Friday, May 13, 2016


In the Philippines, April and May are the best months to go and explore beaches and resorts. I can't wait to share to you where I had brought my daughter to, during her first visit of my home country.

Hamilo Coast holding the Pico Sands Hotel,
 and the Pico De Loro Resort and Country Club

The salty warm sea breeze welcomed me upon reaching Pico De Loro Beach and Country Club. My eyes squinted with how the sun reflected thru the white sand and attacked my iris with a splendour of the Hamilo Coast's vast horizon. I was engulfing the scenery when I got distracted with a volleyball toss made on my left periphery and it instantly pulled me back into reality hearing my aunt's echoing voice regarding checking in.

Pico De Loro Resort and Country Club is strictly for its members only based on the regulations set for shareholders. However, the resort opens up a part for those who want to experience a great getaway as guests for a fair chance with one of Batangas' assets. In order to set this identification properly, they give you a water proof wristband that should not be in any way removed while you use the resort's facilities. It is actually to distinguish a guest from a member, where members get a full access to the country club's exclusive pool in mind. My auntie had to check that everyone got the wrist bands on just so nobody would be outcasted. Personally, it felt too much but they are concerned with everybody's safety so I complied. This wristband changes colour everyday. Once it gets tampered, damaged or broken, it may compromise your identification, and that's when we are adviced to collect a new one as soon as possible from the front desk, sans the whole process of checking the registered name. Yes, before arriving to the Philippines, around 4 days before, as soon as I confirmed to my cousin that we'll be joining them to this fun getaway, our complete names and birthdays were asked. This is to ensure the person's registration.

So much for that stressful checking of accommodation, allow me to give you a little bit of a trivia why it is called Pico De Loro Cove.

I hope the image had given it justice. So many hikers had documented their achievement of the hilltop but nobody shows the parrot beak like this. In addition to its name, the Hamilo coast where the resort was built and constructed is estimated to be holding 3 coves that have been declared Marine
Diving and snorkelling with my cousins.
Protected Areas (MPA's). Their coves are preserved and well kept. We had rented out a boat to take us into different coves and it was something that I didn't do for a long time. We had visited a private beach along one of the cove's beautiful white sand coasts and it was like a miniature of Boracay's Station 1.

As we started going for a dive, I noticed that the water wasn't that salty. As we stopped meters away from the beach to swim, my uncle noticed that there was not much to see when snorkelling. It was too clean. There were no corals whatsoever. Fishes are around but I think it's because of the bread that they are expecting from the people that stop here. Although it had been said, that 17 species of sea animals can be found in Hamilo coast, I think this can be observed way far off the beaches.

They said many Filipino celebrities rent a property situated around the area for a good month just to rest. It is pricier in this coast than everywhere else because you need to ride a motor boat to get there and it is a private property. It is good to share that Pico De Loro Cove is part of the VERDE ISLAND PASSAGE, a crucial centre of marine bio-diversity within the coral triangle. With its 5900 hectares of land area, only 1/3 is developable. This serves the right of the land to be preserved and remain untouched. That's why it's recommendable to those who are seeking rejuvenation. Nature feeds the souls of those who would be coming here and I assume, all of us from time to time need this.

It is attractive to the preoccupied population in the metropolis because it is estimated to be just a 90-minute drive from SM Mall of Asia. It is the perfect choice for those who wants to take a breath out of office work. The place is family friendly, safe and serene. The sand doesn't match up with Boracay's (It's as white but after facing extreme heat from the sun, it's too hot to step on it barefooted. In Boracay, no matter how hot, it's not painful to the soles, it still remains cool.) but the view is exceptional.

There are over 40 activities you could do here in Pico De Loro naming some: snorkelling, boating, hiking, waterskiing, aqua zumba, pony tour ride and beach volleyball. Besides a haven for people who are dying of having time to unwind, it is open for wedding events since they have the venue for every choice you are considering. A beach wedding, garden wedding or church wedding. It got nice spots to do your pre-nuptial photos too. And there are areas where office and/or corporate meetings can be held. 

That being said, they have a lot to offer guests in terms of dining places. Being balikbayans, my cousin from the States came up with the best idea.... to have a boodle fight by the beach. So, we had asked the staff to prepare one for us as it is available in the menu. To my other cousin's estimate, for a Php700+ arrangement, I am sad to say, he found the meal dissatisfying. But here's why:

The menu assured that the food can be shared amongst 10 people but considering our anacondas, and the activities which we did earlier that day, it wasn't going to be enough for 10 people. Most of the activities are physically demanding. It's expected that guests would have a big appetite you see. But some items like tomatoes, boiled salted eggs, eggplants and some other bbq items are not present. It was my first time to actually be in a boodle fight so I don't have that much for comparison. But I am aware of what should be there. For reference if you want to include this in your itinerary as you visit the resort, let me post this picture.

Boodle Fight is a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food are put on banana leaves.
Viands and rice are ready to eat using bare hands, jugs of water are prepared on the sides
to wash hands before the "eating combat".
With the signal to start the boodle fight, everybody aims for his/her position.

If you highlight the whole food presentation, it looks satisfying
but it looks miniature in front of us. What do you think?
We also tried dining in the resort's Sun Coral Cafe which offered delicious Filipino dishes and a variety of international cuisines. One of the dishes that ignited my taste buds was tinolang manok but using squash to thicken the soup. Dining in Sun Coral Cafe maybe enjoyed al fresco or by the Reef Bar or pool bar. The Reef Bar is facing the beach where we had the boodle fight.

We chose to dine in Sun Coral Cafe after more than a 2 hour drive from Manila.
Sun Coral Cafe didn't fail us.    
-the view of the Reef Bar coming from the beach shore-
It is pretty setup romantically.

As I returned to home-Kong, I craved for it instantly and I had to ask our yaya to cook it because of that lingering sensation in my head. My buccal cavity welled up with saliva as I thought about the thick chicken soup boiled slowly with squash. I never had that before in my life. I thought it was such a great combination. My daughter loved it too. 

Since my family and I were staying for one night only, we couldn't let a chance pass of night swimming. There was not much people at the time we visited the resort so we pretty much dominated the kiddie pool. We were pretty disappointed when our big floats were prohibited to be used in their pool. And they were very strict as per swimsuits to be used when actually taking a dip. No long shorts, and no t-shirts. I think it was just right to impose this.

To go around the area, there were shuttle rides that stop every 10mins at each building. We were staying at my aunt's colleague's unit located at Jacana. It was said that Pico De Loro Resort and Country Club are owned by SM Primary Holdings. That's why if you'd notice, the so called 90-minute getaway's starting point is from the SM Mall of Asia and their souvenir shop is actually "Kultura" which could only be seen in the SM department stores.

There are so many available units via Airbnb that you could rent if you're planning to visit this remarkable resort. Here are some of the model units you can also look at if you are considering being an owner of one of the units someday.

The hotel can be seen in Agoda as well and the room rates starts from HK$800 up. This price includes breakfast and free wifi. I am going to limit the information to that because nowadays, those are the 2 important things guests ask anyway. Based on research, kids as long as they would use the existing beddings, are free. Until those who are 11 years old. The usual, you check in at 2pm and check out at noon.

A piece of advice from me, units in airbnb got the advantage of offering you a fully furnished kitchen which may help you in saving up with food. If you plan to stay here for a week or two, may I suggest that you combine dining out (since there's no more rewarding than eating fresh grilled seafood by the beach) with cooking your food and eating indoors. If you have kids, make sure you stock up the fridge with snacks and bottled water. You don't want to risk them being cranky because of hunger or dehydrated because of getting a day in the beach. Watch out also for bees that may sting you. The flowers around the units harbour beehives.

Here's a sneak peak of the whole place. Credits to my cousin, JP Gloda for this video.

Pico De Loro had allowed my daughter to bond with my family whom she just knew for the first time as she visited the Philippines for the first time as well. I am thankful for their warmth that made a good trip possible. This vacation will be remembered so well as the great getaway post nuptial of my cousin. Like Angsana Laguna, Pico De Loro Resort and Country Club is a beautiful family friendly place to visit. I give it 5 stars.
Standing at the middle of
the Pico De Loro Resort and
Country Club where residences
and a hotel surrounds this lovely river.

Related posts:
1. ANGSANA LAGUNA, PHUKET - this is one resort that holds everything. You don't need to go out for activities. My husband and I had our honeymoon here. And it provided us the best relaxing vacation ever.

2. GRAND COLOANE RESORT, MACAU - If you're aiming to have a relaxing getaway and some golf from the hustles and bustles in Hong Kong, Macau is not just about gambling and parties. You might want to stay in the serene Grand Coloane Resort.


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