24 March 2009
La Luz Beach Resort, Batangas
La Luz Beach Resort
March 22-23, 2009
4 out of 5 stars
In all our years of togetherness, this is the first time our group braved to go out of the comforts of Manila and head off to get a good tan in a beach. Being the first beach outing, I am hopeful that this is the beginning of many other out of towns to come.
Permit me to walk you through our experience last weekend...
Chapter One: Getting there
It was a four hour trip from Manila to our destination, the La Luz Beach Resort, following the map provided to us by the resort. Mid-way, we decided to ditch the directions and head off following my friends' previous experience and knowledge of Batangas streets. To those heading to the same beach, please note that you don't have to go out of the Tambo exit, although that would be the most convenient, we recommend that you exit to Lipa City proper - that will surely save you a lot of gas expense.
Just for the record though, we understand that there might be a lot of first timers who need to find their way to La Luz, so posted above is a copy of the map the resort provided us.
While on the South superhighway, we had a curious sight, as a parade of vintage cars were running down the said highway. You can find the pictures in my Multiply album.
The road going to La Luz is generally smooth until the last few kilometers where you're car will be challenged by some bumpy, rocky paths and a steep and scary climb - but rest assured that it would be worth it. So in short, I'm just saying to bring a decent and dependable car that can withstand such road conditions. In addition, it is advisable to have some nice music or a noisy person around since some roads may just run endlessly to the point of ennui.
Chapter Two: Checking In La Luz
We arrived at 12.30 noon time. Check in time in La Luz is 1.00 pm so we took our sweet time to hang around. There were several cabanas for guests' use - these are free and is on a first come, first serve basis. There are also cushions for the cabanas, these are also on a first come, first serve arrangement.
We reserved a Premier Loft, which can accommodate a maximum of 10 people. The room has two floors with three single beds on the 2nd floor, one single bed and a double bed on the ground floor. The bathroom is decent.. and I am happy to say it's enormous and clean - it could probably fit all of us together taking a shower, but that won't be prudent anymore.
All the guests who will be staying overnight in the resort are required to avail of the 1,050 pesos (per person) food package buffet. This package includes lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and breakfast.
Their food schedules are as follows:
Breakfast 07.00am - 09.00am
Lunch 12.00nn - 02.00pm
Afternoon Snack 03.00pm - 05.00pm
Dinner 07.00pm - 08.30pm
Their meals are generally the stuff you have plated for you at home - the typical fried fish, soup, rice, pancit, roasted chicken, etc. It's not a gourmet feast for the palette but it's bordering on the not bad line. Take note though to try to attack the buffet table as soon as the food's available since they may change the viands for the next batch. Also, they don't serve ala carte meals, which means what's served on the buffet table are your only choices for that time. If you'd like to avail for an extra buffet meal, that would be an additional 300 pesos per person.
The attendants are very accommodating and would gladly service you with whatever needs you require. And that is a good mark in my book. I will illustrate this later in my story telling.
Chapter Three: Looking Around
We took a little siesta before our afternoon snack to avoid the scorching heat of the summer sun, after which, we decided to explore a little bit - figuring out the nice spots in beach where we can wade, take photographs and the like. The beach isn't really as sandy or as white as I'd like it to be, it's more pebbly and rough on the feet, but something that I can consider bearable. Those who are more sensitive can opt to wear Aqua shoes, which the resort is selling for 300 to 450 pesos.
The water has already receded by the time we hit the beach, around 4 in the afternoon if I'm not mistaken. Although I'd like to say the beach is pristine, I cannot deny that there are still lurking litterbugs amongst us as there are some floating tetra packs and shoes and stuff on the water. Thank God there aren't any floating napkins and diapers, that would surely turn me off.
There is a note worthy rock formation at one side of the beach, where a lot of the folks are having their photographs taken. It's quite slippery though, and the water is observably deep. Barnacles have already clung to many of the rocks which makes most of them sharp and painful to touch on impact. There though, we found different crustaceans (some have already dried up and died), slugs, hermit crabs, fishes (I forgot the names) and starfishes.
After our little tour, we got ready to hit the waters. The area near the rock formation, we learned, is the resort's snorkeling area, and is not meant for wading and swimming. This lesson came about after one of our friends got into an accident and had his foot cut against a sharp rock in the water. It was a relatively deep cut and I had to quickly call for aid and assistance. Promptly, one of the attendants brought a guy to help apply medicine to clean up the wound. He had to go back to our room to let the cut heal up. Getting cut against the rocks there seems to be very common since we saw a woman on our second day with an enormous cut on her leg, watching aimlessly at her companions frolic and play in the water.
Another friend encountered another problem as she was enjoying the cool waters. A jellyfish passed by her leg and stung her thigh. This can easily be remedied with a spray of vinegar, according to the attendants. She too had to return to our room to rest.
A little note to consider, the water is already deep less than a few feet away from the shore - my definition of deep here is that I can't stand or even tiptoe or touch the bottom anymore, and I'm 5'4" in height. The resort is lending life savers or floating devices to its guests so swimming won't really a problem. There is a little raft in the middle of the water, which we would usually try to venture to - but a little close to six in the evening, we found jelly fishes lurking near the said raft that we immediately swam back to shore like crazy.
Chapter Four: Night Fall
As night descended on us, we laid down on the beach chairs and contemplated in silence as we watched the myriads of stars fade into visibility. The sky was covered with blast of white and red freckles, some moving, others appearing immobile on the wide black canvas of the universe.
A bonfire was lit after dinner, where we stayed nearby as the cold of the eve begins to envelope us. The dancing flames played wildly in front of our eyes. Afraid that we'd run out of cabanas, I left the group to reserve a hut for our evening drinking and story telling.
Three of our companions requested for massage services which is 250 pesos each. The rest of the group were huddled in one of the cabanas sharing ghost experiences and stories waiting for the relaxing three to return. The guys didn't bring much to drink except for a bottle of white wine and Bailey's and three different juices. The resort sells beer though, which our room availed once the other drinks ran out. Note: There aren't any corkage fee for bringing in drinks in La Luz, which is a good thing.
During this session, stories and confessions were exchanged, opinions opened, some were refuted, some marinated in our thoughts. Two humongous lizards, a male and a pregnant female, watched from above the cabana overhearing all the gossip finding tongue. Of course the details won't be disclosed in this blog post.
We did have an encounter with the, quote and quote, third kind - as one of the other guests, a gay, took a fancy on one of our companions. Repetitively returning to our cabana and offering drinks or greetings. Apparently, the guys aren't too pleased with his display of attention, but it surely evoked a big laugh out of us, girls.
Our group settled around 3 in the morning, drunk with stories and alcohol. Some were a little too drunk compared to the others, but nonetheless, most of us dozed off a few minutes after lying down - slightly excited of what lies ahead later that day.
The Morning Rush
We all woke up at 8 in the morning, did our routines and had breakfast. We were planning on renting snorkeling gears, but the fee is 100 per three hours and our check out time is 11 in the morning. With so little time left, we decided to do our own snorkeling by sharing the three goggles we had. Two of our guy friends are seasoned swimmers and found no difficultly mocking our amateur skills. They headed off farther into the waters compared to the rest of us, but generally the bottom seems uniform and no significant differences could be observed from where we were treading and where they were.
One irritating bit about the water though is the sea/sand mites which bit us endlessly in every exposed part of our body. The felt like pinching ants in the water, and often times we would mistaken them for jelly fish attacks and would panic.
We got back to shore around 10.30, rushing to wash up and get dressed because of the 11 am check out time. I did speak with their office though, and they permitted us to stay until 12 in the noon. That was a big sigh of relief. We finished up, had lunch and took photographs before leaving La Luz - keeping them in digital and neural memories.
In my opinion, this is one of the most memorable group outings we've ever had. Surely something meant to be repeated in the near future.