Calatagan may be one of the most overlooked spots in Batangas for beach trips, perhaps it’s due to its low-tide beaches. But over the years, Calatagan is steadily rising as a haven for buget-friendly beach resorts, camps, and even floating houses!
As our year-ender trip in 2021, Hali and I went with friends on an overnight stay in a Calatagan Floating House. We specifically chose this for its price (it’s budget-friendly for groups) and unique features — who wouldn’t want to experience sleeping in a floating house over the sea?
Here’s our experience including a guide for booking your own floating house.
Our overnight stay in a Calatagan Floating House
We were a group of nine people and we drove separately to Calatagan. Hali and I along with our blogger friend Jan (Kapampangan Traveller) drove from Alabang to Calatagan Public Market for over 2 hours. There we met with the rest of the group, had lunch, and bought fresh ingredients for cooking for our stay.
From the public market, it took us a few minutes to reach Kuya Jessie’s Calatagan Floating Houses. We attended a short orientation about do’s and don’ts for staying at a floating house.
Afterwards, a boat took us to the floating house. Ours was anchored in a sand bank, along with other floating houses. I thought it would be literally in the middle of the ocean, but I guess it makes sense that it’d be anchored safely somewhere. Haha.
Our floating house is called Balyena. True to its name, it is big and spacious — it has a living room/sleeping area with several mattresses, an additional small room with two beds, a dining area, kitchen with basic amenities, and a toilet. The second floor is an open area with a hammock.
The Balyena was nicer than what I expected. It was comfy and I especially liked the sea-themed paintings. I liked it!
We settled for a bit in the floating house, relaxed and chatted, while our organizer Peng semi-cooked the seafood we bought so it’d be ready for dinner later.
Afterwards, we took a boat tour around the nearby spots. Our first stop is another sand bar, which for me is rather ordinary. Then we rode past the mangroves to a snorkeling area.
There were beautiful corals here and there was an “open” tunnel where the freedivers in our group swam along.
I hadn’t been in the water for a while so I was cautious and held on to a buoy that we had brought along. It was also late in the afternoon so the visibility wasn’t that good, but it was still a good experience to be back underwater. After tiring ourselves out, we simply agreed to go back early the following morning.
It was so cool and windy at the floating house. I changed to dry clothes and then enjoyed a hot cup of barako coffee with the others. We chatted and enjoyed the sunset. Meanwhile, our bangkeros towed back the floating house to the mainland. It is interesting to me because I thought the floating house has its own engine, but apparently it doesn’t and the small boats had to pull it. The bangkeros said that there is strong current at the sand bar area at night, so the floating houses are docked back to safety in the mainland.
Then we just waited for Peng to finish cooking. Haha. He makes the best seafood dishes and grilled liempo for which he has a secret recipe. I remembered the same setup in our previous snorkeling trip in Pagkilatan.
And it was dinner time! The food was so good, I ate so much shrimp. I fell into a food coma immediately afterwards, while the rest took the small boat back to the mainland to wash up and change clothes. I woke up in the middle of the night because I was cold (even with the fan turned off). I found Hali having drinks with the rest of the group in the dining area. I don’t drink anymore, but the sea ambiance was indeed calling for shots, so I stayed up a bit with them.
The following morning, we had breakfast and then had another go at snorkeling.
The bangkeros took us to another nearby snorkeling spot, which they said is better than the one yesterday. But the waves were huge and we didn’t want to risk being swept away, even though most in the group were actually good swimmers. I still remember a solo trip to Indonesia where I saw one of the most beautiful coral walls but was so tired fighting back against the current to get back to my boat. We don’t want to experience the same.
So we went back to the same spot as yesterday. Visibility was a bit better, but not much. It was understandable as the weather was intermittently rainy and it was the amihan season — usually underwater activities are best done during summer for optimal conditions. I was a bit more confident and I finally let go of the buoy to join Hali in the open water, so it was still worth it.
Finally, we sailed back to the floating house. On our way, we saw locals picking up food at the low-tide waters. It was cool to see the local lifestyle.
Back at the floating house, some of us ventured across the sand bar to stroll and look at the star fishes — the star fishes are an icon of Calatagan tourism. Others used the kayaks to explore the nearby areas including the mangroves.
Before noon time, we were back to the receiving area to wash up and go home.
Overall, Hali and I both enjoyed our stay at a floating house in Calatagan. For me, it’s a good place to chill and unwind — whether you’re a group of friends or a family with kids (and even dogs!). I recommend this for those who are looking for a place for group outings or those looking for budget-friendly options in Batangas.
How to get to Calatagan (Batangas)
From Manila, it takes about 3 hours to get to Calatagan.
To commute, head to MRT Taft Station and look for a van bound for Calatagan Public Market. Schedules start at 5AM. From the public market, charter a tricycle to your resort.
Where to book Calatagan Floating Houses
We booked a floating house thru Kuya Jessie. You can contact him in Facebook – Kuya Jessie’s Calatagan Floating Houses.
Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2022):
|Floating cottages||– Tampal Puki (3 rooms): day tour – P10K / overnight – P12K|
– Balyena (1 room): day tour – P10K / overnight – P12K
– Pawikan (2 rooms with AC): day tour – P8K / overnight – P10K or P12K if aircon is used.
Note: The floating houses are good for 12-15 people. Additional P450 per person; maximum of 20 people.
|Others||-Ecological fee: P30 per person|
-Parking: P50 – day tour / P100 – overnight
– Boat tour to snorkeling spots: P450 per person
Important things to note:
- Day tour starts from 7AM to 5PM. Overnight starts from 2PM to 12 noon the next day.
- The floating houses come with sleeping area with bed mattresses, dining area, basic kitchen, and toilet. Toilets are only for peeing. If you need to poop, a speedboat will take you to the reception area in the mainland where there are clean toilets as well as shower rooms.
- There are solar-powered sockets for charging.
- For the activities, you can swim at the sand bar and use kayaks for free. Boat tour to the snorkeling areas has a minimal fee, but free for overnight tours.
- You can bring your own food. The Calatagan public market is only a few minutes away and there is ample parking space for your vehicle. You can also buy fresh catch from the fishers — simply inform Kuya Jessie in advance. Kuya Jessie also has a small store where you can buy necessities, as well as drinks.
Reminders and Tips
Here are travel tips before you book!
- Calatagan Floating Houses are a great budget-friendly option for group gatherings. For families, the sand banks are a good place for kids to have swim and have fun. Those who like kayaking, snorkeling, and freediving will also enjoy the waters in Calatagan.
- Take the toilet situation in mind! If you have stomach issues and need to be close to a toilet at all times, a floating house may not be ideal for you. From the sand bar, it only takes 2-3 minutes to get back to the mainland. At night, the floating house will be docked at the mainland but you still have to get on a small boat.
- Follow the LNT principle. Do not touch the starfishes in the sand bar or the corals in the reef areas.
- Don’t forget to tip your bangkeros! 🙂 Especially as they are available all hours of your stay and they act as boatmen, tour guides, and spotters.
Did you like this post about the Calatagan Floating Houses in Batangas? If you have questions or comments, let us know in the comment section below!
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).