Floating cottages, the most exclusive accommodation at Stilts

Stilts Beach Resort in Calatagan, Batangas boasts a stunning scenery of a tranquil ocean, aquamarine water, ivory sand, rolling hills and manicured gardens with blooms in season. It offers comfort for people who are looking for a quick getaway comes weekend to de-stress from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Closer to Metro Manila, this beach destination is only a three-hour drive from Pasay City, and can be visited on a day trip.

Entrance area to the infinity pool 

Main entrance of the resort 

Spanning across 24 hectares of creamy sand and long coastline, Stilts has three beach resorts to explore: Harmony, Serenity and Destiny, both offers a well-deserved escape. Accommodations range from affordable to exclusive for guests who want to stay overnight. Day trippers are also welcome and may stay overnight through a camping package.

Harmony beach has a wide beach front

Honeycomb sand, not entirely brown, but neither white too

It has been reported that this ivory sand is artificial

The most popular among these beaches is the Harmony beach where day trippers are accommodated and where water bungalows are located. This is the most accessible among the beaches of Stilts, just a few distance away from the receiving hall and from the Sweet Spot, the resort's restaurant. Two swimming pools are also available in this area, thus, a popular choice among day trippers. The ivory sand, according to some reports, is artificial, but fine enough to be explored by foot.

Here, guests are free to frolic around and build sand castle

Had a great time with my life during our day trip

My sister frolicking around the spacious coast line

Though not entirely pristine and powdery, the ivory sand provides comfort to guests who love outdoor activities. Beach volleyball and other fun activities can be enjoyed here. The wide beach front offers a spacious ground for any kind of games. Guests may even do some sand castle building with friends and family. Nothing to be feared of as sand is not rough, so everyone can walk along the shoreline even without slippers.

Pool near the restaurant 

This resort also has two swimming pools: The one near the restaurant, which has a gorgeous landscape and a stylish structure. The other one is the infinity pool, a few miles from the shoreline of the Harmony beach, it has tropical plants and gardens surrounding the area and nice waiting shed units to rest on. The water bungalows (literally floating above the sea), are not accessible to day trippers as the accommodation is exclusive to its guests, but everyone is allowed to take pictures above the cliff near the restaurant.

Infinity pool near the Harmony beachfront 

We have visited this resort last Sunday on a day trip and it was worth all the hype. It has well-maintained surrounding, good customer service, a wide beachfront, and yes, good food. I was with my sister and three friends and we were both excited embarking into this one day adventure. We left Pasay City through van express at 4:30 AM. And because it was still very early in the morning, there was no traffic congestion along Cavite province. By 7:00 in the morning we arrived at Calatagan town proper.

It was raining when we disembarked and since we only took a tricycle ride from the town proper, we asked the driver to drop us somewhere so that we could take refuge in a vacant property while heavy downpour was mercilessly lashing through the countryside. It was still seven o'clock, so we did not worry with this little delay.

At 7:20, the rain subsided. We immediately hopped back in and by 7:30 we were at the front desk of the resort. Before reaching the receiving hall, there was a security check at the entrance gate where guards asked for our confirmation voucher. But it wasn't long and they immediately gave the tricycle driver a go signal to proceed to the parking area. 

The resort has a good customer service. Staff are attentive and accommodating. Upon our arrival, someone from the staff guided us to the front desk where we paid the remaining balance of our day tour package including the environmental fee. The staff also asked us if we had things to carry, then guided us to the open hut on the beach front. Our welcome drinks were delivered after we settled in the hut.

Our rented open hut on the beach front of the Harmony beach was huge enough  for us to have a good place to rest on during the day. This open hut can accommodate up to 10 persons and it has already a built-in locker for valuables, a sink and outlet to plug cellphones.

It was still early in the morning so the area was still not crowded, we had plenty of time to frolic around without bumping with other day trippers. However, it was still drizzly and the atmosphere was bitingly cold so we stayed at the open hut and waited for the rain to subside. At 8:30 in the morning, sun began rising and the weather became clear.

 Having fun at the infinity pool 

With my sister, enjoying the warm water

We were five taking this day tour

The weather began to improve towards 10:00 in the morning, however, the beach water still not clear and there was some particles of corals floating around. Though it can be seen that it was aquamarine green and might have been crystal clear if not for the drizzly weather, it was still not good enough to take a plunge. My companions however, tried the current but it was a little inconvenient. The sea bed was rough, pebbles littered across the sea floor which made it very uncomfortable to swim so we decided to just move to the infinity pool to enjoy the day.

We had a great time around the pool. Only few guests enjoying the warm water because some of them remained at the beach side, so we had so much fun splashing here. It was not deep, in fact my feet touched the floor without tiptoeing. The infinity pool has a wide area and the tropical plants surrounding the place provide additional comfort. I like the landscape, it offers a terrific background for photography.

Floating cottages at Stilts 

Stilts beach resort is often compared to Veligandu Island in The Maldives southwest of India and Sri Lanka due to some similarities, both in the beach landscape and accommodation structures. They share the same water bungalows and floating villas accommodations, and both offer a long coastline of ivory sand. And while we have not seen the interior of water bungalows, we saw the houses from above the cliff where we took pictures. It has a stunning view of the crystal clear ocean and surely, guests billeted at any of those bungalows will have a great experience.

Generally speaking Stilts beach resort is a beautiful holiday destination for a quick fix on weekends. It provides enough room for a peaceful and relaxing retreat. It has good facilities. Plenty of comfort and shower rooms, there's no worry of enduring a long queue. The two swimming pools are good alternative if suddenly the weather turned harsh and windy and the sea water becomes unbearable for swimming.

The restaurant area

Outdoor wood benches and tables overlooking the ocean and floating cottages

Here's the actual time table of our trip:

4:30 AM - Depart Pasay City for Calatagan via van (at the back of Kabayan Hotel)
7:00 AM - Time of arrival in Calatagan
7:00 AM - Depart Calatagan town for Stilts via tricycle
7:30 AM - Time of arrivial in Stilts
7:30 AM - 3:00 fun day at the beach and infinity pool
3:00 PM - Depart Stilts for Calatagan town
3:10 PM - Depart Calatagan for Baclaran (Manila)
6:30 PM - Due to heavy traffic we reached Baclaran at 6:30 PM

Expenses Per Head:

Transportation fee (Van) from Pasay to Calatagan - Php180.00
Tricycle fare from Calatagan to Stilts - Php50.00
Entrance fee - Php350.00 (this is an off-season rate, for peak season day trip entrance is Php385.00)
Environmental fee - Php30.00
Open hut fee - Php170.00 (total rent of open hut is Php850.00, we divided this into 5 persons)
Lunch - Php170.00 (we did not take the buffet package, we ordered a la carte good for sharing, the total amount of our lunch was Php850.00 and we also divided this among ourselves)
Tricycle fare from Stilts back to Calatagan - Php50.00
Bus from Calatagan to Baclaran - Php165.00


How to get there?

If you're coming from Metro Manila, the easiest route is from Pasay City. 
1. Disembark at MRT Taft and look for bus bound for Calatagan, but if you want convenience, choose van.
2. To look for van express going to Calatagan, walk to Kabayan hotel, just beside of it is the van terminal.
3. If you are taking a day trip, make sure to depart early to have plenty of time to enjoy the beach.
4. Bus and van schedules start at 4:00 in the morning.
5. Tell the driver to drop you off in Calatagan near the tricycle terminal.
6. At Calatagan, make an arrangement with tricycle drivers for your Stilts sojourn.

Important reminder: Last trip of bus and van going back to Manila is at 4:00 in the afternoon, so if you are visiting the resort on a day trip, make sure to inform the tricycle driver to pick you up at 3:00 in the afternoon.

For day trippers who may want to stay overnight but don't want to book an accommodation at the expensive villas and floating cottages, you may rent a tent and stay at the serenity beach. Tent can be rented at Php800 overnight.

There are fun activities and water sports offered at Stilts - snorkeling, parasailing, banana boat, kayaking and boating - at corresponding rate per hour. But during our visit, the weather was erratic, clear one time, becoming drizzly the next, so we decided to bypass the water sports adventure and just stayed at the infinity pool.

For rates of the fun activities and other updated info, you may visit Stilts website at this LINK

My overall review for this resort

I have been to many beach resorts in the country and I grew up in a coastal area in Surigao del Sur facing the Pacific Ocean so I have this high expectation when it comes to high end beach destinations. Stilts beach resort, though not the type of beach to die for, is a good pick if you come there to have fun with friends and family. But to be considered for an overnight stay, I guess the expensive rate never suffices expectations.

It's just an ordinary beach with a wide coast line and swimming pool facilities. A number of boats littered around the area, which obstructed the view of the floating cottages. Does not offer comfort in swimming during bad weather. However, the area is well-maintained, cleaners are all over the place every hour, fixing garbage bins and and assessing guests.

This is ideal for day trippers who want to chill at the wide beach front. But it can be crowded during the day, so better plan the trip way ahead in the morning.