Going Back to Villa Sulit at Baryo Hugom, San Juan, Batangas

Panagbenga Festival or swimming in a beach resort? “Swimming!” Pao chose the latter eagerly. Our son is not a finicky lad, he doesn’t care if it’s black or white sand beach as long as we are all together in a family getaway, that would be it. And so for his 14th birthday we will go back at Villa Sulit in Baryo Hugom in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas. Cheap resort but with clear water and breathtaking view.


stepping atop this awesome big rock will bring you more closer to nature and this is the reason why we went back at Villa Sulit

Fortunately, I found the contact number of the resort (c/o Sammy) from Virtual Tourist. As per inquiry, the big air-conditioned nipa hut is no longer available. What we had was a small nipa hut with sink, comfort room, one fan room and a balcony for P3,500 with inclusion of entrance fee. We were so glad because we were on a beachfront.


the nipa hut we occupied for 1 day and 1 night stay

Seven years back, we were greeted by dirt and dust as we were heading the 4-km road leading to the resort. But now it is convenient to travelers because the road is well-paved. From Pasay City we reached our destination in less than four hours. Thanks to my hubby for his research of making our time trip a bit shorter than our first time here. 

We passed by the new Casa Dolores Hotel as we were approaching the wide and spacious parking lot of Villa Sulit.  The old wooden house which we occupied on September 2005 was no longer there but new nipa huts which I guess five in all were visible in the area.  Indeed Villa Sulit had improved so much. That’s good!


the wide and spacious parking lot

Sammy assisted us immediately when we reached the resort. We began preparing for our lunch. My hubby grilled hotdogs and pork liempo. Pao, Shen, Ghie, Miko, Pol, Rion and Noel dashed into the water. At lunch time, delicious meals were served on the table. Can’t resist not to eat more than a cup of rice, whew!


lunch time with the beautiful view of the blue sea

After an hour, it was too inviting to sleep because of the refreshing wind coming from the sea. And so we doze off, Mama on the lead. Others went back in the water. By afternoon, I was so excited as we headed to the most beautiful spot near La Luz Resort which I call, the Big Rock. This is the first reason why I love to go back here.


the long stretch as seen atop the big rock

As we were walking on the shoreline, I was surprised to see resorts sprouted like mushrooms, lots of boats docked near the shore and lots of bathers on the water. Gone is the serene atmosphere of Baryo Hugom seven years ago. It was a noisy crowd now. I felt so sad seeing these changes.

But on the other hand this is good for local tourism.  A good sign that Baryo Hugom is now becoming a popular beach destination.


the breathtaking scenery atop the big rock

As we stepped atop the big rock, I felt I was on top of the world, venturing God’s wonderful creations. The view was still amazingly perfect, from the clear blue sky, down to the craggy rocks and to the limitless blue water below. I appreciated it more for our second step here. Going down, we discovered that there was another beautiful rock formation at the back of this huge rock. Awesome!


me and my daughter standing in a beautiful rock formation

When we went back to Villa Sulit, all of them immersed on the water while I proceeded to Casa Dolores to see the rooms. The manager allowed me to see the available rooms which were actually nice but the rate is quite above average. Satisfied with my ocular inspection, I went back to our nipa hut to prepare for dinner.


one of the cozy rooms of Casa Dolores

Dinner came. As usual, everyone’s tummy were full. So full that we stayed a while on the balcony and played Pinoy Genyo using my hubby’s galaxy tab. We didn’t swim anymore. After our kulitan, we explored along the long stretch to enjoy the night-time solitude. There was a fire lantern activity (P300) in one of the resorts and we enjoyed watching those beautiful fire lanterns swaying gently up in the sky.


the fire lantern at night

My hubby slept alone inside the tent. The kids lie down in bed inside the room with my sister and Noel. I joined the teens and momsie sleeping on the balcony, it was so cool here and safe. Time now for bed!

I awoke to the sound of my alarm clock at 5 am. I got up so excited holding my cam to capture my favorite sunrise photo. My hubby was still sleeping so I headed to the shore alone. I was surprised seeing lots of people sprawling on the sand, others were busy chatting with each other and others were holding cameras too. Noel was walking on the shore, savoring the moment with nature.  I was late.


Pao and the awesome big rock

I felt so nostalgic as I remember my sunrise photo activity here in 2005. I was sitting here, alone in the sand, same place, same time with so much serenity and tranquility. But now, noise of people talking and laughing engulfed the atmosphere. There’s no serenity anymore.

And there came the sun gracefully rising up to the sky. It was so beautiful as its rays spilled slowly to the calm water. This is where I felt the gentler world of the sea. The sensation was so thrilling and wonderful. The amazing sunrise in the beachfront is the second best thing I love here in Baryo Hugom.


the breath taking sunrise

It was so delightful eating together in a breakfast. The balcony was filled by our noise, laughter, conversation, sipping coffees and planning ahead for the next escapade. As all breads were eaten, off we went to the Big Rock to enjoy watching the breath-taking view. And of course, time for photo shooting again. Hahaha!


beautiful rocks along the way

Next activity, swimming on the beach. The water is still the same, it was crystal clear and safe to swim.  We can open our eyes while swimming underwater.  I should be thankful because the cleanliness of the water was maintained. Of all the beaches in Batangas that we’ve been, San Juan had the most clearest and cleanest water.  And this is the third and last beautiful thing i love here in Baryo Hugom.


among the beaches in Batangas, Laiya had the clearest water

We ate our lunch late because of non-stop swimming activity. We extended our stay until 1 pm. Sammy’s mother didn’t charge us anymore for our one hour extension. She thanked us and invited us to come back.

As long as there is the big rock, surely, we will go back, albeit the crowd and noise. Pao had enjoyed again his water adventure birthday.


my collection of our Laiya, Batangas beach escapade

Where would be our next destination Pao?


satisfied swimmers

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Munting Buhangin: Swimming in Rainy July

Batangas City is known for beautiful beaches and stunning dive sites. And since it is near in Manila, it is frequently chosen for company or group outing. For Shen’s fifth birthday, she wanted us to swim in a beach. We were so happy because our little girl had already overcome her fear of the sea. We favored to stay overnight in Munting Buhangin Beach Camp in Barrio Natipunan, Nasugbu as it was a low-budget resort and travel time is three hours only from Pasay City.


the beautiful view from the balcony

It was a gloomy Saturday but it didn’t hamper our swimming activity for the day. Bringing of food is allowed in the resort. We brought lots of it from snacks to main dish. My hubby wanted our tummies to be full.


The security guard did a head count at the entrance gate and wrote it in a piece of paper. He instructed us to give it to the cashier upon payment. We went down to the parking area in a wet and rough road. Then we carried our stuff in going down to the main resort through steep and concrete steps. It was a tiring trek.The  handrails and landings helped us ease a bit carrying our loads in hundred steps. Whew!


the hundred steps that worn me out carrying our stuff going down the resort

The only available cheap room for the eight of us was the Barkada fan room. But it was small, no comfort room and no table to put our things. What we got was the last available air-con room, the Honeymoon Suite, quite expensive but we were assured of a nice stay. It has one queen-size bed with pull-out bed and one single bed. It has comfort room, ref, small table, grilling area and a balcony overlooking the water world.

Rate of room – P4,800.

Entrance fee – P200/head.

Rion was free since she is one and a half month old.  I thought this resort was for average traveler.


inside the Honeymoon Suite

We explored the shoreline in the afternoon. It was a rainy July but the resort was packed with people. The sand was light brown and fine.  Pao, Miko and Shen immersed on the water right away. So sad that I have no sunset photo.

We had our dinner in the balcony. It was so cool and so quiet outside. But we didn’t stay long for there were pesky mosquitoes. After eating and washing the dishes, we went back to the beach. There were no stars in the sky and it seemed any moment from now, rain will fall again. And there were no beach lights, hooh!.

gloomy afternoon

the beach in the afternoon

Thanks to the little brightness coming from open cottages it helped us looked for a good spot to swim. The water was warm; the gentle waves refreshed us peacefully. But we were annoyed by these small creatures that tickled our legs. Was it a tiny crab?

After one-hour of wading on the water we went back to our room and rinse. We let our hair dry in the balcony, did some wacky things before we surrender ourselves into sleep in a very cold and nice room.

Dawn came too quickly. I awoke to the sound of alarm clock at 5 a.m. I leaped out of bed and looked at the sky in the glass window. The horizon was impeded by dark clouds. It seemed rain will fall any minute from now. Pretty sure, I will not have a sunrise photo in my cam.  Dismayed, I went back to bed and sleep again.

gloomy morning

gloomy morning as seen from the window

Next waking hour – 6 a.m. Still there’s no trace of good weather condition outside. We ate our breakfast in the balcony. We cleaned our mess and later wore our swim wears. We locked the room and though it was still gloomy, we explored the end portion of the long stretch of shoreline passing Terrazas de Punta Fuego to Costa de Loro.


breakfast at the balcony

It’s good that the sun finally beamed into the sky. Munting Buhangin was now crowded with bathers.  We opted to swim in Terrazas, thank goodness this is open to all. We enjoyed a refreshing water solitude. Now we discovered that the annoying “small creatures” last night were group of jellyfish!  They were hovering freely in the water.  We went back to Munting Buhangin and continue to swim.

shen at beach

its swimming time

My hubby and I went back to the room for our grilling activity. We didn’t swim anymore. We rinsed and prepared our lunch. Aside from mosquitoes, we also had another visitor. Look at this.


our visitor in the morning

After eating our lunch, I did an ocular inspection of nearby vacant rooms. It was flickering hot outside.  But later heavy rain poured! What a sudden change of climate ha.

pao and shen

kuya and bunso were still having a good time after swimming

We waited for the rain to stop before we checked out from the room. Me and my sister were left to check if our stuff were all kept.  We noticed the cleaner didn’t change the bedding.  He just fixed it, sprayed with an insect repellent, did some cleaning and off he went out from the room. He wasn’t bothered if someone is watching him doing his task.

We exchanged glances, displeased to what we saw.

Is this what we got from the expensive room we stayed for the night? Whew!













Tagaytay City – An Afternoon Escape

We enjoined my brother-in-law Noel to go with us in Tagaytay for a Saturday escape from the stiffing atmosphere in Manila. He’s been working abroad for so many years and before he leaves for another wonderful opportunity in California, we wanted him to see and explore some of our country’s exciting places to visit.



We chose Picnic Grove, the most visited park in Tagaytay City. We’ve been to this park for so many times, but it’s nice to go back again and again because in every visit, there is an exciting activity to indulge with. We had an exciting ride in zipline the last time we went here.The other new activity is the Cable Car which is ideal for a family ride.

Entrance fee was P50/head.Rion was free of charge since she is one year old.

Noel is from Baguio.The cool climate in Tagaytay was an ordinary thing to him. What awed him much was the breathtaking view of Taal Volcano and the lake. He got so busy capturing photos of every scenic spot that amazed him much.


Horseback riding is the oldest common activity in Tagaytay with rate of P150 to P200 depending on the sizes of horse.  Since we already tried this activity in Baguio, no one  from us wanted to do it again. So we headed down and occupied a picnic shed (P150) near the zipline station. We toured the eco-trail and just like our last visit, we enjoyed walking again to the concrete walkway with metal hand rails. We savored the moment looking at the panoramic view of Taal Volcano. It took us twenty minutes before we went back to our area.


We let Noel roamed around at the lower part of the park where lots of people flocked to capture a better view of Taal Volcano. While sitting, we enjoyed watching those kites hovering in the blue sky.  Later, what was left were those two big bat kites soaring freely and so mighty.


Since it was summer and week-end, rate of zipline with photo and a mug with photo too was P500. Whew! What a price.  It was only Pao and Miko who dared the ride again. We waited for their thrilling fly and cheered them up as soon as they were released into the air. Noel was scared to try it and so with my sister Gi. I guess it has something to do with age.hehehe.


Everyone was starving when the two teens went back from their activity. We all sat together and eat our yummy meryenda. Bringing back the traditional picnic activity was really delightful.  I was thankful that there’s a park like this which keep family bonding so alive. An afternoon stay in Picnic Grove is indeed a relaxing family getaway.

There are lots of souvenir stores that sell t-shirts (100 to P250), key-chains (P35), table display (P75), bags and coin purse (prices depend on sizes and designs). Of course for every visit, it’s a must to buy cute collections. There are also fruit stands where we bought pine apple and banana in affordable prices.

It was almost 7 pm when we finally bid good-bye to the park. Noel was very grateful visiting Tagaygay as he shared his valuable experiences on our way home. He appreciated the scenic view as well as the warmth of our family bonding.

I will never get tired being the organizer in our provincial getaway because my heart is always filled with joy when we are all together in a beautiful place like this. Indeed, It is a rewarding threat seeing their happy faces having fun. For the remaining days of my sister and her family here in the Philippines, we will bring them next to Boracay, Albay and Sorsogon for a more meaningful adventure.


Puerto Galera: Island Hopping Adventure

We had a comfortable sleep at HSL Beach Resort the other night. Thanks to the manager, Ate Marie for her gracious accommodation. We walked along the shoreline on Saturday morning. At 7 am, we ate our breakfast in a nearby tapsihan (back of Buena Lynn’s resto). Tapsilog for me with 3-in-1 coffee and longsilog for my hubby with water. He was avoiding coffee due to his heart burn. Our meal costs P140. Continue reading

Puerto Galera: The Second Time

My hubby was so eager to go to White Beach of Puerto Galera when he heard my story about our Accounting Team outing here and got even more excited when he saw our pictures.  He promised our kids that if he will enjoy his stay surely, we will go back with the whole family.

white beach - 4R

awesome view of Puerto Galera

We took the 6 am Jam Liner bus ride at Buendia terminal (P166.50/head). We arrived at Batangas Pier at 8:05 am.  We paid P450/head for the boat fare (MV Blue Penguin) v.v. and P50/head for environmental user’s fee. The sun was beaming when we left the port at 8:30. But it rained when we were half of the trip. It was again an anchor’s away ride as we were welcomed by those unfriendly waves! (but our roro trip in Cebu was more frightening than this). When we reached White Beach, sun was its highest mood again. Sudden change of climate, huh!


fronting the beach… from HSL Beach Resort

We had a room reservation at HSL beach resort (recommended by Lei, my hubby’s office mate).  Walls and roof were made of native wood materials.  It has private toilet, closet, tv and nice tiled floor. There were table and chairs in the balcony, good for savoring the sea breeze as well as viewing an obstructed view of the sea.  Ate Marie, the manager of the resort gave us a discount.  We paid P800 for the room instead of the daily regular rate of P1,200. Very affordable rate for a nice, cool resort to stay.


nice and affordable rooms of HSL Beach Resort

We ate our lunch at Basilico resto, a good spot to watch the sea and just a few distances away from HSL. We ate the usual Pinoy food like boiled pork (good for 3 persons), tortang talong (daddy’s fave), chicken kebab, sprite for my drink and Fruitas mango shake (P85) for my hubby. Our meal costs P285 only (excluding mango shake), so affordable but yummy.

at basilico resto

Since it wasn’t peak season yet the resto was not crowded with people. We had a leisure time watching the dazzling seas that restlessly aspired people like us. It was too inviting to swim but it was so hot to dip in the water by 12 high noon. We stayed there for an hour watching foreigners having fun in the water and those people roaming everywhere. Then we went back to our room and took some rest for a “walk attack” by afternoon.


watching the dazzling sea by lunch time

At 3 pm, we walked around at the back of White Beach albeit the stifling atmosphere and headed to Parkway grocery store to buy snack.  We went back to our room and ate our snack at the balcony.

By 4 pm we headed to Tamaraw Beach Resort which Lei recommended us to explore as this offers a diverse relaxation compared to the noisy crowd of White Beach. This was just beside White Beach and could be accessed through walking along rocks of various sizes and shapes. And when we got there we found out that Lei was telling the truth.

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kulitan time

The resort had a quiet ambiance. There were only few people walking on the shoreline. For those who wanted to escape from the noise of crowd, the seclusion of the resort guaranteed a rewarding stay.  The calmness of the surrounding will summon you to stay longer.


quiet place of Tamaraw Beach Resort

Going back was now easy as we discovered the elevated concrete walkway. Before it gets dark, we proceeded to the right end portion of White Beach and waited there for the dramatic sunset.


enjoy the solitude atmosphere at Tamaraw Beach Resort

We ate our dinner at Hiyas resto. While feasting on the fresh grilled fish, we were entertained by funny gay performers. It’s like we were eating in a comedy bar in Manila only that they were not singing live. Even foreigners laughed out so loud.

After the show we walked in the shoreline. This is a wonderful evening for there’s no maddening crowd and no big noise yet on the beachfront. And it favored me much for I am not a party people. We savored the night time solitude sitting together in the sand. There were only few stars that night. Later a boy band started to sing ballad and new waves songs. The cool breeze and the songs were pretty much enough to enjoy the night.


beautiful sunset at Puerto Galera

It was a perfect quiet moment to contemplate on certain things. I was thankful that at least I rewarded myself (from stressful job haha!) a wonderful beach escapade with my husband. I realized, it’s not only the places that you go but the people you spend with that will make the trip worth remembering.

I am wishing that we could go back here with our kids.