I have heard of Laiya, Batangas for years, but more so in the past 2 years, from friends. So last Saturday, I ventured forth on one of my no-plans road trips with the specific objective except to go south of Manila. The specific destination of Laiya cropped up as the trip progressed.
When you say “beach” as a destination in the Philippines, one usually conjures up images of a Boracay-like beach where you can waddle through misc. resorts and shops along a strip of sand. And while that concept is becoming more popular (like in Alona Beach in Bohol), many of the more traditional beaches in the Philippines are simply a resort… and a stretch of beach… simply put… where the commercialization ends at the resort itself.
View Laiya, San Juan, Batangas in a larger map
Laiya is around 99 Kilometers from Manila (according to my car’s trip meter and the GPS).
The Drive from Manila to Laiya took us just 2.5 hours. And it was quite a convenient drive as now SLEX connects directly with the Star Toll way which could bring you directly to Batangas City if you wanted to without having to exit at Calamba anymore.
Once you pass the Calamba Toll Booths – which was traditionally the end of the road for SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) – you will find yourself unto an extension which eventually connects to the Star (Southern Tagalog Aerial Road) Tollway. This short stretch will cost you another P25 in toll.
Then you will reach a 3rd set of toll booths connects you to STAR. You will notice the difference because STAR is not paved as nicely as SLEX… it’s a little uneven and you will feel it.
As you exit at Lipa, you will go through several towns along the way amidst the two lane road and several tricycles.
Finding a place to stay
We got to Laiya, Batangas and the first order of business was to find suitable lodging.
Bear in mind, that it is now the middle of summer. So as you can expect, barely everyplace was fully booked.
So much for hoping on wall-ins. Naturally I tried to book a room a few days prior. But of course, again, this being summer… every place with a website was fully booked.
We ended up in this little place called Casa Dolores. Not at all fancy… but then again, when it comes to lodging… I am not picky as well… I only have one requirement… strong water flow in the shower.
They had free wifi… but it was limited to this lobby. I hardly reached our room which was just 4 doors away.
We took a stoll along the beach.
The water was definitely very clear. I hardly saw any plastic bags in the water.
In general, I would say that Laiya Beach is a great place if your objective is a nice sandy beach and swimming in clean clear water. A nice place to bring the kids to enjoy the water.
However, there is no “night life” like there is in Boracay. So don’t expect any resort-hoping scenarios. The night life was simply kanya-kanyang-gimmik where you make do with your own group. That isn’t a bad thing… just setting expectations.
That said… Laiya is a great beach. And add to that the fact that it is a convenient short drive from the Manila. It is very convenient. I wonder now why I never went here before.
This is definitely some place I would go back again in the future. And I will definitely… make reservations before hand.