1 Fortune Island, Nasugbu
There's more to Fortune Island than its Greek-style ruins on the cliffs overlooking the sea. The 27-hectare island off the coast of Nasugbu, Batangas has a powdery white-sand beach and good diving. Other activities include cliff jumping, snorkeling, and swimming. Located about one to two hours away from Barangay Bucana in Nasugbu, Batangas, the jump off point for island hopping in the province, Fortune island attracts mostly visitors on day trips and those camping overnight. But be aware that there are no resorts or decent amenities on the island, so be prepared to rough it out if you intend to camp overnight. For day trips, pack some food and water and any other travel essentials.
For trips to Fortune Island, contact the Nasugbu tourism office at [email protected] or Reynaldo Urena at +63926 458 8963.
2 Santelmo Cove in Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu
Hamilo Coast, an upscale leisure and residential development which features popular Pico Sands Hotel, has 13 beach coves, of which three are protected areas. The development lies on the Verde Island Passage of the Coral Triangle, known for its amazing biodiversity, making the coast a premiere destination for diving and snorkeling. Most notable of the surrounding coves is Santelmo Cove, a virgin white beach and quiet marine sanctuary, home to sea turtles and giant clams.
Hamilo Coast, tel+63917 809 1289. Rates from P7,000 (US$150).
3 Burot Beach, Calatagan
About three hours away from Metro Manila, Burot Beach in Calatagan, Batangas is great for a short break. Claim your spot on the shoreline with tents and beach blankets. The beach has mostly sandy seabed, but portions of it have seagrass and corals. There are no rooms for the night. Camping is permitted and tents are available for rent for P400. Sunsets in Calatagan are beautiful, so hang out by the beach as the day is winding down. And try to avoid the crowds on weekends.
Entrance fee is P65 per person. In Manila, ride a taxi to the Coastal Mall Bus Terminal in Parañaque where Celyrosa buses are headed to Calatagan. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Calatagan Public Market, which is three hours away. Another alternative when travelling from Manila is to ride a Calatagan-bound van at the terminal behind Kabayan Hotel in Pasay. From the Calatagan Public Market, get a tricycle to take you to Burot Beach.
4 Anilao in Mabini
Long considered a diver’s paradise, Anilao is a must-visit destination in Batangas. Award-winning underwater photographer Gutsy Tuason named it as one of the best diving sites in the country, recommending Mainit Point for sharks, Cathedral for reef fishes, Coconut and Secret Bay for muck diving. There are plenty of resorts around Anilao catering to divers and non-divers. The beach in front of Anilao Beach Club is great for sunbathing, kayaking and playing beach volleyball.
From Buendia or Cubao, ride a JAM Liner bus going to Batangas Pier in Batangas City. Alight at the Batangas City Grand Terminal and ride a jeepney to Anilao Port. From there, take a tricycle to your preferred dive spot or the hotel you're booked in.
5 Laiya, San Juan
Laiya is one of Batangas' most popular beaches and also one of the most developed, attracting a lot of visitors. Needless to say it can get crowded. On the bright side, it's a very social beach and there are lots of choices for accommodation, from budget to luxe, and there are several restaurants on the beach strip. The calm waters make it safe for swimming. Some of the activities in the area are swimming, kayaking and snorkeling.
Take the ALPS bus from Cubao to San Juan, Batangas. In San Juan, ride a tricycle going to Laiya.
Book a room at Acuatico Beach Resort. Rates start from about P7,000 per room.
6 Mahabang Buhangin in Isla Verde, Batangas City
Mahabang Buhangin in Verde Island, is your idyllic tropical beach with a kilometer-long stretch of white sand and crushed corals. It's a quiet beach and not too many tourists come this way. On the other side of the island, just in front of the Isla Verda Tropical Friendly Resort, is a lively snorkeling spot.Verde Island is nestled in the Verde Island Passage between Luzon and Mindoro, blessed with clear waters and healthy coral reefs and marine life.
Isla Verde Tropical Friendly Resort offers a variety of accommodation from tents, traditional huts to stone cottages. Huts can be rented for P1,500.
Get on an Alps bus to Batangas City, then alight at the Batangas City Grand Terminal. From there, take a tricycle to Tabangao Aplaya for the outrigger boats headed to Isla Verde. Travel time is roughly one and a half hours.
7 Matabungkay Beach, Lian
Matabungkay Beach is popular with the local Batangas crowd and gets its fair share of visitors from nearby Manila, only two hours away by car, so it can get pretty crowded. Its sandy ash-colored shoreline offers an affordable beach escape and the gradual slope of its seabed makes it safe for families with kids. The place is developed so there are hotels and restaurants, floating cottages and boats for hire.
Ride a JAM Liner bus from Buendia or Cubao going to Batangas City. Tell the driver to drop you off at Lian, Batangas where jeepneys at the public market can take tourists to Matabungkay Beach.
About our Batangas insiders
Mervin Marasigan is a travel blogger and mountaineer who can lay claim to having visited all of the Philippines' provinces. Read about his travels on Pinoy Adventurista. Follow him on Instagram.
Heidi Taiba C. Luistro, a Batangas resident and beach lover is also the Batangas Provincial Government Assistant Department Head.
Cover photo is by Vera Venus.
Published September 2016