Family Trip: Burot Beach and Cape Santiago
by Danny Tariman
We never run out of beaches to go!
This time, our next destination is an undeveloped beach in Batangas, the Burot Beach, and the nearby Santiago Lighthouse. Both destinations are in the municipality of Calatagan, Batangas, just a couple of hours from Metro Manila via Tagaytay City.
We set out early in the morning for our drive to Calatagan. Our objective was to be at the beach by about 8am to catch the morning sun. It was an easy drive, as we had passed this road few times already. But I didn’t know that there is this undeveloped beach in Catalagan!
We arrived at about 8:30 in the morning. The place had a few people. We immediately set up our tent and our picnic table, and tried to settle down.
It was low tide, and we could not swim. We waited until about 2pm but still the water was low. This was because when we arrived, the tide has just started to go down. [Poor us, we couldn’t swim!].
But was good enough for my son, as he can explore the seabed for creatures that he can take home for his aquarium. True enough, we saw a murray eel, and in fact, I was able to catch it using our fishing net! I was so excited to get it! But it was so slippery; it was able to manage to get out of the net! Tsk tsk!
Anyway, my son was able to get a few other sea creatures: “live” rock, a couple of small fishes, and others.
I had a great bonding time with my son, as we explored the seabed together. I saw some sea urchins, few ‘worms’ – I like how it looks like, some rare shrimp for aquarium, and many others.
My wife and our daughter just stayed within our ‘camp’. Our daughter continued her reading while waiting for the water to rise. But it didn’t rise to a level for swimming.
Although we were not able to swim, still we enjoyed our company. We had a packed lunch of binalot – adobo (pork stew in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic) with salted egg, wrapped in banana leaves – truly food for picnic!
The place is good for those who want picnic in a beach, without hurting the pocket! But it has no presentable facilities – only a makeshift shower and toilet – good enough to do your thing with privacy. There are no huts nor cottages that you can rent, so you better bring your own camping or picnic gear.
We left the beach at about 2pm and headed towards our next destination: the Cape Santiago where a 125-year old lighthouse still stands and is operational up to now. I was a good 20-minute drive from Burot. When driving from Burot, note that the road to the lighthouse is on the right side, but the signage at the left side of the road.
Our visit to the lighthouse was earlier arranged with Kuya Junior (mobile number 0919-841-6486), the caretaker of the place. You need to contact him to make sure he is there when you come, otherwise the gate is normally closed. Entrance is free but at your option, you may give a ‘tip’ to the caretaker.
According to the caretaker, the tower is 51 feet tall and has a total of 65 steps to reach the top. We tried going up. We noticed that the stairs is truly antique – wrought iron with intricate design similar to that in Capones’ island lighthouse.
At the top, you will have a commanding view of the vast ocean fronting Batangas and the beach lining the seas. I noticed too that the lights are operated by solar cells! And we were told that the light can reach a distance 15km! (I hope I remember it right). An old structure that runs in modern technology!
We left the place at about 5pm, and we headed back to Tagaytay where we stayed for the night.