Saturday, past three, we met John and his father in the village right next to Las Casas. We got settled quickly, then the boat started to roar towards the abandoned nuclear power plant in Morong. The sprawling Las Casas got smaller and smaller in the view, and we were still wondering why we didn’t just take the shoreline to the neighboring village. It would’ve been just a short walk.
Shortly, it would get dark. The boat took a right turn and headed to a seemingly busy cove lined with tents and bright beach umbrellas. It’s Playa La Caleta (PLC), known to the locals as Matikis Beach. It’s a charming spot nestled in the mountains of Morong, far enough that there’s almost no cellphone signal, yet near enough that it’s as comfortable as home.
Several years back, visitors called this place remote. I heard of stories that the sea can get rough and crazy, no electricity, and that there are only tents for shelter. Now, Playa La Caleta already has the necessities of a comfortable resort, a one-stop shop for fun activities. Despite the development, Playa La Caleta remains unspoiled and peaceful. You’ll admire the lush green surrounding the resort, the chest-deep water off the shore, the fine milky sand reminiscent of the coves in Zambales, the sunrise, the sunset, and the scenic Miguelito Island that has a beautiful lagoon and snorkeling spot.
Spend several days at the cove when you visit. There’s so much to do aside from swimming and snorkeling, so don’t cram everything up in an overnight stay. Three days, two nights will be best. Or even if you choose to do nothing except to shut yourself from the busy world, the whole island is yours. I’m sure you won’t regret you stayed longer.
Also read: 17 for 2017: Where to Go In The Philippines This Year
How to Get There
Public Transport to Bagac
Along EDSA Cubao, take a Bataan Transit or Genesis bus bound for Balanga, Bataan (P200, 3-4 hours depending on traffic). The earliest trip starts at 4 AM, and then every 30 minutes. At the Bataan Transport Terminal, take a jeepney to Bagac Public Market (about P50, can take 45 minutes). Then take a tricycle (P10) going to Fajardo’s Beach Resort where you can take the boat to Playa La Caleta.
Driving to Bagac
If driving from Manila, it’s best to leave early morning to avoid the rush hour. Take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) up to the San Fernando exit, then take the Jose Abad Santos Avenue going to Lubao, Pampanga and Dinalupihan, Bataan. From NLEX, you can also take the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) as alternative until you reach Dinalupihan. At the Layac junction, turn left to the Roman Superhighway all the way to Balanga and Bagac.
Boat to Playa La Caleta
Boat rental is P1800 for a round trip good for 10 guests. The boat ride will take about 20 minutes.
Contact John: 0950 169 0511
Playa La Caleta has a long list of activities that can make your stay loaded with fun.
Just Relax—Slow down and take a nap in the hammocks. Or swing on those rubber tires hanging from the trees. Or look for your spot under the shade of the trees, sip fresh buko juice while reading a good book and listening to the waves. At Miguelito Island, you can also dip in the lagoon and declare it as your #MeTime space for the whole day. At night, you can have some bonfire and movie marathon.
Swimming, Snorkeling —The clear blue water is just irresistible for a swim. Walk several meters off the shore and the water still doesn’t get that deep. The east side of the beach and the area close to Miguelito Island are good spots for snorkeling. There’s plenty of angel fish in these spots you could even see them without taking a dip.
Hiking, Trekking—Going to the dam means walking into the canopies and following the stream of cold freshwater from the falls. This can take about 30 minutes. The waterfall, however, is a rather long walk that can take about 2 to 3 hours. If you want more adrenaline to boost your day, there’s also a hiking trail up in the mountain.
Water Sports—PLC has a number of facilities for rent including kayaks, paddle boards, skimboards, and sailboards. Having second thoughts? Don’t miss this. The resort has guides that can assist you learn the ropes. You’ll definitely love yourself more for taking the challenge.
Photography—There entire Playa La Caleta is so diverse, so much of everything in a small space. It’s best to capture the sunset from the side of Miguelito Island, where there are hundreds of rocks that can add drama to the scene. There are also interesting rock formations, underwater scenes, and action worthy of good snapshots.
Others—Wanna fly a kite? Or try that Slip n Slide—oooops that’s for the kiddos. Or probably have a boodle fight picnic and a few drinks at the river-stream table.
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The backpacker can always pitch a tent at the shoreline. If you’re not comfy in that setup, there are gazebo huts you can choose from. Each hut can accommodate up to four guests. The resort also has cottages that can fit up to six guests. They’re furnished with a ceiling fan, pillows, beddings, electric outlets, hammocks, tables, and benches. At night, guests can request for a mosquito net. Make sure to bring a jacket or blanket because it can get cold at night.
No issues with water. There’s a good supply of water for washing and the common restrooms and shower rooms are well-kept. Check the rates here.
- Buy all the food and supplies you need at Bagac Public Market. You can have your food cooked by the staff of PLC, or you can also bring your cooking equipment. PLC has a convenience store where you can buy basic necessities.
- Don’t forget to bring your beach essentials including sunblock and insect repellant.
- Overnight parking fee at Fajardo’s is P200.
PLAYA LA CALETA
Facebook: Playa La Caleta Bataan