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Ivory Coast, Calatagan: 13 Days of Summer of Love Mindanao Part 1









I was just a lucky guy who was given an ample time off from work to beat the summer of 2013. I was counting  all my remaining days of vacation for the first quarter of this year and I have realized that I still got thirteen days remaining and what better way to spend it but to visit and discover places off coast of Mindanao.

Excited about my vacation, it took me a while to decide  which part of the Philippines I was going to feature to leave some remarkable footprints of adventures.

In the middle of my planning, I was very glad that an Ivatan friend  living in Imus, Cavite, Kurt, requested for a meet up just to put his new camera into test, giving  me an idea to introduce and share to him  my so called secret spot in Calatagan, Batangas. A perfect  getaway to put his new gadget into action!

What's Eating My Days?

My Luzon travel buddy, Kurt, future photographer
Coming from Surigao del Sur, I traveled eight hours to be at Bancasi Airport in Butuan City for my flight to Manila as my jump off point to my planned escapade. 

Timely, it was Maundy Thursday  and it was just surreal to see how clear, wide and less populated Manila was as many city dwellers travel back to their respective provinces during Lenten Season. This was the only time I felt a little safer walking at the less crowded street of  the metro. Viola! Thank God!

Since it was a holiday this gave me a moment to rest for a little and wonder around the concrete jungle before I bounce to my travel buddy's house  for an overnight stay and prepared on  our "come what may trip"  to Calatagan, Batangas.


We are  rockin'  the summer of 2013
Before the sun had risen on a Saturday morning, Kurt and I found ourselves riding on a San Agustin Bus bound for Lian, Batangas. The early bus ride took  four hours before we reach Lian , and from there we rode on  a jeepney parked in front of  town's public market bound for Calatagan .

Taking the local  jeepney was like watching a slow motion picture, putting us into a thrill mode for more than an hour before we reach the  nearby town of Calatagan.

We asked the driver to drop us at the local market where we bought some fish, rice, and water before we hired a tricycle towards our target destination, the not so famous Ivory Coast  in Brgy. Bagong Silang.


Tainted Secret!

Ivory Coast is no longer  new to me  as this place had been my Ecology laboratory when I was still an Environmental Science student way back in early 2000. Ivory Coast 13 years ago was a simple and quiet place not known to many and very few people knew this secret spot as the entrance to the resort was a little conspicuous to find. This place was once a beautiful resort but due to lax of management, the place remained underdeveloped.

Sandbars formed at the nearby beach of Ivory Coast during low tide

What I love about Ivory Coast was its peaceful ambiance, the exact opposite scenario of the crowded busy environment of the city. Aside from the serenity, the diverse coast is home to thousands of marine organisms ranging from different species of sea stars, fishes, sea cucumber, sea shells, corals, sea weeds and grasses and the unforgettable sea urchins ( I got stung on my first year of visit).

Entering the resort, I was a little surprised that this secret spot in Calatagan was no longer secret upon witnessing more than a dozen of families camping on the white fine coral sand beach. Many have opted to stay  to this "secret sanctuary" due to the congestion of people in the other famous beach resorts in Batangas during this time of the year. I guess our secret has just been revealed! 

We Are the Amazing "Smart" Survivors or A.S.S.!

Cape Santiago lighthouse was erected in 1890
There were no longer accommodations in Ivory Coast as the old rooms were demolished and what remained were the old three sinks and shower rooms on the side. Good thing water still runs from the faucet.

We came to the place a little prepared, bringing our   small and tiny yellow tent and assembled it under the nearby Talisay tree which served as our temporary shelter for the night. I guess one has to sleep outside!

Lunch time and we were hungry! It put our kitchen skills into action and we have to cook our lunch using charcoal. Good thing  Mang Doro was around, the care taker of the "resort". I used my simple charm and borrowed  a caserole and an iron grill for us to have a decent cooked meal, rice and fish that's all.

The problem was, we were too tired (or lazy) to make another fire. Thinking like a lazy but smart campers, we looked for someone who was already doing some grilling in the area and snatched two pieces of burning coals and used it as our "igniter". Hi hi hi! Yup , that's how we survived our first meal, snatching!

We spent the whole afternoon by just taking a good long nap on the hammock we hanged between the Talisay trees.

Run to the Light of Cape Santiago!

The afternoon  sun shown golden and got us  excited to put our camera into action.. opps it was Kurt's new camera  by the way... mine requires fixing  during that time.

Not from afar , we saw a white light house standing at the left end of the coast. We decided to reach the century old light house of  Cape Santiago. We never thought it was that farrrrrr! We were running like we were in the reality show of Amazing Race trying to reach first the pit stop and  beat the golden sunset, setting fast behind the mountain peak of Lubang Island.

The light house was well managed by its care taker , 3rd of their generation , Antonio Coz Jr. According to Mang Jun Jun, the lighthouse still serves its purpose giving guidance to all marine vessels passing through the Calatagan Straight. The view at the top of the light house was breath taking, overlooking the vast ocean of West Philippine Sea with the giant fire ball slowly setting down at the peak of Lubang Island. 

Spectacular view at the top of Cape Santiago Lighthouse

Someone Got Infatuated!

Our trip won't be completed without meeting new friends on the road . We were just lucky  to meet four beautiful ladies who were wandering as well at the coast of Ivory. Lynne, Allen, Anzel and Fe An were so friendly that they even posed for a picture with us and accepted our request to be our models behind the beautiful setting sun . Yup, they will surely be on our FB friend's list and Kurt will be more than fast enough to search for their profiles on Facebook.

New  gorgeous friends  L-R: Lovemindanao,Lynne, Fe An , Kurt , Anzel , and Allen
We immediately traced our steps back to our camp site and enjoyed our prepared canned food as dinner since none of us still have the strength to prepare a decent meal. We simply enjoyed the night with a bottle of brandy to keep us warm against the cold breeze of the sea. Maximizing our time, we stargazed while walking along the beach, watching the bright stars and constellations up above  the cloudless clear sky.

The next day, a little groggy from last night's drinking session, we were motivated to rise up after seeing some  sandbars formed  during low tide. While enjoying the morning sights with a cup of hot instant coffee and a slice of loaf bread on the other hand, we were blessed  to witness local fishermen hauling their catch from last night's sleepless endeavor.  A perfect view to work on with our camera.

Balo or Batalay Fish caught in Calatagan sold at Php 120.00/kilo
Thinking we already had the best of stay in Calatagan , we decided to cut short our visit and requested  Mang Doro to find his friend and tricycle driver to take us back to Calatagan bus terminal. Since buses are scarce during that time we opted to ride a jeepney back to Lian and from there we were lucky that a bus bound for Pasay.

This Calatagan trip ate my 3rd and 4th day of my 13 Days of Summer for 2013. For the remaining days  I guess you'll just have to find out  in the coming posts .


Getting there

Calatagan is a well known town in Batangas. Coming from Manila , there are buses (San Agustin or BSC at MRT Edsa Station bound for Calatagan. But since direct route to Calatagan starts at 9am, you can take the bus bound for Lian/ Nasugbu. Fare is less than Php 200.00 and travel time is 4 hours.

At Lian, go to the public market where jeepneys bound for Calatagan are waiting. Just bear the inconvenience of waiting until all seats are fully occupied. Fare is Php 36.00 and travel time is one hour.

From the town proper, hire a tricycle driver to take you to Ivory Coast in Brgy. Bagong Silang. Negotiate on the price , it shouldn't be more than Php 150.00 for the direct trip. Travel time is 20 to 30 minutes.

Tips:

Rooms in Ivory Coast were already demolished . You can just pitch your tent under the Talisay trees or bring a hammock to savor the life on the beach . Bring your own utensils, food, water  and other personal effects  as no nearby market can be found in the area. Entrance to Ivory Coast is now Php 200.00.

Contact:

Mang Doro:  0921.554.9163



11 comments :

  1. Gusto ko yung mga escapades na ganito! challenging! Nice one!

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  2. Let's set a future trips Ding. would love to do it with no plans and itinerary, just enjoy whatever comes.

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  3. ha ha ha lovely.. :)

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  4. I was also able to visit Calatagan a few years back and the sunset was really beautiful.

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  5. I was also in Calatagan this past holy week. The sunset was simply breathtaking!

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  6. I've been to Calatagan before but it was for school, but nonetheless the beach was still a good place to relax in.


    - Wanderer Juan

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  7. I've never been there - I wish I can! Your pictures are superb. Balo is also quite common here in our place.

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  8. At first, akala ko international place ito..LOL Nice site to be with friends specially if you have in your company those gorgeous ladies ;)

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  9. Oh my, what a beautiful place, and the shots are truly amazing!

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  10. Ganito parin po ba sa ivory until now?

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  11. this was just last year Reniel .. better go there on a weekday... few guests but i think even on weekend it is still beautiful there ...

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