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.
Our trip to Bituin Cove, Batangas
Even though Batangas is a popular beach destination near Manila, it remains underappreciated simply because its beaches often feature regular sand instead of fine, white sand we Filipinos associate with a “nice beach.” I think 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, also known as Angara Cove by locals, 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 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.
We left at 6:30AM in Alabang, stopped at a Jollibee branch for breakfast, and arrived at 10:30AM in Barangay Calayo. From Calayo Beach, we took a motorized boat and drove for about 15 minutes to Bituin Cove.
Arriving in 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, but instead he asked us to pay per head as if we were on a group tour. Obviously this wasn’t right, but since we were 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. I have included other contacts below for your convenience!)
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.
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.
Camping at 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
Bituin Cove is about 2.5-3 hours away from Manila.
- From Buendia or Pasay, ride a bus 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.
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.
Where to stay
There are no established resorts or rooms in Bituin Cove. If you’re going here DIY, you need to bring your own tent (no pitching fee). If you’re in a packaged tour, tent rental will be provided by the agency for a fee.
Another option is to stay at the mainland in Calayo Beach or other nearby accommodations in Nasugbu.
Things to know before you go
Here are the things you need to know before visiting Bituin Cove.
- There are no resorts or rooms in Bituin Cove.
- There is no electricity.
- There’s a CR and poso where you can get water for washing up. You may also wash up back in Calayo Beach.
- There is a sari-sari store where you can buy water and snacks. (However, it was closed when we arrived so I won’t rely on it either.)
Things to bring
Make sure to bring everything you need before the boat ride to Bituin Cove:
- Cooking gear and utensil or packed meals
- Change of clothes
- Trash bag
Budget and expenses
Here are the current rates in Bituin Cove (updated as of 2021):
- Vehicle parking: day tour – P50 / overnight – P100
- Environmental fee in Calayo Beach: P20 per person
- Entrance fee to Bituin Cove: day tour – P50 / overnight – P100 per person
- Tent rental – P300-400 (good for 2-4 pax)
For boat ride and/or island hopping:
- Joiner tour (per head): RT transfer from Calayo Beach to Bituin Cove – P300. Island hopping – P500.
- Private boat: RT transfer from Calayo Beach to Bituin Cove – P1500. Island hopping – P500 (Loren Island and Kayraang Cove only) or P1000 (Loren Island, Kayraang Cove, Taytayin Cave and marine sanctuary). Boat is good up to 5-10 pax.
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 in a group, a safe budget would be P1500 per person.
Reminders and tips
- It’s best to go here in a group to save expenses.
- Essentially, Bituin Cove requires good ole camping. If you’re looking for somewhere with more commercial facilities, I recommend going to Papaya Island instead. Papaya Island is also located in Nasugbu and the itinerary for island hopping is similar to that in Bituin Cove, so you can still visit the marine sanctuary, etc.
- Masasa Beach is another beach we recommend!
- Be a responsible tourist and practice the LNT principle. Do not touch the corals or take home souvenir from the beach or ocean.
Once you get to Calayo Beach, it’s easy to find boat operators to take you for transfer and/or island hopping. You can also search in Facebook for boat operators.
Boat operators: Raven Deraya: 09454634147 / Ate Nove: 09055775576
Do you have questions or review about Bituin Cove in Nasugbu, Batangas? 🙂 Post them in the comments section below!
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Planning to stay in Batangas? Here are the resorts we’d been to:
- Summer Cruise Resort (San Luis)
- Sorosoro Springs Mountain Resort (Ibaba)
- Punta Verde Resort (Lobo)
- Sabangan Beach Resort (Laiya, San Juan)
- Eagle Point Dive Resort (Mabini)
- Best Beach Resorts in Batangas and 10 Private Resorts and Villas in Batangas
Looking for fun, affordable summer getaways near Manila? Check these out:
- Alibijaban Island and Burias Island (Quezon & Masbate)
- Jomalig Island (Quezon)
- Maniwaya Island (Marinduque)
- Bulalacao (Oriental Mindoro)
- Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach (Pangasinan)