Monday, June 3, 2013

Lian, Batangas

Okay, so, this is a very late post since I've been busy with some freelance work and I wasn't in the writing mood for more than a month.  Well, I still am not in that writing mood.  I'm trying to squeeze this in after noticing that the stories I'd love to share with you guys are piling up!  So, yeah, my apologies if I'm not making any sense at all or if I make this or the succeeding posts a short one.


If you haven't read my previous post where I met three cool people from Taiwan and Vietnam back in late April, I had spontaneous and late-notice trips with them, plus this one that I'm about to tell you and two more side trips on the succeeding posts.

Nala, a new found friend from Vietnam, stayed at my place for three days.  I wasn't supposed to host her during her stay here in the Philippines, but since no one's available from the Couchsurfing community, I moved all my schedule (the perks of working as a freelancer) just to make sure that her stay here in our country will be splendid.  Jack and Ray (the cool and funny guys from Taiwan) flew back to their homeland the night Nala stayed at my place.

While we were eating our home-cooked lunch the day after (Nala prepared a Vietnamese dish that is not served in any Vietnamese chains here or anywhere, and I cooked our local dish, tochio), we both talked about her wanting to spend her remaining three days here in PI at a beach.  But since I can't go too far due to budget constraints, I persuaded her to see Nasugbu, Batangas instead since I'm just two hours away from the said place.  So I called up my mom's cousin, Tito Naldo, and asked if he knows any white sand beaches around the area aside from Papaya Beach that I went to back in college with friends (where we camped at the shore overnight, living like 'Survivors').  As soon as he said yes and asked when do I plan to go there, I quickly answered, "In a couple of hours."  Haha!  Yep, that's how spontaneous my trips are.

After two hours drive, picked up Tito Naldo at his home--where he escorted us to Lian, and a mini-accident that Nala and I had experienced that we both find very hilarious, we finally arrived at LMR Resort.  Just in time for sunset.

Tito Naldo, Nala and I expected that we're going to be seeing a white sand beach, but it led us to disappointment.  I can't blame anyone for it since my uncle only asked some of his friends from the area as well.  It was his first time to go to this place too.  But I really don't mind whether it be black, gray, or white sand.  I just felt ashamed for building up expectations to Nala.  :p  But she really loved it there, which is great.

What really made up our day was the beautiful sunset and the place where we stayed.  It's so affordable and the owner, Tito Mario, is very hospitable (as well as my Uncle Naldo) that I can die of heart attack due to overwhelming gratitude.  Haha.

Fortune Island ahead
I forgot the boatman's name, but we asked him and Tito Mario what's the name of the island in front of us--it's the infamous Fortune Island that was owned by Senator Loren Legarda's former husband, Tony Leviste.  Our boatman offered Php 500 for us two for a two-way trip.  Not bad, but we're on a tight budget.  Then weeks after our trip, I saw this island featured on TV and it has ruins that resembles Greece--the country that I really wanted to go to before I die.  Haha!  So I felt bad that we didn't go there back in April.  Boohoo.

The place where we stayed.

I don't favor this.  These lapu-lapu should have been brought back to the sea for them to grow and spread.

My uncle and Tito Mario prepared our dinner:  pinangat, red egg with tomatoes,and white rice.  Just perfect.  We were privileged to use their videoke machine, so Nala and I really had fun!  We just hoped that our fellow Taiwanese friends and some of my friends were with us at that time.

After dinner, there was a commotion at the shore where some other locals caught  pugita or octopus that were hidden at the rocks.


The next day.  We woke up at 5:30AM since we hired the boatman to bring us to a white sand beach and the cave at the other side of San Diego.

Apparently, you need to have diving gears to get to the cave.

And this is what we found at that beach manong boatman told us.  It's gray and not fine!  Sigh.  Uncle Naldo was disappointed too.  He was like, "We should have gone to Papaya Beach instead."  And I was like, it's fine.  At least I get to explore this side of San Diego in Lian, Batangas and realized that it's more fit for snorkeling activities.  They've got clear blue-green water with healthy marine life.  Lovely corals indeed.  The downside of these short notice trips, incomplete tools and equipment.  We don't have goggles or snorkeling gears with us, so we just entertained ourselves by looking at the lovely marine life while we were on the boat.

Our boat ride costs Php 100 each, to and fro.  Not bad.  :)

Filtered using my shades.

The sea is calling me!

Malagkit (bibingka) for breakfast + pan de sal + suman.  Carbo-loaded breakfast it is.  :P

What I don't like at this beach, the trash scattered around.  Sigh.  Irresponsible tourists and locals!!!

Total expense for Nala and I, around Php 2,500.  Not bad!

Php 1,500 for overnight stay
- You can spend the night with many people as you like to tag along with.
- Two rooms
- Two cottages
- Bathroom (pail and bucket style)
- Grilling
- Camping is allowed.
- You can have a bonfire (Php 100 for wood)
- Our freebie: free use of videoke machine, breakfast, and some chips and booze.

Food and drinks:  Php 300

Then other expenses like gas and water.

Each room can fit 3-4 people.

Tito Mario, owner.  Maraming salamat po! :)

Feel free to contact them for more information.  :)

I'm hoping for an improvement here at San Diego, Lian, Batangas.  Locals should learn how to dispose their garbage so that there won't be any stench in the morning and there will be no trash all over the beach.  It's a no-brainer, if the beach is clean, it looks pleasing.  And if it's pleasing, people (tourists) will come in.  And if they come in, there will be jobs for the locals who are struggling financially since they depend to the fishes at the sea.  Sigh.  Local government, please do act on this.  Tourism will help boost economy!

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