Whenever I want to go to the beach without boarding a plane from Manila, I automatically think of going North (especially that time in Nagsasa...). Fortunately for me this year, things changed when I got passes to the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival in the South:) I wanted to see it for myself for 3 years now (ever since I heard about it) and the timing was always off. I loved how I only found out about the passes less than a week before, packed my bags and zoomed my way to somewhere I've never been before. Haha. Let me tell you now how I got to the Batangas Pier via bus from Cubao (since driving could be tiring) for the first time, where I stayed and what I did before going to the Malasimbo event grounds. I would definitely need this too for my next trip to Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro) :D
First off was getting to the bus terminal. JAM Liner has trips to the Batangas Pier and I got to their Cubao Southbound Terminal via my personal chauffer service Uber ;) I tried it and it was very convenient with the pickup service from my preferred location. They charge through credit card so I don't have to pay the driver any cash. Note: Sign up for Uber Manila now while they still have the P300 free trial :D
The terminal was very near GMA7 in EDSA and Rufo's was there for lunch! Remembering my Mt. Batulao trip haha.
JAM Liner was just a few minutes away (walked). This was a walk-in kind of thing at P175 per person - regular seating, sit anywhere then you can leave immediately. This was an 11:30 a.m. trip so the sun was to the right. There were blinds though so i think it was okay (I sat at the back center haha).
I couldn't connect to the WIFI... There's a movie playing and airconditioning so the ride was alright. Vendors were also going in and out of the bus to sell buko pie, mani, water and espasol. I just slept. I don't think there was a restroom stop. The bus stopped at the Batangas Grand Terminal and many people alighted. We stayed in the bus until the Batangas Pier final stop.
Being a first-timer at the Batangas pier, I responded to a man shouting "Minolo" boat immediately from the bus door. There were many calling out different locations and offering stuff. I just wanted to get on the boat. I've done a bit of research online and one recommended to take Minolo Shipping Lines. There were people going to the same direction as us so I think one can easily find the way to the dock where they sell tickets. It just so happened that this man seemed extra friendly (he asked for a tip after that's why...). Anyway, he directed us to the correct ticket booth (there's a restroom if you just go behind it). We paid for roundtrip fare (going back the next day) for P500 per person (cheaper, P275 I believe if one way) going to the White Beach. Prepare for extra charges I tell you at the doors and after the boatride. There was a Port Terminal Fee of P30. I was lacking sleep during this time so I let my travel buddy handle the money matters and talking to the nonstop sales guy. Just ignore them all and get receipts at the main counters for everything you paid.
Here's the Minolo Shipping Lines boat schedule to and from Batangas Pier, Muelle and the White Beach along with their contact numbers ;)
After the security check, I finally relaxed when I saw the empty chairs.
Their system was not that organized though (they gave us a departure time 2:45 p.m., maybe you're supposed to find your own way outside and be on the boat already by then...) and we found out that they were already boarding at the "gates" when we saw a crowd forming.
Well, the crowd was for another boat and ours was the one to our right.
Wondering if we were early...
Looks like everybody's there already...
Good thing I spotted a seat (stiff but nearer to the exit so that I can get off the boat earlier). The boat looked overloaded already and they kept loading more people (and so I don't think we left at the exact departure time indicated). Monoblock chairs were laid out as well to fill the space. I took the photo below when I got on so it's not that filled yet.
You're lucky if you got to board early. The unlucky ones have to sit in a bar or something for an hour or more! LOL Can I just sit on the bags for more comfort?
4:20 p.m. Around 1 hour later after dozing off again... I caught sight of parked boats (yachts?!). Hehe. We must be here.
It turned out that there were 2 docking places. Since it's already afternoon, we had to dock here then ride a free Minolo shuttle to the White Beach. I think we can dock at the beach directly if we came in the morning.
I believe this is another boat operator (difference in boat color). I would try them out next time...
Pay up! I think the EUF (Environmental Users Fee) was around P50 per person...
The air-conditioned shuttle buses were waiting for us.
I think I would have been angry if they asked us to pay again haha.
So Minolo Shipping lines is colored white and red. We were to schedule our return trip beforehand by calling them and telling them one day before what departure time we are getting. "There's a Minolo Shipping Lines Ticketing Booth in front of VM Resort." so I guess one can buy a return ticket there also.
4:50 p.m. I wanted to stay near the road than near the beach since it's just an overnight. The road will take me to the jeep (shuttle) to Malasimbo and back to the dock early the next day. The shuttle brought us to the White Beach Resort Hotel compound (just so happens that this room is near the beach also hehe). For P1500, you get a room good for 4.
I would check the shower, sink and toilet flush if all are in order if you want to stay here. If you feel like walking and haggling around, you can also look for a room on the beach and walk in. We found a lot of vacant rooms even on a Friday Malasimbo event. There's a hot shower behind the curtain though the handle was broken and I didn't notice it. A tired and sleepy me won't really argue or move or talk anymore when I see a bed to crash on haha.
There's a small dresser, an air-conditioning unit
and a tiny TV (they would ask for a deposit for the remote and you'd have to go to the "front desk" wherever that is...).
Outside, there's a table and 2 chairs.
Below was where they dropped all White Beach - bound Minolo passengers in our van. I think the White Beach Resort has a strategic location because there are only a few roads where vehicles can go in near the beach from the main parallel road.
I instantly loved the White Beach. The sand is no Boracay but I liked the ambiance and shoreline. It reminded me of the Patar White Beach in Bolinao and I was all happy that I found another beach place to just chill and go back to again near Manila.
It wasn't loud and dirty when I went there. I thought that they did the Malasimbo festivities on the beach haha. There's no trace of it here.
I could just sit on the beach and enjoy the sky change colors during sunset.
I took off my slippers and walked along the beach. There's this restaurant with jetski tables hehe. I also saw a White Beach Lodge in the middle so better not to confuse the 2 hotels, esp. if you're coming from the main road on a tricy or jeep.
No sun, no people, no noise. Just sparkling lights in a distance and sand in between my toes... I was thinking that maybe Boracay used to be like this... it's so easy to love.
We walked around for a bit away from the shore. There are shops selling clothes, slippers and souvenirs.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of foreigners who know about this place.
The food were almost all Pinoy food, grilled stuff and pizza.
I didn't feel like eating those so I jumped at the chance to eat something not the same from all others we passed by - Korean! Hahaha.
We ordered this spicy pork dish and rice in Mindoro Korea.
There was a complimentary pajeon too. Haha. We would have bonded more over Soju if we had the numbers, if we didn't have Malasimbo and if we didn't have an early boat ride. I guess that idea's for the next Puerto Galera trip! Hihi.
The night wasn't over! More fun and tidbits of the Malasimbo Festival and venue on the next post :D