To get out of Manila and take a trip away from the city sounds like a dream. The old plain sight of heavy traffic, the overwhelming crowd, and that feeling of anxiety when I’m running late to work, at one point, it all gets tiring. When day-to-day activities feel like a routine, that’s when my mind starts to fly towards the thought of a vacation. I need a change of scenery. Hmmm, the beach? Yes, oh yes, I need that.
I’ve never heard of Kwebang Lampas in Pagbilao until my officemates invited me for a beach getaway. Although I’ve always wanted to see the beaches of Quezon Province – there’s Borawan, and Cagbalete, I was uncertain of what Kwebang Lampas could offer…
From asking directions from strangers to running joyfully towards a strip of sand in the middle of the sea, I was surprised to say that the whole trip gave me the feeling of floating on cloud nine. I find joy in getting lost, the thrill of getting back on track towards my destination and of course, the in-betweens of those two. The same goes with my experience in trying to locate Pagbilao. It was quite the distance, with lots of turns and u-turns. But what I liked about this adventure was not just the “getting lost” part but also overcoming what seemed like a very tough obstacle for me – not being in control.
November 14, 2015 — It was a rough night last night for me. I had a great time with friends from college, celebrating my best friend’s birthday, and probably had a few beverages until it was about midnight when I realized I had to wake up the next morning at 4 to get ready for our Pagbilao trip with my workmates.
At 5 in the morning, my workmate and I were all over the streets of Makati, looking for Andok’s, and 7-eleven stores. No Andok’s were opened yet at that time, so we just had take-outs from a 24-hour KFC fast food a few blocks away. It took us more or less than 30 minutes of strolling, walking, roaming around to find the stuff we need for the trip like drinking water, shampoos from 7-11 and the like, also the Kentucky fried chickens, thinking it was the last option left that time since we were shopping for food last minute, only to find out that our meeting place was in a KFC fast food, and learned that a few steps from it were a 7-11 store. The irony of it is too funny.
Fast forward to the travel, we were comfortably seated in a private van we hired for our getaway. Navigating from Manila to Quezon Province was pretty easy. We started having troubles with directions when we were trying to look for Brgy. Bantigue, Pagbilao. In one blog site we used as a reference for the trip, it says there that we can follow the signs going to Bicol if in doubt. We did, but we knew we were only getting further and further.
We asked for directions to one of the locals to help us on our way. It seemed like the locals here are not familiar with the names of the beaches we intend to visit. Our mistake was that we kept asking the locals how to get to Borawan. The locals kept pointing us in the opposite direction. After two unsatisfying answers from these kind strangers, we learned that we should ask how to get to Carlos Beach in Sitio Malungay instead because that’s where boats that will take you to Kwebang Lampas are docked.
It was a two-hour waiting game. We waited for an hour to look for someone who would do the negotiation on rentals. Then another hour before the departure from Carlos Beach to Kwebang Lampas. While waiting for the boatmen, the boys played basketball for a while and the girls ate lunch and took lots of pictures by the shore.
Everything went smoothly as we sailed away. From a distance, I thought I saw a lighthouse as we approach the shore. To my disappointment, I learned that it was a power plant and the smell from the area near this towering powerplant was strong. Just a few minutes after that is the sight of Kwebang Lampas. At last! Our initial plan was to do an island hopping, but since we arrived late, we decided to stay in Kwebang Lampas as we enjoy the creamy sands and clear waters.
The cave itself was just small and narrow. The cave pool was so refreshing!
It was getting dark, but lucky for our group, we got to see the Bilaran Sandbar on our way back to Carlos Beach. At first, we were so tired and we thought, okay let’s just look at whatever it was with this next stop and not bother dismount. But not knowing that it was sandbar, I really want to thank our boatmen for insisting on showing us this piece of beauty. The sight of the sandbar got me and my workmate running like a wild child. The sunset and this long strip of sand in the middle of the sea, this creation of God, oh, it was breathtaking.
Guide to Kwebang Lampas, Quezon Province
- Prepare to bathe in a roofless nipa shower room.
The highlight of my stay in Kwebang Lampas was the part when I needed to take a bath. The shower rooms in here were scary, it was scary in a way that it was challenging. If you watch the old Tagalog films in a bukid setting, you enter an outdoor four-walled nipa shower room with just a pail and a dipper inside. There were no doors or whatsoever. That’s it. While I was showering, people can actually see the top half of my head and I can see them. While shampooing, I just look up and I can see the towering coconut trees looking down at me, I can hear the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees. I actually enjoyed it.
- Bring aqua shoes!
Save your sole and get your feet covered with aqua shoes. The path going to the mini cave (tunnel) was rough. Even walking on the stones inside the cave was a challenge.
[tg_accordion title=”How To Get There” icon=”” close=”0″]For a detailed guide on how to get to Pagbilao Quezon, here’s the reference we used as we navigate through the roads from Manila to Quezon Province.
a. By Public Transport
Ride a bus en route to Lucena (either from Buendia, Kamias or Cubao) and get off at Lucena Grand Central Terminal. From the terminal there are vans and jeepneys en route to Pagbilao. All buses en route to Bicol will also pass the town of Pagbilao.
b. By Private Transport
From Manila take SLEX to its end at Calamba and follow the signs towards Batangas. You will see a fork road on the right a short distance after passing the entrance to the STAR expressway. The right fork goes to Lipa City and the left goes to San Pablo, take the left fork towards San Pablo.
You will pass the town of Alaminos and then San Pablo. Take the diversion road of San Pablo towards Tiaong. Just before Tiaong there is a left turn onto a road that goes through Candelaria and Sariaya. After Sariaya you turn right towards Lucena City and take a left turn onto the Lucena Diversion Road a few km outside the city. Once the diversion road rejoins the main highway, it ‘s only a short distance to Pagbilao town. If in doubt, just follow the signs to Bicol.
If you were like us who went lost because we kept following the signs going to Bicol, and out of worry you ask some random locals on how to get to Brgy. Bantigue, the locals will tell you to take a u-turn, pass by Peninsula, Greenview Inn, a basketball court and turn left before the bridge. These landmarks were confusing, but they all made sense only if you just pay attention to the little details on the roads.
So to save you from the hassle we’ve experienced, I’m quoting this guide I came across from this blog that cites a clear instruction on how to get to Brgy. Bantigue.
To get to Brgy. Bantigue, coming from Pagbilao, follow the road to Lucena. A few meters after passing by the front of the entrance to Peninsula Homes in the vicinity of KM136, find Greenview Inn at the left side just before a small bridge. Turn left on the road between the Motel and the irrigation canal.
Also, you may check out this blog for another reference on how to get there, just in case.
You may rent a boat from Barangay Bantigue. There are many boats docked at Sitio Malunggay near Carlos Beach picnic area. A fishpond is the major landmark for Carlos Beach. You may park your car near the basketball court if you brought your own transport. Silangang Nayon located in Barangay Bantigue also offers boat rental. You may also park you car here if you brought your own transport. Green View Motel or the signboard of Pueblo por la Playa at the corner of the National Road is a good landmark for finding the turn-off from the main highway to Bantigue.
[tg_accordion title=”Itinerary and Budget” icon=”” close=”0″]Note: This was based from a group of 8 persons during a 2015 trip.
[one_fourth]Day 1 (November 14)[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Meet up Time and Breakfast (KFC LRT Buendia)[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 3,500/group (van rental paid before the trip)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth] [/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Departure from Manila to Quezon Province[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 25/use (gallon of water for drinking)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth] [/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Arrival at Carlos Beach Pagbilao / Eat brunch[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Arrival of Boatmen / Boat ride to Kwebang Lampas[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 1,600/group (boat fee back and forth)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth] [/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Arrival at Kwebang Lampas[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 80/head (day tour fee)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth] [/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Set up cottage / free time[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 350/head (hut rental fee)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth] [/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 50/use (gallon of water for bathing)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth] [/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Departure from Kwebang Lampas to Bilaran Sandbar[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Back to Carlos Beach[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Departure from Carlos Beach, Manila-bound[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Arrival at Manila[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 863/ HEAD[/one_fourth_last]
Overnight Stay – ₱160.00 (just add ₱80.00 if you already paid the Day Tour fee)
Tent Rental – ₱400.00 (for 4 pax); ₱300.00 (for 3 pax)[/tg_accordion]
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