Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beach combing San Juan

As has been said in many of my notes, I am more of the beach type than for the boondocks. Thus, I got naturally attracted to the kilometers of white sand that lined this part of Siquijor. And my tour guide obliged.

First, we negotiated some kind of a walk path from the highway towards the water. Whoa! There we were on a stretch of white sandy beach with no nothing but just the sand, the sea, shrubberies, grass and trees. There were even no houses or any structures. I asked Charles if the place had an owner and the ready reply was “yes, foreigner”. Ahhh! I walked on this beach for a bit of stretch until Charles told me that we had to go. I thought it was actually bye bye time to this beach, but I was wrong!

Coco Grove
Leaving that secluded part did not mean leaving the beach when my tour guide said let’s go. I did not realize he was to bring me to Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort – the most affluent of Siquijor’s resorts so far. The entrance by the road side is an imposing edifice amidst the generally foresty area.

Oh there is an entrance fee of P100 for day time visitors (the guide is free). But that P100 is “consumable” – meaning you can already buy anything in the resort that is worth P100 or less. No change if you consume less than P100 hehe. The resort is family-owned by the common foreigner-husband Filipina-wife tandem as many other resorts in the country are. But this one is not so so. There is class and even elegance if you compare it to resorts anywhere else. Crews are uniformed in the usual flowery Hawaiian inspired garbs.

The fa├žade is a circular gazebo dominated by a flock of white doves freely roaming or flying around. Those birds are too used to the presence of people since they do not depart that easily even as you get near them. But they do run (or is that hop?) away if you try to get any closer like touching them. For a guard, there is a beautiful and moody red cockatoo perched on a branch. It sometimes is talkative and sometimes keeps mum. Ah, I forgot its name! I only remember it’s a male name. There are outsized African drums also by the entrance and they add to the appeal of this facility. From here it is still a leisurely walk towards anything but its on a well maintained, manicured lawns, gardens, pathways and stairs. Nice place really.

Following a path that I did not even know led to anything, I stumbled upon what might be the resort’s dining hall and kitchen. Very nice! It’s just by the edge of the white sands, is open air and a nice view of the sea. It’s here where I was asked what I’d like to have to consume the P100. So I ordered two bottles of SanMigLight for me and my driver.

Crowds? Take this: on a Sunday, there was only a group of 7 persons having a meeting at one of the tables. They were in the midst of a serious discussion that seemed official in nature but were all briefly distracted when I entered hehe. I thought they were politicians or resort owners or both! That was it in this place. I went down to the beach area and saw that there was a family of probably 8 or 10 folks having lunch al fresco on two round tables. Further at a cute little kiosk near the pool, there was an equally cute pair of elderly foreigners – probably in their 70s to 80s just sitting around with their mango shakes after a swim. That’s it! Apart from the crews and my guide, I have not seen any other mortal. What a place!

Chose a round table a little distance from the family in picnic and no sooner waitress arrived with our beers and two chilled beer glasses. Wow! Charles did have to ask me to move a little to my left since my chair was directly below a tall coconut tree with a lot of already ripe fruits. I know what it meant hehe, and he probably was not interested in rushing his passenger out to a hospital today hehe. So I made sure I was not in the way of any nut that might come plunging down to earth! Ah, how soothing and calming to the spirit just sitting in this place doing absolutely nothing.

With my beer in hand, I left Charles on our table and started to stroll on the soft white sand. Grand views everywhere I looked. The resort’s boat was idle, no one was swimming, the sun kept a hide-and-seek play with the clouds, little waves softly lapping on the shores... ahhh, paradise! Charles called out to me asking if I wanted to go as we still had a lot to cover on that tour (I knew that distance-wise, we were not even a fifth of our total itinerary yet). I went back to slump more on the mono-bloc chairs with arm-rests and dressed in white cloth. Told Charles I could actually just sit idle here and go back to the pier by 4PM. He smiled and told me that I needed to see other more places that are equally beautiful.

So, after another bottle of beer (Charles declined this time), we circled more of the entire Coco Grove facility like the pool bar (hmm inviting), the other swimming pool, the dive center/shop, etc etc and it was time to move on.

Ahhh the beach! Coco Grove almost ruined my itinerary! But I promised myself I’ll come back! Promise!

For a chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:

01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35


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