Luxurious glamping in Laiya

LAIYA, a popular beach destination in the municipality of San Juan, Batangas, continues to attract tourists, thanks to the natural charm of its picturesque white sands, unimpeded ocean views, and sunny atmosphere.

About two hours from Manila via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Club Laiya provides a unique glamping (glamorous camping) experience for those who don’t want just the usual overnight stay. Thirty-three cylindrical sleeping pods called Cocoons offer access to not only Laiya beach, but also a swimming pool and a beachfront restaurant and bar.

The Cocoons are basically giant concrete pipes which were refurbished into intimate rooms good for two people, their exteriors featuring murals of the vibrant marine life of Batangas. Each one is fully air-conditioned, with a queen-size bed, a flat screen TV, a minibar, a safety deposit box, and complimentary wi-fi.

As the name suggests, sleeping in one of these pods feels like being in a cocoon due to the limited space inside, but it’s also quite cozy. At night, you can flip a switch and cause the ceiling to light up into a twinkling starry sky that can lull you to sleep.

Though the rooms don’t have private bathrooms (as you’ll find in any camping situation), the glam is turned up because of the luxurious, well-kept communal bathroom that can easily accommodate multiple groups of guests.

The glamping site is just one of many leisure and hospitality facilities drawing tourists, entrepreneurs, and property owners and investors to the area, according to Gerard “Gibby” F. Peñaflor, vice-president for marketing at Landco Pacific Corporation.

Millennial Resorts, the hospitality arm of Landco, operates and manages Landco BeachTowns, one of which is the 24-hectare Club Laiya.

“One thing we like about Laiya is, by itself, it’s a destination. It was already known back in the ’90s, but to get here, the entire stretch leading to the resorts was all rough roads, over an hour travel time. Now, everything has changed. Laiya is a priority area for tourist development and the roads are now developed,” Mr. Peñaflor told BusinessWorld.

A stay in one of the Cocoons can cost between P4,500 and P6,000 a night. They easily get fully booked on weekends, Mr. Peñaflor said, adding that the resort’s accessibility makes it appealing for guests seeking a weekend getaway.

Aside from the pods, soon-to-be-constructed amenities will provide more experiences, such as Camperisti, a site of “glamper vans” right next to the beach, and The Isle, a multi-purpose events center for wedding receptions and social and corporate events.

“This place has so much potential. You really can’t beat the beauty of a beachfront,” said Mr. Peñaflor.

RESORT LIVING AT CLUB LAIYAStrategically located with under-30-minute access to hospitals, schools, shopping outlets, and recreational sites like Laiya Adventure Park and Mount Dagulgol, the BeachTowns development in Laiya is still far from complete.

Master-planned by Landco, the property should soon feature a mix of residential commercial lots, condotel, and tourist hubs:

Plaza Laiya, a community plaza, will serve as a gathering point for local events, surrounded by retail and dining outlets and spaces filled with trees and greenery.

The Spinnaker, shaped like the special boat sail for which it is named, will be a medium-rise beachfront condominium with terraced levels with an unmatched view of the beach.

The Seaside District, a combination of 106 residential-commercial lots closest to Laiya beach, will be a beach community of homes and businesses.

The Upper West Side District will be an inland gated community of 190 lots with full access to Laiya’s mountain views. It will also have a nearly half-kilometer swimming pool and urbanized forest trail around its entire perimeter.

Mr. Peñaflor explained that investors and property owners will have free rein to transform their residential-commercial properties, whether it’s a bed and breakfast, a restaurant, or a resort wear boutique.

“To help stimulate tourist traffic, leisure facilities like the Cocoons help prime the property and develop our storyline — the residential-commercial pitch of resort living. Their role is to bring in the tourist traffic,” he said.

“When you invest, you won’t have to wait for tourists. We’re already seeing the traffic. It’s a matter of you saying that you want to put up a beach house with a coffee shop.” — Bronte H. Lacsamana