It always surprises me how lovely places are tucked away just an hour or more away from the bustling, choking urban jungle of Manila.
In Newsbreak’s Christmas party, we decided to go to one of the BOD’s rest houses in Lian, Batangas.
Amid rough stone paths (one of them jokingly called “Abortion Road” because you’ll go into labor inside a bouncing vehicle) and thick forests and corn fields awaited a stretch of prime beach properties.
The ranch-style house where we stayed overnight was like a mini-mansion, fronting a spacious yard, circular pool and patio.
Wooden furniture and antiquities plus a beautiful tiled kitchen made for a rustic but elegant space.
Beyond the patio was a pebbled walkway that led to a wide yard, complete with an outdoor dining area and kitchen, a “honeymoon” hut, hammocks, and a large shed containing sleeping areas and snorkeling gear.
The outdoor dining area was nestled under the shade of a giant tree from which fairy lights were strewn at night and a makeshift swing hung from one of the branches.
It is the perfect place to have a Hawaiian luau, film an episode of “Survivor: Luxury” or have a beach themed wedding.
Of course we were served sumptuous food, always with fresh seafood.
When we arrived, we got served piping hot white rice, saucy pork adobo, fried fish and stewed monggo beans.
For dinner, we had freshly baked paella with buttery rice, shrimps, squid, chicken, chorizo, peas and sweet bell peppers. Served with this were steamed shrimps and a dish of ensalada.
As we walked and surveyed other lovely beachfront houses along that stretch of beach, with silvery crabs flitting fast like restless ants, we wondered what the criss-cross patterns on the sand meant and why there were little curls of wet dirt like sand spaghetti on the seabed.
We also came across this property, reportedly owned by the current Executive Secretary’s female lawyer “partner.”
Neighbors claim the house was done in bad taste (there are tacky red dojo-like carvings on the high front walls) and they sealed off a portion of the beach with stones, which is illegal under Philippine coastal laws.
I guess all lovely places have their open secrets too.
Nevertheless, it was a lovely way to spend a weekend.