at pearl farm

a former cultivation farm for south sea pearls, pearl farm beach resort in samal island davao city was a primary choice for me for a well-deserved stay during my vacation last june.  i was with my good friend, chyng and a night at this resort was included in our plan for a weekend trip in davao.

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i made an advanced reservation through contacting the resort from the e-mail address i got from their website.  i was still in my workplace then at the mideast so e-mail correspondence was convenient for me and having a room reserved that way worked out fine for their staff was courteous enough to follow-up everything including credit card payment.

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I reserved one of their “samal houses” which are built on stilts on the water.

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it reminded me of the accommodation I stayed on at el rio, where i spent a weekend alone in that resort in coron, palawan.

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the house that we were assigned to was the first one to reach from the reception and the restaurant.

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the room was of native d√©cor.  though the room looked old, it was clean and well maintained.

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there was enough closet space and complimentary toiletries are available.

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the shower room and the toilet are separate – i still prefer one which is not.

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a welcoming letter from the management and yes, the resort is undergoing renovation.

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the best part of the room of course, was the balcony.

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school of fishes can be observed in the clear water.  it feels great to have this kind of view in the morning as you wake up from a good sleep.

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we had buffet breakfast at their restaurant which was included in the package i got.

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the food choices was okay but i was more interested with the sweet jams they serve.

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unique flavors of mangosteen, durian and tamarind.  i loved the mangosteen jam, i actually tried to look for one at the stores at the airport so i can take some home but there was none available.  the least i liked was the durian, i’m really not a fan of this fruit anyway.

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watermelon juice and some slices of fresh fruits.

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this is the resort pool.

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there was a scheduled boat ride that chyng and i took to the island that pearl farm also owns which was named as malipano.

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a lush of greenery of towering coconut trees and grass was calming.

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felt a soft breeze and i ran towards a discovery.

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a part of the island which was isolated?!  naaah.

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light brown colored sand as fine as polvoron! haha!

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well, hello there!

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you really don’t need to go that far if you want the best beaches. ūüôā

cebu weekender

my ma and i spent a weekend in cebu island the last time i was on days off.  it was a first for both of us to visit the island and i have planned it in advance as a special treat for her.

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after the flight from manila (also a ‘first’ for my ma where she was all quiet – i¬†don’t think it scared her but i held her hand anyway!), we took a cab from the airport going to tune hotels, a budget accommodation found in the center of the city.

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i have stayed in tune hotels in penang and bali.  this is how their cebu branch looks like from the inside.

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at tune hotels, you only pay what you need!

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you won’t need a 24 hour aircon¬†specially when you will surely be outside touring the city most of the day, tune hotels gives you that choice of a 12 hour aircon less the price of a 24 hour.¬† anyway, there is still a ceiling fan that is free for use inside the room.

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the room is clean with freshly laundered bedding.  water pressure in the shower was also good, i paid extra for the towels and toiletries.

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the next day was a sunday and we heard mass in the basilica.  we passed by the cross of magellan which was near the church.

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i¬†think this painting depicts the spaniards’ introduction of christianity to the filipinos.

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the marker found at the foot of the cross.  i never knew that the original cross (as claimed) was encased inside.

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nearby was fort san pedro where my ma and i just walked going here coming from the basilica.

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there was a small entrance fee (i already forgot how much!).

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i walked around the fort which was small compared to the forts i visited in jaipur.

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we then went back to tune hotels, checked out and took a cab to check-in at marco polo plaza.

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i booked a double room from their website where they have this tempting offer, the weekender promo.

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this includes buffet breakfast for two and there was even a free havaianas slippers that we claimed at their gift shop.

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a grand beautiful flower arrangement at the lobby Рand they were real!

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after check-in, we were assisted by a bellman with our luggage to our room.

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room was simple and worth the price.

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furnitures was made of bamboo, rattan and abaca rope.

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flat tv looks new and a small study was available in the room.

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wi-fi was without charge (i hate it when i get charged for internet connection!), and the connection was good and no disruptions.

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there is also a marco polo hotel in davao city, i hope to visit that too.

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clean toilet and bath with marco polo signature toiletries.

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this was the view from our window.

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i¬†wanted my ma to enjoy her ‘staycation’ and we were never interested to go out from the hotel so i¬†decided that we take our dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, cafe¬†marco.

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after dinner i¬†left my ma in our room to watch her favorite ‘teleseryes‘ as i checked the hotel’s other facilities.

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i found out that they charge for sauna use which was located in their spa.

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a well-equipped gym and a fitness personnel assists the guests.

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i went outside to check their pool.  i actually took a dip to relax my tired muscles.

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they also have a bar beside the pool.

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i¬†bought this ref magnet from their gift shop as a souvenir for me and my ma’s satisfied stay at marco polo plaza. ūüôā

at el rio

there is a small hill at el rio¬†named¬†as hunter’s peak, it took me and tonton¬†(my friendly guest activity officer) about twenty minutes going uphill to catch a breath-taking¬†aerial view of maricaban bay and its neighboring islands.

it is surely worth the trek, and along the way you will be passing by some wild grasses and pitcher plants.¬† i¬†advise¬†you wear rubber shoes though,¬†and some parts of the¬†rugged path are a little steep.¬† being an inexperienced hiker, i¬†had to stop and catch my breath for a while when we were on our way up.¬† also be careful when going downhill, for you don’t want to end up with a bad fall and spraining your ankle.

use of snorkeling equipment is free of charge at el rio, they even offer water sports equipment such as water ski, rowing boat and hobiecat.  i tried the sit-on kayak (@750 pesos/hour) and tonton and i paddled through the mangroves on the other side of el rio and he showed me a small fishing village too.

i¬†was also able to visit for a few hours el rio’s¬†sister resort, club paradise.¬† you just have to inform¬†the staff that you want to see the resort and there will be a boat to pick you up the next morning and send you back again at el rio by lunchtime on the same day.

to sum it up even though i was there alone, my stay at el rio was in fact all worth it.

coron hideaway

when i¬†was on days off, i¬†went to coron¬†palawan¬†by myself.¬† none of my friends were available to join me for all were busy with¬†work.¬† so i¬†thought, it really doesn’t matter if i¬†go alone, i have visited other places before as a lone traveller anyway.

i have been fascinated by palawan from the first time i was there nearly a year ago.  i visited puerto princesa then, and when i left the place i told myself that i will be back.  coron is just one of the islands in palawan that exudes the beauty of nature.  it offers a lot of tourist attractions, but my purpose on being at coron was simple: i want to laze and unwind.

i chose to stay at el rio y mar, a beachfront resort in san jose. 

i was welcomed by the uber-friendly staff of el rio.  most of them had asked me the same question while i was staying at the resort which was Рwhy was i alone?  imagine being in a place made perfect for lovers and honeymooners then here i am going solo?  i really cannot blame them of their curiosity!  lol!

i stayed in one of their native beachfront cabanas. 

since there were only a few of us guests (a group of three couples from the states, and a german with his filipina wife and their kid) in the resort, meals were served ala carte, a choice of meat, poultry and seafood as a main dish was available and being a pescetarian, i chose the seafood that they served.  the dining area i think can occupy about fifty guests or more. 

i also took a dip on their infinity pool that offers a great view of maricaban bay, even at dusk.

a view of the sunset from the veranda left me a moment of thanking god for the blessings he has given me, for my parents and my siblings that i cherish, for my few good friends who has been with me through the years and for keeping me and my co-workers safe at work.

.. next post: things to do at el rio!

life is a beach

boracay, at last!¬† it’s just that everytime a foreign co-worker asks me about it i get too embarassed to say that i have never been in the island.¬† being a filipino, i think it is expected that i can tell them something about it and the best way is to experience being there.

so after almost half an hour flight from manila, i found myself in caticlan and after a few more minutes made it in boracay island.¬† it was literally summer hot.¬† the place that i stayed for three days was a few steps from bulabog beach, eastward of the island, which is mainly an area for windsurfing and kiteboarding.¬† you wouldn’t see a lot of¬† tourists¬†in the area unlike the main tourism beach which is white beach.

white beach, opposite of bulabog beach has everything.¬† all tourism-related establishments that i can think of can be found here.¬† i had a good italian dinner at don vito’s, a cheap meal at andoks, coffee and refreshing drinks to beat the heat at starbucks, hallowich and cafe del sol, and henna tats for $2!

nightlife is very impressive Рa number of bars kept the night alive which includes live bands.  i had a few beers at coco loco bar (i was unsuccessful to go loco, though! hehe.), and walked barefoot alone by the beach, just enjoying the moment by myself.

. . i hope to get a chance to be in boracay again sometime next year.

palawan escape

palawan is an island province of the philippines composed of a long and narrow large island and a number of smaller ones.  palawan consists of irregular coastlines, rocky coves, sandy beaches, terrains and a chain of mountain ranges. pal1

 i went to this beautiful place last week and was able to do island hopping and visited the underground river. 

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