I have heard many good stories and experiences about Laiya beach, crystal clear water and long stretch of white sandy beach. Well those testimonials enticed me to visit this favorite summer destination in the Philippines. This time, I arranged a summer outing with my family and closest relatives which we have not done in ages.
We opted to bring our own cars since we love road trips. Laiya Beach in San Juan, Batangas is around 3-4 hours drive from the Metro Manila depending on the traffic condition. With the help of mobile app Waze, we managed to find our way to Laiya with no sweat at all. We drove to several tollways to shorten the travel time. From Imus City in Cavite, we took MCX (Muntinlupa Cavite Expressway) in Daang Hari Road towards SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and STAR Toll (Southern Tagalog Arterial Road) then exited in Ibaan, Batangas. Here is the breakdown of the toll fees paid for one way:
- Daang Hari to Calamba Toll Plaza – Php 97
- Calamba to Sto Tomas (Start of STAR Toll) – Php 25
- Sto. Tomas to Ibaan Exit – Php 76
- Total = Php 198 (Updated as of 28 April 2018)
Summer in Laiya Beach
Summer is the best time to hit the beach. But one of the downsides of beaching there in the months of March, April and May is the difficulty of booking the accommodation. Two weeks before our trip, I did check all booking websites like Agoda, Booking.com and even Airbnb. I also called up some of the popular resorts but they are already fully booked for the rest of the month. It is really important to plan your summer escapade as early as possible. However, I managed to book some rooms in Casa Dolores, a not so popular yet inexpensive resort in Laiya. They have 2 types of room, Hotel Room for Php 3,500 per night and Cabin Room for Php 2,500. Hotel Room has its own toilet while Cabin Room has sharing toilet. The Hotel Room can accommodate up to 5 guests with extra bed while Cabin Room can be occupied by 4 guests.
The place is not as glam as the neighboring resorts of La Luz and Acuatico. However, the room looks clean and worth the price we paid. The resort has limited parking space so we rented a private parking lot for Php 150 for 1 day per car. The resort is just few steps away from the beach which is nice. Similar to many other resorts in Laiya, this one has no private pool so we can only enjoy the beach.
When we arrived there in the afternoon, the beach is already overcrowded by people occupying the nearby resorts and beach houses. This part of the Laiya is open to public unlike the other nearby popular resorts that have their own private beachfront. The sand is not as white and fine as Boracay and it is more of tiny white pebbles. We stayed in the water for about two hours on that afternoon and headed back to our rooms for dinner. In Casa Dolores, you can bring your own food and drinks without any corkage fee. You can also use their kitchen to cook your own food for Php 500 per day.
The following day, we woke up early to take our complimentary Filipino style breakfast and to enjoy the beach once again since that is what we came for. Surprisingly, the beach looks more beautiful and water is clearer. I think it must have been the crowd the day before which caused too much sand movements and made the water murky. There are also some activities that you can do in the beach like Banana Boat riding for 12 persons at Php 1,500 that you can bargain to Php 100 per person and Island Hopping that ranges from Php 1,700 to Php 2,500 per boat (capacity of 12 people).
That part of Laiya is known for its beautiful rock formation located at the extreme portion of La Luz resort. We paid Php 5 each to the guide to escort us going there since we needed to cross a private resort and I can say that it was the most worth Php 5 I ever paid in my life.The rock formation is awesome for photo ops and the surrounding beach is less crowded with crystal clear water though the sand has more stones. We were told not to swim in that area since it is exclusive only for La Luz’ guests but we just gave a Php 100 tip to our guide and we were able to play in that crystal clear water for a while.
Our overall experience in Laiya was fun but if I will go back there again, I will definitely stay in a private resort. Casa Dolores is a good choice during non-peak season in the months of June to February but not in the summer time as it tends to be very crowded.