Tag Archives: Lobo

Starting the Year With an Adventure in Lobo, Batangas

Starting the Year With an Adventure in Lobo, Batangas
by Danny Tariman

Most of the time, my family would just be at home to welcome the entry of the New Year with the usual Thanksgiving Prayers and Noche Buena (a midnight meal to usher the coming year). It is usually noisy – with the firecrackers and fireworks – all over the place. After the noise had died down, smoke and smog covers the entire city.

This time, we decided to make it different. We wanted to celebrate it quietly, and still with the family tradition of bidding goodbye to the ending year with thanksgiving prayers, and welcoming the coming year in prayers. We will do it in a beach!

Wow! We are all excited to have a different way of celebrating the New Year. We booked for an overnight stay in Punta Verde Dive Resort in Malabrigo, Lobo, Batangas.

The inifinity pool of Punta Verde Dive
The inifinity pool of Punta Verde Dive

We left our home in the city at about half-past-six in the morning. It was an easy morning drive. We passed by Ibaan town driving through a deep ravine and a steep climb along the way, and then about one hour zigzag drive going to Lobo town.

The more challenging drive was after the Malabrigo lighthouse where the incline was maybe 50 degrees! Wow, I felt my nerve pounding! Haha! But thanks be to God, we made it going down, and up again on our return! From the steep paved road, it was an agonizing 3km drive on rough, unpaved roads.

We reached the resort at about 9 o’clock. Just about the time we planned to arrive. It was low tide on our arrival. We can view the sea bed almost dry. The view is awesome! Blue skies, merging with the blue ocean. With an infinity pool in front of the restaurant, it was indeed a marvelous scene.

The beach fronting Punta Verde
The beach fronting Punta Verde

We checked-in at an air-conditioned cottage, few steps down from the pool. It got a good beach-front view. It was quite spacious for a family of 4. It was clean and fresh, with balcony facing the ocean.

Going to the beach is another story, as the cottage seats on a cliff. I didn’t count the steps going down, but it is easily about 100 steps, on a well-paved, stone stairs. The staircase is really very nice, well-crafted.

The stair connecting the infinity pool, restuarant, & cottages on the hill, and the beach below.
The stair connecting the infinity pool, restaurant, & cottages on the hill, and the beach below.

When we reached the shores, it was as we expected, a bed of rock with literally different creatures. Just what my son wants! So that he can find living animals he can bring back home for his marine aquarium.

We were not disappointed. We saw not just 2 but 4 anemones lying on the rocks. My son tried to get one, but the animal was so stuck in the deep recesses of the rock. He can’t pull it out. We tried another, same thing. And still another, and again failed. Hehehe! My son just admitted the fact that he can’t get it without hurting the thing, so we left without the anemone.

We were able to collect a number of corals. All were very colorful. And even a live blue star fish. All of these are still alive in our marine aquarium, as of this writing.

In the afternoon, we enjoyed a swim at the infinity pool – which gives an illusion that the pool and the ocean are seamlessly connected! Really nice.

And oh, the meals! The serving was very generous! The food was done home-style cooking and was served ‘family buffet’ on table. In all the three meals (plus the fourth one, the last) were were all very full. It was like eating at home with a good scenic view of the infinity pool and ocean in front of you.

Our lunch at a cottage in front of the pool: a homey experience
Our lunch at a cottage in front of the pool: a homey experience

On the midnight of December 31st, we did our family tradition of thanking the Lord for the blessings of the past year and praying to another blessed year. It was quiet. But not really. There were some little crackling here and there, but it was not as noisy as in the city. We can view from our balcony the fireworks at the opposite side of the sea – which is Puerto Gallera in Mindoro. There was a sporadic lighting of the skies because of fireworks.

The following day – which was Janaury 1st – we went to trek to a falls nearby. The information brochure says it is a 45-minute walk, but we made it in 60 minutes. Haha! It was an easy trek, mostly at the river bank, with a short ascend when we were near the falls.

My family trek to the falls
My family trek to the falls

The final part of the trek was to cross a hanging bridge, giving us a good backdrop for a photo-ops. We reached this natural pool with water falling gently from the rocks above. It was truly a refreshing view. I couldn’t resist dipping myself in the cool flowing river. It was very cold, and invigorating. Some more photo shoots and then we hit the trails again back to our accommodation.

The final stretch of the trek -- a short hanging bridge to the natural pool
The final stretch of the trek — a short hanging bridge to the natural pool

Back in the resort. We had a final experience of getting to view the inside of the resort’s private museum. A must for visitors. We saw old photographs of Manila and key cities of the Philippines, some old and rare photos of Philippine country-side, antique bayonets collected from all over the world, among others.

A truly different way of celebrating the New Year! Thank You, Lord!

The main dining hall of the resort with a good view of the ocean
The main dining hall of the resort with a good view of the ocean
My wife & daughter strolling on the "dry" seashore
My wife & daughter strolling on the “dry” seashore
The natural pool with the falls at the back.
The natural pool with the falls at the back.
My family inside the private museum
My family inside the private museum
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Revisiting the Marine Gardens of Lobo

Revisiting the Marine Gardens of Lobo
by Danny Tariman

My family had been to this beach front resort a few months back. We liked the beautiful marine garden which is just a few meters from the shoreline.

This time, we planned to stay overnight to have more time to enjoy the beach, the underwater marine gardens, and the sea breeze in the evening.

The pristine marine gardens just few meters from the shore.
The pristine marine gardens just few meters from the shore.

It was a much easier drive from the city: we passed by South Luzon Expressway, continued our highway drive via CSTEx (Calamba-Sto Tomas Expressway) and on to the STAR Tollway. We exited at Ibaan. From the highway, we turned left to Ibaan town then left to a “less-known” road to Lobo.

We liked this route: only few cars pass by this secondary road to Lobo. From Ibaan town, it took us only 1 hour flat to Lobo town, which is about 30-45 minutes travel time savings compared to Batangas City route.

Along this route, we passed by La Farge cement plant. From here, it was all zigzag up to the town proper. [There is also a long zigzag road via Batangas City.]

The Lobo beach in the morning.
The Lobo beach in the morning.

Leaving our home at 12:30pm, we arrived almost 3:30pm because of a funeral convoy we passed along the road, which slowed down our travel by about 30 minutes.

We were welcomed by the homey smile of Lea, the resort administrator. [You may reach her by mobile phone at 0932-326-3390. Tell her you got the number from this blog.] Immediately after settling down, we were offered our afternoon snacks. Just the right timing because we were all famished from the quick early lunch we had and long trip.

We promptly went to explore the marine garden because it was low tide. It was just a few meters from the shore. It was an amazing sight: all sorts of corals – from soft to hard, in various shapes and colors. We enjoyed viewing these, with our son explaining to us the names and other details of each specie, while our daughter took photos.

My daughter snorkeling in the marine garden
My daughter snorkeling in the marine garden

We also saw a baby octopus, a clam which attached itself to a rock, and many others. Wow, it was like snorkeling in a knee-deep water! You don’t have to swim actually.

Before retreating from the shore and swimming, my son and I gathered some dried wood from the beach to be used for our bonfire later in the night.

Come evening, we had our dinner prepared by the resort’s restaurant. It was a plateful meal composed of chicken barbeque, mixed vegies, rice, and desert. Nice one!

After our dinner, my son and I started to fire the dried wood we gathered earlier, while my wife and my daughter prepared the sausages and marshmallows on stick for roasting on the bonfire.

The bonfire was another experience for us family. While we enjoyed together cooking the sausages and mallows on “live fire”, we enjoyed much more eating it! Haha!

My family gathering around the bonfire,  broiling sausages
My family gathering around the bonfire, broiling sausages

Later in the evening, we strolled on the shore. The moon was very bright; it was almost full-moon. We took some night photos; thanks to my son’s SLR camera, the shots were really nice even without the flash, it fact it was much better shots!

An evening shot (no flash)  under the moon light.
An evening shot (no flash) under the moon light.

The following morning, the sea was so calm, and the water very cool. It was a lovely morning view!

After a quick breakfast of eggs, meat loaves, and fish, with hot coffee and hot choco drink, we immediately went back to the sea. This time, the sea was rising to its high tide. It was perfect for snorkeling!

We covered almost half of the width of the shoreline snorkeling at chest-level water. The underwater views was just great! The marine gardens we saw during low tide, were much more alive with fishes swimming around. Truly wonderful!

The beach just before sunset.
The beach just before sunset.

We withdrew from swimming at about 9 o’clock, and we just stayed on the shores until 10. I was just lazing on the sandy beach, enjoying the relaxing moments.

What a wonderful family time! Until next time, Lobo!

More of the marine garden
More views of the marine garden
Another shot of the beautiful underwater garden
Another shot of the beautiful underwater garden
A scenic view of the beach at night (photo taken without flash on an SLR)
A scenic view of the beach at night (photo taken without flash on an SLR)
Outdoor adventure, my family's favorite past time
Outdoor adventure, my family’s favorite past time
Close up shots of sea creatures taken from the marine garden
Close up shots of sea creatures taken from the marine garden

Lobo: a Marine Sanctuary

Lobo: a Marine Sanctuary
by Danny Tariman

We had always been on the watch for a new place to discover.

One day my wife called my attention to this “submarine garden” being aired on TV, as a featured summer destination. It immediately caught my interest because my son is always very eager to explore marine life.

The Lobo beach: just a few meters from the shore is a marine garden.
The Lobo beach: just a few meters from the shore is a marine garden.

I immediately searched the internet, and yes, it is worth discovering!

I was almost end-of-summer-season in the Philippines. We drove to Lobo, Batangas leaving the Metro at about 5am. After about 2 hours we reach Batangas City, passing through the South Luzon Expressway, the Calamba-Sto Tomas Expressway, and finally the STAR Tollway. It was an easy morning drive, averaging 90-100kph.

Past the city proper, we passed by the Shell oil depot where dozens of giant oil tanks fill the vast seaside yard, and other industrial plants.

The colorful marine life in Lobo.
The colorful marine life in Lobo.

It was a good well-paved, zigzag for almost an hour drive until we reach the Lobo town. It was a scenic drive by the bay.

We reached Submarine Garden Resort in no time. My family is excited to see the underwater view. We quickly put up our snorkeling gear and headed down to the beach!

Within 10 meters from the beach, you will indeed see the “submarine garden” shown on TV. My family swam and explored almost every square-meter of the underwater scenery. We were all awed by the natural “aquarium”. It was like viewing a huge aquarium: colorful corals – both soft and hard of various species, with fishes swimming around.

The sunset in Lobo
The sunset in Lobo

We were looking for the famous clown fish – popularly known as “Nemo”, and we were not disappointed. My daughter spotted the fish on her way back to the shore. While she was taking photos, the fish got near her, in an effort to guard its territory. [Clown fishes are territorial fish – meaning, it consider a territory its own, and would usually scare away other creatures getting near its territory.]

The beach has a picturesque sunset view. The good thing is my two very wonderful children took photos of the sunset. And yes, it was very nice, they immediately posted the photos in their Facebook accounts as soon as they got back the hut.

The over 100 years old Malabrigo Lighthouse
The over 100 years old Malabrigo Lighthouse

As an added place to visit, we went to the Malabrigo lighthouse, known to locals as “Parola”.

The lighthouse sits on top of a cape overlooking the bay. The tower is very much similar to the one in Calatagan (also in Batangas). We couldn’t get inside the compound as it seems to be closed. We arrived the cape at about 6:15pm after about 20 minutes easy drive from the resort, and still with the sun setting down, the lighting was just perfect!

Going back to Manila, we passed by another road: via Ibaan. It was a shorter drive but still with a long zigzag but cemented or asphalted road. It was dark when we passed. Yeah, my family is quite brave to pass this untrodden road at night! Haha! I think the ride would have been more scenic if we passed earlier when the sun was still up.

The beach resort in Lobo
The beach resort in Lobo

We were so amazed at the kindness of the people we passed and encountered along the road. They were all very helpful. Thank you people of Lobo, you are all very kind and hospitable!

It has been a good drive, a fantastic experience in the submarine sanctuary, and scenic view of the Parola.

It’s worth the trip!

My family enjoying the sun, the sand, and the sea
My family enjoying the sun, the sand, and the sea
My family in front of the lighthouse
My family in front of the lighthouse
A cluster of soft corals under the sea
A cluster of soft corals under the sea
Another view of the beach
Another view of the beach