The long, hot summer may be officially over according to the weatherman. But for those who love long drives just to bask in the sun, sea and sand, it is summer forever as long as there’s no downpour. The good thing at this time of the year is the sun isn’t searing as it was before, and you don’t have to compete with beach bums for a place under the sun or a room in the inn.
For urbanites looking for a family road trip, the natural gravitation is to go west to Batangas which boasts of five bodies of water, each with unique features and recreational offerings. And if your beach of choice is crowded, you can simply drive to the next cove or bay.
For a smooth ride in the long and winding roads, the Ford Ranger pickup truck is the tailor-made vehicle to haul your luggage, fishing gear, mountain bike, stand-up paddle board, polyplastic kayak, scuba diving gear or camping paraphernalia, and small pets, and still have ample space for pasalubong shopping on the way home.
From the basic XLS variant to the offroad FX4 Max, the Ranger can comfortably negotiate the remaining bumpy roads. Sailors can also use this power pickup to tow their dinghy boats for sailing at Taal Lake or any of the bays. With their versatile features, road warriors can both get the comfort of a car and the ruggedness of a truck.
Pit Stop 1: Laiya
Situated at the far east coast in San Juan town, this beach in Tayabas Bay is a decades-old favorite even during the time when your first taste of white sand is driving through the 20km barangay road.
This once-distant shores have become closer due to the STAR Tollway and is a top-of-mind favorite because of its powdery sand, scenic seascapes, home-grown restaurants, and trendy resorts. An exciting stomping ground in the area is Club Laiya, a masterplanned leisure tourism estate of Landco Pacific Corp., which is drawing road warriors with its unconventional accommodation called Cocoons.
A capsule poolside and garden lodging with a stunning ocean view, this hip hotel is an eye candy designed for millennials and folks who want less trappings of the modern beach life. Shaped like a huge softdrink can, Cocoons is a much like a typical room, minus its own toilet and bath and lounging area which are a few steps away outside.
It encourages an al fresco experience in recreation and dining, particularly at night where diners can feast on ribs, pasta and pizza under the stars while lounging lazily on bean bags.
Bikers can pedal around San Juan población and discover ancestral houses and quaint dining outlets at the town’s nooks and crannies, or do a mid-distance ride from the town proper to the Club Laiya.
It is interesting to note that Tayabas Bay is an emerging haven for sailing with its winds ideal for the sport almost whole-year round. And for those who want to get initiated to the sport, Playa Laiya village has resident sailors who can teach sailing on a newbie-friendly Oz Goose sailboat.
Pit Stop 2: Calatagan
A 138-km drive from Laiya cutting across the breadth of Batangas, this western peninsular town is an underrated beach getaway because of its dead end location. But it is its distance which has kept away the madding crowd which will make you enjoy the charming seascape of the Verde Island Seascape. An exciting homebase in this part is Calatagan South Beach or CaSoBe, another Landco township project which seeks to recreate its famed namesake in Miami, Florida. Sitting beside the upscale Playa Calatagan residences, this estate will be a self-contained lifestyle colony once completed in the next few years.
Its Crusoe Cabins are stylized log cabins, inspired by the fictional 18th-century seaman Robinson Crusoe, is like a family suite with a compact kitchen and pantry, sala, a day bed, and a spacious veranda for dining or lounging with a mesmerizing view of the sea or a courtyard.
The leisure enclave will keep you occupied with its Acquaria waterpark, mini beach volleyball courts, and its newly-opened basketball court which hosted the UAAP 3-on-3 tournament. For water recreation, there’s a jetski, pumpboat for island-hopping, and kayaks so you can glide on the water and check out the nearby coves.
CaSoBe also lends out bikes to guests for leisurely mobility within the sprawling estate. If you brought your own bicycle, you can pedal to the nearby Spanish-era Punta de Santiago lighthouse, the town’s iconic landmark and marvel at the kaleidoscopic sundown. You can also drive the Ranger and compose it in an Instagrammable snapshot which can be a photo entry in the Henry Ford Awards.
With the active lifestyle that Ford Ranger offers, you can drive, ride, and glide, and repeat it to your heart’s content.