Update (11/2016): We got word that this is currently NOT OPEN to the public anymore.
It was a road trip that needed to happen.
My friend Victor had been in the Philippines for a few months already, but he had never really gone anywhere since he returned from Canada. Just weeks before, he lost a parent to cancer. “I need a break,” he said. So even when I was still a very nervous driver, I picked him up and took him to one of the most serene places I know — Calatagan, Batangas.
I have fond memories of Calatagan. I grew up in Batangas, and I remember camping with classmates on the shores of Calatagan as early as 11. (Yep, my feet were already restless even when I was little.) I remember the countless starfish that hid in its calm, shallow waters. I had come back again and again but it never seemed to change much. Other than several giant companies that scrambled to get a chunk of its shoreline, it seemed to refuse to embrace harsh development.
But although I would always find myself in Calatagan, this was my first time in Burot Beach.
The Road to Burot Beach
Burot Beach is one of the many coves that lace the western coast of Punta de Santiago. Facing the Verde Island Passage, one of the busiest sea routes in the country, Burot Beach lies on the same side of the cape as the Punta de Santiago Lighthouse. It was not difficult to find. Calatagan’s countryside roads are not complicated, and there are plenty of signs along the way. Framing your windshield view are mighty trees that flank the main road. I knew I was getting near when the asphalt road turned to dirt. Suddenly, fire trees came to view, painting the skies with its red-orange canopy.
For a nervous driver like me (who just learned to operate a car weeks prior), reaching this place can be quite nerve-racking. Navigation was easy, but the topography can be challenging for the driving noob. The cove is connected to the mainland only by a narrow runway. To my left AND to my right were its gentle waters. They may be shallow and peaceful, but I wouldn’t want to to take a plunge. Also, the road was so narrow, I had to move the car aside (to the very edge) to give way to exiting vehicles.
As soon as I spotted a small sari-sari store surrounded by other parked vehicles, I knew we had arrived.
It was almost noon when we reached the place. Beachgoers were taking refuge in the shade of the trees. The low tide widened the sandy beach and exposed the sea grass that carpeted the floor. Because the water was so shallow, there were no waves, only ripples from people who opted to wade under the hostile sun.
The sand here is far from white. It’s more like beige or cream. If you’re expecting Boracay-like qualities, you’re gonna be disappointed. Yet, this is one of the best beaches on this side of Batangas. This is as good as it gets. Its charm is mostly rooted in its quietness.
Shrubs cover much of the coast. Giant rocks punctuate the otherwise continuous sandy expanse. In the northern part of the cove, a rocky track sticks out to the sea, offering another resting spot for visitors.
I haven’t confirmed this yet, but word is out that this beach has already been purchased by Henry Sy’s SM, although construction of anything has yet to commence. Save for a sari-sari stores, there are no permanent structures here.
Burot Beach is one of the few beaches in Batangas that remain almost untouched. Thanks to its remote location (relative to other popular beaches like Nasugbu or Laiya). But that’s what makes a trip here so worthwhile. It offers a brand of relaxation that only nature can provide.
Camping is the best way to experience the place so bring a tent. No resorts, no hotels. Only tents pitched under the trees by overnighters. If you don’t have one, you may rent for P400. But I strongly recommend that you buy one instead because you can find one for as low as P1000 at outdoor/adventure stores.
If camping isn’t your thing or if you want to see Burot Beach on a day trip but don’t want to leave Calatagan yet, there are resorts in other beaches.
Check out rates and options here: Calatagan Resorts
If you’re planning on going on a day tour or overnight trip in Burot Beach, here are some things to remember.
Entrance Fee. P65 for day trip, P130 for overnight stay.
Environmental Fee. I’m not sure if this is really environmental fee, but they collected P20 per person. They gave us a trash bag along with reminders on how to keep the beach clean.
Parking. Plenty and FREE.
Food. There’s a sari-sari store there, but they offer not much. If you want a proper meal, you have to bring food to the beach. You can buy pre-cooked meals at a restaurant beforehand or drop by the town’s market to pick up ingredients. There are grills available, but fees apply.
Sunscreen. Bring lots of it. Shrubs dominate the area. Only a few trees. Shade is scarce.
Bus/van to Calatagan from EDSA-Taft: P180-200
Tricycle to Burot Beach: P200
Entrance fee: P65
Overnight fee: P130
Tent Rental: P400
I’ll create a more detailed Burot Beach travel guide soon.
How to get to Burot Beach. If taking public transportation, there are buses bound for Calatagan at Coastal Mall (Fare: P160). You may also take a van at EDSA-Taft (Rotonda) near Kabayan Hotel (Fare: 180). Upon reaching Calatagan town proper, take a tricycle to Burot Beach (P200). You might also want to arrange for your ride back.