Thursday, September 3, 2009

Malapascua Arrival

After the worrisome trip to this island, I was ready to roam, even as I looked for accommodation.

The ‘Arrival Walk’ – a tour in itself!
This was planned. I decided days before that I would walk from the Malapascua boat station upon arrival and go looking for accommodation. While I have targeted at least 4 of them resorts, I was open to other choices or possibilities. Called some of them while I was still in Cebu and learned that this was a very lean season. That meant, anywhere I go, there must be some room or bed that I can bunk in.

Oops, there was something I forgot to consider in my plan – the hot Mr. Sunny Sun… argh! But as if to punish myself for that, I went on walking along the little paths towards the right where most of the beach-front resorts are situated. While it was generally fun on my standards, it was not at all a leisurely walk by the beach since the noontime sun was relentless. Plus, it is not actually very easy walking with a backpack that makes you heavier and sink deeper into the soft sand! I almost hopped on a habal-habal as many of the boat passengers did. But the hike prevailed!

Passed by La Dolce Vita. Not in my list… just the same I dropped by as its fa├žade (beach side) looked a bit inviting. Hmm, the restaurant menu seemed good but no guests today hehe. I moved on. Somewhere in me said they could be omitting some of their usual services if there was only me as guest. As I walked on, saw a fine looking compound of a newly painted resort with many rooms – Slam’s Beach Resort. Ah they were not beach-front so I moved on. Got curious at a still-closed and newly-renovated place named ‘Kokay’s MALDITO GRILL and Resto Bar. Peeped in. Hmm, spanking! Asked the one shirtless staff I saw who was busy cleaning the bar area, he told me they’d be opening on September 12 with a big bang. Okay, noted! Hey, this place is like a little corner where dry land protrudes a bit more to the sea than anywhere else. So, I turned right following the path nearest the water.

Blue Corals Resort... obvious with its mainly blue color, and it was on my list hehe. While I approached it, I noticed that it was way too high perched on a big rock. With a similar rate, I thought those resorts “on ground” would rather be better. So I moved on. Some folks having lunch at a shack-like extension of a house. Whoa, it was the restaurant I have been reading about on the web! Its cheap and converts into a party place during weekend evenings. Yeah, kill me, I forgot its name hehe plus I could not see a signboard anywhere. Was that called "Mabuhay"? Basta, it is that restaurant nearest to Blue Corals if you are coming from the rest of the resorts!

And the rest of the resorts lay side-by-side silently in wait for my arrival hehe. Too many of them and all attractive! I opted to keep walking checking out everything until I tire my noontime self out! Here are what I remember as I did the eastward walk along the fine white beach…

Another Blue – that’s the Blue Water Beach Resort (a.k.a Malapascua Beach Resort). Okay, fine-looking, so I moved on. Cocobana, purportedly the oldest resort in the area, it boasts of new and newly refurbished cottages with more concrete. Beautiful but am not sure I like its getting-to-be-urban look! Sunsplash, well, this one is an inner facility but grand just as well. I like the set-up of their spacious restaurant and bar – plus those lounging sofas and tables out in the open but fenced-off-by-plants garden. Lovely but hiding from the waters.

Oops, what was that building full of oxygen tanks? Ah that was the TSD or Thresher Shark Divers. They of course specialize in dives that look for that graceful animal with a tall tail BUT they also have accommodations and a nice-looking bar at a verandah atop the office. Accommodations? Yep, that’s where the young foreigner is staying BUT it’s not in this beach front facility. I learned earlier that their rooms are housed in a building somewhere at the inner areas but just a walk away. Room rates are actually cheap but they only offer those as part of a dive package. So, if diving you’re not, at TSD live you can not!

www.sea-explorers – that is what I read at the sign board of another place. It certainly looks like a dive shop but I was not sure if they have accommodations. Don’t even know how they are called – do I always start with “www dot” or call them just “sea explorers” hehe. Anyway, I moved on noting that they have a nice looking set of chairs and tables on the frontage just by the side of the path before the beach. There’s also what looks like a cute but well-stocked bar over at one corner. Hmm… that picture of a "cute" signage is neither from TSD nor sea-explorers. Its somewhere onwards hehe. I just placed it there for lack of space!

Hippocampus. Nice bar and restaurant area. Friendly ladies who welcomed me as I checked the place out and a lazy dog that laid itself on its back at one of the bamboo sofas! The rooms are similarly priced as most others on this beachfront but the dog probably thinks he is a human being hehe! I moved on. Oh that modern 2-level structure facing the sea is their new addition. Dano Beach Resort. Nice huts, very native look. I guess they’re one of the longer-staying resorts in this area, though I heard Cocobana was the first. I admire the rustic look but hip insides of their rooms. I moved onwards more!

There were others more (I think) and then, Exotic. Entrance alone, the place is imposing and obviously one of the best (I even think the best) there is on the island in terms of luxury and amenities. Looked out beyond it, the beach curves a bit to the left and there were so many fishing boats while the huts (probably resorts too) seemed of a lesser class than where I was hehe. So I stepped into Exotic’s “front desk”. “Good morning sir, welcome to Malapascua Island’s Exotic Dive Resort… under what name is your reservation, sir?” That was a mighty “opening remarks” hehehe! I liked it… mechanical but I liked it! I said I did not have any reservations although I called up two days ago to inquire. Looking around and at that time of day (almost noon), this seemed to be the only “peopled” resort in the whole stretched – some of those I passed by did not even have guests! Hmm, I don’t know… maybe this was a big factor why I decided to stay here.

So I was in! That was a mighty walk not really that far but on a very hot sunny midday! Whew!

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