When I went back to Philippines last January, I brought my family (mom, dad, brother, his girlfriend and kid) to Manuel Uy beach in Calatagan for a short beach getaway. Although Jomalig and Zambales are great options, a daytrip would not be enough to have a relaxing stay. I have proven that a Calatagan Beach in Batangas is a perfect destination for those longing to get a dose of the beach by spending only 3 hours on the road each way. However, if you have more than 2 days to spare, you definitely should consider the amazing island of Jomalig; click here for Jomalig Island DIY budget guide.
The Manuel Uy Calatagan Beach
The pretty long stretch of fine golden sand on the shore with tiny rocks on the base of the ocean, clear clean ocean water and sunset-facing coastline of Manuel Uy Beach makes the 3-hour drive from Manila worth it. For a cheap entrance fee of Php50 per head, you can enjoy an entire day of bumming by the beach and exploring its surrounding resorts. There are also amazing corals near the shore and it is best to visit this beach with snorkeling gears. We brought two with us and my mom just couldn’t stop watching colorful fishes that inhabits the vast brown corals. I highly recommend that you bring it since a lot of colorful fishes are just beneath the shallow water. You don’t even have to swim on a low tide!
Walk to the left of Manuel Uy Beach and you will find an elevated cliff that provides an amazing viewpoint of the entire coastline!
You can bring your own tent if you’re staying overnight as there is a long stretch of campsite covered by a trees. You can also rent tables for your picnic for P300.
Don’t miss out the sunset photo opp which I was not able to do because we were on a daytrip and we had to leave before sunset.
How To Take Maldives-Like Photographs?
On the right side of the beach (facing the ocean) lies what was dubbed as the Maldives of the Philippines. Indeed, its floating cottages gives you a feel of Maldives. So how can you take Maldives-like photos without paying for Stilts’ expensive entrance fee? When you walk past the property of Manuel Uy Beach, Stilts staff would hinder you from entering. The technique is to tell the guard that you wish to inquire and he will gladly let you in. Be brave and stroll to the walkways of the floating village.
By car: Drive to Calatagan via Tagaytay-Nasugbu road. Travel time is 3 hours. Right after you pass by Stilts Calatagan, you will see a little unpaved road with tall grasses on both sides. That leads to the entrance of Manuel Uy.
By commute: From Taft, ride a van at the back of Metropoint Mall in Pasay to Calatagan Market (Php180 one way). First and last trip is at 3:30 am 7pm respectively. From Calatagan market, ride a trike that can accommodate up to six for 150 php. Make sure to get the contact detail of the tricycle driver so you can ask him to pick you up on your departure. Make sure that you also ask the van driver about the schedule of last trip to Pasay.
Actual Expenses for Day Trip
360 – RT Van fare from Pasay to Calatagan Market
300 – RT tricycle fare (good for 6) from Calatagan Market to Manuel Uy Beach = 50 each
50 – Entrance fee for day trip (100 for overnight)
300 – Table for picnic (shared by 6) = 50 each
TOTAL: Php510 excluding food
Toilet fees (if i remember correctly)
5 – pee
10 – poop
15 – shower (unlimited water)
What To Bring:
Tent (to save 500 pesos rent)
Food (you can buy from Calatagan Market)
Fully charged gadgets and power bank
-You can also rent a tent if you don’t have your own tent, you can rent one from the resort for P500 good for 3 pax.
-You can contact Mang Kiko (tricycle driver who also offers tent rental for P400 per night) at 0920-3426812.
-No free electricity but you can pay P100 for an extension cord that you can use to plug your devices
-You can ask the resort to lit a bonfire for you at night for P100
I highly recommend Manuel Uy Beach for those seeking a calm weekend getaway on a budget. If you’re not used to camping, then you should spend more money on accommodations like Stilts. But for the budget traveler by heart like me who likes to spend more time in the nature rather than inside a room, this beach is perfect!