Meet Calatagan, a Budget-friendly Vacation Spot in Batangas

November 11, 2019

Thinking of taking a trip without going too far? Calatagan is the perfect beach destination close to Metro Manila. Discover what awaits you here.

Vacations do not need to cost so much or be so far away. It can be easily accessible, with lots of things to do in addition to enjoying the natural wonders of the location. Calatagan is such a place. It is just a few hours away from Metro Manila and is part of the beautiful province of Batangas. Calatagan provides a decent alternative aside from the more popular tourist destinations of Laiya or Anilao. 

A little background

This municipality is located on the southwestern portion of Batangas. Its vast land mass is mostly flat, though sandwiched between hilly and mountainous terrain. What draws visitors in is its long shoreline and clear blue waters. The Calatagan Peninsula is bordered by the Balayan Bay to the east, and the South China Sea to the west. There are amazing sunsets to be experienced from over either body of water.

Calatagan has a rich history, which predates the Spanish colonization. It was the site of two excavations in the late 1950s that provided clues on how life was during those times. The pottery, tools and other implements recovered pointed to a considerable population in the area. They most likely traded with Chinese merchants whose ships regularly traversed through its waters. The land was then obtained from the Spanish by the Roxas family in the 1800s and was used for sugar farming. 

This was eventually sold off to the occupants of the territory in the 1950s by its subsequent owners, the Zobel family.

Places of interest

These days, Calatagan is more known for its many resorts which populate the municipality. Some of the well-known ones are Sunrise Cove, Lago de Oro Hotel and Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort. Those who enjoy camping might want to check out the Manuel Uy Beach Resort. Burot Beach used to be a secret hideaway though many have already become familiar with its location. It is now reportedly closed to the public.

A tourist site which has stood the test of time is the Cape Santiago Lighthouse. Built in the late 1800s by Spanish authorities, it was among over 50 lighthouses that it constructed throughout the Philippines. It is remarkably fully-functional, though it is definitely one of the oldest in the country. Faro de Cabo, as it is alternatively called, is about 51 feet in height. It serves as a beacon for ships as they approach Manila Bay.

New scene

Beyond its culturally based offerings such as the EZ Museum, Calatagan is also steadily developing new ones. It was only six years ago when Landco completed its impressive 1.2-hectare, Aquaria Water Park. This boasts a 525-meter beachfront combined with modern resort facilities. There are fun waterslides, adult and kiddie pools as well as access to a natural beach. Out of town visitors can rent any of its affordable cabanas facing the ocean or closer to its swimming pools.

Managed by Fuego Hotels and Properties, guests may also partake in watersports activities available at Aquaria. Note however that this resort is but a small part of Playa Calatagan Leisure Tourism Estate. The latter is an estimated 74-hectare expanse Landco is developing into the Playa Calatagan Residences. This will initially have four residential towers, the first of which is called the Nautilus. The family friendly Aquaria Water Park is among its anchor amenities.

At its doorstep

Calatagan’s beaches are light in color but are not nearly as powdery as Boracay’s. Regardless, they are still quite charming without any need to take a plane or boat ride to visit. It is about two hours away from Metro Manila by land. The tourist areas are relatively inexpensive and is able to provide choices at different price points. Playa Calatagan Residences does, of course, appear to be one of its more complete attractions.

Perhaps some Nautilus unit owners would be willing to lease their condo units to guests at the Aquaria Water Park. They may even do so for those visiting other places of interest in Calatagan. Its studio and one bedroom configurations are fairly spacious enough to accommodate various groups of travellers. Wherever they may choose to stay, Calatagan is definitely a budget-friendly vacation spot in Batangas.