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Beaches in Batangas

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A few hours south of Manila, is one of the most famous provinces in Luzon, Batangas. Known for its Kapeng Barako and the famous Balisong or fan knife, Batangas also boasts of its share of tourist attractions, beaches and historical locations.

Being a Batangueño myself, I’m lucky to have easy access to different parts of the province where I could spend quality time either with the people I love or just myself. This article talks about the different destinations where one can escape from the complicated life a city dweller has.

Growing up in a town called Lian, I’ve heard of so many stories of how my hometown came to be. From the stories of my elders, I discovered that the word Lian is actually Chinese in origin. Legend has it that when the Spaniards came, they asked a villager who happened to be a Chinese trader what the name of the town was. Thinking that the man was asking for his name, he replied “Lee Ang.” Over time the pronunciation evolved and the town became known as Lian.

San Diego Beach is the closest beach resort that you can find in Lian. The beachfront faces west so one can enjoy the gorgeous view of the horizon every late afternoon as the sun sets.

However what my town is really famous for is Matabungkay Beach which during the early 70’s became the favorite place of directors for shooting motion pictures. The beach is also known for its Balsa Festival which is held every summer. I frequently drop by the beach every time I go biking and during high school, I would spend summers here together with friends and family. Its fine gray sand provides soothing cold to hot tired feet while its bamboo rafts provide a haven for relaxation.

An hour’s boat ride from Matabungkay is the famous Fortune Island where treasure hunters discovered a sunken galleon back in the early 90’s. It made headlines and was even featured in National Geographic.

If you go south from Matabungkay, you would arrive at Calatagan, Batangas again famous for its beaches and resorts due to its unspoiled landscapes and undisturbed woodlands. Calatagan was also where the television series Marina was taped and was also the venue of a Coca-Cola commercial.

One has to be very careful when going to these beaches. If not careful, you could fall victim to a sea urchin’s sharp spikes. One could easily fall ill if impaled by one of these spikes. The infamous Puffer Fish is also indigenous to the region which if not prepared properly, can poison a man who eats it.

From Calatagan we now go to Balayan where the Parada ng Litson or Roast Pig Parade is held every 24th of June. Balayan is also famous for its Bagoong Balayan and Patis Balayan and is home to Congressman Manhik Manaog, a fictional character made famous by Leo Martinez who is also a native of the town.

Next to Balayan is Calaca, home to the Calaca Power Plant which supplies most of Batangas’ power needs. Lemery is next on the list. Lemery has over the years become a center for fish mongers and animal traders as well. And it does not fall short of its share of beaches and vacation places.

From Lemery we go to Taal where you can easily find the famous fan knife or Balisong virtually sold on every street corner. The origin of the said weapon is a town with the same name however its production center is now in Taal. The famous blade has been featured in several movies and TV shows and has gained popularity in other countries such as the United States.

And of course the visit won’t be complete without the world-famous Taal Volcano which last erupted in the 60’s.

Batangas City is the capital of the province whose port is a drop off and pick up point for sea goers. One can quickly catch a boat to Puerto Galera and other destinations from it. It is the heart of Batangas province.A short distance from Batangas City is Anilao a favorite of divers, snorkelers and vacationers alike. Here you can relax and commune with nature away from bustles of city life.

Relaxation being the topic of the moment, one cannot escape the mention of La Luz resort in San Juan, Batangas. I once went there together with colleagues from work and we all had the same feeling of peacefulness and tranquility.

You can go snorkeling and rent a raft since the beachfront is actually the edge of a reef or get a massage in one of the Cavanas by the beach. Instead of sand, the beach has very small pebbles that play with your feet as you walk. It’s a perfect getaway for anyone who is tired of the modern life.

And yet another famous destination is the Kabayan Resort also in San Juan, a favorite for company outings and family trips. Cottages are available for rent and the surrounding area is good for various sports and other activities. There’s even a karaoke bar that you can rent and have fun with friends and family.

Batangas, A brief Visit
By Willy Grimpola

(Submitted by Yai)