Category Archives: Morong

Sunset in Bataan

Bataan – A Short Tour Around Morong’s Beach

For me, these past year, out of all the places I’ve been to, I think Bataan has been the most impressive. When you say Bataan, the first image you get is the fact that the place has great value when it comes to historical reasons. There are landmarks everywhere, Death March marks along the road, friendship statues, images, establishments built to remember what happened in Bataan during the time of the Japanese reign.

However, there is one part of Bataan that no ordinary tourist would’ve wondered or thought about. Commonly, when you say Philippine beach – it is always Boracay, Palawan or Bohol that comes into your mind. To my surprise, Bataan impressed with very a very clean beach with shallow shores and a very lively marine life. Although the beach wasn’t the pristine white sand everyone else dreams of, you must also understand that the sand isn’t the only thing to consider when you’re going to the beach. Just because the beach has white sand doesn’t mean it has swimmable shores with soft seafloors (Cagbalete Island) or if the beach has beautiful limestone rocks and fine sand doesn’t mean it has shallow and safe shores (Borawan Island). Sometimes, the beauty of a beach lies in its simplicity and cleanliness and how safe and swimmable it may be for you and your family.

Bataan's Beaches in Morong

Bataan's Beaches in Morong

Bataan’s beaches in Morong boasts of an almost untouched wide beachfront. There aren’t any bars or clubs around so it’s less likely for you to find much trash along the beaches like bottles of beer or any other party stuff. While resorts may run the shoreline, they are located a long back into the beachfront so they provide a really nice and wide beach area to play around and lounge during the day. The sand is grayish, not so black but not white either, very fine and so soft that every time you step out into the sand, you sink quick.

The beach in Bataan reminded me a lot of Papua New Guinea’s beaches. They weren’t white sand, but you’d still enjoy the place anyway. The sand in the water was darker, but it was still the same very soft sand so you won’t have to keep worrying about stepping on any harmful corals or rocks. The water was clear, you can immediately see the smoothness and cleanliness of the seabed and sometimes, some small fish that wonder the shallow areas of the beach.

Beachfront in Bataan

Beachfront in Bataan

The best thing about Bataan’s beach along Morong was that there was no sudden drop. You can walk the waters and be quite far from the beach but the water would still be quite shallow and the sand still smooth. While there are some areas in Morong beach that have jellyfish near the shore, the rest of the shorelines are still all very swimmable.

Clean Waters in Bataan

Clean Waters in Bataan

I didn’t realize Bataan had some islands around the area of even a place where they can snorkel so imagine my surprise when I found out.

 

My family underwater

My family underwater

Boatmen in Bataan are everywhere so you can just inquire with the men and the kids that go around the area. The current rate for island hopping in Bataan is around P1200 – P2000 depending on how many people there are in your group. The Bataan island hopping includes a visit to the Pawikan Conservation Center, the snorkel area and if you’re more adventurous a 30 minute boat ride to the White Beach (here in the Philippines, White Beaches are suddenly becoming very popular – even just the name!).

Boatmen in Bataan

Boatmen in Bataan

We paid P1400 for a family of 6, snorkels included to the Pawikan Conservation Center and snorkel site. We had wanted to go to White Beach but my parents weren’t very accustomed to boat rides so the long ride may be a little shocking.

Morong's Shoreline

Morong's Shoreline

Resorts in Morong

Resorts in Morong

Morong's shoreline

Morong's shoreline

The ride to the Pawikan Conservation Center takes about 15 – 20 minutes passing through Morong’s shoreline and the many resorts along the way. While you can ride a boat to the Sanctuary, it is also accessible by land. The entrance fee to the Pawikan Conservation Center is P20 per head. If you’re lucky, during the mating season, you can find huge sized pawikans near the shores.

Pawikan Conservation Center

Pawikan Conservation Center

The Pawikan Conservation Center adopts these pawikans that are left on the shore by the parents. They are put into good shelters, fed well and when they’ve grown and learned to take care of themselves, they are release into the ocean.

Pawikans, or in English, turtles, are greatly in danger especially some of their specific classifications.

Endangered Pawikan

Endangered Pawikan

In the Conservation Center, they provide you a small farm with 3 pawikans where you can take pictures while holding the pawikans. These turtles are actually really heavy, so don’t mistake them for tiny and lightweight. Make sure to stay clear away from the mouth of a turtle, because according to the boatman, a turtle’s bite is dangerous as they can bite off your finger. In the farm, one of the turtles was so huge that he couldn’t even swim anymore so he only went up for air whenever he could.

The heavy Pawikan

The heavy Pawikan

Pawikan

Pawikan

Another turtle swam around but was very heavy and the smallest pawikan was lighter, but its hands and feet were also lighter to flap, so, when I held it, he flapped his arms so much hitting my hand and causing my hand to hurt – even turned red for awhile.

Smaller Turtle

Smaller Turtle

 

The farm also built a pawikan life cycle statue for visitors to gather and see the cycle of a turtle and to get a glimpse of how big a pawikan can grow to be.

Life Cycle of a Pawikan

Life Cycle of a Pawikan

Life Cycle of a Pawikan

Life Cycle of a Pawikan

Life Cycle of a Pawikan

Life Cycle of a Pawikan

It was such a nice thing to know and it’s kind of disappointing to know that their species are slowly dying. The Pawikan Conservation Center is truly doing their best to conserve these turtles.

The center also offers an Adopt a Pawikan program where you can help to save your own pawikan.

Adopt a Pawikan

Adopt a Pawikan

After awhile at the Pawikan Conservation Center, we headed off to the snorkeling site which was nearer to our resort than the center had been.

I’m in love with light bluish green waters where you can see the seafloor even from above. I saw these waters only in Boracay, El Nido and in some parts of Hundred Islands. I never thought I’d see that in Bataan. Beautiful, bluegreen waters greeted us in the midst of the sea when the boatmen stopped. There were a few other boats around the area with snorkelers as well so I felt okay about snorkeling there.

Bataan Underwater Life

Bataan Underwater Life

My siblings are all first timers so I enjoyed giving them a short tour around – even if it was just around the boat. Like all times I’ve snorkeled, I was once again, amazed by the underwater world.

Marine Life in Bataan

Marine Life in Bataan

I couldn’t get pictures of any fish, however, I was able to get some shots of the beautiful corals Bataan had. My siblings also enjoyed taking photographs underwater, thanks to our underwater camera.

Marine Life in Bataan

Marine Life in Bataan

My brother underwater

My brother underwater

I remembered how tiring it was to snorkel. We only snorkeled for about an hour or so and then my Dad, who was feeling sea sick urged us to go back to the resort.

For a few hours in the sea part of Bataan, I was contented. I enjoyed seeing the turtles, even having my own one on one time with them, enjoyed learning about them and I definitely enjoyed getting to snorkel again. Maybe the next time I go to Bataan, I can visit their White Beach.

I didn’t get the boatman’s number, but you can just choose from the many boatmen who linger along the shores. If you happen to be in an established resort, you could ask the front desk for help.

 

If you visit Bataan, there’s also a big chance you can get a beautiful Bataan sunset. :)

 

Sunset in Bataan

Sunset in Bataan

 

Where to Stay in Bataan?

Alpina Beach Resort

La Primera Playa

Beds at Alpina Beach Resort

Alpina Beach Resort, Bataan

When we were distraught about where to stay in Bataan, I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t stay there. I didn’t want my family to stay there. I decided to walk around the area since the resorts were just next to each other anyway. We had to hurry since my dad was already tired from his whole day drive and I knew he needed to rest.

After scouting the area for available rooms, I finally found an accommodation in Bataan in a small, quite homey resort with a tiny pool at the end, just a hotel away from La Primera Playa’s main hotel. The hotel was new, the owner didn’t have a front office and there was a small guardhouse manned by two young girls at the front. Oh well, at least it had a gate.

Alpina Beach Resort

Alpina Beach Resort

Mr. Alex Pineda was the name of the owner of Alpina Beach Resort. I’m not sure if he was the owner of La Primera Playa but, whatever. I was able to talk to him personally and he was actually really nice. He offered us a room and told the young girls to show it to us. I agreed and we hurriedly rushed to the 2nd floor of the three floored one-sided establishment of Alpina Beach Resort. The girls opened room G for us and I was already convinced, hoping Mr. Alex Pineda would give us a good price.

He gave us the room for P3500 the night, no corkage fees, no extra fees for extra persons, no parking fees – just the P3500 and that was it. I immediately agreed and my brother and I ran back to La Primera Playa for our things and my family.

Alpina Beach Resort had a three storey establishment that served about 5 – 6 rooms per floor with alphabetic room names. On the ground floor, at the end, near the pool was a small store with beer, soft drinks, cups of soups and the likes for sale.

Store at Alpina Beach Resort

Store at Alpina Beach Resort

Above the store, was a nice kitchen, complete with a refrigerator, stove, microwave, ovens, even a grilling station, a dining area and a smoking area located on the terrace. This kitchen is open for all the guests, free of charge with no corkage fees.

Beds at Alpina Beach Resort

Beds at Alpina Beach Resort

Our room was very simple, it was painted white and larger than the room offered in the other hotel. It had two double beds and one single bed. Surprisingly, the beds didn’t have hospital white bed sheets but were actually covered with colored bed sheets and pillows. According to Mr. Alex Pineda, we could request extra sheets and pillows at no charge.

The beds in the room didn’t leave much space to walk around, aside from a narrow hall that divided the space for the wide 25” television, the small, two person table with two chairs, and the mini-refrigerator. While the room wasn’t so spacious, it was well more worth our money.

TV, Ref and Table at Alpina Beach Resort

TV, Ref and Table at Alpina Beach Resort

The bathroom was also in a very good condition, although I thought the bathroom’s tiles and floor were built in a strange way because there was no barrier for the water to stop at the door and the floor slanted to the door instead of into the middle where the drain was located. If you take a bath, it was necessary to shower at the farthest side to prevent flooding of water into the room.

Bathroom at Alpina Beach Resort

Bathroom at Alpina Beach Resort

Besides that, the room was great. The air condition was superb, the room had 7 sets of power sockets and it had a tall lamp near the television if you don’t like sleeping with lights on.

Mr. Alex Pineda ran the resort in a very personalized way. He had no restrictions on checkout time and was very friendly when we approached him.

The pool and hangout place

The pool and hangout place

The pool was small and only about 4ft deep, but it was cold and clean. Beside the pool was some tables and chairs for hanging outs as well as a karaoke machine. The hangout area stretched into the deck which was cut by a narrow and steep flight of stairs that lead to the beachfront.

Pool View from the Kitchen deck

Pool View from the Kitchen deck

The beachfront was wide and it didn’t have any rubbish or any kind of clutter around the area, even if there were a lot of people that roamed the place. The beach was very clean, the seafloor was smooth and uncluttered with no rocks or any corals below. The water is clear and for families, you will definitely appreciate the shallow waters that don’t have sudden drops, nor strong currents.

It wasn’t a white beach like Boracay or even Cagbalete, however, although the sand was dark, it was very fine and has a very soft feel to your feet.

The clear waters in Bataan

The clear waters in Bataan

 

Alpina Beach Resort beachfront

Alpina Beach Resort beachfront

Alpina Beach Resort beachfront

Alpina Beach Resort beachfront

Overall, Alpina Beach Resort had turned my almost nightmare end to our summer roadtrip into a better ending. We enjoyed our stayed at the resort and I highly recommend this Bataan resort for families and barkadas who want a cheaper rate for their Bataan stay.

Alpina Beach Resort

Alpina Beach Resort

 

Alpina Beach Resort

Alpina Beach Resort

Alpina Beach Resort

 

alpinabeach@yahoo.com
www.alpinabeach.com
0928-2888-885
0917-5855-099
0922-8678-792
02-401-9357

 

Rate is at P3500 for a room for 5 (without limit on sharing), complete with television, refrigerator, tables, bathroom and air condition.

 

Where to Stay in Bataan?

La Primera Playa main resort

La Primera Playa, Bataan

When we reached Subic Bay and realized we weren’t going to find an accommodation in Subic, we had to find articles on where to stay in Bataan. It had been in our original plans to go through Bataan because we wanted to visit Mt. Samat and go through the historical marks around the place, but we expected it to happen on Sunday, or at least on our way home.

After having lunch at Subic, instead of finding a hotel, we ended up going straight to Bataan where we were lucky enough to find availability at La Primera Playa. The room was P4000, but my dad was tired and we wanted to rest too before my parents changed their minds and decide to go straight home which was only another 3 more hours away.

We got lost a bit finding our way to La Primera Playa because they didn’t have posters on the main road like other accommodations in Bataan. When we finally arrived at La Primera Playa, I was actually satisfied with the place.

La Primera Playa main resort

La Primera Playa main resort

La Primera Playa is a white, 2 storey apartment style hotel with a small space for parking and a nice pool visible from the parking lot. They had no proper front desk, just small room that had a desk and a chair and it looked more like a stockroom than a front desk. The staffs of the hotel were quite young; in fact, they looked like OJTs to me. When we inquired about our room, they said it was in the other side, their extension resort which was only about 2 minutes walk away from the main resort – or so they said. Since we don’t know where their extension hotel was, we asked the girl at the front desk for directions. She said it was just visible around the corner and that she’d have someone that could show us where we were supposed to go. We agreed and she introduced us to a young boy *(also too young) and said the man would show us to the extension.

The 8 Pax Room for P7500 at the Main Resort

The 8 Pax Room for P7500 at the Main Resort

It had been an unsaid courtesy that when someone is just showing your family around in a hotel (as in the case of our time at Batis Aramin), the staff would refuse to ride in the car with us and will walk the way, or, out of respect, wait to be invited into the car.

However, my eyebrow rose when I opened the door to get inside, he made a sudden gesture that immediately meant he was going to ride in the car with us.  To avoid further embarrassment from both of us, I opened the back door (which was the only free space, because there were already 4 of us at the second row) for him to climb in. I like to look at everything positively, so I dismissed this.

What they said was a 2 minute walk from the main hotel was about a 5 minute drive from the main hotel. When we parked in front of their extension hotel, I was already feeling a major sense of disappointment. During the ride, I was asking the boy more about Bataan and about La Primera Playa, their pool, their corkage fees, the rooms and the rates. He knew nothing. I mean, literally. His answer was – “ewan ko po, extra lang po ako jan” which in translation was “I have no idea, I’m just an extra.” He repeated this after every question and it was getting really offending for me as a guest.

Our car had pulled into a nice parking lot. The width of the lot was large enough and it was cemented. However, one look at the whole establishment and I was already disappointed. I wasn’t the only one. I had my lips tight before I could really make any comments, but I was already bent on finding another place to stay even if I knew my dad was getting pissed already at me as he was just looking forward to sleeping.

The Front of the Extension Hotel at La Primera Playa

The Front of the Extension Hotel at La Primera Playa

The extension of La Primera Playa wasn’t a resort. In fact, it looked like any ordinary house that was just on its way to being built with materials, cement and even hung clothes along the uncemented half of the property opposite to the main areas with the rooms. There was no gate around the extension hotel and no front desk. The establishment was painted white and it looked really new. Each room was hoisted on stairs along two columns and two rooms in every row, divided by a main corridor. Between a few rows of rooms was a set of toilets in portable styles and as I passed through one of them, a staff was cleaning the toilet. It wasn’t a sight to see and even if the beds, sheets and the room was undoubtedly brand new, it was also clear how unfurnished this side of the resort was.

I walked all the way across the hall into the beach area where there were a set of tables and benches for picnickers.

La Primera Playa Beach Front

La Primera Playa Beach Front

Except for the nice beach front, nothing impressed me. I walked back to my family and the staff (again, very young, clueless women) who was showing my family our room. Before I could climb the short steps up to my room, I was already very distracted by the very visible storage area located right in front of our room. There were paint cans, brushes, old rags, cement, wood and other materials that nobody would miss. That was the last straw. I wasn’t going to pay P4000 for a room that looked part of a storage area.

I took a quick look at the room. It was very ordinary and small with white sheets, small bathroom, two double beds, small television hoisted above and an air con. No tables, chairs, no refrigerator.

The Ordinary Bathroom at La Primera Playa

The Ordinary Bathroom at La Primera Playa

Did I mention there were additional fees for extra person? Because there are 6 of us, we were going to pay an extra P500 as well as corkage fees for food and drinks. WTF? I also asked them about the security of the resort as unlike most other resorts in the area, the extension resort of La Primera had no gates, no security desks, no guard wandering around. The young staff answered – “May dalawang babae naman na nakabantay dun,” pointing to the entrance of the hall where two young women, both probably younger than I am, sitting on chairs and chitchatting. I wanted to do that jaw dropping scene on television because I really couldn’t believe I just heard that. These girls didn’t seem capable of protecting me more than I could protect myself.

I found a better accommodation after about 10 – 20 minutes of walking around the area but unfortunately, my mom had paid the downpayment of P2000 as they required a downpayment before checking in. We talked to their again, very clueless staff to ask if we could have the downpayment back as it hasn’t been more than 5 minutes after my mom paid. According to their staff, it was against their policies to refund. We talked to their boss, Mr. Pineda and we explained that we had another accommodation lined up and because we didn’t feel secure in their hotel, we asked if we could get our refund back. He said he could only give back P1000. My mom agreed, although grudgingly and requested from the staff a receipt of the downpayment. They said okay and promised to give us our receipt and bring it to us in our new accommodation.

They didn’t. We didn’t get a receipt, we didn’t get an apology and the inexperienced staff and their ignorance was not just annoying but very offensive. They didn’t even know how to get around Bataan or about the island hopping in Bataan that we had to find out from the boatmen.

We were bound to pay P4500 for a less than average room with no amenities, no security, and no customer service and if we pushed through, we would have lost money for additional corkage and for the amount of services we were getting out of the resort.

 

*This is not a hate post. I have nothing against these young women and men. However, if they were to work in a hotel or resort, they should be prepared to provide the customer service they are being paid for and that includes answering questions, learning things about the hotel and the area and being polite to the guests. Trust me, there is a difference between being polite and being ignorant. I believe when you work for a hotel, you have to actually work for the hotel, meaning you are representing the hotel. These women, once we were complaining, were more like excusing themselves for working there rather than explaining the actual situation. It was very, very, very disappointing.*

 

So, my overall rate for this resort is 1/5 and if you’re looking for resorts in Bataan, I do not recommend La Primera Playa especially when you’re assigned to their extension resort.

You may notice my lack of pictures. I was so intent on leaving the hotel that I didn’t have time to take pictures of the horrid surroundings. I sincerely do hope that they fix this resort and decide to train their employees.

Here are other hotels in Bataan you can try.