Burot Beach Adventures

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

If you're looking for a budget-friendly beach getaway without having to go too far, then head over to Burot Beach in Calatagan, Batangas. Because of its proximity, it has become one of the favorite beach destinations among the people from the Metro. 

Burot Beach is simply a beach, and not a resort, so don't expect to see fancy hotels once you get there. There are a couple of sheds used as toilets and shower rooms. Again, nothing fancy here, but rest assured there is more than enough water that you can use to wash up. Since there is no hotel in the area, be prepared to go camping if you plan to stay overnight. You can bring your own tent or you can rent one there for a fee. There are also picnic tables that you can rent if you're only planning to go on a day trip there.

There are a couple of sari-sari stores in the area but it would be best if you already brought your own food and supplies there. In our case, we already brought cooked food. But we also packed some cold cuts to grill come lunch time. Make sure to bring a small cooler with you to keep your drinks cold, as it can get pretty hot there. Also, there is no electricity in the area. I expected that so I brought my powerbank with me during the trip.

Because of its calm, shallow waters and pristine cream shores, Burot Beach is a perfect place to relax over the weekend. There are lots of starfish but people are prohibited to take them home (of course!). I spotted a couple of them and I promise you, I returned them to the waters after snapping a few photos. I also saw a tiny stingless blue and black jellyfish. Yes, they're stingless. I know because I accidentally stepped on one while walking on shallow waters and I didn't get stung. The poor jelly's okay though, don't worry. I feel so bad that I accidentally stepped on it. I thought I just stepped on a slimy piece of rock or something. There were also some sea urchins and their stings can get quite nasty so it's best to stay away if you see one.

Burot Beach is a privately owned property but it is still open to the public so you'd better plan a trip soon if you want to go here. Although this is not my usual vacation peg (no hotels, no nice bathrooms and toilets), I actually enjoyed it there. I'm a beach-lover and anywhere with some sun, sand, and sea is fine with me. Also, it was nice to get out of my comfort zone once in a while. Trust me, the adventure is definitely worth it.

Travel Notes:

How to get to Burot Beach:
  • Via private vehicle - From Manila, take the South Luzon Expressway or Coastal road, and drive all the way to Nasugbu, Batangas until you reach a junction, with a Caltex gas station as your landmark. Take a right from there going to Lian, and drive straight. Take a left at the intersection after passing the CADP Sugar Refinery. Then turn right once you see the Sto. Domingo church. From there, you will pass through a small public market and then a cemetery, and you will see directional signs going to Burot Beach.
  • Via commute - Take the bus going to Calatagan, Batangas at the Coastal Mall grand terminal. Bus fare is Php180. The first trip is at 4:00am, and the travel time is 3-4 hours. Ask the conductor to drop you off at the Calatagan Market, and from there, you can ride a tricycle going all the way to Burot Beach. Fare is Php60 per person or Php150 for the whole tricycle.
Expenses:
  • Entrance fee - Php65 for day trip, Php130 for overnight
  • Tent fee if you will be bringing your own - Php20
  • Tent rental - Php400, good for 2-4 persons
  • Table rental - Php200
  • Boat tour and island hopping - Php130 per head
  • Food - Php200 per head, this depends on how much you will be consuming
For our trip there, my friends and I rented a van which cost us Php400 per person, and there were about twelve of us. We brought our own tent and then rented a couple of tables. We only went on a day trip because that was all our busy schedules could permit. All in all, I spent about Php800 on this trip, and that already includes the food. Not bad. :)

Mt. Daraitan and Tinipak River in Tanay, Rizal

Friday, June 19, 2015

I've always wanted to try hiking and mountaineering but I never had the chance to do so, what with all the running and training that I do. I love running, a lot. But it takes up so much of my time that I miss out on doing other things. So when a friend posted an invite for an open climb on the second Friday of June and I saw that I had nothing scheduled for that day, I immediately jumped at the opportunity and reserved myself a slot. 

The meeting place was at Cubao at 3:00am. Unfortunately, the organizer arrived an hour late and it was almost 4:30 when we started heading for Rizal. After a couple of stops along the way, we arrived at the jump-off point near the barangay hall in Brgy. Daraitan at around 8:00am. After dividing our large group (there were around thirty of us) into three smaller groups, we started the climb at around 8:30am. 
team solid :)

Now, while this was my first actual climb, I had my first taste of the mountains when I joined a trail running event on Mt. Sembrano which is located in Pililia, Rizal. I'm no stranger to "uphells" and assaults but this was entirely different from what I'm used to at road and trail running.  For one, the trail here was very steep, with lots of huge rocks and a few patches of dirt. One couldn't really run in these trails. Thank goodness the weather was in our favor or else I would have found myself slipping and sliding every now and then, being the klutz that I am.
cave cave-an at Station 1

second stop

third stop, a.k.a. ice cream station

After more than a couple of hours of trekking, climbing, and cursing under my breath (hahaha), we finally reached the summit of Mt. Daraitan. The view of the Sierra Madre region was nothing short of breathtaking and it was truly worth the climb. I felt in awe as I took in all the beauty. We did the obligatory photo ops on the buwis buhay parts of the summit, and had our lunch afterwards.

When we were finally able to rest and recharge, we started our descent. It started drizzling by that time but it didn't last very long. Since we were to traverse to Tinipak river, we took a another trail down Mt. Daraitan. Although it was a different trail, it has the same level of difficulty as the one we took during our ascent. It was steep and rocky and muddy. I slipped and lost my balance a couple of times. I made sure to hold on to every rock and tree branch that I could reach to avoid slipping some more. We finally made it to Tinipak River three hours and one pit stop at a campsite later.
sneak peak of what's in store: Tinipak River

finally!

While the others went to explore the caves, I decided to stay behind and enjoy what the river had to offer. Also, I was feeling sticky and sweaty and water looked so cool that I wanted nothing more than just to take a dip. So I did, and just relaxed while waiting for the others to finish exploring the cave. 

We started our way back to the jump-off at around 4:00pm. On our way back, we took the riverside trail which was on a fairly flat terrain of mostly rocks and dirt. It would have taken us longer to get back to the jump-off but one of my companions and I (being runners, lol) decided to run along the trail, with walls of rock on one side and part of the river on the other. We also passed through some houses and a cemetery. We got back at the jump-off in less than an hour. 
riverside trail

As soon as we got back, I gathered my stuff from the van, took a shower for Php.20, and had some lomi at this store in the area. We took one last group photo and boarded the van. We left past 6:00pm and arrived at Cubao at around 9:00pm.

For my first climb, it was a really good experience and it was definitely one for the books. The ascent and descent was a bit difficult but thanks to my runner lungs and muscular legs, I really didn't have much of a hard time as I expected.

They say that hard work always has it rewards and in the case, the rewards came in the form of a stunning view of the wondrous works of nature. And really, what more can one ask for? :)

Travel Notes:

What to wear:
  • trekking shoes or trail shoes
  • outdoorsy clothes (shorts are fine, believe me... I'm a total klutz and I went home scrape-free)
  • head gear or anything to shield your face from the sun
What to bring:
  • trail food (nuts, chips, etc.)
  • packed lunch
  • 1.5 to 2 liters of water
  • sunblock
  • small towel
  • a change of clothes
As for the budget, since it was arranged trip, we simply had to pay the organizers Php.800 and they took care of everything from the transportation to the fees like entrance fee, payment for the guide, and environmental fee. As I've mentioned earlier, we rented a van so it was worth it as we were saved from the hassle of commuting. But if you were to DIY this, it would probably cost you cheaper than Php.800. I would suggest checking out other blogs for that. :)