Whenever my friends and I talk about a summer getaway, the first consideration that we always have is how much will we spend on the trip. The second consideration would be if the place we're going to is worth the expense. There's one place that always comes to my mind in a moment like this.
I've been lucky since even at a young age, I've always had access to a beach because my parents grew up at Ilijan, Batangas City. It's a 1-hour drive from the Batangas City Proper that previously had no electricity, no signal for internet browsing, and no water lines (so we had to use a water pump to take baths back then)!
Fast forward to today, I'm so proud of how it has bloomed to become a summer destination to a lot of city dwellers who want to unwind by the sea. I've met people from Quezon City, Laguna, and even Bulacan who went here during the Holy Week break to chill with their friends.
I know you're wondering what you can do there, so here are my top three recommendations plus tips if you want to have your summer vacation here.
Experience chilling at an infinity pool in
Vista de Puente Beach Resort
What came as a surprise to me was the beach resort that had an infinity pool that was built right next to our house. This place went viral because who would've thought an infinity pool could be used at Php150 only? What a steal!
I didn't believe it but my sisters and cousins went there and experienced it themselves. I loved how there was a ramp in the middle where you can take photos with the infinite sea background right behind you.
There are a lot of common area tables that can be rented out so you don't have to lug around your things from your room to the pool area.
There are also grilling areas where you can cook your own food because there is no food place inside the resort so you can also use this as a bonding moment with your loved ones.
Did I mention that almost all corners of Vista de Puente Beach Resort is #Instagrammable?
You can't go wrong with the rates as well. For the quality of the swimming pool, of the service provided by the staff, and accessibility to places such as the supermarket, hardware store, and rotonda at Ilijan, these rates are a steal!
Php150 - Adults
Php120 - Senior Citizens / PWDs
Php100 - Children below 4 ft.
Picnic Table - Php800 (good for 8 pax)
Group Table - Php1,000 (good for 10 pax)
Cabana - Php1,200 (good for 12 pax)
Couple Room (2-3 pax) - Php2,500
King Bedroom (4-5 pax) - Php3,000
Quadruple Room (4-5 pax) - Php3,500
Family Room A (4-6pax) - Php4,000
Family Room B (4-6pax) - Php4,500
Group Room A (8pax) - Php6,000
Group Room B (16pax) - Php8,000
**Fees exclude entrance fee payment
Vista de Puente Beach Resort is located at Brgy. Bayanan, Ilijan, Batangas City.
For your inquiries and to see the other amenities of Vista de Puente Resort, check out their Facebook Page, shoot an e-mail to vistadepuente[at]yahoo.com, or contact 09152892907 or 09152892907.
Have your merienda by the beach
at Seaside Diner
You'd think that most cafes or diners would be located at the city proper, but there's one where you can enjoy good food by the beach at affordable prices.
Drop by at Seaside Diner (which is coincidentally right next to Vista de Puente Resort) so you can relax while having your meal or merienda.
It's at the back of a residential area so you can guarantee that it's safe and quiet there, plus have a chat with the staff if you want. They're very accommodating.
You can choose which seating area you prefer: at the back overlooking the beach...
...or at the nipa hut where you can sit with more friends for a more private setting.
You can also choose a wide variety of food, including Batangas specialties such as tapa and lomi. I'd give plus points for the cute containers that give an added #millennial touch to the diner's aesthetics.
We each had a tapsilog (Php55) with a Bubblegum shakes (Php25) for lunch. This meal was such a steal because the tapa was tangy and delicious which complimented the sweetness of the drink. This was such a steal for the price because I'm guessing that I'd pay Php150 - Php200 for the same quality if I ate this in Manila, but just shelled out Php80 for one meal.
Seaside Diner is located at Brgy. Silangan, Ilijan, Batangas City.
For more information, you can check out Seaside Diner's Facebook Page or contact 09234498799 for inquiries or reservations.
Enjoy the beach (for free!)
If you're lucky enough to know someone who lives in Ilijan, one of the cost-effective ways to enjoy the place is by a stroll by the beach or a dip in the sea.
While there are many huts and resorts along the shoreline, you can enjoy the beach front for free since it's open to the public.
Just look at this view and clear waters.
When you drop by during the low tide season, some of the rock formations become visible where you can take your photos. I can't believe I've been taking this view for granted for so long.
How to get to Ilijan
By your own car
- Ilijan is a 3 - 4 hour drive from Metro Manila and a 40 minute - 1 hour drive from Batangas City.
- If you're coming from Metro Manila, combined toll fee prices from the Skyway up to the Startollway is approximately Php500 (one-way).
- Landmarks that you can take note of on your way are the Shell Refinery, Avida Residences, JG Summit Plant, and Monte Maria Shrine.
- You can also use Waze so you won't get lost, but make sure that you're using data from Globe because it's the network with the strong connection in the area.
Here's the Google Map on how to get to Ilijan:
- You can ride any bus that's bound for Batangas City Pier and be dropped off at the Grand Terminal Station. Average cost is Php165 - Php157.
- When you get to the Grand Terminal Station, ride the jeepney with the Balagtas signage at the side that's color yellow. Ask to be dropped of at Don Ramos / the jeepney stop if you want to go to SM City Batangas. Cost will be Php8.
- Get dropped off at Don Ramos with the landmarks of an STI campus and a lion statue. Cross the street going to the Prudential Guarantee sign and walk going to your right. You need to cross the street again towards the tricycle terminal.
- You should be able to see jeepneys with white signages at the side that says Capitolio. Ask to be dropped off to SM City Batangas. Cost is Php8.
- At the back of SM City Batangas, there will be a jeepney terminal. Ask around for jeepneys going to Ilijan. The jeepney should have a green signage at the side stating Ilijan or De La Paz Pulot. Cost is Php45.
- That's it! Just ask to be dropped off to your destination. The driver or other passengers will surely know.
Additional tips when going to Ilijan
- Smart and Sun sims will have a weak signal. Globe will have fast internet and a strong signal because there is a cell tower there, so using Globe during your stay there will be a smart move.
- Don't be shy to ask around. Everyone knows everyone else since you're visiting a tight-knit community.
- It'll be hard to look for tube ice there. Best to buy from Ministop or 7-Eleven before heading out there.
- Shops there usually open as early as 5AM and close at 5PM-6PM.
- Bring lots of sunblock (a tip that applies just about anywhere).
- Don't throw your trash at the shoreline. There's no roving security guard or an environmental fee at the beach but do your part to keep it clean.