Batangas is one of the go-to easy escapes for Manila dwellers. That’s probably why its beaches, like Matabungkay and Calatagan, are always jam-packed. But just because you want a quick getaway doesn’t mean you have to endure the crowd, especially when there’s still an undiscovered town waiting to be enjoyed. Case in point: Lobo, Batangas.
Sitting between Batangas City and San Juan, this coast town is a quiet gem filled with surprises. If you’re a nature lover and an avid explorer, check out Lobo, Batangas while you can still have it all to yourself.
Dive in untouched reefs
Lobo, Batangas may not share the same fame as Anilao, but it shares the same rich underwater life. Lobo has vast reefs brimming with sea fans and giant bouquets, as well as critters perfect for macro photography. Some of the more exciting dive sites are the Lumbangan Underwater Cave, a 60-foot deep tunnel which gets its only light from a small crack overhead, and the Malagundi Point Coral Wall, which is an 80-foot drop covered in vibrant underwater life. There are limited recreational dive centers in the area, so interested people must contact the local government for diving arrangements.
Explore vast mangrove forests
Because the Lobo, Batangas local government has done a good job fending off destructive industries, the Lagadlarin Mangrove Forest has remained lush and dense. Discover it by boat and paddle through inside passages where you can get an intimate view of the mangroves’ ecosystem. Some areas also have walking paths, which allows you to wind through the forest by foot. Whichever option you take, it’ll give you a glimpse of the town’s richness and biodiversity. Once again, commercial operators for this tour are few and far between. Contact the local government to get help with arrangements.
Take a dip in Malabrigo Beach
Don’t come here if you’re looking for white sand. Do come here if you’re looking for peace and quiet – among other awesome things. Malabrigo’s shore is composed solely of pebbles, which may turn some people off. But apart from the fact that it doesn’t stick to your feet, creep into every corner of your body, or dirty your clothes, there’s not a lot of difference. Sure, sunbathing will feel a little harder, but in return, you get crystal clear water that’s not muddled by sand – and wouldn’t you rather spend time in the water anyway?
Check out the Malabrigo Lighthouse
Next to Malabrigo Beach, the Faro de Punta de Malabrigo is perhaps the town’s most famous landmark. It’s a Spanish colonial lighthouse completed in 1896. Though some parts of the Lighthouse have been renovated, most of its original structure is intact. Certain original fixtures, like the lens and some lanterns, have also been updated to use solar energy. Just like the rest of the tourist spots in Lobo, the Malabrigo Lighthouse has free admission, but you have to coordinate with the government beforehand.
Enjoy the natural wonders
No need to go to the far north for your bit of rice terraces. Experience it only a few hours from Manila in Lobo, Batangas. Barangay Jaybanga’s rice terraces may not be as deep or as wide as Banaue’s, but it’s still a beautiful sight. Other outdoor escapes in Lobo are Tulay na Busog, an area along the river where the rocky mountain is split in the middle; Ulupong Falls, which also involves a short hike through brooks and giant rocks; and Submarine Garden, a marine sanctuary that is so clear and colorful it’s visible above water. I Love Lobo Batangas offers different tour packages that allow you to explore your choice of these wonders.
Discover their local delicacies
Ginataang kungo, a crab dish cooked in coconut, is said only to be found in Batangas. This is probably thanks to the fact that kungo is a special kind of crab only found in freshwater mangroves. (And who has freshwater mangroves? Lobo, Batangas does!) Another delicacy is pinais na dulong, which involves steaming dulong – a really tiny fish – in banana leaves. The result is a slightly weird but very flavorful dish that’s also uniquely Batangueño.