♫ Stones… Heavy like the love you’ve shown… ♫ I can’t help but sing to this song whenever I recount my trips to Malabrigo, Lobo, Batangas. I guess you already have an idea. Yup, it’s because of its stony shores. Mabato s’ya. Parang ‘yung puso n’ya.
Malabrigo is my mother’s hometown, so we make it a point to spend at least a weekend there every summer. Now you know that as a child, I was more familiar with the feeling of rocks and pebbles than soft, creamy sand under my feet. No wonder why I already got used to all the pain and stuff. Charaught.
I know that the beaches of Malabrigo are not widely picked by most. But putting my bias aside, here are the top 6 reasons why I love MaLOVErigo, Lobo, Batangas:
1. The kind of beach
Everybody’s been raving about white sand beaches and sandbars (Read: Kalanggaman Island). Don’t join the bandwagon this time—try the rocky coast! Because it rocks. Well, literally. Haha. One shall not underestimate Malabrigo’s; its pebbles that come in various shapes, sizes, and colors are said to be great scrubs for our skin! Yes, panghilod is the term.
2. The crystal clear and cool waters
Snorkeling and diving are highly encouraged in this part of Batangas. The underwater world of Malabrigo will surely feast your eyes. Mare-realize mo na ‘yung relasyon n’yo lang ang tanging malabo sa mundo. Haha, exaggeration intended. And since Malabrigo’s sea bed is stony, the temperature of the water is chill enough to beat the heat. By the way, there’s this Fish Sanctuary and Refuge Area near actor Christopher de Leon’s place (yes, their family has a rest house there) where no fishermen are allowed to catch so as not to prevent the small fishes from growing and reproducing. Given that rule, the said spot has truly become a “sanctuary” as it houses various sea creatures (friendly fishes, mostly) that you can swim with.
3. The picturesque lighthouse
Before plunging to the sea, it’s a tradition for us to warm up by climbing our way to the Faro de Punta de Malabrigo, a 19th century-old lighthouse located atop a cliff. You can hike via the now-cemented roads then descend using the stairs that lead to the beach itself. Through the government’s Adopt-a-Lighthouse project and the help of Olympic swimmer Akiko Thompson, The Parola has been restored and maintained through the years. It was declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as a National Historical Landmark last 2006. We were able to climb towards the tower a few years ago; I just don’t know if they still allow it today. But don’t hesitate to ask whenever there’s a caretaker present. If prohibited, don’t fret—just savor the view of the Verde and Mindoro islands. Tapos mag-emote ka and whisper to yourself, “So near yet so far.”
4. The healthy food
Say no to burgers and French fries for the meantime and eat guilt-free recipes offered by the town of Lobo. Rich in Sampaloc trees, sweet tamarind is one of the major products of this place aside from Atis (Trivia: It’s the Atis Capital of the Philippines). You can hoard boxes of such as pasalubong at a cheaper price (P50 each as what I can remember). Pinais (poached dulong wrapped in banana leaves), Bulanglang (different veggies boiled in rice water), Ginataang Tulingan (tulingan cooked in coconut milk), and anything that is “sinaing” (braised) are also some of the must-taste delicacies of Lobo and Batangas in general. Oh, and before I forget, munch on their locally made pastries such as Kababayan (Filipino version of muffin), Paborita Biscuit, Buchi-Buchi (kamote balls that resemble kwek-kwek), and Ookan (deep fried rice flour mixed with egg and sugar). I was so busy eating that I failed to take pictures of them. 😛
5. The not so crowded shores
I hate beaches that are congested. For me, the mere purpose of going to the beach is to relax, to simply be away from the noise and pollution of the city. Therefore, whenever I plan on being one with the sea, I make sure that the beach I’ll go to is not that hyped or advertised. Malabrigo is a perfect example of that.
6. The friendly cost
No need to wait for promo fares to go beach bumming! Thank God Southern Luzon is blessed with a place like Batangas where beaches are just one fun road trip away. Accommodations in Malabrigo are very affordable, too. And since it’s my mom’s hometown, some of the residents there are our relatives. We usually stay at Mercedes Ben’s Place (witty resort name, right?) which is owned by my mom’s cousin, and we buy boxes of sweet tamarind from Tiya Teming who happens to be my grandmother’s cousin. Talk about scoring some good discounts! You might consider this resort/store if you happen to drop by.
I’m happy that Malabrigo has been making a name for itself. Not to be selfish, but I hope it stays as it is—clean, unspoiled, and serene. It has become a home for me, and I don’t mind going back year after year.
MGA BANAT NG BIYAHE
- You and the pebbles of Malabrigo have one thing in common: Pareho kayong hard sa’kin.
- Another thing in common? Ang sarap n’yong durug-durugin.
- Knock knock! Who’s there? Lobo. Lobo who? ♫ When I need you, make everything stop. Finally, you put my LOBOnTop! ♫
Are you a white sand or a pebble beach person? 🙂