Virgin Beach Resort on a Budget

Have you ever tried going on a trip without any reservations? on a payday weekend? Yup, for all control freaks out there, it’s jaw-dropping but it wasn’t my trip to plan. I was a guest traveler.

Travel Destination: Laiya, San Juan, Batangas

Travel time: approx. 3 – 4 hours from Quezon City

I think we managed to drop by to most of the beach resorts in Laiya just to find a place where the rooms are good, has a great view of the beach, and of course, suits our budget. Of all the resorts, Virgin Beach Resort stood out. They have an awesome view of the beach, fine white sand (almost like in Boracay), and their beach is free from seaweeds or rough sand. What’s the catch? The room rates: weekend overnight for 4 persons is Php10K plus a required purchase of their meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) worth Php1600. The rates were quite steep so we decided to pass on this resort (after much deliberation).

Fortunately, we found another resort with reasonable rates and comfortable accommodations. Dona Nena may not be as popular as the other resorts in Laiya but that made it a peaceful refuge for all the hustle and bustle of a payday weekend beach experience. The cottage is airconditioned, with 5 beds, 1 comfort room, a TV, and is equipped with gas stove and griller. We were not able to swim at once because of the low tide but we enjoyed the homey feel the resort offered. Yet we can’t stop raving about how beautiful Virgin Beach Resort was.

After a good night’s rest, we were prepared to take a dip into the beach but we just can’t take our minds off how almost perfect Virgin Beach Resort was so we decided to take the Picnic Day Tour of Virgin Beach which was Php300/head. The Picnic Day Tour has no corkage fee so you could bring all the food you need and cook it there. You may see their rates at their website. Little did we know that such tour requires a Dining parasol rental of Php1350 but we just went on with it just so we could stay at Virgin Beach Resort once and for all and we made the right call!

I have to commend their logistics system for being so organized. They have enough parking space and beach space for all the guests. It didn’t feel crowded probably because of the long stretch of beach that they own. It was really a relaxing and exciting experience! If it were not for the sunburn that we took home with us, I’d probably be back their on the next weekend.

Planning to visit Virgin Beach Resort? Here are my tips:

1. Have a reservation. I’m not sure though if Day Tours may also be reserved. You may contact them here.

2. If you’re on a budget, just take the Picnic Day Tour and find sleeping accommodations on a nearby resort. 🙂

3. Bring food as there are no corkage fee for the Day Tours but please read their House Rules.

4. Put lots and lots of sunblock! You’ll definitely spend a lot of time swimming under the sun!

This trip (overnight at Dona Nena and picnic tour at Virgin Beach Resort) cost me a total of Php3000 (includes toll fees, gas, automobile rental, food). There were 5 of us. This will be cheaper if you’ll have more friends with you.

Categories: Batangas, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Matabungkay Beach at Batangas

As 2015 drew near, I knew I’d have less travels for this new year as I’ve decided to scrimp a little more than last year (Dubai and Singapore trips from last year are still pending to be posted). I kind of want to start the year away from the hustle and bustle of the city so I can do some personal reflections and goal settings.

My bf’s friend organized this Batangas trip and I assumed the role of a gf tagging along the trip. You see, I like planning and organizing trips. I like going through blog posts checking where our possible venue could be. But I also decided that this year, I’ll be less stressed by anything around me, to be more fluid, to be more affected by things that are really important.

For the first time, I went into a trip with no room reservations made, no itinerary, and no cooking or eating essentials. In short, the trip was short of a surprise! 🙂 And I was happy/OK about it. It was an opportunity to put one of my 2015 goals into action.

Resort Hunting

We initially inquired at The Coral Beach Resort. We were quoted with their peak season rates: Php2800 for their Standard room (good for 2 persons) and Php3800 for their DeLuxe room (good for 4). The resort has a small swimming pool and a restaurant. While checking out the beach front, we noticed that there were a lot of small boats “parked” which makes beach swimming quite not comfortable. A local approached us and told us that the rooms beside Coral Beach are priced for as low as Php2000/room. We checked it out but apparently the Php2k/room were only for off peak season.

We drove off to Bella Resort and found their rooms more affordable: Php2500 (good for 2-3 persons). They have no restaurant so we had to buy and cook our dinner later in the evening. They also have a swimming pool bigger than that of Coral Beach Resort. The beach front had no parked boats and the ambiance of the place was really relaxed unlike Blue Coral’s which felt busier. We were free to use their grilling area along with a gazebo-like beach shelter.

Here’s a quick comparison of Coral Beach Resort and Bella Resort

Coral Beach Resort Bella Resort
Price more affordable
Restaurant                     /
Swimming pool                    /       / (bit bigger)
Wifi                    /                 /
Ambiance busy, night life chill, relax

Almost everything is expensive in the area of Matabungkay. A calamansi costs Php1 each, a litre of softdrinks costs somewhere between Php75 – php100, a kilo of pork costs Php190, etc. In short, bringing your own food (and ingredients) is a lot cheaper.

The staff of Bella Resort were very accommodating in the sense that, apart from being courteous, they were willing to cater to our needs like hot water for our morning coffee and cup noodles and cooking our rice (for a fee of Php100).

We were happy with our decision to stay in Bella Resort because when the night came, the Coral Beach Resort area played loud music. We wanted a more relaxed place where we could spend the night exchanging stories while warming our bodies with alcohol. The climate was really cold that you’d turn to alcoholic drinks for warmth. 🙂

It was a fun, fun, fun experience!

My expenses for the trip ranged from Php2000 to Php2500 in a group of 4 persons. Again, the more, the merrier, the cheaper!

Categories: Batangas, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A piece of Mediterranean

I was searching for a place to unwind near Manila at when I stumbled upon Mediterranean House, a resort in Nasugbu, Batangas.

The pictures from their website caught my attention. I liked how the place was designed.

 I booked for an overnight stay for Php2500. It includes breakfast for 2 persons. However, we decided not to stay for the night and they were ok with it. We even had to move our reserved date to another date and they were ok with it. You just have to call them since they don’t reply thru email or text.

How To Go There:

1. We rode a DLTB bus going to Nasugbu, Batangas at Buendia bus station.

There are other bus stations at Taft and Cubao that travel to Nasugbu.

2. Tell the bus conductor that you’re getting off at Sitio Calo and that you’re going to Mediterranean House. It was a relief when the conductor knew where we were going because the Maps and Navi apps in my phone could not locate it.

3. You get off at a basketball court and there you’ll find a signage going to Mediterranean house.

You’ll be surprised where the resort is located. You wouldn’t guess that a resort as stunning as Mediterranean house is situated inside.

facade of Mediterranean House

facade of Mediterranean House

You wouldn’t expect much when you see the facade but when you go inside…

See how great the place is? 🙂 It’s really worth your while. I enjoyed our stay even if we didn’t stay overnight. I bet the ambiance is better at night.

I didn’t say it’s perfect though. Here are some of my personal quirks on the resort:

1. They don’t reply to text or email queries.

2. The room for 2 was not that spacious.

3. The lay out of the room and bathroom were quite different. The TV was placed at the side of the bed instead of the usual at the foot of the bed. The bathroom was a toilet and shower room. It’s ok except that, again it was not that spacious, water will be splashed all over including the tissue paper and trash can.

These are all small things but if you are sensitive to those listed above, you might want to reconsider. But for me, I could get past those. 🙂

Timetable and Expenses (per person):

6:30 AM          Rode bus at Buendia

6:45 AM          Bus left for Nasugbu                                  Php116

8:30 AM          Arrived at Mediterranean House               Php1250


                           Lunch (pizza)                                           Php150

4:30 PM          check out

4:45 PM          jeep to Olivares terminal                           Php28

8:0                   bus to Buendia                                               Php80

                          taxi to MRT station                                       Php30

Total: Php1654

There are buses and vans that may bring you to Manila when you step out of the resort. But since it was a holiday, we anticipated that buses might be full so we decided to take the jeep to Tagaytay then ride a bus from there. Took us 4 hours to go back to Manila! -_-

Would love to go back there and stay overnight! 🙂

By the way, their day tour is priced at Php220/person, good for 5 hours. If you’ll take a room for the day tour, price is at Php1300.

Categories: Batangas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Suites at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club

My bf just started his sembreak and I wanted to take him for a vacation. While scouring through the net for possible weekend escape, I stumbled upon The Suites at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club. The place seemed to be a great venue to relax and unwind — I was correct!

I initially booked for an overnight (2pm-12noon) stay but we changed our mind a few days before our booked date and had it booked for day use (8AM-6pm) instead. The accommodation, free use of their pool, plus free breakfasts for 2 costs Php3050. The same amount for overnight booking.

Since it will be our first time there, I had a lot of questions. Good thing they were really very accommodating and they seem to answer all my queries 24/7 whether thru text or email. That’s great customer service! (As expected from a first-class hotel.)

How to Get There?

1. Take a bus going to Lipa via Calabarzon at Buendia Bus Terminal (Php100-135). Jam Bus with routes via Calabarzon seem to be able to get you there faster. We were given student discounts (yay!) and were charged Php100.

2. Take a trike from Lipa bus terminal to SM Lipa Terminal (Php40 for 2 pax). The buses used to end at SM Lipa Terminal but I heard that now Jam buses have a different terminal and are not allowed at SM Lipa Bus Terminal.

3. Take another trike from SM Lipa to The Suites at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club (Php60 for 2 pax).

The resort has a shuttle service (golf cart) that will take you to the reception area when you get there. That’s it then you go explore the place upon checking in.

Accommodation costs around Php2500 without the breakfast. Their breakfast meals cost around Php250 and their lunch costs around Php320 above. The breakfast was so-so but the lunch was really great. Big serving and definitely sumptuous. You may opt to have your meals outside of the resort. One trike ride away and you’re out there with several choices like  Shakey’s, Goldilocks, etc.

TIP: If you intend to dine in their resto, make sure you’re not wearing short shorts and slippers. They’re quite strict with the dress code.


TIME                               ACTIVITY                                                                   PRICE/person

7am             Buendia bus terminal to Lipa via Calabarzon                 Php100

8:15             Trike from Lipa Bus terminal to SM Lipa                           Php20

8:30              Trike to The Suites at Mt. Malarayat                                  Php30

9-5                Explore, Eat, Swim                                                                   Php1525

Lunch                                                                                          Php320

5:15pm       Trike to SM Lipa                                                                       Php25

Bus to Cubao*                                                                          Php132

*We decided to ride from SM Lipa instead of riding another trike at the Lipa Jam Bus terminal.

I liked the place so much I’m booked again at The Suites on November! This time with my family for my sister’s birthday celebration.


Tutubi gave a great and thorough review for The suites at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club.
Categories: Batangas | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Short Trips in 2012 #4: Club Balai Isabel

I was fortunate to avail of a voucher from Metrodeal for an overnight stay in Club Balai Isabel. The voucher includes:

  • Lakeside Suite (fully equipped with TV, private balcony) for 4
  • 3 luxury swimming pools
  • Breakfasts for 4 people included
  • 1 hour Kayak use
  • All voucher holders will also get a 30% discount on water sports activities, 20% off on massages
  • Free Balai Isabel cap

All for only Php5750 or Php1437.50/person. However, when we got there, we were only able to avail of the breakfast and use of swimming pool. In fact, we stayed in just 1 pool coz we were that satisfied. 🙂 We’re not really fond of kayaking and we didn’t bother to ask for the Balai Isabel cap.

Before our trip, I read a lot of negative posts/reviews for Balai Isabel so I was not expecting much when we went there. Good thing it turned out to be such a wonderful experience for us.

We used the public transpo going there. Just visit Club Balai Isabel‘s site for directions. The instructions are very helpful. We spent around Php140/person using the public transpo. Before riding the last tricycle ride going to Club Balai Isabel itself, we decided to eat near the tricycle station since I’ve read that food in Balai Isabel are a bit pricey. Lunch in a carinderia is around Php72. 🙂

Upon arriving at Balai Isabel, we were given our accommodation quickly (unlike some reviews that I read saying that it took long for some visitors to get their rooms). After fixing our things we decided to swim at once! We were awed by the beautiful sceneries from the pool. It’s breathtaking!

Food was okay (some reviews said it was not good) but quite pricey.

We enjoyed our sumptuous dinner there (Php235 each). 🙂 Then we had our free buffet breakfast in the morning. My sisters swam for the last time before we packed and headed back to Manila.

Total expenses: around Php2024.50

Categories: Batangas | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Climbing Mt. Batulao

From a random suggestion, me and 4 of my colleagues decided to climb Mt. Batulao. We’re not exactly hikers or trained climbers. We just wanted the outdoors. So off we resolved to climb. Searching through the net gave us an idea on what to expect during the trip – long walk/climb. Who wouldn’t be enticed to climb/walk just to see these?


Unlike my previous adventures, this time, I took note of the timeline. We had to be at the Bus Station going to Nasugbu, Batangas at 5 am. Some of us, including me, just came from a 1PM to 10PM shift the night before so imagine how much we lacked sleep then. But I guess the excitement gave us energy the whole day. We arrived at Evercrest at around 7:30am and took a tricycle going to the base trail. There’s an abundance of tricycle and guides when you get off the bus. We had a hard time deciding which guide to take as there were several kids wanting to be our guide. It’s an extra income for them. We took 2 guides and 2 tricycles.  The tricycle driver gave us his number so we could text him after the climb and transport us back to where we got off the bus.

It took us 2 hours to reach the registration area. We actually thought that was the climb already but it was only part of the climb. We were thirsty upon reaching the registration area. In fact, on our way to the registration area, we already took some rest and drank buko juice and water.




As you can see from the pictures, it was quite a challenge. And to think that Mt. Batulao is for beginning climbers! Or maybe we were just not in shape. ^_^

We reached the summit at around 11AM. I don’t know if we were just too tired to eat or the water and chocolate bars were enough to sustain us throughout the climb. After some more sightseeing, we headed down the trail and back to the base where the tricycle drivers await us.



It was quite an adventure. We were all perspiring and tired. We all wanted a bath. Good thing that some houses at the drop-off area allow tourists to take a bath in their place for a minimal fee (so minimal I forgot how much!). After we freshened up, we had a feast at Leslie’s in Tagaytay. We were all famished!



How much did we spend for this unforgettable adventure? Here’s a breakdown per person:

Bus from Pasay Terminal to Nasugbu – Php 106

Tricycle – Php 40 (to and from the base trail)

Registration – Php 20

Jeepney fare to Leslie’s – Php 15 (estimate)

Bus from Olivares(Tagaytay) to Pasay – Php 78

TOTAL of Php 259 excluding the feast we had at Leslie’s. ^_^


Categories: Batangas | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments