It was Adventure Saturday, our first for this new year. SB was itching to get out of the city. The kids were a bit unwell and really didn’t want to leave the house. So that morning I slowly started getting our things together unsure whether our Adventure Saturday would happen or not. It turns out that when you say to the kids ‘what a shame you don’t want to go out, we were going to take you to the beach’, that switches a button in their brains and they then exclaim ‘THE BEACH! You never said we were going to the beach…LET’S GO’. So the day was on. I packed some Panadol Kids just in case we needed it since, to be fair, they actually were unwell with mild fevers. As I finalized the packing of bathers, towels, snacks, sunblock and water the children got busy packing toys to keep them busy for the long drive ahead.
SB had done some research and come across this beach down down…way down the bottom of Batangas. Called Burot Beach it isn’t even on my giant ‘go to’ map of Luzon. I made SB write it in so I could see it. This beach located almost on the southwest tip of Batangas, South of Manila. It was a solid three plus hour drive.Take the expressway and head through Cavite. There are a few routes you can take, the quickest is going through Tagaytay, and let’s face it, there are worse things in life than staring wide eyed at the incredible view of the volcano and the lake as you drive through the busy weekend traffic.
Take the expressway and head through Cavite. There are a few routes you can take, the quickest is going through Tagaytay, and let’s face it, there are worse things in life than staring wide eyed at the incredible view of the volcano and the lake as you drive through the busy weekend traffic.
The drive down to Burot Beach is just like any other drive through the countryside. Sari-Sari’s Grace road sides selling fruits and vegetables. Jeepneys and Trikes fill the space on the roads and livestock, dogs and cats meander around searching out food and shelter from the heat of the day. I knew we were close to Tagaytay when the streets became lined with garden shops and sari-sari’s selling fruit became interspersed with the odd gas station, mechanical shopfronts and shops selling scooters for a good price.<
We drove through small towns, stopping only in Calatagan where we got ourselves an early-ish lunch. We decided to finally try Jollibee for the first time. Jollibee is the largest and number one fast food chain in The Philippines. It is all about fried chicken and then other stuff like their famous spaghetti. Jollibee is to Filipino’s what Vegimite is to Australians. It is just part of your DNA and much loved. So, I had wanted to have a proper Jollibee experience where we sat in and tried a range of their products. That didn’t happen. We got chicken and rice, cheese burgers and fries. The chicken was really good and fresh.
Once bellies were filled we continued on out of town into more rural surrounds. We finally came to the entrance of Burot Beach where we found a tiny guards hut. Here we were handed a three page waiver form to sign regarding personal safety and responsibility on the beach and paid ten peso’s for something…we are unsure what, perhaps the photocopy of the waiver? The road down to the beach is rough and narrow and drives straight through the estuary. As we drove I looked at the mangroves with their straggly roots sitting high above the water level. Simple bamboo huts were spread around in and on the waters edge and fishing boats littered the waters and sat unused and rotting amongst the mangroves. Fishermen stood in the water tending nets and cleaning equipment while children climbed trees. The water lay still as glass, it was really quite a site.
We pulled up to Burot Beach and found another guard waiting for us. Here we handed over our signed waiver and paid sixty-five peso’s for each person. Our driver got in for free and FB is three so she was also not charged.
Parking is free and there is plenty of it, we found a good spot under a shady mangrove. Facilities are very basic….very basic so this is not a place for the light hearted who like five star quality…or even one star quality… Simple bamboo huts made up basic comfort rooms and a small trickle of raw sewage created a creek between them. For a price you can hire a hut with a table. There were quite a few people at the beach and most of them came with their beach tents, providing pops of colour in an otherwise sedate colourscape. Families set up camp with their grills cooking meals whose fragrance floated in the air.
The actual beach is nice. It is clean, kept in good order. The sand is beige and the water is calm and still. The volcanic mountains of Tagaytay are visible in the distance and volcanic rocks just out of the water sporadically. Fishing boats lay tethered and you can pay to be taken further out to the sand bar where you can snorkel. Large mangroves provide fantastic shelter from the heat of the sun so I set up my beach towel under a tree and lay there reading my book while the children frolicked in the water with their dad. SB and FB walked up the beach a bit to look for mermaid treasure, crabs and other exciting sea life in the rocks – I don’t think they found anything. I remember looking over at them and seeing them bent over something in deep contemplation and my heart skipped a beat with adoration. The sunlight twinkled on the water as BB played at the waters edge with some local boys. Sand was dug up, sandcastles built and shells were collected.
As I sat on my towel I looked around, taking in the landscape. A gentle cool breeze caressed my face. Happy voices filled the air and the sounds of chilled out music filtered through the the camp sites. A peddlar selling dirty icecream on his bicycle slowly paced up and down the stretch of beach, ringing his little bell…ting ting…ting ting…a constant that breaks the feeling of sleep that had started to come over me. The distant mountains were a pale outline in the sky, covered in cloudAt one point the quiet of the day was broken when a group of young people returned from a snorkeling adventure. Setting up behind where I was sitting, they immediately turned their stereo up full blaring out hip hop, rap and other music that talked about wiggling a fat butt. It hurt my ears. After Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball which I actually really like, they had finished photographing the impressive star fish they found, returned them to the waters, promptly packed up and left. Finally, leaving the rest of us in peace again. I could go back to reading my book in peace and quiet.
At one point the quiet of the day was broken when a group of young people returned from a snorkeling adventure. Setting up behind where I was sitting, they immediately turned their stereo up full blaring out hip hop, rap and other music that talked about wiggling a fat butt. It hurt my ears. After Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball which I actually really like, they had finished photographing the impressive star fish they found, returned them to the waters, promptly packed up and left. Finally, leaving the rest of us in peace again. I could go back to reading my book in peace and quiet.
It was finally time to pack up and leave. Driving back through Tagaytay we stopped at a Starbucks for a break and stopped at a Rowena’s outlet for Buko Pie which we ate most of on the journey home.
It felt so good sitting in the shade and watching the children swim in the ocean. A sight I really miss being here. It is a very long way to go for that, and I am not sure we would visit again. I think I’d prefer to head to the port in Batangas, jump on a boat and go island hopping. However for an inexpensive day out, this is an option.
So, some details in summary:
Where: Burot Beach, way down in Batangas.
How: Take the expressway and go through Tagaytay for the most direct route
Cost: 10php on initial arrival then 65php each adult
Logistics: The last town before the beach is Calatagan. Make sure you take food, snacks and water. The beach is isolated and there are no sari-sari’s nearby. Bathroom facilities are really basic.