After our basic freediving lesson, Hali and I were looking for a beach near Manila where we can snorkel and which is preferably 2-4 hours drive away, fits our budget and has little to no crowd. Does such a place exist? Apparently, yes! We found our ideal getaway in Bituin Cove in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Driving to Bituin Cove
I think Batangas is a bit underappreciated, simply because its beaches usually have ordinary-looking sand instead of fine, white sand we Filipinos associate with a “nice beach.” It’s not the first choice of travelers, and people often go here only if it’s a team building or family trip or during holidays when everywhere else is booked. That’s a shame because Batangas has a rich, diverse marine life that makes it a great option for snorkeling, freediving, scuba diving and generally just relaxing.
Bituin Cove is one of the many beaches in Batangas that have these features. Bituin Cove is also known as Angara Cove by locals and is about 15 min away from the main beach in Barangay Calayo in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Hali and I went here on a weekday. (I actually wanted to go on a weekend so we could ask friends to come with us, but Hali has a class every Sunday.) We drove via the Nasugbu-Ternate Highway, passing by Kaybiang Tunnel — a very scenic drive with mountain and coastline views. I loved the road trip, even though the route can be scary at times, with steep inclines and zigzags that requires a vehicle to not get past 30-40 kph.
We left at 6:30AM in Alabang, stopped at a Jollibee branch for breakfast, and arrived at 10:30AM in Barangay Calayo. We brought a tent, snorkeling equipment and — because both of us aren’t up to cooking — a bucket of chickenjoy and rice packets to last us for an overnight stay in the beach.
I’d already contacted a boatman days before the trip, from a popular travel blog I’d read online. However, I don’t really like him (you’ll read why), so I won’t refer to him by name or recommend him in our blog.
Welcome to Bituin Cove, Batangas
From Calayo Beach, we took a motorized boat and drove for about 15 minutes to Bituin Cove.
Bituin Cove has clear, green water with corals sitting near the shore. It has a regular sandy beach, but once you get into the water you’ll find it full of pebbles and rocks. There are huts at one end and a sari-sari store that was closed when we arrived. There’s plenty of trees for cover, and it’s easy to find a good spot to pitch a tent.
We pitched our tent and stayed here for a little while to rest after the drive.
Island hopping tour
After an hour or so of our arrival, we called our boatman and his companion so we could start island hopping.
Our first stop in island hopping was Loren Island. There’s a small beach here with white sand. There are corals nearby, which gets better once you swim further from the beach. The waves were strong, so I played it safe and worn a life vest. Overall, our snorkeling experience was okay.
The second one was Kayraang Cove. I think this one can be skipped over entirely. It has a calm-looking beach, a small sand bar on one side. (It looks better in pictures than real life.) There was really nothing to do here. The water was low when we arrived, so it’s not ideal for swimming and there are only pebbles underneath. Our boatman said that tourists can only go here during off-season because it’s private property and we found out we were technically trespassing. Oops.
Our island hopping originally included Loren Island and Kayraang Cove only. I asked our boatman if we could also go to this huge arch I’d seen online. I showed him a screenshot. He said that the arch is in Taytayin and it was very far — about 30 minutes away from Loren Island. He asked us to pay P500 per head to get there.
This really put me off because we’d already rented the whole boat for P2000 and he could’ve asked us to pay an additional fee instead, but he asked us to pay per head as if we were on a group tour. Obviously that wasn’t right, but since we already there, we decided to just go for it. (I asked other boat operators after our trip and confirmed that we overpaid. We paid P2000 plus 500 x 2. The usual rate is P2500 for everything including the stops at Taytayin.)
We arrived in the arch formation, which I’d later known is called Taytayin Cave. It’s one of the 2 giant arches in the area. We noticed that there are also small caves submerged in water in the islands in Nasugbu. We swam for a little bit and left. The arch was nice to look at and there were interesting formations on the sides, but it wasn’t really worth the additional fee.
Before going back to Bituin Cove, we also stopped by the marine sanctuary. This was our favorite stop in our island hopping. There was a school of fish that greeted us the minute we jumped off the water — it was just lovely. I’m guessing the fishes are used to human feeding, which is why they swim over to people. Fish feeding should ideally be avoided if anyone cares to know, but it’s been done and there doesn’t seem to be anyone watching over the marine sanctuary. (Our boatman also said we should’ve brought bread for fish feed.)
The corals here are very much alive, and there are giant clams, too — the biggest I’d seen so far. I think they measure about 1 meter wide. Hali freedived and took photos of them up close.
Overall, I can say that we had a good time on our island hopping tour.
Exploring Bituin Cove
Afterward a few hours of island hopping, we went back to Bituin Cove.
We waited for the sunset — the surrounding was bathed in a beautiful orange glow. We had early dinner (more chickenjoy and jolly spaghetti) and just talked the night away.
The morning after, we decided to explore Bituin Cove. I love its simple beauty — the beach looked very calm, and the clear green water was inviting. The locals residing in the huts were friendly, and there were playful dogs that will run with you on the beach.
I know I’m satisfied when I haven’t even left yet and I’m already planning a trip back.
A little afterwards, we sported our masks and fins. The corals here are okay, good for a little snorkeling. It’s actually a bit like that in Loren Island, which is to say the underwater view is not the grandest but it’s okay if you just want to see clumps of corals here and there.
I noticed that some of the corals looked scraped, and one was even turned over. I’m guessing either the boats sometimes scrape over them when the water is low or it’s the tourists stepping over or touching them. What I particularly like is that there’s a lot of crabs and fishes even in low water. There were even small sea snakes and at one point I saw a long adult sea snake. Are sea snakes dangerous? I don’t know, and I didn’t wait to find out.
The corals in Bituin Cove seem to get better past the breakwater. We mainly stayed in the snorkeling area near the beach.
After this short water activity, we changed clothes and packed our things. We left Bituin Cove just before lunch time.
Travel guide to Bituin Cove, Batangas
Bituin Cove, aka Angara Cove, is a private beach located in Nasugbu, Batangas. It’s about 15 minutes away from the main beach (Calayo Beach) of Barangay Calayo.
How to get to Bituin Cove
Via commute: Get on a bus in Buendia or Pasay en route to Nasugbu, Batangas (P160). In Nasugbu Bus Terminal, hire a private tricycle to take you to Barangay Calayo (P300, 45 minutes). From there, walk to Calayo Beach and ride a boat to take you to Bituin Cove.
Via private car: The fastest route via private vehicle is via the Nasugbu-Ternate Highway, passing by Kaybiang Tunnel. It took us 2.5 hours from Alabang to arrive in Barangay Calayo. (Tip: If you’re on a private car, don’t forget to stop by Mountain Brew Coffee Shop on your way to Nasugbu!)
When is the best time to go here
Although Bituin Cove is one of the less popular beaches in Batangas, it still gets crowded on weekends. It’s best to go here during weekdays if you want to have the beach to yourselves.
What you have to know before going
Bituin Cove requires ole good camping. You have to bring your own tent, as there are no accommodations in Bituin Cove. Otherwise, you can find a resort in Calayo Beach or other nearby accommodations in Nasugbu.
There is also no electricity. There’s a makeshift restroom and a well where you can get water for washing up. When we got there though, there was no rope attached to the pail in the well so we just changed to new clothes. We’re used to backpacking so it’s no problem; just putting it out here in case it happens to you too.
There’s a sari-sari store where you can buy water and a few snacks, but it was closed when we arrived so I won’t rely on it either.
It’s better if you already bring everything you need with you — cooking gear and food, powerbank, flashlight, etc. Also, don’t forget to bring a trash bag with you — don’t leave anything on the island.
Aside from Bituin Cove, there are other places where you can stay overnight. The nearby Barangay Papaya is actually a jump-off point to many beach locations in Nasugbu. You can book discounted rates for resorts in Nasugbu here.
Budget and expenses
For island hopping, you can join a scheduled group tour or rent a private boat.
For group or joiner tours, the rate is given per head: P300 for round-trip transfer from Calayo Beach to Bituin Cove + P500 for island hopping.
For private boat rental, the rate is P1500 for round-trip transfer from Calayo Beach to Bituin Cove, with additional fee for island hopping at +P500 (Loren Island and Kayraang Cove) or P1000 (Loren Island, Kayraang Cove, Taytayin Cave and marine sanctuary).
Once you get to Calayo Beach, it’s easy to find boat operators to take you for transfer and/or island hopping.
If you know of a recommended boat operator in Bituin Cove, please post the details in our comments section!
Here are other miscellaneous fees:
- Environmental fee in Calayo Beach – P20
- Vehicle parking: day tour – P50 / overnight – P100
- Entrance fee to Bituin Cove, per head: day tour – P50 / overnight – P100
Hali and I went on a private car and we rented our own boat. We spent about P2300 each for an overnight trip. If you’re with a party, you can lower the budget to P1300-1500 each.
Do you have questions or review about Bituin Cove in Nasugbu, Batangas? 🙂 Post them in the comments section below!