For us dwellers of the too congested Metro Manila, the yearning to escape to a tropical paradise of white sand beach and pristine blue waters is quite a commonality. The Philippines after all has more than 7500 beautiful islands with Palawan & Boracay besting other islands we have yet to discover. We might have been endowed with abundant natural resources however time has always kept us from exploring the jewels lying at the end of those off the beaten roads we have yet to set our feet on. Since no paradise can keep us away far too long from the cubicle prison of our 9 by 5 job that pays the bills and keep the roof over our heads, a quick getaway on our days off is all most of us can manage. That’s when the beaches of Batangas come in handy. Particularly, the one that has quickly gained traction over the years -Masasa Beach in the island of Tingloy.
Masasa Beach for most of the millennial travelers is just a typical beach of white sand shores and pristine blue water ideal for relaxing and distressing. However beyond this stunner’s gram-worthy attributes is richness known to only a few. Beneath the waters a few meters of its shores is an utterly different world teeming with so much life. I have never seen so many fishes of various species anywhere near the bustling capital. I thought such paradise can only be found after a plane ride to some remote island far away but Masasa made it look so inherent, you would feel stupid of ever being surprised. I had flown to Cebu and Dumaguete to see the adorable sea turtles but had I known there’s plenty of them after a 3-hour drive from Manila, I shouldn’t have even bothered. There are many other islands and beaches in Batangas but there’s only few which is at par with Masasa Beach. Guess, it is about time we see this beach in a brand new light.
THE SAD STORY THAT WAS MASASA BEACH
Sometimes it confuses me why can’t every story lead to a happy ending. I know it’s cliche and too predictable but wouldn’t it be nice to leave a smile instead of a frown after a story is told? Unfortunately, Masasa Beach happens to be a great story but is doomed to end tragically. It is beautiful and naturally abundant but the people’s apathy and indifference towards the environment will soon cause its demise. This little paradise is in such a predicament warranting not just an urgent but an on-point solution as well.We now live in a world where people love to travel and to experience the world so hordes of tourists in places such as Masasa Beach is to be expected. While travelling brings about a whole lot of benefits to both travelers (i.e. a sense of enlightenment) and the local community (source of income), there is no denying that it contributes largely to the deterioration and destruction of those once hidden and untouched places. Some people would easily point finger to bloggers and other travelers for sharing information about new places to visit. What they fail to see is that we are all part of the worsening problem.
Taking care of the environment is a shared responsibility. Our oceans would someday succumb to its death if we don’t work hand in hand to save it. We Filipinos are lucky to be blessed with so many pristine and stunning islands. However, most of us are unaware of the impact we make towards the natural resources we are so fortunate to be given. Our indifference to the environment, ignorance and lack of sympathy to what’s happening to it would someday cost us this paradise we call home. Masasa Beach being one of the first to fall to its inevitable doom.
While irresponsibility and the absence of accountability of us travelers contribute the most impact to this stigma, the local community plays a vital role as well. It’s a shared responsibility after all. No matter how much we travelers educate ourselves and work hard to lessen our impact, it will all be for naught if the local community lacks awareness of the key role they play in this whole wind up story.
This is unfortunately very common in the Philippines. While we are quick to invite tourists and share the gifts of our homeland, we however have not prepared to counteract the impact the influx of tourists would leave behind. These counter measures include proper sanitation and waste management just to name two and I haven’t seen it mishandled in all proportions anywhere but during my visit in Tingloy Island.
Plastics floating at the port didn’t seem to bother any local. Trash in all forms and sizes were scattered in the creeks and at the side of the road. Several mountains of burned garbage sat a few meters near the beach. The rice fields also grew plastic cups and wrappers. What’s worse were plastics floating in the beach water and scattered in sea beds. And to my horror, I was even scolded by a local boatman while picking up the plastics I could reach during our snorkel sesh saying “it was only common to have plastics floating around since it has been raining for the last few days and to just leave them there as they will eventually go away”. Seriously!
There was nothing much that I could do but resent his words as I tried to reason against him but realized I was at a disadvantage. I wasn’t in the position to try and educate him. It was pointless as he was clearly not ready to listen. His beliefs reflect the local community and we got ourselves a bigger problem. I wished to have a word with the person of authority within the local community but I didn’t have the luxury of time. And to be honest, I didn’t have the courage. As I wrote this blog, all I could hope is to reach more people to spread the word about this little paradise we too soon shall lost due to our own negligence and ignorance.
WHAT WE CAN DO
I am a traveler. And as much as I wanna keep a hidden gem of a place to myself, it is our nature to share stories, not to boast but to encourage. It is for this reason that I still wrote about Masasa Beach and would still encourage you to visit the place. Not to worsen the situation but to let more people see it and in a way realize what course of action we should be taking to keep this little paradise in the years to come. If you are on your way there, here are some things you can do to lessen your impact.
- Avoid bringing in plastics. If you need to bring in food and water, put them in reusable containers not on disposable ones. For your toiletries, put them on small travel kits and avoid bringing those in plastic sachets.
- Clean up after your mess. When you leave the island, bring everything you brought in with you. Don’t leave anything behind.
- Pick up some trash. I know you are there to relax and experience the beach but it wouldn’t really ruin your vacation to pick up some trashes that happen to be in your way. It’s a small deed but will surely go a long way if done by many.
- Try to talk to a local about the impact we make to the environment. You don’t really need to talk to a crowd to make a difference. Reaching even just one willing ear to listen is enough to somehow spread the word about how we can save ourselves from losing our precious little paradise.
HOW TO GO THERE
- Public Transpo – From Buendia Gil Puyat station, ride a bus going to Batangas Grand Terminal (3Hrs ; P157). Ride a jeep going to Talaga/Anilao Port (1Hr ; P37). Ride a boat to Tingloy Island (1Hr ; P80). Then finally ride a tric to Masasa Beach (10Min ; P15).
- Private Car – From Manila, drive to SLEX. Continue driving to STAR Tollway. Take the Batangas exit. Follow the Bauan-Mabini Road until you reach Anilao Port.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- There are two ports used to transfer passengers from the mainland to Tingloy Island and those are Anilao and Talaga Ports. During unfavorable weather, the port in used is Anilao Port. This would really not be a problem since local jeepney drivers are aware were to take travelers going to Tingloy Island. The fare also remains the same at P80/passenger/way.
- Trips to Tingloy Island are available between the hours of 7AM-10AM and depends mostly in the number of passengers going to the island. On the other hand, trips from Tingloy Island to Batangas are available until 12 Noon.
- Camping in Masasa Beach is no longer allowed. Visitors are required to book a homestay during the entirety of their visit.
WHAT TO DO WHILE IN THE ISLAND
- Relax and Distress at the beach. Wear your skimpiest bikinis and your stylish sunnies as there is no better way to enjoy this trip to Masasa Beach than frolic under the sun.
- Snorkel. Rent a small boat to take you to the best part of the island where you can witness some beautiful corals and spot some sea turtles.
- Free Dive. If you are skilled at free diving, the waters of Masasa Beach is a perfect place to discover some stunning underwater paradise. Make sure to tag along your dive buddy as you know what they always say “You don’t dive alone”.
- Island Hopping. Rent a boat and explore the other parts of Tingloy Island and nearby islands for a more fun experience.
- Visit Sepoc Beach. If you find Masasa Beach too crowded then you might find solitude in another patch of white sand shores on the other side of Tingloy Island.
- Trek Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato. Go for a morning hike all the way to one of the two peaks in Tingloy and witness the beauty of this island in a wider perspective.
WHERE TO STAY
Within the island of Tingloy are a number of transient houses but the most favorable for travelers are those near Masasa Beach. Here are some I had listed during my visit.
- Carmen & Ruben Transient House – 09265224463 | 09757157232
- Tita Precy Kubo – 09498363279 | 09301860200 | 09081890356
- Tita Benie – 09217560110 | 09273740754
- Nanay Rosie – 09196864368 | 09959863780
- Fhe Salazar Transient Kubo – 09357385701 | 09506868480
BUDGET, ITINERARY & OTHER ESSENTIALS
|SUMMARY OF EXPENSES (DIY COMMUTE)||2-Way Bus Manila-Batangas - P314
2-Way Jeep Batangas Terminal-Anilao Port - P74
2-Way Boat Transfer - P160
2-Way Tricycle - P30
Environmental Fee - P30
Accommodation - P150
Food - P200
Total - P928
|SAMPLE ITINERARY||Day 1
0430 ETD Batangas Grand Terminal
0600 ETA Batangas Grand Terminal. Breakfast.
0700 Anila Port
0800 Tingloy Island
0815 Transient Rest
0900 Island Hopping
1300 Continue Island Hopping
1600 End Tour. Transient
1900 Videoke | Socials
200 Lights Out
0600 Wake Up. Breakfast
0700 Explore the beach and lagoon
0900 Back at Transient
1000 Pack up
1100 Anilao Port
1200 Batangas. Get some Lomi.
1300 ETD Bus Manila
|WHAT ARE THE FEES||Environmental Fee - P30
Ferry - P80/way
Island Hopping Boat - P1400
Snorkel - P100/person
There you have it lovelies. For questions, suggestions, violent reactions or to send me some love, shoot them on the comments box below. Hope you share this to your friends. Until next time. Ciao!