People go to Batangas for its beach resorts. But when people go to Batangas, the top choice is now San Juan, Laiya to be exact. So why would people still go to Matabungkay? For that matter, do people still go there?
Yes, they do. I went to Matabungkay yesterday. My mom who is visiting from Australia almost always goes to Matabungkay at least once, and sometimes thrice, when she spends her 6 months a year in the country. And the top draw of this place to her is the experience of spending the day on a raft, enjoying ihaw-ihaw lunch prepared right there while she watches the kids play on the shallow beach water around the raft.
And I realized that other visitors to Matabungkay do the same – – – lunch on the raft. There are probably a hundred rafts anchored on the shore, ready for the day’s guests. All of them have bamboo tables and benches fixed on the floor. The “sawali” cover makes sure those who do not want a tan are under cover. While those who want to go home and show off a tan can spend the day on the deck chairs and get as much sun as they wish. The rafts also have a small cabin, so anyone who wants to can rest, or sleep.
The rental for the whole day is P1,500. The owners of the raft will provide you with the grill and charcoal, and all you need is to bring food to grill. You can even buy them at the center of Matabungkay where fresh seafood are sold by vendors, some in stalls.
Accommodations are also available for those who plan to stay overnight. I checked out a couple of resorts thinking that I should spend a night or two in rustic Matabungkay some time.
CORAL BEACH CLUB is the best possible accommodation in the area. Yes, far better than the old and ill-maintained Matabungkay Beach Club. The resort has a clean swimming pool, a bar and restaurant, billiards, and excellent staff. The rooms are nice and clean, and inexpensive.
Room rates are from P2,200 to P4,600, based on 2 adults sharing a room. Additional persons in the room are provided with mattresses, at P500 per extra person.
Contact +(63) 917 9014635, (+63) 919 8220383
Another resort I visited is ROYALE TAGAYTAY,, apparently the beach destination for members of the Royale Tagaytay Club. The sign on the gate says it is exclusive, but walk in and you can get a room for P2,500 per day. The resort has a swimming pool, videoke, and a bar/restaurant.
To book Royale Tagaytay, contact Nelson at 09093218440.
A hotel sits right at the center of the small commercial district. It is not fronting the beach, but guests can take the few steps from the hotel to the shore. The hotel is called SUNSHINE RESORT HOTEL and is ideal for big groups.
They have rooms that can accommodate 10 persons, squeezed into any of their “Big Rooms”, each at P4,000 to P5,000 depending on the size of the room. Regular rooms for 2 persons are at P2,500 per day. All rooms are air-conditioned, and with cable TV. They have a small swimming pool right in the middle of the property.
SUNSHINE HOTEL: for reservations, contact (+63) 9177301015, (+63) 916 4281334, (+63) 906 4770424, and (+63) 927 2970743
From Sunshine Hotel walking towards the shore, I found more accommodations made available by local residents. One such is owned by an old lady named AMY DE LUNA. Her 2-room cottage on absolute waterfront can be rented by a family for P3,500 overnight.
One of the rooms is air-conditioned. Lola Amy even provides her guests a stove and cooking utensils. The downside is that there is practically no privacy in the cottage, unless you are in your room/s. This downside is also the upside – – you can mingle with the local folks who get together almost by her doorsteps, talking about the day’s events, or maybe waiting for visitors who could send them to an errand, for a small fee. Talk about local color, this is the place.
Lola Amy de Luna can be reached by phone: (+63) 917 9551376
Right beside Amy de Luna’s place is another cottage, but I was not able to inquire, not finding the owner. Here are photos of the place.
The Center of Matabungkay
Visitors can literally just bring their clothes. Anything and everything they will need they can buy in the many shops within the “sentro” or the place some people call the “palengke”, Seafood is available. Water. Charcoal. Softdrinks. Fingerfood. Rice. et cetera
Would I go back to Matabungkay? I like this no-frills place. And so why not?
HOW TO GO TO MATABUNGKAY
On private transportation, take the South Luzon Expressway, exit in Sta Rosa, and drive to Tagaytay. From Tagaytay, take the road going to Nasugbu. Follow the signs and take note of the junction where the road forks : to the right is Nasugbu proper, and to the left is Lian, going to Matabungkay. When you get to the Lian town proper, just go straight ahead until you find yourself in the junction going to the Matabungkay Beach area. The prominent sign to follow is “Matabungkay Beach Club”.
Buses to Nasugbu and Lian can be taken from terminals in Buendia, Pasay City. Travel time from the Nichols toll gate to Matabungkay is approximately 2 hours.