for their travels while others make ‘travelling’ the luxury itself. In Laiya, Batangas, you can get this luxury in less than a thousand pesos and not more than a four-hour ride.
For those living in Metro Manila, probably the nearest, least expensive, yet incredibly beautiful place to visit is Laiya Aplaya in San Juan, Batangas. The place is expected to be packed on weekends but with the numerous resorts in just one long stretch of the beach, it is easy for anyone to find a place to stay in.
Not just that, the tourists may just become your instant friends! Just like what happened to us…
How to get there:
- Take an “ALPS” bus from Cubao to San Juan Batangas.(EDSA Nepa Q-Mart, Araneta Center Cubao, or Alabang Grand Terminal to San Juan Batangas.) The earliest trip is at 3:00AM and the last trip departs at 5:00PM with 12 trips in total per day. The fare is ₱198.
- Get off at San Juan Bus Terminal and walk to Manalo Mini Mart (near the market).
- Take a 30 minute jeepney ride to Brgy. Laiya-Aplaya where resorts are located. Take note that the last departing jeepney to Laiya leaves at 5:00PM. Fare is at 35.
- Ask driver to drop you at Sitio Balakbakan, Brgy. Laiya Aplaya.
Where to stay:
Laiya is a haven of resorts. If you are on a budget, Sitio Balbakan is a fit for you. There’s about a dozen resorts in one stretch. An airconditioned room for 6 is available at 2500. We bargained our room for two for only 500 at KPMS 2, and they had all the things we needed!
You may also bring your own tent and pitch at one of the resorts, it’s equally fun yet less expensive. Family groups also have family cottages for around 3000 only.
What to bring:
- Bikini and clothes. (You already know.)
- Sunblock and other sun protection gears, if you mind the sun.
- Liters of water (to save money from buying the triple-priced ones at resorts) and some food.
- Insect repellent lotion and emergency medical kit (just in case).
- Tent (in case you want to pitch).
- Tons of smile and fun. The locals are accommodating!
What you can do:
Laiya beach is exquisite for swimming. The sand is fine and you can find close to no rocks by the waters, so your feet are safe. If with a group, most resorts have enough area for frisbee and volleyball games. Also, there are banana boats and jetskis available. karaoke are major hits too, all day long. Bring along your coins!
There’s a tiangge nearby. Here you can choose a variety of fresh catch fishes perfect for grilling. And also, don’t miss the Batangas Lomi. A few meters from the beach and you’ll find stores serving a good for 4 special lo-mi. Take some bite of their famous Bocayo Macapuno to cap the delicious meal.
Also, if you get to meet Ate Susan around, make sure to buy some packed nuts from her. The taste of her products will surely travel your stomach to your lola’s cooking, and she is really nice too!
Bus (Cubao to San Juan): PHP 198
Jeep (San Juan to Balbacan): PHP 35
Eco fees: PHP 40
Room for two: PHP 500 (for 2)
Lomi: PHP 80 (for 4)
Karaoke: PHP 50 (for almost an hour)
Experience: PHP PRICELESS
“Besides getting to your destination, it’s the people you meet along the way that makes up half of the whole adventure – people who can potentially recreate the entire story of your trip.” Check out Greenette’s personal account of Laiya Batangas [here]!
KATRIN ARCALA, Conspirator. A life-juggler in Adventureland, Katrin eats crispy risks for breakfast. At 21, she decided to pack her bags, leave the comforts of Negros Oriental, and move to the concrete jungle of Manila.