Wanting to take a break from the daily grind – even just for the weekend — my friends and I decided to explore other not-so-popular-hence-fewer-people beach destinations. Our search brought us to Masasa Beach in Tingloy, Batangas.
Since I want avoid Saturday traffic on the road, we left Manila a little past 5 AM. It was a two-hour drive via South Luzon Expressway and STAR Expressway. At the end of the expressway, we took the second road around the rotunda going to Anilao.
From there, we followed the road going to Anilao, passing through Bauan and San Pascual, but we took the left road going to Mabini in the forked road (because going right will take you to Anilao proper). It’s a straight-up drive from there until the Mabini Wet Market where we bought food and other stuff.
Ten minutes from the market is Talaga Port where boats bound for Tingloy are docked. Boats going to Tingloy are docked at either Talaga Port or Anilao Port, depending on the status of waves in particular months of the year. You have to check with the locals before your trip.
We reached Talaga Port at around 8:45 AM, but since our boat will leave at 10 AM, we had to wait for more than an hour in the boat (more selfies!). Upon query with some people manning the boat, I was able to park my car in a gated property a minute away from the port (overnight parking at P150).
It was a 45-minute boat ride from Talaga Port to Tingloy Port.
In the beach
Masasa Beach is part of Tingloy, a fifth-class municipality in Batangas. It is composed of three islands – Maricaban, Caban, and other minor islets. It is composed of 15 barangays, with a total population of 16,870 (2010 Census of Population and Households).
Tingloy is considered a marine biodiversity area due to its proximity to the Verde Island Passage, considered as the ultimate center of marine biodiversity in the world.
Tingloy is your typical island/coastal community – sleepy, quiet, and uncomplicated. Electricity services last for 12 hours a day (from 12 in the afternoon until 12 midnight), so make sure that you charge all electronic gadgets when electricity is available. There are patches of erratic data connection in the island, but services are satisfactory even in the beach, so you could take photos and upload them immediately.
We stayed in a homestead owned by Councilor Mandanas (0917-841-4715). They are an elderly couple owning a two-storey house. The first floor is where they live, while the second floor is for the guests. They actually owned the boat that we brought us back to Talaga Port the following day.
(We stayed at the Mandanas Homestead at P200 per person, plus P300 for renting cooking utensils. Not bad!)
After settling down and cooking lunch, we took a 10-minute tricycle ride going to Masasa. After that, we still had to walk for another 10 minutes on a dirt road, passing through rice fields, then to the beach itself.
Masasa has the same rugged rustic feeling as that of Panukulan, Quezon Province. It lacks the allure of Coron’s complex limestone formations and white powdery sand. Hard corals are found near the beach, so if you want to swim, wade further away from the shore.
But what it lacks in allure, it makes up for the vibe. Masasa Beach has a certain solitary/calming atmosphere, even if there are other campers in the area. It does not feel busy like other beaches I’ve been to. It is a place where you can just sit back and contemplate about life (precisely the reason why we needed the getaway!).
We returned to the homestead by 6 PM. After dinner and booze, we called it a night at half past 11. Like clockwork, the electricity went out at 12 midnight.
The next day
The last trip from Tingloy Port to Talaga Port is at 9 AM. (The Masasa Beach-Talaga Port trip is at 6 AM!)
We budgeted for the trip at P1,500 per person. It turned out that we spent P1,380 per person (It could have been lower, but we bought additional chips and booze, plus on the way back we ate traditional Batangas lomi in Bauan, and made a halo-halo stopover at SLEX).
Aside from Masasa Beach, Tingloy offers various places of interest. There is Mag-Asawang Bato where a 360-degree view of the island can be seen.
Batalang-Bato is a protected fish sanctuary between Barangays Sto. Tomas and Talahib. For research diving and snorkeling, permission must first be secured from the two barangays. There are various dive sites around the Maricaban Island, and near the Verde Island Passage.