Morong, Bataan’s Nagbalayong Beach
I love Fridays. After all the week’s exhaustion and stress from work, I count down hours, minutes, then seconds as the hand struck six. Even hours before, I day dream what I’m going to do Friday night, and the whole weekend. For a second, all I thought of is the beach, the sand and salt water. I can’t wait.
As soon as the clock struck twelve, I hastily head home to pack my bag and camera. As I sat on the backside of the FX shuttle bound home, my buddies and I were discussing possible destinations under the consideration of budget, weather, and transportation. And again, like all the travels that we had, it all boils down to the budget. And just like before, no one and nothing won’t stop us. Whenever, wherever, however. Hold tight because were hitting 180 on the highway to Morong, Bataan.
Rains were showering the metro that week so we’re quite unsure if it’s raining that weekend but we still pushed through with our journey. As we exit the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), gleams of light peeps through the thick clouds which towers over Mount Arayat and the vast rice fields on the East side. It was such an amazing view and probably a sign of a good day ahead of us.
Rough road in Nagbalayong.
NLEX-SCTEX (Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway)-SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority) was our route, and our last stop before Morong was Petron in SBMA. From Petron, we turned left, went up and down the hills, and through a protected forest area, following signs to SBMA’s Morong Gate. WARNING: Smoking is strictly prohibited in the protected forest area. Rough patches and few unpaved roads welcomed us as we head to town. We cruised on cliff side roads with the open ocean to the right, passed by rice fields to the left and right, and mountains on the east.
Since it was my first time to take this route, I kind of enjoyed the long drive. As much as I want to stop to take pictures, my eagerness to be at the beach kept me driving, but later realizing I should have stopped not letting any picturesque scenes pass me by.
Passing by an abandoned resort lying in ruins.
Finally after 4 hours of driving, we reached our destination. We scanned one beach front resorts to another in Baranggay Nagbalayong looking for a cheap place to stay where there are less people, less noise, and no tone-deaf singer on the videoke machine. We checked in at Summer Sea Beach Resort as it seemed the place we’re looking for. A small green cottage was given to us for P1,500.00 which includes a semi-public/semi-private bathroom behind the cottage, a shaded tile-covered table in front with a grill and cooking area beside. It seems quite expensive for a small place but I think it’s better thank the P500.00 cottage in one of the resorts filled with jam-packed with guests.
Our small green cottage in Summer Sea Beach Resort.
Green tile-covered picnic tables.
Tables and benches at the beach front.
After settling in our humble cottage and unpacked our bags, we hurriedly ran to the beach and celebrated our safe trip with ice cold beer. Similar to the sands of Subic and most of the land-accessible beaches in Zambales, Morong has a long stretch of fine charcoal gray sand and faces the South China Sea. When the sun is almost 90 degrees up, I’ve noticed that gray sands became scorching hot making bare-foot beach goers run on their toes to the nearest shade or walk along the shore instead. Rubber slippers (not those fancy cool flip-flops) or sandals are best protection against the sand’s heat like millions of needles puncturing your feet rapidly.
Nagbalayong is like a beach and fishing community similar to Nasugbu’s.
A lifeguard post at the northern part of the beach.
Combined wooden planks as boardwalk to life guard post.
Fisherman’s boat docked at the beach.
At first glance, the water seems muddy, unclean, dirty or whatever antonym of clean you might have thought of but it’s actually clean and clear. The water swept and washed by thin layers of waves disturb the settled sands just like shaking a glass filled with water and ample amount of sand creating a heterogenous mixture (a type of mixture in which the components can easily be identified, as there are two or more phases present). But, if you walk 3-4 steps further, you will notice how clear the water is. I know the explanation is too much, but I’m just annoyed by those who judge the beach by the sand’s color (racist, huh?).
This is how my friends show camaraderie to each other: smack another friend’s face on hot gray sand.
Enjoying the thin and smooth shoreline of Morong.
Everyone (except for the visitors) was on their regular routine during our stay – fishermen selling their fresh catch, some offered island hopping services including snorkeling. Bracelets, anklets, and necklaces made from local raw materials are sold by vendors going from resort to resort. Best of all, locals get to enjoy the nice sea breeze, walk along the beach, watch the sun as it sets every afternoon.
Mother brings daughter on the beach one afternoon.
Dad gets dirty with son playing with wet sand on the beach.
Coming from an island hopping trip, the kind boatman assist the lady.
Unplanned and unknown. The plan is to have no plan at all. Everything was just spontaneous. Our Morong trip, for others, may not be an ideal kind of a weekend since going out of town on a tight budget may be a disaster wherein long term planning and schedule is a must, but not for us. We enjoyed every part of the trip, the ups and downs of the fate we encountered. This may not be a good advice for fellow travelers who knows the risk of traveling carelessly: just let yourself go.
Now here are some fast facts that may help you in your trip:
1. Take the SBMA Route. Don’t argue.
2. Morong lies on the Southern side of Subic, and taking the SBMA route is the fastest way to get there, and besides, the scenic route makes the journey more enticing. From SBMA’s Morong Gate, just follow road signs to Morong until you reach a 3-way junction. Turning left leads to town where there are mini-groceries, bakeries, stores, supplies, eateries, and wet market. Taking right leads to the church where you will take a which leads to the beach. It begins with a narrow cemented pavement to dirt roads passing by different beach resorts.
3. If you’re using a film camera, buy before the trip. I spent 2 hours looking for film but found none since the photo supply there recently closed.
4 Town is a 10 minute drive where you can buy supplies, and small cafe’s and eateries.
5. Try to haggle for the prices where you will be checking in. I think they charge too much for the place.
6. LIKE BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook.
7. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
8. Enjoy and have a safe trip. Remember: let yourself go!