Mga biglaang lakad, yun ang natutuloy.
At sa lahat ng biglaang lakad na nasamahan ko, itong lakwatsa sa Batangas ang pinaka-makabuluhan. Ngunit bago ang lahat, gusto ko lang ipaalam sa aking mga prends na ang article na ito ay English para sa prends nating banyaga na naniniwala pa na it’s more fun in the Philippines.
In my previous entry, I wrote about staying at home over the holy week to get more rest. But when your friends invite you to a day trip to an island in Batangas and promise you’ll spend less than P 1,000 pesos, wouldn’t you pack your bag and run off to meet them at a wee hour in the morning? I did.
Before I spill some beans about our trip to this lovely beach somewhere in Batangas, I’ll rant a little bit. Konti lang. 🙂
At 4:25 in the morning, me and my friends were Batangas-bound. Two hours were all we need to make it to Anilao, Batangas Talaga pier. Thanks to our friend/diving instructor/chef/tour guide Alvin Ong-Tan(ned) for his toll gate e-pass and driving skills.
After a 40-minute nauseating boat ride and a 5-minute rollercoaster ride called “tricycle”, we finally arrived at the drop off point which was on top of a hill. Seeing the fields and the serene blue sea lined by creamy sand down the hill, I said, “It was all worth it.” The view was breathtaking but so was the descent. We didn’t mind walking though cos the locals offered their brightest smiles.
Masasa Beach in Tingloy, Batangas is our ‘secret’ beach. It’s not known (before this blog post, hehe) to many beach goers. It, being not commercialized as Laiya, is a perfect spot for adventure-seekers who want to swim, snorkel, and simply lay back on powdery sand for an all-in cost of P600-P700 pesos. (I will write about the cost breakdown soon).
I used to believe that cerulean, electric blue, baby blue, sky blue, dark blue, and aquamarine blue were just colors in a box. But there, I saw them — real and wonderful.
It’s my first time to snorkel without a life vest. I, not being a good swimmer, was apprehensive. When Alvin instructed me to relax, breathe through the mouth, and drop face first on the water, I was amazed to find myself floating. Salt water, denser than fresh water, makes objects buoyant, that’s why.
Geared up with a snorkel mask, a snorkel, basic diving hand signals, and the confidence that I’ll go to heaven no matter what, I went with Alvin’s tour in his self-proclaimed coral garden. I saw different fishes. Some went with a school, some were loners. I didn’t know their names but I was amazed just the same. And hey, I saw Nemo or was it his dad?
Snorkeling is like having your head submerged in a large aquarium. Right there, far off from shore, approximately in 10-foot deep water, made me thinking I could drown. It was humbling. Alvin’s wonderful coral garden is a tiny part of the vast oceans that can swallow me up whole. It’s mind-blowing to know that the God who created all these came down on Earth to die for a no one like me. Amazing grace.
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?”
That’s only a part of the beautiful trip to our ‘secret’ beach. A few days after, I still don’t get tired looking at our pictures. They, along with the priceless memories, will be cherished in my heart forever.
So, there. Now, enough with the ranting.
If you plan to go there, here’s a list of
Things to bring:
– Tent. No cottages or huts, friend.
– Meclizine hydrochloride (more popular as Bonamine). The boat ride is nauseating, I told you.
– Sunscreen spf 40-85. Unless you want to get
sun kissed sun slapped like us.
– Calamine diphenhydramine is the generic name of Caladryl lotion. Just in case sea urchins are on the loose.
– Acetic acid is the generic name of vinegar. Click for first-aid instructions for jellyfish stings. Good also for sea urchins. But accept that you’ll smell like daing na bangus.
– Food and more food!
– Cooking ware and utensils if you want to cook your food with the breeze blowing on your face (for a dramatic effect)
– Snorkeling gear. Self-explanatory. You wouldn’t want to miss the interactive tour in the coral garden.
– Garbage bags. I’ll tell you later why.
– Underwater camera for fun shots with the fishes.
Things to remember:
1. Travel light. There’ll be
a lot some hiking.
2. Be at the pier by 6:30 am. Waves are bigger beyond 7 am.
3. Wear your swim wear underneath your clothes. There’ll be no changing room.
3. Do the No.1 (and the No.2, if necessary) at a stopover in town. Your next chance will be when you get back.
4. Pick a spot away from possible falling coconuts. The impact may cause internal bleeding.
5. Be excited. Learn to savour the moment; cast off your worries. Enjoy!
This trip was possible because of the strategic planning of Alvin Ong. But did you know that he
commanded discouraged me from blogging about our ‘secret’ beach?
Why Alvin didn’t want me to blog about our ‘secret’ beach?
He didn’t want more people crowd our secret place, spoil the beauty, novelty, and serenity of it with the trash they leave. (Every time we came up the shore, we stumbled upon plastic wrappers left carelessly by previous visitors).
Why I wanted to blog about it?
The same reason that he had. I know that, sooner or later, people will find out and go to our ‘secret’ place. They, too, will gather memories along the shores of Masasa. But my plea is this, if you happen to visit this lovely island in Batangas, take nothing but your trash and leave nothing but footprints. Clean as you go. Help us preserve its beauty and give the next generation a chance to discover the ‘secret’ this place keeps.
So, there. I hope that your trip will be as fun as ours or even better. Happy snorkeling! 🙂
Watch the exciting video by Alvin Ong. Really, is there anything you can’t do? Lol.
Photo credits: Mico Medel, Alvin Ong, Geraldine Delos Reyes