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Camping

    Bagac, Bataan Beaches

    April 23, 2017

    Our Bagac, Bataan trip was barely planned. All we had was a rough itinerary, four tents which weren’t enough to fit everyone, and minimal budget. We were 14 in the group, four of whom were kids but most of them were family so we’re pretty much comfortable with each other. The thing with barely or totally unplanned trips is that they almost always turn out great. I think it’s mostly due to the lack of expectations.

    Stella Mariz Resort in Bagac Bataan

    Our tents at Stella Mariz Resort

    Our rough plan was to camp at Stella Mariz Resort located in Bagac, Bataan, hire a boat and go to Playa La Caleta for a day tour. We left Manila at 4:30 am, one car took the SCTEX route, the other took the Pampanga route. The Pampanga route is actually shorter, cheaper, and faster unless there’s heavy traffic in Pampanga, so make sure to consult your Waze app before choosing your route. Once you see the Stella Mariz sign, you stil have to tackle 1km of unpaved road. By 8:00 am, we were already at the resort and quickly parked our car beside our camp site. Being able to park our car beside our tents was a big plus especially since we’ll be away for most of the day. All our valuables were kept inside the car but we made sure our tents were set-up before we left for our boat trip in order to secure our spot. Before heading out, we rented two tables at Php 200 each so we’ll have a place to eat and prepare our meals.

    Stella Mariz Resort in Bagac, Bataan from the boat

    There are boats docked near the beach so you don’t need to contact a boatman prior to your trip. There are even boatmen who approach tables offering tours. But, it’s still a better idea to finalize cost and schedule with a boatman prior to your trip especially if you’re working on a tight budget and a smaller group. One boat can fit 12 people but since there were 14 of us, we had to take two boats. Our boatman suggested Looc Beach (aka La Salle beach) as an alternative to Playa la Caleta. According to him, Playa la Caleta charges 200 pesos per person for day trips, while La salle Beach charges only 300 pesos per boat. That’s a Php 2,100 difference for our whole group which is why we decided to go with Looc Beach instead of Playa La Caleta.

    Other half our group in another boat leaving La Salle Beach

    Before heading to the beach, we stopped by Sugong Cave. The cave was small but the water was very clear. If you want to swim, this is the best place to accomplish that – you’re safe from the sun and the water isn’t too cold. If you have the courage to go cliff diving, that’s also an activity you can experience in this place. You can also bring your life vest from the boat if you prefer swimming or jumping with a vest. The fee here is Php 100 per boat and the time limit per group is only one hour.

    The cave was actually one of the highlights of our trip. I’m not sure though if I could say the same thing if the place was packed with too many people. Keep in mind that it’s a small cave with little to no resting spots, so either you stand on the rocky area near the water or you swim.

    Sugong Cave in Bagac, Bataan

    Swimming at Sugong Cave

    After a while, we got tired of swimming so we went back to our boats and started heading to La Salle beach. Before going there, our boatman took us to see Playa La Caleta. We didn’t dock, we just passed by to take a closer look and take photos.

    View of Playa La Caleta from the boat

    When we finally reached Looc beach (aka La Salle beach), the first thing I noticed was the lack of shade. Our group had no choice but to stay near the rocks under the shade of the trees. Luckily for us, everyone else had their own places within the resorts and most people were hiding from the afternoon sun. Looc beach is actually a good enough beach, the water was good for swimming because it was clean and the shallow area goes on for a few meters. We noticed the other side of the beach had more trees, unfortunately, according to the locals, that area is private. Since the beach lacked resting places and shade, it’s a bit hard to stay there the whole day unless you rent a cottage or you’re staying there overnight. If you want to spend an entire day at the beach, Playa La Caleta would be the better option in terms of facilities.

    Looc Beach (aka La Salle Beach)

    Our resting spot in Looc Beach (aka Lasalle beach)

    Our boat rental was only good for half the day, something we failed to clarify during the start. But we were okay with it since we also wanted to rest. We went back to Stella Mariz, cooked our meals and took naps. By dinner time, it was dark and our area didn’t have any kind of lighting, so bring ample light for your group. Also, be sure to keep all your trash high up, dogs and goats can easily rip open trash bags. Keep your camp clear of food before going to bed, one pig was actually sniffing around our tents in the middle of the night looking for something to eat.

    Stella Mariz Bagac, Bataan Sunset

    The next day, bigger groups started coming in because it was a Friday. I’m guessing Stella Mariz resort is packed on weekends so that’s something to consider. Fortunately, Bagac, Bataan has  a number of resorts to choose from so keep your options open. Before going home, make sure to stop by Mount Samat National Shrine. Entrance fee is only Php30 and parking fee is Php 40.

    Mt. Samat National Shrine

    Mt. Samat National Shrine Side Trip

    Rates/Expenses

    • Boat good for 12 persons Php 1,500 – Php 2,000
    •  Sugong Cave Entrance Fee Php 100 per boat
    •  La Salle Beach Entrance Fee Php 300 per boat
    •  Playa la Caleta Php 300 per person overnight, Php 200 for day trip
    •  Stella Mariz overnight Php 100 per person (bring your own tent)

    Bagac, Bataan Boat Contact Information

    • Noriel 0909-8299982
      • You can park your car at his place for a fee
      • Rate is Php 2,000 for whole day of boat rental
      • He also has tents for rent at P200
    • Glen 0930-3338547

    Looc Beach (aka La Salle Beach) Contact Information

    • 09183402104 Abella
    • Cottages are Php 800 for day tours

    Bagac, Bataan Photo Gallery

    How to get to Bagac Bataan by Private Vehicle

    1.  SCTEX Route
      •  Take NLEX northbound going to SCTEX
      •  Exit to SCTEX
      •  Take route going to Subic
      •  Exit Dinalupihan
      •  Turn right on Roman Highway
      •  Just keep going straight until you see the sign going to Mt Samat
      •  You will pass Vista Mall on your right, on the next intersection, there will be a total on the left side, turn right there
      •  Follow the road to Bagac
    2. Pampanga Route
      • Take NLEX northbound
      • Exit San Fernando
      • Turn right after exiting, it’s the route going to Bataan/Subic
      • Just go straight (you will pass Lubao, Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani, Abucay, Balanga)
      • You will pass Vista Mall on your right, on the next intersection, there will be a total on the left side, turn right there
      • Follow the road to Bagac

    How to get to Stella Mariz Resort by Bus

    • Take Genesis Bus or Bataan transit bound for Balanga, Bataan
    • Walk to Balanga Terminal
    • From Balanga Terminal, ride a jeepney to Bagac Market.
    • Take a tricyle going to Stella Mariz Resort

     Tips/Notes

    • If you’re looking for a luxury resort in Bagac, Bataan, check out Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
    • There are open cottages for rent in Stalla Mariz which have power outlets
    • Both Globe and Smart have signal but Smart’s data connection is much reliable
    • Make sure to bring all needed camping gear like flashlights, rechargeable fans, powerbanks, pots, pans and charcoal.
    • Mount Samat is in Pilar, Bataan but it’s on the same road going to Bagac
    • Both Stella Mariz and Looc Beach (aka Lasalle beach) are accessible via car
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