13-14 January 2019
Stilts Beach Resort – Calatagan, Batangas
Getting to Stilts
It was only going to be an overnight stay at Stilts Beach Resort yet it seemed like we had packed everything but the kitchen sink. We even had Tami with us, my brother-in-law’s pet toy poodle that Maddy couldn’t stop playing with even though she was really scared of it. There were 14 of us including Wifey’s uncle who was our driver for the trip. The resort was around 5 hours away (depending on the traffic) from Manila, located in the seaside municipality of Calatagan, in the province of Batangas.
The drive was long, and the back seat was little uncomfortable. We had both of the kids with us, the snacks kept Maddy busy while Oli was passed around between Wifey and I. He seemed to like looking out the window, keeping him quiet for some time between his naps and feed.
“Nearly there!” I said to myself as I spotted the resort sign pointing toward a road off the main highway. As the van drove further down the track, the more secluded it felt as we were passing a lot more trees and wild vegetation. I wondered where the beach was as it seemed like we were driving away from it rather than toward it. The end of the road opened up to a parking lot and it was now looking more like a resort.
Arriving at Stilts
All our luggages and belongings were placed on a cart as we made our way through an arched tunnel covered in vines and blooming tropical flowers. “Welcome to Stilts”, the sign above us said. While Wifey and my sister-in-law checked us in, welcome ice tea drinks were served for everyone.
Right next to the office was our first glimpse of the pool. It looked very inviting, the sun’s reflection creating a shimmering ripple above the blue water. I was however more excited to see the floating cottages hovering over the water. It was the main reason for choosing this resort in the first place. We had seen pictures and videos online, piquing our interest to experience it ourselves. The blue-roofed structures stood out on the shore connected by zigzagging wooden bridges. Our “Love” cottage was the furthest out to sea and as we carefully made our way toward it, I couldn’t help but think how beautiful the whole place was.
“Wow!” my initial reaction as I entered the cottage. Everything was white, from the walls to the furniture. It looked very clean and definitely had a beachy/nautical vibe which I was expecting from a beach resort. There were two bedrooms on the first level. A steep wooden set of stairs led to a loft-type second floor filled with beds and extra mattresses. Apart from the two toilets /bath inside, another shower area could be found in the balcony, right next to the stairs leading down to the water below which at that time was fairly shallow. You could still see the sandy bottom through the crystal-clear water.
The kids couldn’t wait any longer and as soon as we had changed into our swimwear, we headed straight to the beach. Harmony Beach, where the stilt cottages stood was virtually deserted with only a handful of other guests apart from us making the most of the warmish water and the sun setting in the background. Maddy and her cousins were having the time of their lives, splashing about and running amok. Wifey had Oli on her lap while bathing his toes with the water.
Sweet Spot Pool
As the light began to fade, we moved to the pool for a quick dip before dinner. The water wasn’t heated, cool at first touch. The kids didn’t mind, they were having too much fun. We borrowed some towels afterwards for drying before heading back to our cottage. Travel tip: Make sure you remember the number and colour of pool towels you borrow as it will be counted upon checkout. Do no mix it with the towels in your cottage.
For dinner, we ordered a few dishes from the resort’s restaurant menu, adding to the food we had already prepared. We had grilled “everything” from pork to fish and even eggplants. There were also a couple of vegetable dishes. It was a feast! The food tasted even better shared. Some of us couldn’t help but use our hands to eat.
As one of the first ones to wake up, I managed to catch the sunrise from the balcony. It was a very breezy morning. The wind was strong while the sky was clear. We waited until everyone was awake before heading to Sweet Spot Dining Hall for buffet breakfast. The dining hall was full of diners already enjoying their morning meal. My mother-in-law led us to the alfresco deck where wooden table and chairs where available for our family count. Directly behind us was the view of the floating cottages and the water.
Not wasting any time, I grabbed a plate and piled on the food. They served a typical Filipino breakfast menu including tocino (sweet cured pork), danggit (dried fish), hotdogs and sinangag (garlic fried rice). Filipino bread and pastries were also on display plus a selection of tropical fruits like mangoes and watermelon. I brought back two plates to share with Wifey and Maddy. It was definitely a hearty breakfast.
The rest of the morning involved exploring the rest of the resort including the Infinity Area where two other massive pools were available for guests to swim in. Back on Harmony Beach, Maddy and I spotted a starfish slowly crawling on the seabed. Family photos were taken with the floating cottages behind us. Check out time was 12 noon and so once we had our bags packed and loaded in the van, Wifey, the two kids and I decided to stay at the poolside while the rest of the family chartered a boat to go snorkelling. We took turns taking Maddy swimming in the pool, tiring her and at one point both kids were knocked out, napping on banana lounges.
We would have definitely enjoyed an extra night or two at the resort if the floating cottage was more affordable. They offered other accomodation on shore though if you and your family wanted the real Stilts experience, I would recommend you book a floating cottage, even for just one night.
Find out more about Stilts Beach Resort here.