In New Zealand where I spent 7 months in my campervan traveling, the concept of Freedom Camping is a norm. I have camped in countless freedom camping sites located in nature spots such as beaches, lakes, and mountain roads. Some are within the city, too. Most sites are free, while a few require a camping fee. Freedom camping gives a unique kind of joy to be close to nature anytime you want without anyone bothering you, as long as you are a responsible camper.
Definitely, freedom camping is something I missed so much when I went back to the Philippines amidst the pandemic. When travel restrictions started to loosen up in late 2020, I camped in sites such as Singalong Nature Hill, Kaliraya Surf Camp, DRT Bulacan, and in a Tagaytay Private Farm, But all of them are either paid and/or touristy. I was fortunate to stumble upon a newly discovered campsite in Batangas by Taal Lake which 100% reminded me of my freedom camping days in New Zealand. I saw pictures of this campsite posted in this Hammock Camping group and messaged the poster for information.
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A taste of Freedom Camping in New Zealand
Freedom Camping in Taal Lake
It was quite difficult to find directions to where we were going. We only knew that we could pitch tents and hammocks by the lake without paying a fee. I was told that the site is still undeveloped but there’s an access road already. When we finally found the place, the calm lake took our breath away and invited us to jump in on a humid and hot afternoon. We pitched a hammock to secure our spot and went swimming right away.
Swimming In Taal Lake
I’ve had the chance to swim the Crater Lake of Taal Volcano. Yes, that sulfuric lake in the crater of Taal Volcano which is now erased from the planet due to its eruption in January 2020. However, I’ve never really swum in the bigger Taal Lake. I’ve always thought it’s not appealing due to the countless boats you see when looking down from Tagaytay. So I was really excited when this freedom camping site we discovered gave a once-in-a-lifetime non-touristy side of Taal Lake. The water was calm when we arrived and its temperature was perfect for dipping.
The Freedom Camping Site
There are a few other visitors whom we assume to be locals due to their accent. Most of them were visiting for a day and only three groups were left camping for the night. The beach is quite spacious, too. FINALLY, we had peaceful camping! If you are a frequent camper, you’ll know the feeling of noisy campers who have no consideration for other people trying to sleep. Since we were decently distanced from other campers, their noise was not bothersome. We slept at 8:30 pm right after dinner. The only sound we could hear was the waves crashing brought by the rising tide.
It was a gloomy morning the next day. We were awakened by the crashing waves. We were impressed that a bunch of local people came in groups early Sunday morning to do a clean-up drive. Although the campsite is not open to the public yet, the beach is already polluted with few plastics here and there. But in general, we still consider it clean. We asked a local volunteer if they regularly do the cleanup. She said that volunteers come every Sunday as part of the LGU’s project to develop the area. She also mentioned it’s not usually open to non-locals. But there wasn’t really no one who checks where the visitors are from. Eventually, according to her, the LGU will soon charge an entrance fee.
So Where is This Freedom Camping Spot Located?
This blog has been usually informative about budget-friendly trips. However, allow me to be secretive this time. I promise to update this blog with its exact location once the LGU has opened it to the public. We plan to go back to this site while it’s still crowd-free. We don’t mind paying a fee, but we would really love to enjoy this peaceful campsite which I believe will soon be crowded once more tourists find out about it. If you are really, really, really keen, then you can join this group and try to find the post I saw which led me to discover it. https://web.facebook.com/groups/hammockcampers