Laiya, San Juan, Batangas: best beach south of Manila


just follow this sign and you will get there

Laiya, life in color. That is how the Landco panels describe Laiya. And one who has never been there will find comfort in these signs nailed on several “postes” all the way from the SLEX exit, through to San Pablo, Laguna , through to Tiaong, Quezon, and all the way to Laiya in San Juan, Batangas.

Another developer calls Laiya the best kept secret of Batangas. Well, not anymore.

Laiya attracts tourists, mostly locals – – – families, yuppies, solo travelers mainly because of word of mouth. The white sands of Laiya mesmerize the visitors, pleasantly surprised that such a spot existed along Tayabas Bay, only 2 1/2 hours away from Manila.

There are probably 50+ resorts in Laiya, about 25 kms away from the highway in San Juan where the Town Hall sits in the corner. There, signages of the different resorts compete for attention.  From mom & pop operations to high-end 5-star accommodations.

signages right there where the Town Hall is at the corner

more signages beside the main signage

The 25 km drive is pleasant, with the road lined with mahogany on one side, and a view of the mountains on the other.However, more travelers prefer to experience Laiya almost like the way the locals do.  I checked one cluster, and found out that at Moonlight Resort, the rooms cost P3,000 per day, negotiable. But they charge higher for the same room when there are more people within your party. The trick is to go from one resort to another and bargain until you get the best price. After all, they are all within the same mass of land facing the same body of heavenly water.

the beach at One Laiya

I went to One Laiya, formerly called Tayabas Bay beach resort. It is adjacent to the Porto Laiya.  It is easily one of the most popular destinations. Picnic sheds for rent dot the shore.  A  small raft with a shed and table  can be rented for one whole day’s outing on the water for P3,000.

an expensive raft: P3,000 per day at One Laiya

A boat for 10 people can be rented to take you to the Coral Reef for snorkeling, at a hire rate of P1,000. I actually found these rates to be expensive. The reef is just 10 minutes away. Negotiate! They also rent out nipa huts for overnight accommodations. A nipa hut with one bed costs P2,500 per night, and accommodates 2-3 persons. A hut with double deck beds costs P3,000, and can accommodate 6 . These huts do not have private toilets. No aircon, just fans.

overnight for P3,000, with double decks inside

can squeeze in 6 on the double decks

They also have airconditioned rooms, and a family can get into a VIP room with 2 queen size beds for P5,000 overnight.It doesn’t really look like it is fit for a very important person. Only, the rooms have airconditioning and a toilet.

inside the VIP room

banana boat at One Laiya (they also have jet skis)

One Laiya  also offers banana boat rides and jet skis for hire. Contact Diane at 0922 6197447

From One Laiya, I went to the far end of the resort area, past the concreted road. There is where 3 of the top resorts are clustered. 

The most expensive accommodations in this beach town is Acuatico. Guests love their well-appointed rooms, more like free-standing villas, around the infinity pool. The cheapest room goes for P6,300 per night for 2 persons, plus P1,575 for each extra person in the room. They also have a room called Estancia that accommodates 6 persons, at P21,000 per night. Room rates include breakfast and all-day complimentary coffee or tea, plus use of water sports equipment like pedal boats and kayaks. Acuatico is so popular that they do not have off-peak rates, nor group rates.

rooms, around the infinity pool

cafe-bar-resto overlooking the infinity pool and the beach

after all, it's the beach we went to . . . at Acuatico

Acuatico can be booked thru their Manila office : (+632) 4088383, 8927577 or email

My personal favorite is Balai sa Laiya, just next to Acuatico. While Acuatico looks high-end and busy, Balai has a restful, provincial setting even while the accommodations are comfortable and air conditioned. Tall trees provide shade around the property, and over the cottages.

it is peaceful here

sampaloc trees for shade

seaside rooms at a P100 premium per person

Single occupancy in a seaside room  is P2,900, twin or double is P4,300. Rooms under the trees are a bit cheaper, by P100 per person. These rates assume aircon is not used, and an aircon charge of P600 per night per room  is charged if guests want this convenience. Rates include 4 buffet meals plus free use of facilities like billiards and pool table, and volleyball.

Balai sa Laiya can be booked by phone 09216065572, look for Edith Egwaras. Or contact them thru their website

UPDATE: Balai sa Laiya has just been bought by its next-door-neighbor Acuatico.

Own a piece of Laiya

You can also now own a piece of Laiya. Landco has bought what used to be Laiya Coconut Grove and is developing it, for sale as PLAYA LAIYA, thus, all those signages. Landco also developed Punta Fuego, Terazzas de Punta Fuego, and Canyon Woods. Expect very high-end pricing.

Activ Group, the real estate company that developed the high-end Malarayat Golf community in Batangas is developing Porto Laiya. Lot prices are at an average of P6,000 per square meter.

I knew about these as I was having lunch, and the owner of the place( na itatago na lang natin sa pangalang Tita de Castro) offered to sell me property. She thought I was looking for land to buy, not knowing that I always just drive on, aimlessly, without a destination and without any schedule to follow. (And no, she is not related to Gloria de Castro, the lady in Talisay that I mentioned in a previous entry).

Although she did mention a piece of land that seemed inexpensive. Hmmmmmm. I just might, one day, live my life in color in Laiya.

Question: How do I get to Laiya ?

The first route : SLEX to San Pablo to Laiya(via Quezon Province):

fruits along the way.. rambutan P80/kilo

lanzones at P150/kilo, and avocados

Take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and drive on towards the direction of Sto.Tomas in Batangas. Drive When you hit Sto. Tomas, turn left towards Quezon province, hitting Alaminos, Laguna first. You will pass San Pablo City, and then you will hit the Laguna-Quezon boundary. You will pass by Dolores, and then Tiaong. Actually, as early as in San Pablo (Laguna), you will see signages from Landco saying “Laiya, Life in Color”. this is a good directional sign for you. Towards the end of Tiaong, you will make a right turn where there is a TURN RIGHT sign by Landco (Laiya, Life in Color) in that corner that says “San Juan”. Follow this road until you hit San Juan town proper, about 14 kms away. This road forks at some point, with a little bit of unpaved road towards the end. Take this unpaved road. The unpaved road is so short anyway and you will soon be back to cemented roads.  You will then find yourself at an intersection. This is the main highway, and you will see the San Juan Town Hall at the corner. Do not make any turns, just cross the road, and you are on your way to the beach area, around 25 kms ahead.  Even as you drive on this road, you will see several signages that refer to beach resorts and subdivisions being developed in Laiya.

The trip is approx 2 1/2 hours from the Villamor tollgate of the SLEX.

Route 2 : STAR Tollway to Lipa and onward to Laiya :

Take the same direction to Sto. Tomas, Batangas, as in the directions above. Drive on to Lipa, either via the old road or thru the STAR TOLLWAY, making your exit in Lipa. From Lipa, drive on to Rosario, the next bigger town. You will pass thru the towns of San Miguel and San Roque before you hit Rosario. From Rosario, drive on to Balugbug. The next big town after Balugbug is San Juan. If you are going to Laiya, then follow the directions I gave in Route 1.

Having taken the 2 routes, I will still recommend Route 1. It is easier to follow, and is not much longer. And then you can afford the adventure of taking the Lipa route on return.

Beyond Laiya

You may want to venture beyond Laiya. There is a pier in the area, past Acuatico and Balai sa Laiya cluster,  that takes passengers to Marinduque, another exciting destination.

22 thoughts on “Laiya, San Juan, Batangas: best beach south of Manila

  1. I’ve done Laiya a couple of times (my wife Tet is from Rosario, less than an hour away) . I”ve even brought my car-toppable sailboat once and enjoyed the breeze coming from Tayabas bay. Some resorts can supply tanks for scuba enthusiasts and shore entry is very possible. I favor the star tollway, lipa, padre garcia, rosario, san juan route because it is shorter and traffic is lighter. Laiya is the best beach option closest to Manila.

  2. Well my family and i just got back from the Philippines. I am from San Pablo. We went to Laiya plenty of times, and i must admit that Aquatico is the best and expensive. Is it worth it? Yes i think so. The staff is incredible. I went with my family and stayed in the family suite. One queen size bed and the other room had 2 twin. I have a 7 year old son, and even though i had someone to watch him, the life guards were just like a private babysitter for me. The food is costly, but delicious. I extended my one nite to two. By the way the family suite is 11,500 peso fits 4 ppl per nite and i think like 1,500 for an extra person. We did go out of the resort to eat at times, there are places to eat, around there. If your not social as they say and don’t mind some flies, chickens ,and a dog running around the food is great and cheap.My kids 7,9,19 love eating at roadside eatries and are not grossed out about it they know that this is what the philippines really is. They were born is the US, but filipino very much at heart and that goes for my twin sis n her two children. The people in town were very nice and helpful. I believe the breakfast is include and the buffet wen they have it is 545 peso per person. You pay for the ambiance and privacy. Love my country see u next year!

    • hi, gud evening .kindly send me a rates detial for tree house and pool side we are planning to have a vacation this coming july 1 and 2 (overnyt) time enter and time check out? we are 6 persons me and my husband, my son (6years old) my nice (13 years old), my brother and sister, do you have 2 rooms for 6 occupants? food package or not? thanks

  3. Pingback: 2010 in review « BoyP Lakwatsa

    • stayed in one laiya beach resort, staff kinda confusing, we wanted to take the airconditioned room, the person who entertained us gave us the rate and showed the room, then we told her we’ll take it, suddenly another staff told us the room were to be occupied by cast and crew of abs-cbn’s tv series “mutya”, so we settled for their palm house(by the way they now have cr/shower room for 3,500 pesos),an hour later, someone went to the house we’ve rented, trying to look at the room, i asked them what seem’s to be the problem, they told me they we’re supposed to occupy that room, so i called for the staff and alas, the staff again give the other guest wrong info, they fixed it right away, the worst part, we asked if we can rent the videoke in the resort, they gave us the rate(1000 pesos till 10 pm/1,500 pesos till the morning)kinda expensive but what can i do, that’s their rate, i said fine, we’re drinking and needs a little diversion, guess what?, we didn’t get the videoke for four different reasons, depending on the staff we’re talking, first reason was there’s a city ordinance that it’s prohibited to use videoke from 5 pm onwards, second was the owner of the resort doesn’t want loud music, third was that there’s a taping of “mutya” and it will compromise the taping, finally, the videoke machine was out of order two days prior to our arrival, the resort/view’s good, it’s the staff that makes me hate the place

      • Oh, I am so sad to hear about that. But I am glad you wrote this feedback. Our reader-friends will be forewarned, and the management of One Laiya would most likely do something about this problem when they know people talk about warts, bad odor, and misbehaviour and bad baaaad service, spreading like wild fire, gobbling up their business eventually. No, I don’t wish this on them, nor would I ever wish this on anyone. I hope they do something positive – – – sayang ang One Laiya otherwise.

      • tama, i also stayed in one laiya last 2011 and the service is really bad,this fat lady with glasses that is so mean and not accomodating. NO MATTER HOW BEAUTIFUL THE RESORT IS IF THE SERVICE AND STAFF ARE BAD, YOUR BUSINESS WILL NOT PROSPER!

  4. hi!is it true ne may oras daw ang jeepneys back and forth to laiya?we’re planning to go to acuatico but we’re kinda hesitant to go there because of this kind of transpo..

  5. Hi, your blogs are helpful, very detailed and clear, i just have one question, do u have any suggestions what will be the best resort to stay here with kitchen that we can cook our food? Im on a medical program and only allowed on a very strict diet and i have no choice but to cook my food? Ive been searching and searching but i cant find any. Thanks for the help! Keep blogging sir! 🙂

    • Sorry for late reply. Am traveling. Unfortunately, I have not stayed in a house but my friends have. There are accommodations on the beach that are like extensions of houses of the residents. You will have to go and find them. Sorry I have not been that helpful in this instance.

      • i would like to inquire about rates on actmiodacoon for overnight stay for a family of 13. can we bring our own food to cook? ihaw ihaw etc or we have to order from your restaurant? Corkage fee? please email me asap. we plan on ging by feb 25. Send me all the rates incl entrace fees. Is the tree house ok with our number? please. . .

  6. mabujay for the execellent blog to add to it’s more FUN in the Philippines! the lastime I visited San Juan was in the seventies to do a feasibilities study on ceramics. Tonight my friend invited me to explore it and ENJOY!!!!!

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