Going to Calatagan, which me and my friends have planned for weeks, was surreal. So many things have happened; we learned a lot from this trip, and by the way, this is our first trip just with friends and no family with us, so it was mayhem.
For first-time travelers like ourselves, I’d like to put in a few tips for you guys!
TIP NUMBER ONE: Never ever ever ever leave your house going to a trip without putting a “roadtrip” playlist on your phone to listen to during the drive, especially when you’re the driver.
I recommend putting all of the songs of the artist Franco on that playlist. Include also the album Chorus Girl that contains the top songs of the new wave genre. Also, download Waze on your phones if you want an interactive GPS that directs you to your desired location and be able to see the traffic, whether heavy or moderate, and you can talk to people that’s in the same way you are if they are online on Waze; just make sure to give the phone to your navigator or you could end up in an accident checking the phone or messaging someone on Waze.
Leaving Manila at about 6 AM, you would get to Calatagan by 8 or 9 judging on traffic or whether you’d stop at a gas station or eat in a restaurant. My friends and I decided to eat breakfast at SEx (Sinangag Express) along Tagaytay Highway which had an amazing Tapsilog (Tapa + Sinangag + Itlog). And what a better way to start the day than by eating fresh Tapa with an absolutely tasty rice plus a sunny side egg to help you get through your day.
Resuming our roadtrip, we went 1-2 hours straight on the way to Batangas and it was a breezy drive. We put our windows down and decided to breathe in the fresh air, which is very scarce here in Manila.
WE HAVE ARRIVED AT OUR DESTINATION. BUROT BEACH.
TIP NUMBER TWO: for people going to Burot beach, make sure your tires can withstand very rocky road. If you have a lowered car, you’re screwed, it’s like the road was designed to wreck your car’s tires.
The way to the main beach is just wide enough for two cars to go side by side, and I think your side mirrors would touch if you do that. You have to be very careful because if your tires slip on the side of the land, it’s water. Your car will go *splash* and the whole trip is ruined. I think this is because the land is still in development by the SMDC (SM Development Corporation), and they could have plans that would further fix these problems, after all, this land has so many potentials.
So we entered the beach, the entrance costs 130 PHP for overnight stay, and 65 PHP for day tours.
Then we saw the place.
There were no rooms for rent, just tents for rent. There were tents everywhere, and every tent seems to be hiding from one thing: THE SUN. This summer, the weather was extremely hot! So every tent on the beach hides from the shades of trees. THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE. We brought a tent just big enough for 4 people, but with the intensity of heat, it’s like you’re inside an oven.
TIP NUMBER THREE: Bring a tent that is big, open for air, has roof, and has a net so mosquitoes can’t get in.
We set up our tents and put our things inside our tent since we can’t get inside because of the heat. The beach was awesome. The sand wasn’t like the sand in Boracay, it’s grainy and dry but bearable to sit in. The water was semi-clear, cold, and you can put this on the top lists for clear-water beaches.
Knowing it was cold on a hot day? We dove right in.
VERY OBVIOUS TIP NUMBER FOUR: Bring sunblock.
As I stated earlier, this is our first time doing a trip just us friends so we forgot to bring sunblock (dumbasses, eh?). We spent two hours on the beach. Things you should know about the beach: the ground is full of beautiful but sharp coral reefs, be careful on stepping forward as you might get wounded; and beware of Sea Urchins and Sea Snakes around the area, although, they’re far away from shore so be aware on the farther part of the sea.
After swimming and getting tired from screaming like a little girl every step (it’s really scary when you don’t know what’s touching your feet), we swam to shore and dried ourselves (though we didn’t need much energy from drying ourselves… you know… the blazing sun). There is a public comfort room there which had so little room and was dirty, so we changed at our tent and the car.
TIP NUMBER FIVE: Do not forget to bring your own griller, cooler, tables, and chairs.
We were preparing our food… slice there, put a little sauce there (using our brush made from leaves) … then it hit us. We forgot to bring a griller, we could rent one but it’s all rented out so we did what we had to do, find a substitute. I went to the trash and found a screen that we can use as a griller, we could just use a foil as a secondary skin before the screen (which we washed now, of course), but then the family next to our tent lend us theirs, so… Thank God we didn’t have to cook our food from a screen I found at the garbage.
TIP NUMBER SIX: If you were to bring a portable stove, remember to put new butane gas.
When we cooked our rice using our portable stove, it ran out of gas. We had to cook it by using the coal (which was hard, by the way) and stones from our grilling. The worst part? The coal was hard to heat up that the rice had already sipped the water, so the result? A half cooked rice. Ugh.
While we were setting up our food, we went to the guardhouse hoping to rent out chairs and tables, but again… they were all rented out. So we do what we do best… improvise. We dug the sand to build ourselves tables and chairs, an idea we got from 9gag. The only problem? The sand was dry and contained a little water so we had to go back and forth the beach to water the sand to strengthen it. It took us 2 hours to build the thing and we dug the sand by hand, by the way, which was tedious.
The food’s ready!
When we ate, it feels like it’s the first food we’ve tasted in weeks. It tasted like victory… like it was our reward for all the hard work we did. Our hotdogs, barbeques, and our half-cooked rice tasted like a buffet at Viking’s. After eating and drinking all the lukewarm water, which didn’t satisfy our quench for thirst, we decided to go to a convenient store and buy cold water, ice, and a cooler.
TIP NUMBER SEVEN: Before going to Burot Beach, buy everything you need at a convenient store on the way there.
We drove up to find the nearest convenient store. It took us nearly an hour finding a 7-11 store.
It was a waste of gas and energy. When we got to the store, it was like finding water in the middle of the desert. We came back and gave them what we got, and they too, had the looks on their faces like we did when we got to the store.
Night came and we went again to the guardhouse to rent logs for bonfire, and finally, there’s one for us. We set up the bonfire, brought out our s’mores, liquor, and cigarettes and went to the beach for a night swim. If the water was cold during the day, it was really cold during night. We went to the beach and enjoyed stargazing while swimming. After we felt we had enough, we dried ourselves and relaxed a little bit and realized we were tired and needed to sleep.
Sleeping was tricky… inside the tent it was hot, outside the tent it was cold. We had no choice. I brought out my comforter and laid it on the sand. While sleeping it seemed like we were in Baguio (also a good place to go to during summer), it was that cold. Oh and by the way? It was a public beach so you can’t tell someone to shut it so you can sleep. There were people there talking way too loudly about their conversations about sexual stuff… and it lasted until morning. It was hard to sleep in the cold, but in the cold and with loud people around you? You’d want to shout and say “SHUT IT!”
We woke up at 6 AM and they were still talking so we transferred to the car and slept there until it was time to go. We went home tired, sunburned, and cranky. Though our experience was hell for us, we had fun. We learned a lot: being independent, finding other ways, and having fun at the moment of difficulty. Our moods picked up on the way home, we smiled as we breathe in the Batangas breeze and we’re very happy that we were able to make a successful trip just us friends.