Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Playa La Caleta: An Ecotourism Beach Resort in Morong, Bataan

If you’re looking for a beach escape that can be accessed by road from Manila, then head to Playa La Caleta -- an emerging beach destination in the town of Morong, Bataan. This eco-tourism resort with a 100-hectare cove is packed with all sorts of activities. You can swim by its white sand beach, trek by its lush forest, bathe in its waterfalls, or take a dip in Miguelito Island’s famous tidal pool.


While it was a bit of a challenge to travel (this was June 24-26), as it was that “time of the month” for me, I’ve managed to get through the weekend with just a few hiccups. And since our itinerary was flexible, I was able to enjoy my time in the resort by getting some much needed R&R, while catching up with old and new friends. 

WHAT TO SEE AT PLAYA LA CALETA

There are plenty of things to do in Playa La Caleta. Whether you’re staying overnight or just for a day, all paid guests will have free access to the beach, bathroom and shower facilities (including outdoor showers), beach umbrellas and grill area. Miguelito Island, which is just a short trek from the beachfront, is also open for those who want to enjoy its tidal pool. You can also jump off of the isle’s cliff or go snorkeling (note that it’s mandatory to wear a life vest for all water-sports activities). And if you’re staying overnight, guests are also treated to special events like movie nights and acoustic performances.

There’s plenty more to do at PLC, as they offer a wide-range of cool facilities like a huge slide that will drop you straight to sea. Apart from that, PLC has kayaks, skim boards and paddleboards that can be rented for a minimal fee. The resort also provides uniquely designed kites and floaters that can be used for free -– perfect for those Instagram beach photos. 


One more thing that I liked about PLC was their orange bed mats, which were accessorized with vibrant throw pillows. The lounge area, which faced the shore, also offered a mini-library filled with a good list of books, and a shelf stocked with exciting board games. 


ATTRACTIONS

If swimming by the sea isn’t enough for you, then you can try the waterfalls located in the area. These falls can be trekked for less than an hour. But if you’d like to infuse more adventure into your beach getaway, then you should try Playa La Caleta’s hiking offerings. You can inquire at the PLC office for some of their trail options like the PLC Waterfalls Trail or the Miguelito Island Trail. Miguelito Island, which is famous for its picturesque tidal pool, is a site on its own. Just make sure that you wear a good pair of shoes (preferably with a good grip), as you’ll be walking on the edge of the mountain to get to the island. Take note that the best time to visit the isle is when it’s low tide. Also, a hiking guide is mandatory. But if you already have an experienced mountaineer in your group, then you can trek at your own pace.

A post shared by Mai Flores💍Campos 📍MNL 🇵🇭 (@budgetbiyahera) on

LOCATION

I particularly enjoyed the beach resort’s location, as it offered plenty of shade. Just imagine the lush forest behind PLC’s shores, as it's surrounded with plenty of trees. I also liked that Playa La Caleta had a specific docking area for boats (to avoid congestion), and a designated area for pitching tents for campers.

PLC also offers plenty of Instagram-worthy areas, which I really liked. You can take photos on either ends of the shoreline, pose with the trees (those touching the water during high-tide), ride the old-tire swings, or lounge by the hammocks.

ACCOMMODATION

The COTTAGES that were assigned to us were nice (design-wise), especially with the addition of printed throw pillows and Bali-inspired accessories. The lodging itself could also fit at least 4-5 people, or 3 persons comfortably. Moreover, our beach hut had the basic facilities such as a ceiling fan, some lights, and a few electrical outlets. We were also provided with our own picnic table and hammock.


Despite having the privacy curtains, these weren’t enough to keep the bugs from entering our open cottage. Good thing a huge mosquito net was provided for us, which our friend Franco willingly arranged for us. The net was a definite lifesaver from all the insects that decided to stay in the hut.

Now, if you’re coming in as a smaller group and intend to stay overnight, you can rent one of their Gazebos, or pitch your own tent (or rent from PLC) by the camping area. Air-conditioned beach rooms will also be offered soon, as construction is already ongoing. 

DAY TRIPS + FOOD OPTIONS

Day trips are also possible. You can even rent one of their picnic tables by the beach should you need one on your stay. Aside from that, Playa La Caleta offers a “Boodle Fight” package, which can be arranged by the river-stream table. My friends and I were able to try this on our first day at the resort, and it was a good bonding experience.


While PLC doesn’t have their own restaurant yet, set meals and packages can still be arranged by ordering in advance. In the meantime, you can buy a few goods from their general store (i.e. instant food, drinks, personal hygiene items and medicines).

Now, if you prefer to cook your own meals, make sure to bring your own plates and utensils; and buy your goods from the nearest marketplace. Do stock up on pre-cooked food, snacks, drinks, ice, charcoal and oil too, as the nearest marketplace (Bagac Public Market) is 40 minutes away from the resort (20 minute boat and 20 minute tricycle). There is a designated open-type kitchen & grill area at PLC, which guests can also use for free.

1ST BEACH CLEANUP DRIVE AT PLC

I liked the fact that the water was warm and clear. Though I’m sure that the beach would have been cleaner and clearer if it weren’t Habagat Season. Good thing, PLC initiated their first beach cleanup during our visit, which we were able to participate in. 


RECOMMENDATIONS

PLC’s accommodations, specifically their cottages would’ve looked nicer or more cohesive if it had a consistent theme. The design seemed like they wanted to exude a Bali-inspired lodging given the pillow prints and Buddha headlight accents. While they had the same design for the pillows, the bed sheets and blankets weren’t on theme. Even our bed sheet didn't cover the entire bed. Moreover, the privacy curtains of the cottage and the hammocks could really use some washing, as it had so many stains.

Also take note that the resort doesn’t have Wi-Fi. There’s hardly any cellphone or data signal on the island. There is below standard signal for Smart subscribers, while there is no signal available for Globe subscribers. There may have been a Wi-Fi signal available at the PLC island office. But we no longer got to test the connection since our cottage was located at the far end of the beach.

HOW TO REACH PLAYA LA CALETA

On our personal experience, getting to PLC was a bit challenging to reach via commute. We had to use the following modes of transportation to reach the resort:

  • Bus from Cubao to Balanga via Bataan Transit – P200/person (3-4 hours, depending on traffic)
  • Jeep from Balanga Bus Terminal to Bagac Public Market – P47/person (less than an hour)
  • Tricycle from Bagac Public Market to La Salle – P200/3 people (10-15 minutes)
  • Boat from La Salle to Playa La Caleta Resort – P1,800 (round trip, about 20 minutes per way)
  • Tricycle from La Salle to Bagac Bus Terminal – P200/3 people
  • Bagac Bus Terminal to Balanga Bus Terminal – P50/person
  • Genesis Bus to Cubao – P200/person

There are plenty of local outrigger boats (capacity of 10 persons) when you get to La Salle School. While they already have a fixed price of P1,800 (round trip), it’s still advisable to book through PLC in advance, as they already have a list of accredited and recommended boatmen. Now, the best way to save on boat fares is to “boat pool” with other guests, so you won’t need to shoulder the whole cost.


In the near future, PLC will start its road construction at the back of the property connecting to the main highway. This will eliminate the need for boat transfers. But to preserve its eco-tourism facilities and natural treasures, a parking lot and receiving area will be built near the entrance of the road, and guests will be picked up and brought in by a small electric powered transport system.

HOW TO BOOK A STAY IN PLC?

You can send your inquiries and bookings to playalacaletabataan@gmail.com. Only through this email can an inquiry or booking be processed officially. But if you prefer to book at their main office, you can do so from Monday to Friday at 8 AM to 5 PM. Now, if you’d like to do a walk-in, bookings directly at the PLC island office are still entertained. But this will be on a first come, first serve basis with no guarantees.

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

Playa La Caleta Waterfront Estates (with Miguelito Island)
Office Address: 802 Antel Building, Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas, Pasig City, Philippines
Email: playalacaletabataan@gmail.com (for all inquiries & bookings)
Business Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM, Monday to Friday
Telephone: +632 6379147 to 48 (for urgent matters only)
Cellphone: +63908 8887668 (for urgent matters only)

Note: This is a sponsored stay with Playa La Caleta. (Budget Biyahera) I do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of the establishment or its owners. All views and opinions shared on this website are solely my own.

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