Saturday, May 19, 2012

Laiya - San Juan Batangas - May 2012

Way back when we were children, with not much obligations and responsibilities to attend to, we were fortunate to be able to freely enjoy yearly summer vacations with our families. At which point, even though we highly anticipate the change of scene and the fun the outdoors bring, being children, we often do not see nor appreciate the value of family bonding's. These things that we let pass, we miss and appreciate come time that we all grew up and have families of our own.
Through the efforts of my wife and her sibs, a nearby get away was set. Laiya, San Juan Batangas. My family has been here before and the December winds that the sea brought back then reminded me of how peaceful the place was.
It was however different when we got there. It is summer and the place is crowded and the beach littered. This may sound all wrong however, expecting too much from a "pang masa" beach is probably more inappropriate. Then again there is ugliness in anything you look at with a negative mind, so we just let it be and enjoyed the change of environment, the best we can.

To Get there.
Sigayan bay, the beach resort we rented for accommodation says:

  • Take a bus from Manila to Lipa City via CALABARZON
  • Get off at Bus Terminal near McDonalds
  • Look for van terminal
  • Take a van bound for San Juan Via Padre Garcia
  • Get off at San Juan Town Market, look for Manalo’s Mini Mart
  • Take a 21-22 km jeepney ride to Brgy. Aplaya, which SBBR is located.

  • On private commute, We took the SLEX route (You can see the grand Mt. Makiling from here), Star Toll-exiting at Lipa(take the right side). Turned right at Robinsons and took the San Juan Rosario road.

    Halaan 1
    P5.2k + P500 Corkage (Food, Liquor)
    With 5Gallon water and dispenser, barbecue grill, Ref, Stove with gas
    Good for 10 // 3PM check in 1PM check out.
    This is a 2 room family house with 1 comfort room and a mess hall at the house-front. The rooms are cramped with 1 double bed and 1 double deck in each of the rooms.
    The room is as I said, cramped as even the door at the first room is never gonna fully open because of the double bed at its foot. Just enough to let you sleep and just as horrifying if you sleep with people who loudly snore. No cabinets, just beds and an aircon for each room. To be fair, the bedding's and pillows are well scented with fabric conditioner. The comfort room is enough to accommodate two people to bath together. Yes, we tested it. LOL. Shower, mirror, sink and a toilet with no bidet. Aircons were working properly.
    Theres is a videoke  machine that is active till 10PM. It was however not the problem. We were unfortunate that one group of guests thinks that they owe everyone the responsibility of entertainment. They were playing loud music from their IPAD plugged in huge speakers the whole night till about 2AM and at 5AM start. Management did nothing to address this.

    The Beach.
    During lowtides, the waters subside revealing flat rocks at the shore. Hermit crabs abound at the rock crevices as well as spiked sea urchins in the puddles. The view of Mt. Daguldol at ones right is also where the sun sets. The beach stretch is long, crowded with beach resorts of different classes. The shore is fair enough to play volleyball but at some point of the stretch- just a few meters left, especially when boats are parked or when the tides normalize. The sand is not as fine and white as that of Boracay nor even Alona Beach, maybe a little bit finer than Aquarium sand.

    Stuff to do.
    One can go island hopping, snorkeling, rent a jet ski or grab the group for a banana boat ride. There are also kayaks available for rent. If you dig these stuff, search and you shall find. There are also stands here that sells buko juice and halo halo. In the morning, taho. And all through out, those guys annoyingly busking their for-sale pearls and hammocks. (Sorry, I never liked them) There are also those who sell children floaters and a local delicacy I fail to take note of. 

    We were tight with time. We took a plunge in the shallow waters at night time and still lots of people are in the waters cooling down, heck even at 5AM, the waters is already filled with people. That's how in demand this beach is and how practically impossible it is to have some peace of mind. Even when we planned to walk the stretch in the morning, it looked less appealing than how it was last visit, when there's nobody around. Understandably, it is true that the change of season allows recovery of these damages. We hope that after summer, responsibility finds its way in the resort owners- that they do all measures to maintain cleanliness of the beach and that guests grow civilized taking into consideration the trash they leave.

    In the morning, we took the remaining time we had to dip into the normalized water levels. Although we found it annoying to have to go far from the crowd and end up where boats come and go to park and pick up island hoppers and banana boat passengers, we found this sweet spot in front of Kabayan resort where there are only few people and no boats slicing through.

    So, really now.
    Overall, it was fun because we get to spend time with the people we love and value. In these evolving times, I am not that optimistic -a few years from now, that this family vacation will even be possible. From our side, we already find it difficult to gather and organize. My sibs having different financial priorities (and difficulties), time constraints, conflicts and all those blahs. 
    So yeah, there.