With over 14 million local and foreign tourist visitors combined in 2018, it is undeniable that Batangas will always be the go-to place of people looking for a beach near Manila. How many times have you been to Batangas since you were a child? Too many to remember?
Before Mindoro, La Union, Zambales, Bataan or even Baler got famous, Batangas was the top favorite beach for people living in Manila.
There could be a number of good reasons behind this, one of which is its proximity to the capital. With new roads and highways, you can easily visit Batangas in 2-3 hours.
Besides budget-friendly beaches, the destination has colorful diving spots, too.
When I was a kid, Matabungkay in Lian, Batangas was where we would normally go to during summer break. It’s the “pangmasa” beach in Batangas, which can get easily crowded during peak season.
When I reached adulthood, I found the joy of free diving. Hence, I would do it at least once every quarter. I visited Bauan, Batangas, one of the most colorful dive sites you could ever find near Manila.
But what if I tell you there’s a budget-friendly place that probably has the same kind of sand as Matabungkay’s. Perhaps, it even has better, reacher and the more colorful underwater world than the one I frequented in Bauan.
The island is called Tingloy located at the southwest coast of mainland Batangas. It’s a small island constituting only 1.06% of Batangas and home to less than 20,000 people. It’s the home of the famous best value beach in Batangas: Masasa Beach.
How to get to Masasa Beach
If you’re coming from Manila, ride a bus going to Batangas City Grand Terminal. You will find buses in Cubao in Quezon City and Taft in Pasay. Fare is less than Php200 from Pasay.
Tip: Ride the bus that has CALABARZON signboard for shorter travel.
In our case, we came from Bauan, Batangas (Binukbok), went back to Lemery and rode a jeep going to Batangas City Grand terminal.
From Batangas City Grand Terminal, ride a jeep going to Talaga or Anilao Port. It is best to ask the driver which port has the boat going to Tingloy because it changes depending on the season (Amihan or Habagat).
I thought that the only port going to Tingloy was Talaga, so we went straight to Talaga. Little did I know, it was in Anilao port, so to save your time by confirming it first.
From Anilao port, take the public boat going to Tingloy. Travel time is 45 mins. Fare is Php80 and the environmental fee is Php80.
Most blogs said that the schedule was unpredictable, but during our visit, the last trip going to Tingloy was 2:30PM and we left Anilao Port on time. From Tingloy port, you can hire a tricycle going to your homestay. The fare will depend on how far you are from the port. We paid Php120 going to our place.
Things to remember before going to Tingloy
Buy everything you need at the market near Anilao Port. You’ll hardly see an eatery or a wet and dry market. It is highly advisable to buy all your raw ingredients at Anilao port since most if not all of the homestays allow their guests to use their cooking utensils for free.
Bring enough cash since all transactions on the island are on a cash basis.
Network signal is poor (well, at least for data), but call and text should be okay. There is a Piso Net store in Barangay San Juan near to our homestay that has decent internet connection in case you need to go online.
In case you don’t have any contact for a homestay, you need not worry, because there are tons of available homestays in Tingloy. You can ask for assistance from your tricycle driver or tell them to drop you off in Barangay San Juan. There are many choices here and in nearby Barangays.
If you are planning to visit on a weekend, expect a lot of big groups of local travelers. So make sure you are early to buy your ticket, even when going back to Anilao Port.
Where to stay on Tingloy Island
We stayed at RNV in Barangay San Juan. Our fan room with shared bathroom rate was Php1,500 per night. The room’s maximum capacity is 12. It’s a small room made of wide double beds. You can contact them at 09957003071 and 09494656688 and look for Ate Neneth.
The location is one of the advantages of staying at this homestay since it’s located on top of a small hill, overlooking the ocean with a nice view of the sunset from its Balcony.
They have a generator which is a big plus since there is no 24/7 electricity on the island. There is free WiFi, but it’s too slow. You can also belt out on the karaoke. There are also cooking and dining utensils. The staff are really helpful for our needs. If I have one complaint, it’s the kind of pillows they are using. Seriously, they could invest in cheap yet comfortable pillows.
Things to do on Tingloy Island
- Swim at Masasa Beach – To be fair, I don’t know how the shore appears so white on some travel photos when in fact it’s not. It’s more of grayish white and not so fine. But to be fair, the water is clear even if it was wavy on our visit.
- Island Hopping – This is something you shouldn’t miss on your visit to Tingloy. I was surprised when we free dove in Anilao, near Eagle Point Resort. The underwater world was so colorful with a variety of fishes and I was even more amazed when we swam near Masasa beach. The corals here are more colorful than those of the place where I dove in Bauan and we even spotted a turtle. I was so happy because I didn’t expect to see these.
If you don’t plan to stay in Tingloy, you can book a room to a nearby province of Anilao.