Laiya is a popular resort destination in San Juan, a municipality in the province of Batangas. Due to its strategic location that puts it a relatively short distance from Manila, it is flocked by tourists all year round. Laiya is one of the best destinations for beach bums in Batangas who want to enjoy pristine sands and clean blue waters.
Many visitors to Batangas have considered the beaches in Laiya as the best in the province, and many will agree for sure. The long stretch of gorgeous white sand, rustling palm trees, and sparkling waters easily rival some of the more popular ones in the country. The shores are fringed by impressive establishments, which offer much-needed accommodations and facilities for its guests. Estrellas de Mendoza Playa Resort is one of the remarkable establishments available in the area. It features rooms and cabanas for different groups of people. It also has infinity and kiddie pools, outdoor Jacuzzis, a function room, a business center, and KTV rooms.
For those seeking a different kind of adventure, Mt. Daguldol is one of the ideal destinations near Laiya. The mountain is not too high, making the climb much easier. Along the way, hikers get to see scenic views of the nearby sea and the wonderful flora and fauna in its forests. Strong winds and picturesque emerald green hills like the ones in Mt. Pulag will greet hikers at the summit.
While descending Mt. Daguldol, a side trip to the Naambon Falls is highly recommended, especially for those who want a cool down in fresh, clean water after the long trek.
Laiya Aplaya, or simply called Laiya, is a barangay situated by the coastal area of San Juan in Batangas. It is an idyllic destination south of Metro Manila where one can enjoy frolicking in its fine white sands and clear blue waters. Its accessibility to the country’s capital is one of its charms, making it a much sought-after destination for that much-needed rest and relaxation.
Fortunately, this coastal barangay is just about three to four hours away from Manila, depending on traffic or the weather condition. You can either take public transportation or bring your own car. Getting to Laiya and to the other parts of Batangas has never been better especially with the availability of the STAR Tollway (which is connected to the South Luzon Expressway) and the paved roads that lead to it.
For those who are planning to commute, you can ride ALPS the Bus at their EDSA Terminal, which is just right in front of Nepa Q-mart. This bus company has a direct route to San Juan, Batangas, with five stops in between. Once you arrive in San Juan, you will then have to ride the local jeeps stationed at the Municipal Hall to Laiya. Jeeps, however, are no longer available after 5:00 PM so make sure to schedule an early trip to San Juan from Metro Manila.
Activities to Try
When one hears the word “Laiya,” an image of a beach will immediately come to mind—an expansive body of water that seems to stretch endlessly while surrounded by gleaming and fine white sands.
Because of its gorgeous shores, many entrepreneurs have set up shop along the coast of Laiya, opening quite a number of hotels and resorts to welcome just about any traveler. Laiya is one of the favorite destinations of city dwellers for a quick getaway from the noise and stress of the concrete jungle. The place is also perfect for friends and families to spend time together to catch up, bond, or even colleagues who want to a venue for team building.
Of course, swimming by the beach is a given activity. You’ll be tempted to jump into the waters after seeing it gleaming under the sun. And not only are the beach waters clean and clear, but they are also cool and refreshing, perfect to beat the scorching heat especially in the midst of the blazing Philippine summer.
Aside from an invigorating swim and a soothing stroll, Laiya has, in recent years, developed an adventure park where one can enjoy fun, exciting, and thrilling activities to make your holiday as memorable as ever. The Laiya Adventure Park is located in Sitio Lumbangan and the first of its kind to open in San Juan, Batangas. The park features exhilarating attractions like the Giant Swing, Aerial Walk, wall climbing, and rappelling. Other water sporting activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and boat-riding are also available. Tourists can also enjoy various group activities like volleyball, Frisbee, and obstacle races that are ideal for team building and group activities.
You can also ask Laiya Adventure Park to make arrangements for mountain climbing expeditions for you at the nearby Mount Daguldol. This coastal mountain is easily accessible although it is not exactly located in Laiya. Trained mountaineers from the Hugom Enviromental Guides Association (HEGA) are in charge of the activity, with the climb approximately lasting for about four hours. The descent should take roughly four hours as well. Professional mountaineers classify Mount Daguldul as a minor climb, so it is ideal for those who are just new to mountain climbing. Once at the summit, you’ll marvel at a spectacular view of the entire town of San Juan and its surrounding bodies of water.
After going underwater and climbing mountains, why not treat yourself to a relaxing full body massage? Most resorts have spa centers with massage services and different kinds of relaxing treatments so you can wind down after a fun-filled day. The services are priced at around PHP 300.00 per hour. If possible, try to request for a massage in a cabana by the beach so you can enjoy the scenery at the same time.
More activities will be available in Laiya in the near future: horseback riding, mountain biking trail, and caving where you can see giant fruit bats up close! If time still permits, you can also take a side trip to other tourist spots in San Juan including the San Juan Nepomuceno Church, the grand Ancestral Houses, the Mangrove Forest, and the Malaking River in Barangay Poctol to name a few.
Where to Eat and Shop
When it comes to dining in Laiya, those who have been there would most probably recommend one place—Oceano. The restaurant is located in Acuatico Beach Resort and Hotel, one of Laiya’s well-known lodging facilities. This beloved restaurant is known for its assortment of sumptuous Filipino, Asian, and Continental dishes. Their kare-kare is one of the best sellers.
Aside from Oceano, there are quite a number of impressive restaurants along the coast which serve different kinds of cuisines that will satisfy any type of craving. The whole province of Batangas can be considered an underrated culinary destination in the Philippines, so don’t leave the province without having a steaming bowl of its ever-famous delicacy, loming Batangas. This flavorful dish is made with egg noodles and a rich broth topped with pork, egg, kikiam (a kind of Chinese sausage), toasted garlic bits, and even crushed pork rinds or chicharon. Another local Batangas delicacy that you shouldn’t miss is the authentic Batangas kapeng barako. This coffee variety, which belongs to the Coffee Liberica species, is characterized by its strong taste and robust flavor—perfect for those who like their coffee black.
Laiya is known for its tranquil environment even at night. There are no known pubs in the area, though some hotels and resorts may have their own bars. Even with a less vibrant nightlife, an ideal way to enjoy the night is to build a bonfire by the sea. When booking for reservations, ask your resort if they have bonfire facilities so their staff can assist you in lighting it.
As the trip finally comes to a close, do not leave Laiya or San Juan empty-handed: shops and stalls are available all over where you can purchase affordable items to bring home. The San Juan Pasalubong Center is where you can find a variety of trinkets, food items, and other products that can only be found in Batangas. Some of the favorite pasalubong from this place are the panutsa, a snack made with brown sugar, and lambanog, a kind of native wine made from the sap of the unopened coconut flower that has been fermented and distilled over time. You can also grab key chains, ref magnets, native hats, slippers, and even commemorative t-shirts. Another unique souvenir item is the Batangas-made clay pots which can be used as cookware or for planting.
Compared to other holiday destinations in the Philippines, Laiya doesn’t seem to have a lot. However, this place continues to attract a number of tourists annually because of its accessibility from Metro Manila and of course, its soothing, pristine, and quiet beach—a haven of rest and relaxation that will help you forget all your worries, problems, and stresses, even for just a little while.
Fare: PHP 200.00++
Commuting to Laiya from Manila is generally affordable. The fare costs about PHP 200.00 one way. The fare for the jeep from San Juan to Laiya is about PHP 35.00 to PHP 40.00 one way. Driving to Laiya, however, could be a little bit more expensive. Aside from the gas, you also have to pay for toll fees at SLEX and the STAR Tollways.
Food: PHP 200.00++
Since most dining options in Laiya are restaurants, expect to pay an average of PHP 200.00 to PHP 250.00 per meal. There are roadside eateries available but are far from the beach, where you can already have a decent meal for about PHP 100.00 to PHP 150.00.
Shopping: PHP 60.00 to PHP 300.00
The panutsa costs somewhere between PHP 50.00 to PHP 80.00, depending on the size. You can even score a discount depending on the quantity. Ref magnets and key chains are often sold by packs, though buying per piece is also possible. Expect to pay somewhere between PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 per item. Shirts are sold at PHP 200.00 or more, depending on the quality of materials used and the design.
Accommodations: PHP 1,000.00 to PHP 6,000.00
Like with most resorts, room rates vary depending on the season and the kinds of amenities and services being offered. You can already snag a good room for about PHP 1,000.00 per night, while going all out in amenities and services can cost you as much as PHP 6,000.00 a night.
Activities: PHP 300.00++
Massage services are offered at a base price of PHP 300.00. Climbing Mount Dagulgol will set you back PHP 700.00. Island hopping will cost about PHP 1,200.00, while scuba diving can cost more. Other activities are priced at an average of PHP 300.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
A 10% service charge is almost always included in your bill when dining. But if you would like to leave a tip, PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 should be enough.