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What to Do in Batangas If You’re Not a Beach Person

by Andrea Lam

Living in the Philippines means bearing witness to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. One of the most famous—and most accessible—destinations is Batangas, home to gorgeous shores and a refuge for city folk who just want a nearby getaway.

However, what not many people realize is that Batangas is more than just a haven for beach bums, filled with more than a century’s worth of history, mountains to climb, and the most amazing food you’ll ever eat. We’re letting you in on some of Batangas’ best attractions and activities that don’t involve a case of sunburn or sand in your shoes.

Destress and detox

Wellness is something we tend to overlook—we tire ourselves every day without seeking renewal. While a day at the beach sounds fun and relaxing, you have to experience for yourself how life-changing a weekend at the spa could be.

Hidden away at the foot of Mt. Malarayat in Lipa, Batangas is The Farm at San Benito. If the name rings a bell, that's because you might have seen celebrities like Kathryn Bernardo and Angel Locsin post about it online, and for good reason.

The holistic spa is the only one of its kind in the country, dedicated to taking you on a rejuvenating journey to heal your mind, body, and spirit. The lush jungle that surrounds the private paradise drowns out all traumatic memories of being stuck in traffic in Manila, and replaces them with the calming sound of chirping birds and babbling brooks.

Begin your mornings with some peaceful meditation, then indulge in their gourmet vegan selection. Detox with their medically-guided procedures, attend a yoga retreat, or just sit with your thoughts for a weekend that'll allow you to hit refresh in all aspects of your life.

Bond with the fam out of town

Family vacations, for better or for worse, are a bit of a planner's headache. Rounding up the entire family takes a lot of work, and finding the perfect destination is even harder. Why not offer something a little different at Cintai Corito’s Garden?

Head out to Sitio Pandayan, where you can sink into the soft mattress of your gorgeous Bali-inspired villa, or take a stroll in their lovely gardens. Dine on a fine feast for many in one of their large pavilions, or get the chance to feed the free-roaming peacocks, geese, ponies, and donkeys.

Surround yourself with loved ones and make new memories together while enjoying a nice Balinese-inspired getaway—it'll change the way you look at family vacations from now on, and bring you even closer to the ones who'll always have your back.

Camping (with a twist)

IMAGE: Noelle Antonio

Sometimes, roughing it isn’t exactly for everyone. Fortunately, there are now other options available to those who can't bear to give up their little luxuries. Glamping emerges as the new solution to easy living while being one with nature, and you can experience this in nearby Batangas at the picturesque Nayomi Sanctuary Resort.

Find your center within the rich natural surroundings of Balete, and take in its gorgeous view of Taal Lake. Breathe in silence as you become one with your environment, then retreat back to the comfort of electricity, soft beddings, and proper bathrooms.

Complete the experience with recreational activities like tours and aqua sports, with the help of a full-service staff ready to take care of your needs. It’s a grand, relaxing experience where nature and comfort coexist, just as they should.

Reach greater heights

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Mountain climbing is on many people's bucket lists, but they're usually too scared and don’t know where to start. Batangas has tons of mountains you can climb—you just have to pick the right one.

With some proper research, you can choose between beginner-friendly mountains like Mt. Manabu in Sto. Tomas, Mt. Gulugod Baboy in Anilao, Mt. Talamitam in Nasugbu, or harder trails like Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu.

Before you start your climb, make sure to stretch properly (your body will thank you later), bring water, and wear comfortable clothes and proper gear. There are always friendly guides to take you up the trail, and as a bonus challenge, you and your buddies can make a pact to pick up any trash you see going up!

Bring back old-school charm

A luxurious slice of the past is nestled in Batangas, where time seems to have stopped and has been pristinely preserved. The gorgeous Hotel 1925 transports you to a different era, with a dazzling wooden staircase that leads you to the nostalgia-inducing lobby, matched by the hotel’s stunning interiors inspired by Spanish colonial era design.

The hotel provides a multitude of unique experiences like Il Capo: A Gentleman's Barber Shop, a classic speakeasy-slash-barber shop, D’Ursi Pizza where you can get a genuine taste of Naples, and the Weird Cycles Bike Shop, which sells all sorts of bikes from Germany and the Netherlands.

The real piece de resistance, however, are the rooms. Heavenly beds and well-equipped bathrooms make for a luxurious stay, all while surrounded by beautiful Instagram-worthy décor, completing your great escape.

Find your history hideaway

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How about adding some historical flair to your vacation? Take the weekend off and hide out at Bauan Plaza Hotel! Embrace the abundance of Filipino culture that permeates throughout the entire hotel, from the breakfast choices to the lovely paintings hung around the lobby.

Gather your crew and check in for a spacious surprise as you go up to your room and enjoy living in comfort, with the choice to opt for a loft if you feel like it. The hotel only has 15 rooms, so your privacy is pretty much guaranteed, and the location is prime since it’s right in front of a church and is near a lot of attractions in Anilao.

Get to enjoy each other’s company and feel like little kids again as you finally make those group plans happen.

Discover a piece of heritage

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Taal’s famous Heritage Town is one for the books. Richly preserved and full of historical gems, the star of the iconic route is the Taal Basilica, known as the Basilica of St. Martin of Tours and as the largest church in Asia.

There are plenty of other churches around the area, making it easy and convenient to go church hopping. Another interesting location is the Sta. Lucia Miracle Well, where stories of healing and apparitions have been passed down—while heading there, you'll also come across the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps.

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Down the cobblestone path are the different museums you can visit, like the Marcela Agoncillo Museum, Goco Ancestral House, Galleria Taal for photography enthusiasts, and Villa Tortuga if you’re game to dress up in traditional Filipino costumes.

When it comes to food, Batangas doesn’t back down. Adobong dilaw is the staple dish but with turmeric added for an interesting kick, while tapang Taal is a local favorite with a garlicky flair. The sweet, thick panutsa is another popular pasalubong and is sure to delight the kids, while piña products are a must-have handicraft to bring home.

While you’re down there, make sure to try some suman con tsokolate, and check out the intricately made balisongs. The town is easily walkable, allowing you and your companions to explore at your own leisurely pace.

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About Andrea
Andy Lam is a couch potato who sometimes gets miraculous bursts of energy to go and venture out into the world.

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