CS Weekend Escape: Beach Bumming at Laiya and Food Tripping at Tagaytay

In one rather sunny August day, me and some friends from couchsurfing decided to push through with a quick weekend escape to Laiya, Batangas — a coastline of white sand about three or four hours from the paved highways of Manila.

Beach at Laiya Balacbacan
Beach at Laiya Balacbacan

We actually talked about the trip a week before but weren’t really sure if we’d push through. Laiya isn’t exactly known to the Manila populace as a cheap place for a quick getaway. When you say Laiya, it’s possible that the first thought are the big and fancy resort hotels that charge you about 4000 per person for the weekend — which, I think, for the services, amenities and package food menu that is included is just fair for a touristy weekend vacay.

AC Rooms at Moonlight Beach Resort
AC Rooms at Moonlight Beach Resort


The thing is, much as we can afford it if it comes to that, I personally (and I know my travel buddies would agree fervently), would not want to spend that much for a hotel room and even on food, clearly knowing that I can get it cheaper somewhere else. The challenge, therefore, is to scout for the cheapest Laiya resort we can find! This is where travel blogs and online forum comes in handy. As long as you know how to look for info, how to separate the bogus from the true, the old from the new, it is definitely possible to find a cheap Laiya resort to stay at.

Room for 6, AC with own T&B and use of cooking facilities
Room for 6, AC with own T&B and use of cooking facilities (Price: Negotiable, if you know how to. hehe) 

So, we ended up at Moonlight Beach Resort at Laiya Balacbacan, San Juan, Batangas. It’s a small place, sitting among an array of other small beach “resorts”. We didn’t really mind as they had all we needed for a good weekend getaway — good beach, fine white sand, day cottages, rooms, booze and food or at the very least, access to it. They even have a videoke machine (someone else beat us to that though!) which you can rent all night long! (Contact Nos.: 09202215493-smart
09166719833-globe, 09236556059-sun)

The gang's favorite beach past times: cards, beer and sleep!
The gang’s favorite beach past times: playing cards, drinking beer and falling asleep!

I think we did a fair bit of beach bumming at Laiya — went swimming when we wanted to, slept if we felt like, ate coz it was a good feeling, played card games just to have an excuse for bickering till we laugh our assess off, and got drunk coz it was fun being stupid with friends. It was a good 24 hours of beach bumming life!

Living the beach bum life!
Living the beach bum life!

But, as all weekend escapes go, it’s just that — a weekend. When time came for us to pack our bags and head back to Manila, we got lucky that the two other Malaysian couchsurfers we are with are actually in Manila for a work trip. So, as they got picked up by their ride to Tagaytay, we decided to tag along!

Tagaytay lake after-rain scene
Tagaytay lake after-rain scene

We figured it’s easier to reach Manila via Tagaytay. And of course, we can have the famed Bulalo for dinner too! Thanks to Google, we ended up at Pamana, a quaint Filipino restaurant along Aguinaldo highway, if my brain’s geographic memory is to be trusted.

Pamana lobby -- it feels so OLD!
Pamana lobby — it feels so OLD!
We don't print portraits like these anymore, no?
We don’t print portraits like these anymore, no?

Pamana actually meant inheritance, or something that the older folks leave behind for the younger generation. So, as you probably guessed, Pamana is offering Filipino dishes with recipes passed down from one generation to the next! So, are you ready to be hungry? You’ve been warned! 🙂

Kaldereta (beef curry)
Kaldereta (beef curry)
Sisig (minced pork)
Sisig (minced pork)
Laing (taro leaves in coconut milk)
Laing (taro leaves in coconut milk)
Beef Bulalo (Bone marrow soup)
Beef Bulalo (Bone marrow soup)
Batangas Pride (assortment of rice cakes and glutinous rice with chocolate fondue)
Batangas Pride (assortment of rice cakes and glutinous rice with chocolate fondue)

Ah. Good times with good food and good people! Whether it’s a beach bumming weekend or a gastronomic delight you look forward to, be it the beaches of Laiya, Batangas or any other, the cool climate and warm food of Tagaytay or some other food heaven, it’s always the company of friends that make a weekend escape so much better!

Weekend Escapees!
Weekend Escapees!
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