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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Isla Verde: Batangas City's Hidden Gem

We were sad about the closing of Burot Beach to the public. Calatagan used to be our go-to place whenever we needed a quick getaway from the city. Beau tried to look for a new place we can go to for our spontaneous beach escapade. We initially thought about going to Masasa in Tingloy but with all the hype it's getting lately, I don't think it's a good choice. I don't like crowded beaches. He told me there's this island called Isla Verde. I honestly haven't heard of it before so I think it is not under many people's radar yet. I was sold.

raw beauty

Isla Verde is located within the vicinity of Batangas City. It lies along the Verde Island Passage, a strait that separates mainland Luzon and Mindoro. It is a very busy sea lane as it is the main shipping route from Manila to Visayas and Mindanao in the South.

farm life feels :)

There are several resorts in Isla Verde but considering our travel style and budget, we opted to stay in Isla Verde Tropical Friendly Resort. We also read some good reviews in Facebook so we gave it a shot.

our yummy baon :)

The first time I saw it, my impression was - yaiikss it's so rocky. Saan ka magswi-swimming dito? But then, I just took that thought off my mind and proceeded to the resort to check-in. We were already hungry by the time we reached the resort so we decided to eat lunch first.

our camp site

After filling up our tummies, that's the time we started pitching our tent. They gave us an option on where we can camp. They have a paved camp site at the back surrounded by tall trees. Knowing that there are not too many people during our visit and that there is no electricity provided at night, we opted to camp in the front area. I think it'll be scary at night if we are the only people there.

moments like this :)

The resort has a relaxing atmosphere. I mentioned about the rocky beach front, right? It's not only that but the waves are also strong in this side of the island. So there aren't many things you can do here but just to chill and watch the world go by. I don't know about you, but for me it is absolutely fine. I can just read a book or take long naps and I'll be happy.

the rocky shores 

I appreciate the resort creating this man-made salt water pool. Since you can't swim at the beach, it serves as an excellent place to unwind and still enjoy the sea. It gets filled during high tide. :)

my favorite part of the resort

Don't worry about the resort not having a sandy shore. You can just hike to the other side of the island going to Mahabang Buhangin for a swimmable beach. They actually offer guides for that but we always do things DIY and our goal is always to save money. As an adventurous duo, we just hiked on our own.

the island's verdant hills, hence the name isla verde

Tada! We found it! We didn't get lost. Mahabang Buhangin still isn't a perfect beach. No fine sands but mostly pebbles. But the water here is so calm and crystal clear.

floating without a care in the world

There are still rocks at the deeper parts but very safe for swimming. This area is even great for snorkeling.

pebbly but lovely :)

We spent majority of our second day in this beach. We never get to explore the other parts of the island anymore but I heard the Sawang part is also beautiful.

♥ happy times

No matter which island we visit, we always always look for freshly caught fish to buy. We were lucky to be able to get some, yay! We feasted on fried and sarciadong fish that night.

weeee! from the sea to our tummy :)

We stayed there for 2 days and 2 nights. Why not 3 days? Because the boat going back to the city leaves at 4:00 AM! We were technically just there for 2 whole days. Sad. Waking up very early while on vacation is just ugh.

It was a very fun vacation until it ends. Isla Verde has a rough beauty. You won't love it at first sight. You have to explore it and enjoy what it has to offer before you can appreciate it. We can see ourselves returning to this island.

How we made it to Isla Verde:
  1. Ceres Bus from Buendia/Taft bound to Batangas City.
  2. Alighted in Batangas Grand Terminal and took jeepney going to Bayan (city center).
  3. We were informed that the boat doesn't leave from Tabangao that day, so we took a tricycle to SM Batangas City Terminal for the alternate route.
  4. At the SM Terminal, we rode a jeep going to Dela Paz Port. 
  5. From Dela Paz Port, we took the boat going to Isla Verde and got off in Sampalukan.

*Under normal circumstances, the port being used by the boat going to Isla Verde is Tabangao. But during our visit, locals said the waves are strong that day so the boat was stationed in Dela Paz.

  • There is only one boat servicing the island every day. Arrive early or else you will have to wait for the next day!
    • Tabangao to Isla Verde: Departs at 9:00 AM
    • Isla Verde to Tabangao: Departs at 4:00 AM
  • Travel time from Manila to Batangas City is 1.5-2 hours. Ideal time to leave Manila would be between 4:00-5:00 AM.

Transpo and Resort Expenses per person:

Php 344.00 - Bus, Pasay to Batangas City RT (172 one-way)
         24.00 - Jeep from Batangas Grand Terminal RT (12 one-way)
         15.00 - Tricycle going to SM (one-way only)
         45.00 - Jeep from SM Batangas City to Dela Paz Port (one-way only)
       240.00 - Boat, Batangas City Port to Island Verde RT (120 one-way)
       250.00 - Camping/Tent Pitching Fee (Camping fee 100/pax, 150 tent pitching fee/night)
         50.00 - Mineral Water (100 for 5L)

that melodramatic sunset

What I Liked About It:
  • The beach and the water is clean.
  • Budget-friendly. Rates are very affordable.
  • It is not too far from Manila and very accessible to public transportation.
  • It is not crowded (when we went there), it made our stay very relaxing.
  • Clean bathrooms and toilets.
  • The resort people are very kind, cool and accommodating. All our requests had been met.

What I Didn't Like About It:
  • The beach in front of the resort is very rocky, not suitable for swimming. So you have to explore the other side of the island for a good swimming spot. I'm not sure about the other resorts though.
  • The schedule of the boat going back to the city. It's too damn early. :)

Isla Verde Tropical Friendly Resort 
Sampalukan, Brgy. San Agustin Kanluran, Isla Verde, Batangas City
Contact Person: Tita Jo
Contact #s: +63 2 7825833; +63 916 440 8647

Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still, and rough or rigid, but in the end, it is always beautiful.

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