Sabang, Puerto Galera: Easy Get-Away at One of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World

Begin with the end in mind: Stress-free holiday

It was a beautiful Easter Sunday.

My family and relatives were munching on humongous bags of Kettle Korn and savoring our beautiful three days spent at Puerto Galera when I turned on the television and watched the news. My jaw nearly dropped (including some half-munched popcorns) when I saw what is on the telly: horrible traffic jam not just at the North Luzon Expressway but also at the South Luzon Expressway. The beeline at the toll gates stretched as far as two kilometers long!  I heaved a sigh of relief and thanked my lucky stars that we were not part of the massive homecoming crowd.  Although truth be told, we never considered going to the “North” or even the “South” during Holy Week. Simply put, a nice holiday should be stress free.

Just like most people, we also took advantage of the Holy Week for some well-deserved holiday. However, we decided to go to Sabang, Puerto Galera for the following reasons:

1) From Calamba exit there is a connecting road that leads to the STAR Tollway to Batangas port.  I have yet to experience a vehicle congested STAR Tollway during the holidays.

2) At Batangas Port, there are numerous paid (and guarded) parking areas with reasonable rates.

3) Sabang, Puerto Galera is only an hour and fifteen minutes away by motorized outrigger boats from Batangas port. The boat ride costs 260 pesos per head (or about 5 USD).

4) Sabang, Puerto Galera is a popular diving and snorkeling spot.  More than anything, it is not as crowded as the White Beach.

5) Big La Laguna at Sabang, Puerto Galera is a very safe beach even for kids.

outrigger boats

So how was our return trip home?

After feasting on fresh crabs, we left our simple accommodations at Big La Laguna at around 12:45 pm.  Since we do not fancy walking to Sabang jetty port which is around 7 kilometers away from Big La Laguna, we walked to the beach and negotiated with a boatman to bring us to Sabang.  The one-way boat trip cost 200 pesos only which is a good price for 14 people. Since the boat from Sabang to Batangas port was scheduled to leave at 1:00 pm we sent an SMS to our contact at Father and Son lines to reserve our tickets.  We just paid for our fare before boarding the boat. After an hour and fifteen minutes of boat ride we arrived at Batangas Port. We walked to the car park and then drove home. Easy breezy.

safe beach for kids

On food & luggage

From Sabang jetty port, just walk a few meters to the wet market and buy some fresh produce to save tons of cash on food.  Don’t worry about being burdened with too  much stuff, just ask a boatman to bring you to Big La Laguna.  Cost of boat ride will just set you back 200 pesos (haggle if needed).

fresh seafood

Accommodation

Best place to stay is at the small houses for rent that are just a few meters from the beach of Big La Laguna.  We always go to Cataquis Lodge because they are very friendly and located just about fifteen feet from the shoreline. At Big La Laguna you can have endless fun under the sun or snorkel to your heart’s content. The beach is very safe for kids especially during low tide. A Cataquis Lodge (two bedrooms, aircon, cooking stove and cutlery, hot and cold shower, ensuite toilet) just cost us 3,000 pesos (or 68 USD) per night.

beach huts

Sabang, Puerto Galera: Where the “Underwater” Magic Happens

Mask, fins, snorkel and life vests can be rented for 100 pesos per day at a stall near the beach at Big La Laguna. Do rent some gear to fully enjoy the underwater views. You can try kayaking too. There will be “island hopping tour” agents who will approach you and offer you tour packages to the coral garden, cave, giant clams, and other interesting sites.  Usually the rate is at 1000 pesos for the boat rental and around 200 pesos per head for the “attractions.”

snorkeling for all ages

Travel hack: The boat rental for the “island hopping tour”  usually comes with free snorkeling gear.

magical at coral garden

Diving at Sabang:  Best bang for the buck

Sabang perhaps can be considered as the place to be if you are a diver. My wife and I decided to go for the Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) package.  We asked around and found Sea Rider Dive Center which offers the DSD for 2,500 pesos per person.  Obviously I expected to have a fantastic time considering the cost of the activity.

The DSD was a beautiful experience.  We intently listened to our diving instructor “Annie” for a quick but very important lecture on diving and then practiced some diving related skills at the shallow part of the beach. When we were just about ready, we were brought to a diving site and interacted with the marine life 21 feet below the surface. Truly an unforgettable experience!

discover scuba diving

Hope you can visit Sabang too, friends!

 

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Balay Indang: On team building, finding oneself, and true recreation

Balay Indang (the Red Ginger Farm and Garden) is located at 88 Mahabang Kahoy, Indang, Cavite, Philippines.  “Balay” means house and perhaps this is an apt name for this charming bed and breakfast at this part of Southern Luzon.  Balay Indang is a bit popular for those who have been there or experienced a company sponsored R&R at the place.  However, it is not yet too “commercialized” which lends to its rustic charm.

Balay Indang is just an hour drive from Sta. Rosa City, Laguna. You will pass by the scenic Tagaytay road before reaching the main road  to Indang, Cavite where Balay Indang is located.

fruits

Going to Balay is really effortless because traffic is light and easy. The only catch though is that they have a small signboard and if you are going too fast then you might just miss the place.

Team Building at Balay

Last 31 March, we decided to hold our department team building at Balay Indang.  The place was a run away choice for two reasons:

  1.  It is relatively affordable at 700 pesos per person (around 16 USD) which includes a sumptuous lunch and use of the pool.
  2. It is a wonderful place that invites one to simply “re-charge” and “re-connect.”

walk

Upon arriving at Balay Indang, one cannot help but immediately feel relaxed. Take note though that it is not a resort. Imagine instead that you are at a friend’s retirement farm.

pool

There is no wifi at the place. Instead, guests are encouraged to talk to each other, find time for personal reflection and take leisurely walks or just rest. For those who are highly strung and burned out, Balay Indang will be a good place to start the “recovery period.”

meeting

Balay Indang has a large pavilion near the pool wherein a group can have some team building activities

pavilion

Make sure to utilize the pool area in your team building exercises so you can have a quick low-impact exercise too.

palying

Balay Indang serves fresh “home-cooked” meals. Yup, the kind that makes you think of your mom. Fresh dalandan juice, salad greens with sublime savory honey mustard dressing, tuna wasabi, oven roasted chicken…the list goes on. Free refills for those with hearty appetites!

feast

Finding Oneself and True  Recreation

After feeding the body, there are opportunities to feed the soul. They have a “sanctuary” where one can spend some quiet time, reflect, and just get away from the hustle and bustle of things.

sacntuary

They also have a barefoot walk which is basically a foot path littered with stones of various sizes, shapes, and textures.  An interesting experience for those tired feet.

barefoot walk

If you feel like having some “me time” then the vast property will be more than enough for a person to walk till he reaches enlightenment…or something like it.

path

 

Perhaps you want to just spend the afternoon under the shade of a tree.  And maybe, just maybe you will fall into sweet slumber.

tree shade

Some folks do get hungry after an afternoon nap.  So when you hear the bell, then that means you are more than welcome to partake of the food at the Balay.

bells

If you ever need to “sharpen the saw” then perhaps you can consider Balay Indang.  Truly, it can be your home away from home.

summ