Review of White Sand Beach Resorts in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas
Laiya: Batangas' Best White-Sand Beach
If you are looking for a white-sand beach resort somewhere on the island of Luzon, you might want to consider the resorts on Laiya Beach in the municipality of San Juan in the Batangas province. Laiya is a long stretch of white-sand beach along which there are multiple private resorts to choose from. The sand is not as white and powdery as that of the well-known beaches on Boracay island, but it is the next best alternative if you prefer to vacation somewhere in Luzon.
Laiya has clear seawater during the low season, but during peak season, some parts look polluted, especially in public areas where it is very crowded. There are also some areas where I found the water quite itchy. The waves are not too large, so it's safe for adult swimming. Kids, however, should never be left in the water without supervision.
Popularity and Crowds
If you have room in your budget, I suggest you stay in one of the private resorts in this area. Let me remind you, though, that during summer (especially during Holy Week), almost all of the private beach resorts there are fully-booked. Most are reserved a few months before summer arrives.
Honest Reviews of 7 Private Resorts on Laiya Beach
In this section, I offer short reviews of each of the private resorts I’ve personally experienced on Laiya. They should give you an idea of what to expect if you plan to stay at any of them. These reviews are fair, honest, and based purely on my own experience. They have not been influenced by any other person or entity.
1. Aquatico Beach Resort
Aquatico is the most expensive resort in the Laiya area, but it is almost always fully booked in spite of the high cost. The resort has very well-manicured surroundings, and the rooms are classy compared to those at other nearby resorts. The rooms are not that big, however, and to tell you the truth, they are much better-looking in photos.
Room rates do not include food, but the food available at the resort's restaurant is quite good. The common areas, especially the pool area, are fairly small and condensed. For the price, I was expecting something larger, but sadly, the resort's online photos make it appear larger and nicer than it is in real life. If you are amazed by the glamorous look of their infinity pool in their photos, you will be most likely disappointed once you see it in person.
Their shoreline looks very ordinary and is similar to that of the other resorts in the area. The shore is not guarded at all, likely because the beach itself isn't private. It seems like the resort's main draw is its infinity pool, which is its most highlighted feature in the company's promotional materials. Honestly, the infinity pool was not as impressive in real life as it appeared in the resort's published photos. I was so fascinated when I was looking at it online, but I did not feel the same way when I was there in person.
The takeaway: With a fairly ordinary shoreline, smallish rooms, and an infinity pool that doesn't quite live up to expectations, Aquatico isn't quite worth the large price tag.
2. La Luz Beach Resort
La Luz Beach Resort has a nice, well-guarded shoreline. They even have some bamboo fences to help deter intruders. The place feels relaxing, and you really get a sense of privacy during your stay. Although the beach is not really that amazing visually, the sea there is beautiful.
They offer wide cabanas with white curtains where you can sit and relax while viewing the ocean. On one side, the beach at La Luz has some nice rock formations and an area that stays relatively shallow even during high tide, which makes this a good option for supervised children.
Outside food is not allowed at this resort, so you have to pay for their buffet meals. Their buffet offers a number of choices, but as far as I am concerned, their food doesn’t taste as good as what I cook in my own kitchen. They sometimes serve dinner near the shoreline, which gives diners a lovely view of the sea while they enjoy their food.
This resort does not have a pool, so young kids may not like it as much. They have a small playground for children, but it's not really that nice or well taken care of. The rooms are okay, but they are not as classy as those at Aquatico. The staff at La Luz is very kind and helpful, though.
The takeaway: With no pool and a mandatory buffet, La Luz has some drawbacks, but the lovely cabanas, better privacy, and smaller price tag make it a good option depending on what you're looking for.
3. Palm Beach Resort
Palm Beach is located right next to La Luz. In terms of privacy and serenity, it is the best option. You can own this place. The cabanas are just as nice as those at La Luz, and there aren't usually too many people loitering around, so you can really feel a sense of privacy. The downside, however, is that their shoreline is not the most inviting. It looks like the management does not take great care of it. It is rocky and not well kept, so if soft sand is important to you, you may not like Palm Beach.
Like Aquatico, they have an infinity pool. it's not that big, but it's not bad at all. They also have a jacuzzi. They recently built a second pool for guests to enjoy. Their fee includes buffet meals, which is definitely a plus. The food choices are limited, however, and like the food served at La Luz, the taste isn't that impressive on the palate of someone who knows good cooking.
You will also have to navigate a very steep road to get down to the beach from the resort. The parking area is some distance away from the resort, but there is a service car that will fetch you after you park.
The takeaway: With nice cabanas, pools, a jacuzzi, and buffet dining included with your stay, Palm beach offers good value and great privacy despite its somewhat rocky and unkempt beach.
4. Acuaverde Beach Resort
Acuaverde Beach Resort is just so overpriced. The overall view of the resort is nothing spectacular. There are large trees, native cottages, a few plants, and nothing more. What you see on their website is what you get. There is nothing too amazing there. Their shoreline, however, looks neat, and the sand is clean and well-maintained. They have small cabanas located near the shore, some of which are cushioned, so you can always escape the sun and get a good view of the sea.
This resort does not have a pool, but they do have an area where you can play some board games and even table tennis. The rooms look very classy in pictures, but they are very small in reality. I would say the rates they charge are a little too high.
Their fee includes buffet meals, which is nice. Their breakfast buffet was my favorite because it had a lot of choices and truly satisfied me. I enjoyed their omelets, which are made to order and cooked in front of you. Their lunch and dinner buffets were not as good. There are several choices, but the quality is so-so and it's not worth the high price.
The parking area is at the entrance of the resort. There are some trees but not many, so be prepared to leave your car exposes to the sun if you do not find a shaded parking spot.
The takeaway: Acuaverde offers a nice beach and cabanas, but the small rooms, so-so food, and lack of a pool make it a poor value compared to other nearby resorts.
5. Blue Coral Beach Resort
Blue Coral Beach Resort offers a fair-sized beach. It's not huge, but it isn't too small, and it has a well-manicured entrance and nice landscaping. The bathrooms are in need of some repairs, however. The room we stayed in had a leaky faucet and the bathtub was old and didn't look fit to use. Even the pool wasn't clean during our visit. On a subsequent visit to another Laiya resort, however, I saw some renovations going on at Blue Coral. Meals are included with your stay, but as was the case with several of the resorts listed above, the food was pretty bland.
The takeaway: Blue Coral has a nice beach, but at the time of our visit, the facilities were not well-maintained.
6. Sabangan Beach Resort
Sabangan Beach Resort is a very boring place. As you enter, it looks like a large old backyard with nipa huts. The entire place looks old and dull. It is quiet, which is nice, but it feels dry, and there is no exciting ambiance to make you feel like you are on vacation. Don’t be deceived by the photos on their website and in their flyers. We did not dare book at this place after we made an ocular inspection. It is too overpriced for a resort that looks so antiquated.
The takeaway: Sabangan is a boring and antiquated resort that does not live up to its photos.
7. Taramindu Beach Garden Inn
Taramindu Beach Garden Inn is perhaps the smallest beach resort on Laiya. It is overpriced, and you should not be deceived by the photos on their website. The resort has very little to offer to customers. There is no real pool aside from a large improvised one for kids, and the whole place is so small that it's not worth vacationing there since their rate is almost as high as at the larger resorts in the area.
The takeaway: Taramindu is small, overpriced, and not worth vacationing at.
Other Resorts and Island-Hopping in Boracay
There are other resorts in the Laiya area on Luzon that I have not yet been to, including . . .
- One Laiya Beach,
- Les Caraibes,
- Virgin Beach,
- White Cove,
- Laiya Coco Grove,
- and more.
The rates of these resorts change frequently, so you'll need to check their websites for up-to-date information. As far as I am concerned, they are all over-priced, but I have no choice but to bite at their offers whenever I can't afford to vacation in Boracay. If you have time and money, I recommend just going to Boracay and island-hopping there. That is the best experience ever!