My first encounter with this destination was a grueling 13-hour run, walk, and hike around the island. The race around the island had me surprised and amazed of its raw natural beauty. I vowed to visit it again. Who would have thought that on my fourth visit to this island, I would be doing my own version of race that got my guys lost in the island of Tingloy.
Roughly 3 hours away from Manila, Tingloy is an island-municipality along the Batangas Bay composed of the islands of Marikaban and Caban and smaller islets in the area. It is a beach destination that has caught the attention of local travelers because of its raw beauty and proximity to the metro. It is a perfect escape from the huff and puff of the city that could easily quench your thirst for sun, sand, and sea. We were lucky to have enjoyed all three as we took a quick beach break from our usual day inside our workspace.
The Port of Tingloy is the first to welcome you to the island. There are regular fast craft ferries that ply the route to the island from Anilao or Talaga Port. Chaos ensues as passengers disembark with officials giving instructions and trike drivers offering their services to its visitors. The one thing that will strike you the most is the peaceful and simple vibe as soon as you set foot on the island. The warm smiles and hospitality of its locals is easily felt as you explore the poblacion.
The Poblacion area is a simple community by the shore facing Mabini in the mainland. The vibe is very homey and welcoming as each person that you would meet would always flash their warm smiles. It is the center of commerce, religion, and education of the municipality as this is where you would see the main church, the schools, and most of the businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, and homestays. Interestingly, it also has a couple of well-preserved ancestral houses that date back to American period. The Rosales Ancestral House is one of these houses that date back to 1922.
The warm hospitality of the locals has not changed from the time that I first set foot on Tingloy to my fourth visit. It was something that does stick out every time and that I always carry home with me. The quaint town vibe gives you that relaxed feel that lingers days after you have left the island.
Coastal Hot Spring (Barangay Papaya)
About 15 minutes by trike from the port, Barangay Papaya is an unassuming community on the other side of the island that faces Mindoro. Life here is relaxing and simple. It is a close-knit community along a rugged coast where time slips by very slowly and you get to enjoy the chill beach vibe. It has a small damaged port where you can enjoy the perfect view of its coast against the backdrop of the sun setting behind a hill.
The rugged beauty of its coast are revealed when the tides draw out to sea. Its rocky features give its shoreline a melo-dramatic landscape, especially with the sun setting or the silhouette of Mindoro in the background. But beyond its rocky features, the low tide reveals a secret - a hot spring by its rocky shores. The rock formations on the coast will amaze you especially on the section where a straight line perfectly halves the formation. As you explore the rock pools, you would notice hot water bubbling to the surface. The water temperature ranges from comfortable to almost boiling hot. Locals say that hot mist can be observed in the early morning around the area when the tides are low. It made me wonder where the hot spring is coming from… perhaps an underwater volcano?
Tingloy is an island destination and the waters surrounding it are teeming with underwater life. It has white sand beach spots that has gained popularity through the years. A great way to explore the island’s spots is to hire a small boat and enjoy the sun, sea, and sand. We were lucky to have the sun on our side when we visited Tingloy that gave our team a well-deserved last minute summer escape. Our first stop… Sombrero Island.
The island got its name because its shaped like a hat or a “sombrero” jutting out from the sea. It is located off the western coast of Marikaban and is a popular spot for diving and snorkeling. We donned our life vests and masks to enjoy its underwater beauty. I marveled at the life under its waters teeming with schools of fish with the livery of its rich coral reefs as its backdrop. I enjoyed the tranquility of just paddling out and enjoying the underwater views of Sombrero Island.
Sepoc Beach and Kweba ni Dugong
Among all the spots when I first “explored” Tingloy, it was Sepoc Beach that REALLY made a mark on me. I still can still vividly recall the view that opened up to us after we came out of the lush vegetation covers protecting this beach spot. It was a perfect unspoiled white sand cove that you only see on movies. I had to stop and just breathe in its beauty. Unfortunately that side of Sepoc is already privately owned and guests are no longer allowed to visit.
The adjacent side of Sepoc Beach is the one that is accessible to the public. This beach cove is surrounded and protected by rocky cliffs and has a mix of stone and sand shoreline. The round stones of different shapes and sizes are found along its shores that, when our banca docked on shore, some of my guys started collecting stones as “panghilod”. Talk about bringing home a unique pasalubong from Tingloy.
The rock cliffs that separate the private and public beach strips of Sepoc have cave spots. Aptly dubbed as “Kweba ni Dugong”, the three caves sits along the rocky coastline of the beach. Getting to the caves is tricky as one would have to traverse the sharp rocks along its cliff walls and swim across the mouth of the first cave while the waves crash you onto the rocks. There is a huge chance that you would end up with minor cuts and bruises.
Two of caves are single opening caves and the third having 2 entry or exit points. The first cave was a challenge to explore because of the depth of the water and the waves continually pushing you inwards. The two other caves had a more chill vibe as it had sandy spots where you can sit down, rest, and relax before going for a return traverse. Despite the challenge, cuts, and scratches, our team enjoyed the whole experience of finding dugong.
A rock formation by the coast with two turquoise-colored pools and a panoramic view of the sea is a great spot to chill down in Tingloy. The twin pools are surrounded by rock formations that create a still sandy pool where one can enjoy a quick dip. You get to enjoy its waters with the shade from its cliff and a full view of its blue waters.
The rock formations also provide a good backdrop for those IG-worthy beach photos. The rugged landscape provide a good contrast to smooth background of the sea. If you just want to chill down, you can find your spot and enjoy the breathtaking views as the sea breeze cools you down.
Masasa Beach is the main tourist draw of Tingloy. With its white sand shore and relaxing beach view, it is THE most popular beach spot in the island. It has maintained its beauty despite the influx of tourists and commerce in the area. It was good though that the LGU have placed policies to maintain its upkeep.
This beach cove facing the Mindoro area boasts of white sandy shores and still waters so you really get to enjoy wading in its waters. Commerce have been regulated so you don’t have much structures around except for a couple of beach huts, rock covers, and tree covers. You get to enjoy the beach in its almost unspoiled beauty. On one side of the beach is a rock formation that you can climb up to capture a panoramic view of Masasa Beach.
The biggest discovery on my fourth visit in Masasa was that beauty above its waters run parallel to the beauty underneath its waters. A snorkeling activity where we were dragged by our bangka along the deeper parts of Masasa Beach revealed the colorful underwater life beneath its waters. It was teeming with beautiful corals and sea creatures. If you are lucky enough, you might even catch a glimpse of a sea turtle grazing along its sandy shores.
Masasa Beach was a real surprise for me on this trip. It revealed its beauty beyond what I already knew. Not only was it able to preserve its old charm, it was also able to share another facet of its beauty. It gives you more reason to explore Tingloy again and again.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Tingloy have kept its old charm and has given me another facet of its beauty. I never thought that I would discover something new on my fourth visit to the island - a hot spring and rich coral life right at the doorstep of Masasa River. I discovered its beauty when I first got lost in Tingloy and getting my guys lost this time revealed more sights to enjoy. I guess getting #LostInTingloy is not a bad idea after all.
Re-discovering a destination is not a bad idea. It gives us the opportunity to overturn stones that previously stood on to reveal something new about the place. We get to see the place from a different lens that makes us appreciate the place more. Kung bibigyan ka ng pagkakataon, anong lugar sa Pinas ang gusto mong balikan? Share mo naman sa comment ykung saan.
Getting there: You can take a bus to Batangas Grand Terminal from Metro Manila (Quezon City, Makati, and Paranaque). You can then take a jeep from Batangas Grand Terminal to either Anilao Port or Talaga Port (Prevailing weather or season determines which port will be used as jump off points to Tingloy). Jeepney drtivers would know which port would be in use. Fastcraft vessels are available at the port to take you to Tingloy. Tricycle is the mode in the transportation within the island.
There are a lot of homestays on the island. If you want a laidback vibe, you can stay at Waterfront Beach House in Barangay Papaya. For an easy, complete, and organized trip to Tingloy, you can check out Masasa Beach Transient House on their Facebook page or you may contact Edric Cepillo at (0909) 1998174.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.