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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.”
Travel hack: The boat rental for the “island hopping tour” usually comes with free snorkeling gear.
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!
Hope you can visit Sabang too, friends!