I don’t know but for some reason I’ve longed for the beach for like, every single day of my recent life. I practically lived near one 90 % of my existence, and when I was separated from it ( 7 years now), it’s like I breathe life anew whenever I am beside it. Just watching the waves run to the shore gives me a feeling of warmth, of relaxation, of serenity. I envy those people who tend to live a life treating the ocean as a good friend – the sailors, the surfers, even the plain old mangingisdas. Sometimes I daydream that when I grow older and when its time for me to retire, I’d live beside a beach, put up a small bamboo house (with AC, oh puhlease) and battle, este swim the waves everyday of my remaining days.
It is for that reason that I spent the day I turned 29 at Virgin Beach Resort in Laiya San Juan Batangas. I think it is the closest good beachfront in Manila with a slightly lighter shade of sand and is accessible via a 2-3 hour bus ride from the metro. A good heads up – though they say it’s the nearest, it REALLY does take time to reach Laiya. I think it took us five hours to finally reach the place. It ‘s worth it, because the beach is indeed beautiful. But if one is planning on just spending a daytrip, make sure you leave Manila at around 3-4am for you to fully savor the things it has to offer.
It was a breeze just spending time with the people I hold closest to my heart. We’ve invited mom and mom-in-law but again, due to some things they need to attend to, they weren’t able to make it. Mom was kind enough to pack us some food – Tita’s homecooked spaghetti and our recent favorite, Tita Celia’s chicken roll. She also sent us some potato salad (I don’t like it really, but Tin, Marie and En can’t stop eating this!)
Virgin was REALLY clean. If you’re planning on going to Laiya, you should consider this. Alot of personalities have actually recommended this place, saying this is the best beach in the area. If you check TripAdvisor, you’ll find that this place has been rated highly by beach enthusiasts and even by ordinary families seeking beach-fun during the holidays and long weekends.They pay too much attention on cleanliness, which I think is supercool, because alot of Batangas beaches have lost their charm because of too much people and a little less regard for proper garbage disposal. That’s another good thing about Virgin – they limit the people who make reservations to this place. In fact you have to go through a whole lot of che che bureche before you can finally book a date. We were only there for a daytrip but I had to call them, send them an email, do bank transactions for them and fax over some documents to them to complete the process. Pretty rigorous process for one single day of booking you may say, but I think this shows how particular they are with the people who come over and enjoy the place.
And oh, this you have to check. They have THE BEST beach shower and comfort rooms I have ever seen in my entire life. It looked more like a gym shower room. Seriously. I took a shower and I never felt the urge to finish. It was heaven. Seriously.
The only thing I think they should do something about is the price. It’s a little too expensive for a place that’s not THAT highly regarded as compared to the more popular beaches. When we were first planning, we were thinking of spending a night in Virgin – but doing so would have to cost us Php8000! That’s way too much, in my opinion. In 2010, we went to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte with a budget of Php7000. In 2011, we went to Puerto Galera with only Php6000 in our pockets. Why would I spend that much for a beach that’s just in Batangas? I might as well book somewhere else. Like, somewhere with white sand, right?
The reason for that price is because first, if you plan on staying overnight, you have to sign up for that compulsory meal they offer. You can’t stay for the night eating something you brought. You have to pay Php1000 per person which will account for one dinner and one breakfast – all on buffet setting. But seriously, a person can only eat so much right? Besides, it’s the beach! Shouldn’t one be in his/her best shape ever to don whatever swimwear he/she brought. Second , the cheapest accommodation you can get there is a casita (it’s like a bamboo square tent with only white curtains to cover you the entire night). I think they have to rethink their packages really well, or they’ll only have daytrippers gracing their beautiful beach. Oh well, except for those who has money and can afford this lavish experience.
So we were there for only a day and I think I spent about Php4000 all in all (transpo, cottage, entrance, corkage). Not bad, we still had the best time when were there. I’ll definitely be back, but I think the next time would be when we have our own car na. It really was a struggle going to this place on public transport. Plus, you can save alot on pamasahe. Jeepney rides going to San Juan cost us Php53 per person – very expensive.
So to close this – THE BEACH. Every year starting this year, I vow on spending my birthdays at the beach. It’ll remind me that no matter how complicated my day-to-day life in the metro is, I’d only have to think of the waves. Eventually, I’ll come running back to the shore.