Friday, February 21, 2014

Residencia de Riego


There were so many things going on with the group during the first half of the month - birthday surprises and celebrations, basketball games and unlimited sessions in the metropolis. Despite these, we still managed to plan and execute an event for the love month - beachineering in Batangas.

Five BACKPACKERS went on this relaxing trip - 
Angel Cawaling, Anna Aujero, Marion Macapagal, Heinz Alvarez Jr and Ivan Laurence Ignacio


The BACKPACKERS got a little too excited for the summer as our slated adventure for the Love Month is a beach bumming trip in Batangas. 

Our original target was to visit the beautiful Masasa Beach in Tingloy Island. But a crazy weekend slapped our faces which made us detour to another beach. First off, we encountered a bumper to bumper traffic along the way to JAM bus station in Buendia. Sources told us that an event of INC almost completely paralyzed the traffic in the area. When we arrived there, we got overwhelmed with the mob and the long queue to get to the buses. We decided to sacrifice our backpacking budget and hire a van that will go directly to Anilao port since we were also on a time crunch. We needed to get to the passenger boat leaving for Tingloy Island which will depart at 4:30PM. Our van driver did the best he could to drop us to Anilao port on time, but because of the heavy traffic in Batangas, particularly along STAR tollway and in Bauan town proper, it seemed like we won't make it until past 4:30PM. We arrived at the port at exactly 4:30PM...however... despite opting for a more expensive transport to get to Anilao, we learned from the locals that the boat already left. 

Chipay and Matapang are the ninth and tenth members in this trip
We were only a small party on a backpacking budget so we won't be able to afford a private ride to Tingloy that would range from 3,500Php to 4,000Php. We had the option to just hit one of the beaches in Anilao. I had been to Anilao six times and I knew that the beaches near the town weren't as comparable to the pictures of Masasa Beach in Tingloy, let alone the sand and shoreline. (Now don't get me wrong Anilao lovers, the town is beautiful and is known for spectacular dive spots, I love Anilao otherwise I won't be back for a sixth time) Just as we were contemplating on the dire situation, a boatman came and asked if we would like to detour to Sampaguita Beach instead. He claimed that this beach boasts of its white sand and we had to hop on a boat to get there. We had no option - so we were off to Sampaguita Beach!

Sailing away from Tingloy

NOTE: The ride to Sampaguita Beach from Anilao is just a good 10 - 15 minutes, a considerable boat fare should just cost between 500 - 700Php.


We sailed to Sampaguita Beach and noticed that the boat was heading towards the right most part of the island where the longest strip of white sand is located. There is a resort here and we had to negotiate with the resort staff to let us pitch our tents in this area. The boatman and I approached a female adult in one of the cottages. I was very surprised when she proudly narrated to me the rates in a very condescending manner. She was asking for a tent pitching fee of 200Php and an entrance fee of 100Php per head. I calmly asked her if we can just pitch somewhere at a lower rate since we were originally eyeing for a backpacking trip. Then I got surprised when she became defensive that it was their land, and their beach, and said that the tent rate was comparably lower than getting a cottage for thousands of pesos. She bragged that if we stay there, we had to pay. Upfront pay her. 

I was already fuming on the inside, but I had to deal with the caretaker the calmest way possible. She said that the best discount she can give us was 100Php off the total amount. I wasn't letting her condescending tone intimidate me because I really felt that it was too much. Her place only has two or three visitors so it would not hurt her if a tent or two will be pitched even at the farthest part of her island strip. I declined the offer and told our boatman to drop us on the other side of the island and even if there's no resort on it. We were not really expecting to stay on a resort to begin with.

We thought that the encounter with this owner (or caretaker?) was over. Funny thing happened on day two when the girls were walking along the beach. They were swimming on this side when this lady approached them and stated that if they will swim in this area they need to pay her an entrance fee. Unbelievable. It's as if she owns the water, the sand and everything in front of her cottages. We wanted to ask her for a document proof stating the exact measurement of what she owns, but it wasn't worth our time. Maybe she owns the horizon. Who knows?

So if you happen to go on a backpacking trip or an escapade in Sampaguita beach, Bauan, Batangas via Anilao we highly discourage you to settle in this resort at the right side when facing the island. You're basically walking money in this caretaker's eyes.

Our plan to camp out in the virgin beach of Tingloy was spoiled already but so much with the crazy and frustrating side. We actually found our haven in Residencia de Riego beach resort. This resort completed our stay in Sampaguita Beach. After paying a small fee, we pitched our tents. Nobody swam that night as the weather turned cold. We just relaxed as most of us came straight from shift and cooked dinner.

Lazy day!
surveyed the beach and found a store managed by Nanay Ising. She offered us chicken for dinner, 1/2 kilo for 130Php and some supplies. (This backpacking budgeted trip is becoming an epic fail) The supplies were quite expensive but what can you expect, we were on a remote location. We were not able to fully buy our needed things because we were in a rush that morning to get to Tingloy. We worked with what we got and utilized the presence of this small community. Nanay Ising was so kind to offer her cooking services for us.

Aesthetically designed cottages in the community
I was able to evade the boredom while waiting for our chicken because Nanay Ising had lots of stories in store for me. She proudly mentioned that an actor went to her humble abode to ask her to cook the exact same recipe she was preparing for us. This actor bought a strip of beach in the area and Nanay gleefully narrated how she was an instrument in the negotiation and purchasing phase. The actor, according to her, is Enrique Hills; pertaining to the popular young actor Enrique Gil. 

The socials circle
We ate dinner and was immediately followed by socials. Here, we got to know our three first time guests; Jennifer -  the soft spokenly sweet interior designer from Makati, Eberly - BP Anna's super cool officemate in Maersk, and Jun - BP Heinz' little brother who is taking up Marine Education in OLFU. We hit the hay at around 1AM.


Amidst the crazy first day, a promising morning greeted us on day two. Weather was perfect for a day of beach bumming and relaxation! And that's exactly what we got!

No more stories here, I'll let the pictures speak of the fun and total relaxation that we had in this beach which was truly invigorating! 

The girls having fun in the sand
It's getting hot in here!!! Woot!
Touring the neighboring resorts
Those floating cottages were very enticing!
Today I don't feel like doing anything...
Faith Hope Love - Jenn's tattoo nailed it!
Having fun under the sun
Jenn, Anna, Angel and Marion
Siblings shot
Henry Jr and Henry IV
Looking good under the sun - BP Angel
Eberly, Anna and their travel buddy Chipay!
Having fun in Bauan. Batangas!

We would like to thank Nanay Ising for accommodating us 
and cooking us a delicious tinolang manok that afternoon
The girls with Nanay Ising
The chicken's final moments...

We would like to thank the very kind caretakers of Residencia de Riego Dive Resort for letting us camp in your fare share of sand strip and for letting us use your facilities. :)

Camping is fun in the sand
BP Marion is the Residencia's next top model
but wait, BP Anna is competitive.. wooot!

Henry IV aka Jun showing off his pool skills

This is where we camped. We also got to use one of their cottages and unlimited use of their clean comfort room and amazing cave-inspired shower rooms.

Residencia de Riego campers

Photo credits:
Eberly and Liz (for the cam)

No comments: