On the evening of July 4th, at around 10:30pm I put a note out on Facebook asking for people who wanted to come with me on another “bahala na” roadtrip.
I had done this in May with Jasper as we made a “balikan” trip to Baguio, and previously in March to Quezon Province. The goal was not to have any specific plan or destination in mind… just to ride the car and go! Stop when hungry and spur of the moment “let’s go there”. While against my true “planner” nature… these kind of trips are less stressful because anything goes. No sticking to a schedule.
This trip would also serve as a field test for me new Nikkor 10-24mm Ultra Wide Angle Lens.
By around 11pm I was able to assemble my team of Jasper, Patrick, and Luis via Facebook, IM, and phone txts. I picked everyone up early Sunday morning. We had breakfast at McDo Alabang Town Center. And we were off.
On the the road, we took our my map of southern luzon and then decided where to go. At first we were going to head for Batangas City or Nasugbu when we saw at the very end of the leftmost point the words “light house” at the end of Calatagan. And so we decided that that would be our main destination for the day.
View Calatagan Light House in a larger map
As with these kind of no-plan trips, time does not drag. We spend our time chatting in the car about anything and everything while we notice oddities along the road. From SLEX we exited in Santa Rosa (Greenfields actually because I missed the Santa Rosa exit) and proceeded to Tagaytay City then proceeded to Lian.
We kinda made a wrong turn and headed instead to Balayan, then down to Calatagan from there. The nice thing about Philippine roads, in their simplicty you can’t really get lost. Just go straight and follow signs no matter how vague they may seem.
When we got to Calatagan… the sight of Ricky Reyes on these Golden Sunset Beach Resort signs bothered us but at lease indicated that were on the right route. We saw signs to Cape Santiago (I honestly thought it was a coffee shop). We followed the main road until the very end until we reached the tip of the map. We could see the light house on the right but couldn’t find any signs indicating a road to it… simply because there wasn’t any.
Anyway… after some asking around and getting lost, while my tires filed with cakes of mud we found the little road leading up to light house. White cows and a few goats along the side. We parked… and walked up this small driveway looking road up to a gate.
The small wooden gate was padlocked. With a sign stating that we should not enter (those weren’t the words, I should have taken a picture of the sign). There was an old rusty padlock which seemed not have ever been opened in recent years. The above picture is the scene from the gate.
The light house is very rustic. Built in 1890 by the Spaniards, its architecture very evident of its era. The area is referred to as Cape Santiago or Punta de Santiago named after Don Santiago Zobel who donated the property for the construction of the light house. I wonder if he is of relation to the Zobel’s of today.
There was no “bantay” at the time. So we didn’t know who to ask. The place seemed abandoned but we could see that the lighthouse had very modern lights. We were told as we were asking for directions that there was a “bantay” (or caretaker) but he was not around at the time.
We decided to see if we could take a peek of the light house from the water side. At the edge of the flat area where we parked the car, we saw that it would be somewhat challenging to get to the water level…
Above we see Patrick scaling the side of the cliff.
It wasn’t a difficult climb. But the corals (and the plants) were quite sharp. Thankfully no one got scratched. I wouldn’t recommend this for everybody.
As we about to embark on the climb, another group of people arrived and saw us. They were a group of photographers from Marikina who also heard of the light house.
While climb down was treacherous… getting there was worth it!
Here’s the view from the breakwater with mynew ultra wide angle lens.
View from the breakwater.
After several minutes taking picture and prancing on the painful rocks (and I was just in slippers) we then decided to make it back up to the cars.
When we made it back we noticed that our erstwhile companions were still there (their car was parked next to mine) but we could not see them. Apparently they had made it in via a back entrance… meanwhile we asked Luis to ask a guard who miraculously appeared who also said we can go inside and look for the caretaker.
We got inside the place. Beautiful rustic architecture. No caretaker in sight. Along with the other group of 4, we were the only ones there.
We went around the grounds. Despite its age and obvious deteriration, the place looked pretty well maintained. It was clean, no rotting leaves on the ground. The grounds were nice and green with cows and goats roaming around.
The trip was definitely well worth it. It was an interesting place and the trip itself was quite pleasant.
From here we left Calatagan, Batangas in search of lunch. First thought was Sonya’s Garden in tagaytay. We ended up eating in Nagubu Batangas’ Kainan sa Dalampasigan