Breathtaking Beach Trekking Experience in Batangas

HAVE YOU EVER headed for Batangas to go simply for a swim- without any specific beach resort in mind that you might consider kinda nice to stay in while you were there?

WELL, ONE FINE DAY- my group decided to head for Manila Bay to watch the sunset there. We picked a nice food strip along the Bay and waited until it was time to catch the setting sun with our respective digicams. While we were waiting for the sunset to happen, someone in our group who was kind of mesmerized by the sight of the sea's expanse innocently said, "Oh! Why don't we go to a nice beach and enjoy the sun tomorrow?" "Yes! Why not?! It's weekend anyways", my other friend said. Then, I said to them, "That's a good idea but where exactly do you want us to go then?" with that, another one shouted, "Wow! I'm in! But any specific place in mind!?"---- No one answered.

THAT WAS THE PROBLEM. No plans as to where we exactly were going to have some fun at the beach. Beach? Where and which beach?? Well, to me, that was already a problem because I have always been a very organized person, esp. when the issue is about travel. Rides, budget, place to stay, time, food.... I hate hassles. I hate walking in resorts inquiring if they still have rooms available for least 7~8 persons. I hate wasting time when we could easily arrange everything before any head-start.

BUT my friends were all feeling kinda adventurous at the same time and so, I had to agree that we'll all head for Batangas early the next day. And yes, no plans!

TRAVELING TIME from Manila to Batangas takes 2 hours and 30 minutes. That is, without stopping by to take pictures of Taal Volcano when passing by Tagaytay.

YUP! We all met at 6:00 am somewhere in Ortigas. Then, before we reached the first gasoline stop along South Luzon Expressway, someone suggested that we go for Nasugbu Batangas as there are many nice beach resorts there, to which we all agreed. So, Nasugbu it is!

WE REACHED Nasugbu quarter to nine still without any idea as to where we exactly want to go in Nasugbu. None among us ate anything before we started our trip so, everyone was hungry by the time we reached Nasugbu. Aha! We said goodbye to hunger at the first bite of ever dear Jollibee's breakfast set.

AFTER we had our morning food, we asked around as to where we could hire a boat for a ride to the other side of Nasugbu town shores where there is not much crowd around. They suggested a place near Punta Fuego. There were 8 of us and the boat ride would cost us U$30 (round trip). The deal on the amount is to take us to a place where we could swim swim and swim till we drop- after which, we will be given another trekking tour of the entire Nasugbu shores. Cheers! Sounds kinda exciting!

BEFORE we started our ride, we were advised to buy food for lunch first as there are no restaurants or stores at the place where we'll be heading for. We visited Nasugbu Town market and found that they give very good prices for all sea foods they sell. We even got 12 pieces of one foot long fresh lobsters for only U$20. Nice! Very cheap! and FRESH!

THE BOAT RIDE from Nasugbu town proper to that little paradise we headed for was less than 30 minutes. By ten thirty we were walking on paradise.

HAVING BEEN used to going places, which are heavily crowded on fine days, the place we just got introduced to- was heaven on earth. Only a few people were on sight. We swam to our heart's desire and ate with so much gusto that day. We really chilled out! We had a BLAST!! The boatmen stayed with us. Opps! It was also part of the "$30-deal" that they would stay with us until we were done swimming. They did. While we were there, we trekked along the shores and found more amazing areas and sights! Thus these pictures....

HAVING had enough of food, beers, and swimming, we decided to do the trekking by boat. We passed by several nice private beach resorts. Really nice resorts indeed! Then, as we were trekking, we sighted a nice area where we asked the boatmen to stop. Again, we swam. The water was so deep but the sight of one invitingly cool cave there couldn't stop any of us from getting near it. We had to!! And, we even found a nice diving spot. it was 7 meters high. We had to climb to the outer top of the cave and from there we were like little children jumping into the waters without cares in the world. Some got into the waters diving and some of us just jumped in and splasssh!! We all headed back to town well satisfied. What an unforgettable experience.

WE THOUGHT- our fun ended at 6:00 p.m. that day. Well, that was what we thought at first. But... when we got back to town and searched for a place to stay that night, we found a neat house that a nice landlady rents out to transients and it was located within the town proper. Overnight accommodation rate offered for it was at $120. We were told that it can accommodate 18 people. Well, her claim turned out to be true. The place has 2 huge bedroom and each room can accommodate 2~4 people. And, it has a big room in the attic that can easily accommodate 10 people. All rooms were air conditioned. They offered no towels and soaps but the sheets and blanket were crisply clean. Spacious living and dining rooms, cable TV, dainty kitchen, nice and working refrigerator, 4 clean bathrooms, and a barbecue area. It has a clean swimming pool too! And fun continued till midnight!

SUCH CONVENIENCE- for only $120. OMG! Believe me. Some people could really get lucky some times eh?

CLIMB TAAL VOLCANO and DISCOVER "A LAKE within A LAKE!

'HAVE YOU experienced "climbing on to" TAAL VOLCANO's peak? Yes, I mean- the CRATER! Did it ever cross your minds about the possibility of literally standing right at this very volcano's mouth?

Personally, I must say that climbing Taal Volcano crater is a unique adventure that tourists who plan to visit Tagaytay should not miss! Yes, you can literally trek this famous volcano's perimeter as well as climb to the crater either by foot or via horse rides. For those who have already been to Tagaytay but missed getting to this spot, then I would say... you haven't really seen the real Tagaytay- after all.

There is one tourism accredited agent stationed there who rents out horses to visitors- who want to avail rides to get to the crater. But there are tourists who- for the sake of a more exciting adventure- would rather trek and climb it by foot, which would take more or less 4 hours of walk- back and forth.

Moreover, they assign one well trained guide for each person who registers to climb the crater. These guides are well trained and acquainted with horses- so I would like to advise you to just enjoy the ride- and take in the fresh scent air and magnificent view around you in silence. Feel the soft whispering wind kiss your cheeks. The best!

Rental is at $10/horse and it takes an hour to complete the expedition. Either which way, visitors leave the volcano well satisfied. I must mention that these guides are merely volunteers to make sure that you get comfortable horse rides while trekking
the volcano perimeter as well as lead you- the fastest and safest way to the crater and vice- versa. Just show them your appreciation and gratefulness by giving them whatever amount you believe they deserve to receive as "tip"+ a bonus of sincere happy smile would be more than enough to ease their tiredness from walking and running on foot beside your respective horses.

Some of those who do not know that this course exists may react and ask after reading this... "REALLY? IS THAT POSSIBLE? WOW! That's COOL!". Yes, it's the greatest adventure I have ever experienced visiting Tagaytay. Viewing Taal Volcano from a distance is already quite breathtaking but to actually climb it to the top and from there look down- and watch the inside of the crater filled with blue green serene waters is another story to tell.

HOW TO GET THERE:

There are several local hotels around Tagaytay who are more than willing to refer tourism accredited agents to visitors who want to experience the fun of trekking around and climbing the peak of Taal Volcano.

First Step is to find agents who offer boat rides to the volcano. The ongoing standard charge for one boat that can carry a maximum of 8 passengers is at $40. I am posting this amount just to serve as your reference/guide esp. when dealing with free lance agents who tend to overcharge foreign tourists. My 6 American friends who went to climb Taal Volcano last December of 2009 got a ride on a nice boat for only $35.

Once you have made and accepted the deal re boat rental, someone will guide you to where your ride will be waiting. Trip from Tagaytay proper down to the lake shore takes 30 minutes. Boat ride to Taal Volcano usually takes 30 minutes.

Boat rental charges are negotiable but rides to the crater, I believe, is steady at $10/horse.

As regards the money tips for those guides who will assist you there- it's up to you to decide how much appreciation tip you'd like to give them.