San Juan Batangas, known for its stunning coastal getaways in Laiya, offers a lot more than just pristine beaches. Venture into the mainland and discover a world of hidden wonders, heritage sites, nature trails, and delectable cuisine. San Juan may surprise you with its rich history, scenic landscapes, and diverse recreational activities. Let’s dive in and explore the treasures that lie beyond the shores.
Heritage Walk in Poblacion
Although a young municipality, San Juan is steeped in history. In the 1890s, the town was resettled to higher ground to avoid floods, giving rise to its current location. Originally called Bolbok, the town was later renamed San Juan in honor of its patron saint, San Juan Nepomuceno. Begin your heritage walk at the heart of the town, where the baroque San Juan Nepomuceno Church stands. Take a stroll through the Poblacion to experience the essence of old San Juan.
Amidst the thriving coconut industry in the mid-1900s, prosperous plantation owners constructed mansions inspired by Neoclassical and Art Deco trends. Some of these houses are open for visits upon request. While the Benito Marasigan Ruins and Museum holds the tale of how the town thwarted the establishment of a copper smelting factory by the Marcoses, the Casa Louella, Casa Soledad, and White House San Juan have retained their splendid charm. Have a Poblacion Heritage Walk in this recent post.
Birding and Nature Trails
San Juan offers fantastic opportunities for birdwatching enthusiasts. Witness the regular migration of birds in the agricultural fields of Balagbag and the wetlands of Pinagabayanan. Keep an eye out for species like the Black-winged Stilt, Java Pond Heron, Oriental Pratincole, and if luck favors you, the Chinese egret.
Head to the hills of Sapangan for a chance to spot Luzon Hornbills, Balicassiao, tailorbirds, red-keeled flowerpeckers, and bicolored flowerpeckers. These hills are adorned with fruit-bearing trees where these feathered beauties can feast.
At the mountain slopes of barangay Laiya-Aplaya, forest bath at an impressive Arboretum. With over 1,000 species of trees, including the rare and endangered Philippine Teak, their collection is a nature lover’s delight. Lurking within are wild Philippine megapode or Tabon Scrubfowl. It’s easy to hear them but takes some luck and perseverance to see them.
San Juan’s heritage extends to its age-old industries. Archaeologists have determined that San Juan has the oldest clay pot industry in Batangas and Quezon provinces. The discovery of Calubcub clay jars dating back to the Metal Age, around 1,000 years ago, provides evidence of this rich heritage. Obligar’s Pottery in Barangay Libato is one of the oldest pottery shops in town. Ligaya Namuco Obligar, a fourth-generation potter, started crafting palayok (clay pots) at the age of 16 in 1952. The shop is open for visitors who wish to witness the Batangas way of pottery.
Batangas Foodie Favorites
San Juan offers a culinary feast with its array of Batangas favorites. Savor a bowl of savory lomi at Lomihan sa Pulang Bato, hailed by many as the “Best Lomi in Batangas.” For a unique dining experience, visit the Old San Juan in Poblacion, where you can relish Filipino dishes and indulge in their version of tamales—a rice cake with sweet syrup topped with coco sugar.
If seafood tickles your taste buds, Four Corners Seafood and Sizzling House presents their Seafood Fiesta—a bilao filled with mixed crabs, shrimps, mussels, and scallops sautéed in their signature seafood sauce. Don’t miss out on delightful snacks like the savory and lightly crisp bonete bread roll or the flavorful bibingka from Rodel’s Bibingka along Rosario-San Juan-Candelaria road, available year-round every weekend.
Staycations to Leisure Living
San Juan Batangas offers a relaxing escape for those seeking a break from city life. Experience the rustic and idyllic countryside while remaining within reach of the metro. Solmera Coast by DMCI Homes, located in Barangay Subukin and Calubcub, offers a soon-to-rise beachfront condotel—a perfect home away from home. Enjoy beautifully manicured landscapes, scenic sunrises, infinity pools, and modern Asian-oriental-inspired designs. Solmera Coast offers not just a weekend escape but an attractive leisure living opportunity in marvelous San Juan.
San Juan Batangas invites you to delve into its hidden treasures beyond the coastal paradise. Immerse yourself in heritage, nature, delectable food, and a relaxing atmosphere that will make you want to stay longer and return for more.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.