Social Distance Glamping in Casa Antonio, Batangas

When I wrote “Traveling Responsibly in the Time of the Coronavirus,” I mentioned some of the ways you can travel safely, such as long scenic drives, hiking or biking on wide-open trails, and camping in remote locations. For those who don’t want to completely rough it, there’s glamping, a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping.” It’s camping with some amenities, like a bed, electricity, and access to a toilet.

Social distance glamping at Casa Antonio, Batangas. Remember: each town or city has its own COVID-19 rules before allowing people to enter their zone, so do your research. You can’t just walk in and look for vacancies. Everything has to be pre-booked now.

Kate was here in Calatagan, Batangas, December 2020. Even if I’m ready to travel again (albeit cautiously), I will only travel with select individuals if they are amenable to both the hotel/resort’s health protocols and my personal rules. Otherwise it’s solo travel.

For the sake of my mental health (I have clinical depression and general anxiety disorder), I went glamping—but with a lot of precautions, such as booking my own hut separate from my cousins, and mask-wearing with social distancing even if all of us were cleared of COVID-19.

Casa Antonio’s campsite is on a hill next to the beach in Calatagan, Batangas. You may pitch your own tent or rent one of their boho-style huts, which is what I did. The property has several Bali-inspired Instagrammable spots, like a human-sized bird’s nest and a big swing overlooking the South China Sea.

The glamp site
The toilets and showers.

The glamp amenities are basic—a bed that’s seen better days, an electric fan inside the hut, and a plug for your mobile phone. I’ll be honest with you, the toilets and showers are not pretty, but better than actual camping where you have to dig a hole in the ground.

I booked a three-day, two-night package, which included unlimited use of their kayak and paddleboards, full meals, a three-hour island hopping and snorkeling tour, which included a stopover at the famous Starfish Island. It’s too bad the tide was high that day, so we didn’t see the famous sandbar in all its glory.

Watch my vlog:

Star Fish Island, but the high tide covered the famous sandbar.
My Siargao travel buddies. My original plan was to go glamping alone, but my cousins RJ and Chacha said, “No way!”
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Casa Antonio’s Bali-inspired swing gives you a great view of the South China Sea.

After being stuck in quarantine for about 10 months, it was such an exhilarating feeling to finally be in the ocean and swim with the fishes. I’ll never take traveling for granted again.

The other highlight of my vacation was the Kawa Hot Bath, which is also part of the Casa Antonio package. There are only a few places in the Philippines where you can get the touristy Kawa Hot Bath experience, so I was happy to finally experience this. You’ll take a long dip in a big wok filled with hot water and sprinkled with a few flowers and leaves with medicinal properties. Don’t worry about the flaming fire underneath the wok. They’re not going to cook you alive! They’ll put out the fire before you step inside the wok. The temperature is hot, but not boiling. You may also adjust the temp by pouring cold water from the faucet beside the kawa.

Nilagang kulot
In the Philippines, there are only a few places that offer tourists the Kawa Hot Bath. The pot is filled with hot (not boiling) water and medicinal flowers and herbs.

Another great thing about my glamping experience: the dogs! The camp is full of rescue dogs turned pampered beach dogs. The great thing I miss about pre-pandemic travel is meeting and talking to new people. Because of social distancing, I don’t get to interact with new people anymore. The dogs (and my cousins who joined my glamping) made it a little less lonely for this crazy dog cat lady.

Dogs make life better. Casa Antonio has several rescue dogs that like to swim, roam, and charm the visitors.

Darwin the Retriever. Don’t tell my dog, Snoopy.

Have you tried glamping?

Travel Expenses:

Full tank of gas (we used my car): ₱1,500
Casa Antonio’s three-day, two-night glamping package: ₱4,500 per person x 3 = ₱13,500 (includes free parking, one hut, private boat tour for snorkeling and Starfish Island, seven full meals per person per day, kawa hot bath, and unlimited use of their kayaks and paddleboards)
Additional hut (I wanted my hut to be separate from my cousins): ₱500 for all three days
Miscellaneous (food stopovers, groceries, pasalubong, etc.): ₱2,500
Gratuity (tip) for camp employees and boatmen: ₱1,500

Casa Antonio Glamping is located at 143 Apacible St, Calatagan, Batangas, Philippines. For bookings and inquiries, contact +639204975730 or send them a Facebook message.

Month of visit: December 2020