The Drowning in Batangas

Someone drowned in Matabungkay, Batangas last Sunday. But it seemed like that guy was not the only one that needed saving.

My travel buddy and I spent the long weekend at a beach in my home province. We had grander plans actually — Palaui Island in Cagayan, Caramoan in Camarines Sur, Sagada in Mountain Province, Hundred Islands in Pangasinan — but our weird schedules made the long weekend completely pointless. So we were forced to choose a beach that was close to the city.

Matabungkay in Lian, Batangas is indeed close to me. I’m not just talking about physical proximity but more importantly emotionally. I stayed there for two months when I managed an English camp for Korean grade school and college students in 2006 and we made wonderful memories and bond in that barangay. I was very familiar with the place. Matabungkay was an easy choice. You see, memories, which needed revisiting, were littered on the sands of Matabungkay.

Apparently, it wasn’t just memories that were all over Matabungkay. Trash, too. I wish I’m talking figuratively here.

It had been three years since I last visited the popular Batangas beach but a lot has changed. There was so much garbage lying on the sand and swimming with tourists. Seaweeds are a common sight in the area but what really ruined the place were plastic cups, glass bottles, aluminum foils, Lucky Me Pancit Canton wrappers… (Sorry, the brand got stuck in my head coz it’s my favorite and there were so much of them there.) It was really heartbreaking.

And yeah, someone drowned while we were swimming. I hope he was able to reach the hospital on time.

But you see, that man wasn’t the only one drowning at the time. The beach is in desperate need of attention and help. If that beach turned like that after only three years, who knows what it would be like three more years from now. No wonder tourists are now taking a detour to Nasugbu and Calatagan (which are great beaches, btw).

We tried to find out where all the garbage was coming from. We walked around and found the community tidy. There were trash cans near the stores and not a single trash could be seen on the road. All the garbage was at the shore. Could it be because it came from the tourists on the bamboo rafts? Mind you, there were many of them. Too many, if you ask me.

The sadder part is that no one was cleaning up the place. We took a peek at the celebrated Matabungkay Beach Resort and Hotel, where I stayed three years ago, and the place was still gorgeous. That’s because they keep on raking seaweeds that drifted to their coast. Something that other resorts and the community itself fail to do, allowing garbage to pile up.

Having said that, did we enjoy our trip?

Absolutely. Although the beach was a disappointment, Coral Beach Club, the resort we stayed in, was fantastic. It was just the beach. The trip turned into an eye-opener for the two of us, which made it not just a relaxing trip but also a learning experience. Learning is always fun.

Now, it’s time of ways to think on how to help.


  1. thats sad.sana naman they will do something about it.

    wow my hubby na siya now lang me nakabalik ulit,im glad u finally find someone and nag enjoy kayo sa trip nyo.

  2. i remember matabungkay, that was the first beach that i remember ever going to. it was a very popular summer destination before. wonder what happened it turned that way now.

  3. hi! im from caramoan. and i suggest that you find time to visit the place. maganda tahimik pa. sana wag mangyari sa caramoan ung nangyayari sa matabungkay. yan ang kinatatakot ng mga caramoanon sa pagdagsa ng turista samin.

  4. naku, ganyan din yung itsura nung matabungkay before when we went their for an ecology field trip, pero at fault naman ung bagyong dumaan nung panahong un kasi super washed out ung mga seaweeds at ang gulu-gulo ng lugar. as in!

  5. ya, you are so right..nisasayang nila ang Matabungkay..kung kelan onti-onti na rin itong nakikilala..

    i soo love the place too..we had photoshoots there when we were in hs and taped a presentation for our lit class in college..

    have also lots of memries there!

    have my classmates/schoolmates and friends there!

  6. For decades now, several similar testimonies were already posted in the internet, in the papers, aired in radio stations, etc., but there seems to be nothing improving in our sea shores and rivers.

    Though there are some government offices, NGOs, Environmental Organizations serious in the painstaking clearing of the waters, the majority of us Filipinos still have deaf ears and continue to make the waters, land and air dirty.

    What is wrong with us Filipinos is our culture of lack of discipline, lack of concern for others and environment which can be put into one word “makasarili”. We don’t care as long as it is convenient and easy for us to throw our garbage everywhere never mind the others who will be affected and environment to suffer.

    If we will continue our i, me, mine attitude, another decade will make the Philippines the largest garbage site, the dirtiest country in the whole world.

    This is very sad indeed for the most beautiful country, richest in natural resources and the country with the best beaches in the world, the Philippines.

    Caesar Sing

  7. Matabungkay is a popular beach… they should preserve it for the people’s safety too.

    looking at the garbage and the blue sea… it’s very disappointing.

  8. we cannot escape the wrath of nature if we don’t start now…

    let’s start in our own lives…

    a pure heart and a clear mind will lead us to decide what is right.

    there are millions of things we can do… but with only one lifetime.

    we may not have the purest of heart and the clearest of min today, but we can start the cleansing this very minute.

    let’s help revive the country… let’s be a team in rebuilding our bruised nation or it will continue to wither just before our eyes…

  9. im born & raised from batangas for 14 years, but ive never been in matabungkay beach & i felt sorry for that…

    well if thats the situation now, i hope the owners are aware & be informed…

  10. Sayang naman ang matabungkay beach kpag tuluyang nasira because of some iresponsible tourist, madami kaming good memories dyan ng hubby ko.

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