It is summer in the Philippines–the best time to hit the beach to beat the summer heat! Famous summer getaways are not far from Metro Manila: a four-hour drive will take you up north to the summer capital of the country, Baguio. A 2-hour drive if is its southern sister, Tagaytay. Batangas and Zambales are nearby provinces known for their beaches as well. I didn’t have any plan of hitting the beach this summer. I will be moving out of the country next month so I’m busy with stuff (Am I?). Anyway, I admit I’m not a beach person and I cannot think of any nearby destination that is not too commercialized. Until my boss invited us for an office outing in Bagac, Bataan.
I didn’t know that Bataan has such a secluded, beautiful beach. Perhaps it’s a secret. Bagac houses the controversial Bagac Nuclear Power Plant. Its construction started in 1976 but was never commissioned due to anti-nuclear protests during that time. It would have been the first ever nuclear plant in Southeast Asia. The plant remained as is, however, with continuous maintenance up to now. And now, it has become one of the tourist attractions of Bataan.
My boss was one of the pioneers of this project. So I understand how dear this place is to him. He knows the staff of the West Nuk Resort making room reservations and food preparations easy for us. We booked a van that took us directly from Quezon City to Bagac. We arrived at night and it seemed like the whole resort was ours. We took a dip into the ocean and enjoyed the clear skies filled with stars. Unlike in the city, the sky was free of smog and the beach was naturally lit with the moon and stars above us. I floated on the cool waters for a while, then a little longer, then much longer until the guards cued us that time is up. Swimming is only allowed until 8pm when there are lifeguards around. But we pleaded for another 2 hours promising we will stay near the shore. After all, It has been a long time since I’ve seen such beautiful night sky.
The next day, the beach was livelier but still with lesser people compared to more commercialized beaches. Tip! There are no restaurants around so it is important that you bring your own food. There are grills free of use for everyone. There is a small store selling toiletries and cold drinks. The resort has few water sports (banana boats, jet skis, kayaks) for rent.
Though I hate the sun, the blue waters and cream-colored sand were too tempting that I didn’t mind swimming again for a few minutes despite the cruel heat. This is the view that welcomed me that morning. Who doesn’t want to get off of the bed with such view?
After breakfast, we rented a boat to take us to the Pawikan (Sea Turtle) sanctuary, a community-based center an hour of boat ride from the resort. There is a Pawikan Festival every November inviting hundreds of tourists to witness the egg-laying of sea-turtles at night.
We stayed at the sanctuary for some time where I took photos of boats decked along the shores. Boats are my recent fascination.
I consider the place an irony of nature. The nuclear plant’s planned operation was halted because of its possible hazardous consequences and at the same time, a peaceful retreat embraces the once-feared plant. Danger and solace live in harmony.
TRAVEL TIPS :
1. How to go there? Click here.
3. Total Expenses: 1,420 (1,300 contribution for food, transportation and lodging; total of 14 pax; 100 boat rental; and 20 entrance fee to Pawikan Sanctuary)
- Time Warp in Bataan: Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar (booksinthekitchen.wordpress.com)
- Bataan Nature Adventures!!! (filipinofestival.wordpress.com)