Like most sun-worshipper-moon-child hybrids, I perpetually yearn for the sunniest of days: for ocean breeze to cradle me sweetly, for the sun to plant tropical kisses on my skin, for time to stand still and tell me it’s okay to slow down, dig your toes into the sand… Breathe.
Everyday, I look forward to weekends where I can finally draw inspiration from nature. The desire to wake up to a balmy sunrise, read and write until the sun sets was bigger than my body so I had to find the perfect getaway to isolate myself from unwanted distractions.
Next thing I know I was in my car, headed North until I found Playa La Caleta in Bataan, or I think it found me.
What you need to know
Known to tourists as Playa La Caleta, is a privately owned cove maintained by caretakers. Locals call it Matikis Beach but I hear they’re thinking of calling it Oyster Island for a reason still unknown to me.
A getaway to this place features an array of activities such as hiking, snorkeling, caving, cliff jumping, fishing and island hopping. If you’re looking to relax with a bit of adventure, I suggest do the hike and cliff jumping, skip the island hopping as it is time consuming.
There’s no electricity in this island, and mobile reception is (fortunately) weak. It’s the perfect nook for people who want to leave their lives behind them for a day or two. There are no hotels or huts to sleep in so you have to bring a tent/tempo shelter/hammock with you (though there are net-hammocks good for siesta spread throughout the whole cove). There’s an extra charge when you rent the table or use the beach recliners.
If you’re going for a do-it-yourself experience, I suggest buying your meals and water from Balanga Public Market or Bagac Public Market that will be enough for the duration of your trip. There are absolutely no stores in this island so come prepared. There is a tour operator you can contact if you wish to skip the task of hiring a boatman or cooking your food they’re called Bataan Nature Adventures.
It’s the best place to practice your swimming skills since it only starts to get deeper than 5 feet for about 100-150 meters from the shore.
Important Things to Bring
I always opt for DIY trips because I grew up knowing if I want something so bad, I’d have to work hard to earn it. 😉 Besides, I love buying and cooking my own food, speaking to locals and having an authentic adventure experience. That said, I make sure I have everything I need with me such as the following:
- Flashlight/ Headlamps/ Emergency light
- Extra batteries
- Cooking Stove / Butane/ Cook sets
- Tent / Hammock/ Sleeping bag/ Tempo shelter
- First aid kit
- Aqua shoes (optional)
- Snorkling gear
- Sweater/jacket (it gets cold at night)
- Mosquito repellent
- Change of clothes
How to get there
Public (3 hours): Take Genesis Bus from Cubao, Manila en route to Balanga, Bataan (2 hours). From Balanga, take a jeep or van going to Bagac (30 mins). Upon reaching Bagac, take a tricycle that will take you to the port servicing to Playa La Caleta.
Private (2 hours and a half): Take North Luzon Express way and exit San Fernando head towards Bataan (land mark: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar).
- Hiking (a bit of) – the caretakers mentioned something about hacking the trail all the way to the falls because the trail isn’t that established for non-hikers. Guide fee: P 100 ($2.13)
- Cliff Jumping – the boat can take you cliff jumping on the same day but there’s an entrance fee charge of P 100 per boat ($2.13)
- Island Hopping- the boat man can take you to: Caragman Cove, Biga Cove and Velasco Pink Beach
- Beach bumming
Bus from Cubao to Balanga, Bataan: P 200 ($4.27)
Jeep from Balanga Public Market – P 47 ($1)
Round Trip boat ride to and from the island – P 1800 (boat can fit up ’til 10 passengers) (roughly $40)
Beach Entrance: P 100 ($2.13)
Bus back to Manila: P 200 ($4.27)
- table rental – P 200 – 300 ($ 4.27 – $ 6.38)
- beach recliner – P 100- 200 ($ 2.13 – $4.27)
- guide to the cliff – P 100 ($ 2.13) – this is optional as you can go there at your own risk. I went there with a friend and it was not that difficult to trek, I’m sure you can do it too sans guide, yes?! 🙂
Note: It’s best to call them up before arriving so they can reserve a spot a table or a hut if you wish to use one.
Contact: Kuya Steve (caretaker) +63 919 895 0670
Give yourselves a break from hustlin’ too hard and head out to Playa Caleta for a quick sanity break.