Before reaching the main cluster of beach resorts along Laiya in San Juan, Batangas, a strategically placed arrow points to where Balai San Juan Resort is supposed to be. Hundreds of meters from the main road, through unpaved, tight twists and turns, lies a resort that appeals to those who prefer rugged nature and black sand.
When on a summer getaway to the town of San Juan, one gets to the Balai sa San Juan before the Laiya Coco Grove, Virgin Beach Resort or Palm Beach Resort (the last with its exposed corals). It was the first resort we checked one getaway weekend.
Getting to Balai sa San Juan is not exactly a walk in the park (or beach for that matter). It appears to be the only resort in the area, accessible only through a very narrow dirt road, through thin clusters of local nipa huts and thick vegetation. Every turn, every fork on the road, is an occasion to ask if it’s the right way.
There are a number of peculiar things at Balai sa San Juan. For starters, guests arrive at the back of the cottages, then walks through an elevated pathway across enclosed waterways that appear to be fish ponds, around a hundred meters in length, towards the “reception” area, which also happens to be the clubhouse. The swimming pool is beside the clubhouse.
The sand is fine-grained and black-colored, like volcanic sand. It may appear white when dry, exposed to the sun, but it’s black when immersed in water. The beach is wide, long, and desolate. No one was swimming when we visited the place. There were two people in one of the huts along the beach, but, we don’t know why, the beach looks, and feels, desolate.
For some, this would be a perfect place to bask in solitude. We also love solitude, but there’s plain solitude and fun solitude. Sounds weird, harder to explain, but definitely there’s a whole range of solitude. We had to move on.