A Perfect Spur-of-the-Moment Getaway at Masasa Beach, Tingloy

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

celineism

It was December 9th, Dennis and my 9th anniversary. We were planning to go to Abra but after finding out from the local tourism office that the Kaparkan Falls –  the main reason we wanted to go there in the first place – was closed for the season, we decided to change plans. We almost ended up staying in and spending the day at home, but at the last minute, we changed our minds, slung our bags on our shoulders and found ourselves on a bus to Anilao – headed to Masasa Beach

We were prepared to stay the night in Anilao, having read from other blogs that the passenger boats from the port to the island of Tingloy halted operations at 4PM. We arrived at the Anilao Port quarter to 5PM. 

We saw that people were huddling over a sheet of yellow paper. Not far off, a uniformed man with his arms crossed watched the scene. 

"Magandang hapon po," I began, assuming that the man was a Coast Guard. "Meron pa po ba byahe pa-Tingloy?"

"Meron pa. Sulat na kayo pangalan dun," he replied as he pointed to his left where the crowd was gathering. "Hanggang 80 lang p'wede sumakay."

We nodded our thanks and waited for our turn to write. Anxiety growing as I watched the number of passengers go over 70, but we were able to secure numbers 74 and 75. We also found out that boats are willing to sail even after 4PM if there are still many passengers.
It was already dark when we arrived at Tingloy. During the boat ride, we were seated beside a woman who asked if we already had a place to stay. We said we had none yet, and she offered her niece's homestay. We said we'd like to stay there, and so we tagged along with her, bringing us to our home for the next two days.

After our humble dinner of canned tuna, we slept fitfully, for electricity is cut off at 10PM and resumes at 12noon. For two days, we endured sleeping without any ventilation. The nights in Tingloy, for some reason, are breeze-less. I remember wondering if it would have been better if we slept in a tent on the beach. But we were tent-less and so we endured. I found out much too late that there were homestays that had generators. 

In any event, we woke up very early the next day. It was a Saturday and we were glad the beach was still clear of tents. We went around to photograph the island and it was beautiful. When there was enough daylight, we made arrangements to go snorkeling. And for just Php100, we were able to see the thriving marine life of Masasa. It was amazing how rich the waters are. The corrals were huge and vibrant. The fish were plenty and came in torrents. 
After snorkeling and a bit of swimming in Masasa's clear, cool waters, we went back to our accommodation to have lunch and to wash up. We took a nap and at around 3PM, we went for a walk to see more of the island. 

Tingloy is such a varied place. To get to the beach, one has to walk across rice fields which, at the time of our visit, were teeming with emerald young palay. The rock formations surrounding the beach were also picturesque. And the water comes in a pastel shade of blue that turned darker farther out.


masasa beach travel guide

masasa beach travel guide

By the time we decided to explore the "Lagoon", visitors have already occupied most of the beach. The once bare shores were now festooned with multicolored tents. Away from the crowd, Dennis and I went on foot across residential houses, through a canopied walkway, eventually finding ourselves before a natural swimming pool. It was almost dusk and the soaring limestone wall next to the lagoon made for a spectacular glittering canvass for the waning sunlight.
masasa beach travel guide

masasa beach travel guide

masasa beach travel guide

masasa beach travel guide

masasa beach travel guide

masasa beach diy guide

Dennis and I walked a little bit farther to photograph the rock formations which we belatedly found out were called "Tawel" or "Tawil". I was seated on a rock while Dennis took pictures when I realized my phone was missing. Surprisingly, I didn't feel upset. On a deeper part of my consciousness, I somehow knew I'd get my phone back.
masasa beach diy guide

tawel rock formation

Related Adventure: 24+ Hours with My "Girlfriend"

We made our way back slowly, examining the paths we walked on for signs of my phone. I tried calling it with Dennis's phone and it was still ringing. After the third call, someone picked up. The voice was garbled. The call dropped not long after. I sent an SMS telling the person that I own the phone and that it had text credits so he can reply. A few moments later, he replied and we agreed to meet up in the lagoon. 

It was already dark when a middle-aged guy on a bicycle came to meet us. But I wasn't paying attention because, somehow, Dennis' camera filter case and its contents had gone missing. I probably dropped them along the way, preoccupied with my missing cellphone. Dennis thanked the man and explained that we were missing another item. The latter was kind enough to accompany us back to the Tawel rock formations to look for the case. We thanked him and told him we'll be alright. We found the case on the pebbled beach beyond the lagoon. Its black surface stood out against the peach of the sands and corral bits. Elated that we were able to come home with all our things intact, Dennis and I walked hand in hand back to our place.
A post shared by Dennis Dela Cuesta Murillo (@thedennismurillo) on

masasa beach diy guide


masasa beach diy guide

Related Adventure: I Spend My Birthday in the Mountain and Other Stories

It had turned dark and the moon was already up. We passed by the Lagoon and what a sight it was that night! The moon shone right above the pool. Its glow casting a natural spotlight. The water undulating, glittering, and appearing to have turned into liquid silver. Standing beneath the shadow of the limestone wall, I half expected a mermaid to appear in the enclosure. Moonbathing, I thought. And Dennis agreed.

That particular episode was my favorite part of that trip. 

The island of Tingloy is so beautiful. It was so much so that I felt something I don't usually feel when I travel: I had the strongest and sincerest urge to return.

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HOW TO GET THERE

From Cubao or Pasay, ride a bus bound to the Batangas Grand Terminal. From here, ride a jeepney to Anilao Port. The jeep may drop you at "Crossing". If that's the case, hail a tricycle that will take you to the port. Here, there are commuter boats here. Boats are available until 4PM, but sometimes make an additional trip beyond that time to accommodate the number of passengers. Once in Tingloy, there are tricycles that can take you to the beach or to the place where you stay. There also boats that dock right at the beach, but these are only until 11am. 
masasa beach diy guide

masasa beach diy guide

For boat schedules back to Anilao Port, just inquire at any of the kind and accommodating baranggay workers that make rounds along the beach. Boats sometimes dock in Talaga Port instead of in Anilao, which is better as there are more jeeps bound to the grand terminal here. 

Related Adventure: Trip of Wonders

BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES

Bus Fare (Alimall Cubao Terminal to Batangas Grand Terminal) - Php165
Jeepney Fare (Grand Terminal to Crossing) - Php35
Tricycle Fare (Crossing to Anilao Port) - Php30
Boat Fare (Anilao Port to Tingloy) - Php80
Tricycle Fare (Tingloy Port to Homestay) - Php30
Homestay (Ate Lisa) - Php250/pax/night
Environmental Fee - Php30
Snorkeling - Php100
Tricyle Fare (Homestay to Tingloy Port) - Php30
Boat Fare (Tingloy Port to Talaga Port) - Php80
Jeepney Fare (Talaga Port to Grand Terminal) - Php40
Bus Fare (Grand Terminal to Cubao) - Php165

OTHER CONCERNS AND REMINDERS

- Practice the LNT Principles at all times (Read: 8 Basic Etiquette Rules Every Modern Traveler Should Know)
- Wear appropriate clothing to avoid injury and wounds, put on some sunscreen too
- You may set up tents for free in the beach
- Mobile Reception: All networks are intermittent
There are plenty of sari-sari stores in the barrio and around the beach, but prices are relatively more inexpensive


CONTACT DETAILS

If you want to stay at Ate Lisa's, you may contact her at +63 916 641 8588 (Lisa Mandanas).

For more DIY Travel Guides, check this out.

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