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Hidden beneath the noise of the bustling traffic and municipal crowds in the Philippines Islands, there lies a diamond in the rough in the province of Batangas. Located about 75 miles southeast of Manila, Batangas is divided in barangays — or small villages — where the village of Calatagan is known home to some of the country’s best beaches and provincial lifestyles.
The Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort is a combination of white sandy beaches and rustic charm giving guests the best of both worlds. The water is clear with amazing shades of blue and sunny days are frequent — even in the month of February. The weather is comfortable, the heat is tolerable and each day is welcomed with a cool breeze. Guests at Stilts can experience the simplicity similar to the location’s provincial lifestyle. From fresh food with minimalist, delicious ingredients to adventure, watersports and serenity, there is something for every age and visitor at the resort.
The family-operated Stilts property features 59 acres of beach covered with an abundance of different flowers, big shady trees and inspirational quotes from songs or books that are hand crafted and painted on wooden plaques that hang throughout the property from trees, fences and other nooks. Also maintained on the property is a large organic vegetable garden filled with freshly picked vegetables and used at the resort’s restaurant. They also sell the vegetables to locals and guests to enjoy at home.
Services and facilities are above par at Stilts. The staff is friendly and accommodating, the property is well kept, groomed and very clean. Well-appointed rooms are offered in two categories at the resort; beach houses and floating cottages that vary in size, number of guests and price. The largest cottages accommodate 15-20 people while the smallest can sleep two to eight, complete with a kitchenette, bathrooms and bedrooms. There are eight floating cottages and five beach cottages in total. I stayed in a floating cottage and a beach house during my week at Stilts, but the floating cottage is my absolute favorite. They are built on wooden planks over the ocean — like a pier — with access to the water just a short climb down a few steps from the deck. At night, you can even opt to leave the veranda windows open to let in a cool breeze and listen to the rolling waves as you fall asleep. In the mornings, guests have the option to have breakfast at the restaurant or have it served and brought down to your cottage to eat and enjoy while overlooking the ocean and experiencing beautiful island sun rises. (The sunsets are breathtaking, too.)
At the resort, guests can embark on a number of adventures, including snorkeling, kayaking, pedal boats, Jet skis, boat rides and island-hopping day tours. For those who prefer land-based endeavors there are bicycles available for rent, plenty of places to explore while hiking and even a golf course nearby. There is also a pool open to guests at all hours. In addition, Stilts offers massage services for those who are looking to wind down. Watersports activities, day tours, as well as massages require prior reservation.
The Stilts Calatagan Beach ResortView website
Depending on the room, rates vary from $93 per night to $326 with a $25 charge per person, per night. For those looking for a deal, off-peak seasons are from June to November and guests are offered a 20 percent discount on accommodations.
For travel agents, Stilts offer a 5 percent commission.