Thursday, September 3, 2009

San Remigio Beach Club

Being the longest shoreline in the whole island-province, San Remigio cannot not have its share of resorts, otherwise nature might have been too cruel to it, right?! Well, there are a number of reputed ones and I wanted to see them all. But time was not on my side (I stayed too long ogling at the carabao in jeans) so I chose to see the best - the San Remigio Beach Club

Going there
The beach club is very near to town and it lies along the almost desolate road towards the town of Tabuelan. From the municipal hall, I hopped unto a trike to the road intersection from Bogo that veers left (towards Tabuelan). My stomach was starting to grumble hehe. Looked around for a restaurant or a turo-turo… none that invited my tongue though! Ah there are a lot of stores in this area so I popped a coke 8oz as I waited. And I got entertained by an old man who seems to be between drunk and mentally ill hehe. He was not violent but so talkative and bragging that he was a multi-billionaire, reason why he was just drinking around hehehe!

Anyway, a jeep came from Bogo on its way to Tabuelan so I hopped in along with about 6 passengers including a baby and probably the same number of soft drink and beer cases. The baby’s mom happened to have sat beside me so the little one enjoyed giggling and making faces with me. Or was that the other way around? The mom said baby was only 8 months, and gosh already so bubbly with bright eyes and cutely flabby. Saw that the mother was very careful since while she held the cute little one, there was a plastic bag on her left hand full of fresh eggs. So I volunteered to hold it for her.

Wrong move! I should have volunteered to hold and play with the baby instead of the eggs. It was a challenge not easy to forget. The road is rough with constant pitches and turns. So the bagful of eggs was dangling and swinging vigorously in my hand that I thought my own eggs were already up my neck apprehensive I might break the ones I was holding. Hah, good that the mom-and-baby (and eggs) got off just a few kilometers away from where we took the ride. When she got off with the baby, the jeep conductor unloaded her other cargoes – the sack of rice on the floor, 2 boxes of a variety of foodstuffs 3 cases of beer, a sackful of whatever. I could only silently say… OMG this lady, very busy! As the jeep continued though, everyone in the jeep waved goodbyes to the cute little one. She has a birthmark on the leg and everyone earlier tried to touch it to bring good fortune! Okay, I also did hehe!

I was let off the twelve-peso jeep-ride under the shade of a big tree beside the Tambongon Central Elementary School, which is just almost across the barangay’s public market. As I talked with my would-be chauffeur to the resort, I could see that it turns right over at the side of the school. Hmm, I think someone told me that we were some 9 kilometers away from that corner over at SanRem. It just felt far because of the rough road. Anyway, it was on to my “connecting flight” – a ten-peso habal-habal ride from the school to the resort. When I paid P20, driver said he had no money for change. Asuuu! So I just gave the whole P20. I know that was robbery but shrugged it off anyway.

The San Remigio Beach Club (at least the gate and guardhouse) stands unrelated to the place. The area is a barrio of little huts, suddenly there is this big fence and equally big gate of the resort hehe! Well, a point of view is that “it makes the beach club secluded enough” while my view is “it does not belong” hehe!

Entry ceremonies
Alright, the guard asks who you are and what is your business inside the resort. My “wrong” answer was, I was there to see their resort. He retorted with “hindi pwede ser, check-en guest only”. I told him I needed to check the resort out, as some friends (that’s some of you reading this now) wanted me to, before they actually book. I further told him that I would avail of the day-tour rate if he insists and even book an overnight room, if needed. And I needed to eat lunch utang na loob!

This irked me: Guard went to the reception area, came back and without looking at me opened the gate and I entered.

Thus: As I did so, I looked back at him with all condescension and arrogance my face can muster. I did not mutter it but all my mind was shouting “gago, tarantado, bobo”! Did I (do I) look like am a streetkid or taong-grasa wont on wrecking havoc at their resort?! Tonto! Actually, now am thinking… I should have said, I was there to see the place if buying the whole resort was worth it hehehe! Then the guard would have probably shivered. In fact, a guard should have no business asking questions. They should just accompany a guest or whoever to the reception area.

Come to think of it, now I observed… that is why some people are arrogant because there are illiterate people like guards (and their bosses) who judge a book by its cover or who never know when to use their minute brains.

The house security or even the management of this resort needs to learn something about word-of-mouth advertising. Why keep people away when they’re the ones who would tell the world about how attractive and luxurious their resort is. Let people in and let them pay! See, the resort would even earn with solo walk-ins, than just the day-tour minimum of four! And NOT the kabobohan answer of “hindi pwede ser, check-en guest only”.

On approach at the reception area (which is literally still far from the main building) and some walk away from the guard house, the picture totally flipped. I was greeted by a cheerful and helpful team of uniformed folks. I told them that while I just wanted to see the place, I primarily was looking for lunch – and it could not obviously wait until I get back to Bogo. As I was repeating my litany that I could pay for the day-tour or an overnight stay, a smart girl courteously cut me and said “sir, I suggest you first go look around the place and decide if you want to stay overnight, but you may of course order lunch at Café Gloria”. I was surprised that she was saying everything exactly opposite of what the guard told me. And she continued it with, “do you want any of us to accompany you?”. I said thank you but I’ll go on my own an not bother them anymore.

The resort
From the gate of the idiot of a guard, there is a road lined with shrubberies and flowering plants that go all the way to near the beach but turns left to a main building or right to some activity area. More of that later. Some 20 paces or so on this road though, to the right is a smaller path that goes to the reception area, while on the left are Mediterranean-style apartments.

Beside (more of behind) the reception area moving onwards on that road are the swimming pools – 1 small round and shallow pool and a big irregularly shaped 6-feet deep adult pool. Oh, at the corner of this big pool is a Jacuzzi. Coolness! There are lounge and sunning chairs and tables around. There is even a mini-waterfalls (man-made) that trickles water down to the center of the big pool. Both sides of said water-fall are water slides going in opposite directions towards the center of the pool. Nice. And there was a group of about 6 or 8 Koreans enjoying the pool.

Across the pool, to the left of the road is a dive shop, some of the native houses and premium rooms of the resort. Onwards from the pool is another pool area. Nope not a swimming pool but a billiards area hehe! The road then turns left to the main building where most of the hotel rooms and other facilities are located. As you approach that building are the basketball and children’s play areas – just steps away from big, daytime use kiosks over near the edge of the water.

The building’s main facility is the elegant Café Gloria where I had my lunch.

The Lunch
Interesting that I was the sole diner during my visit. About a few minutes from my settloing on one table though, some three folks also came to have lunch but they seemed to be an official of the resort and business associates.

I did not even ask for the menu yet and there was one uniformed waitress on hand ready to give it to me. I just placed my cell phone and cigarettes on the table and a waiter came with an ashtray and a matchbox. Hmm, my lighter was inside the cigarette pack hehe. I was getting impressed and was about to say so when another waiter came pouring cold water on the goblet. Ah that distracted me a bit. Gosh! I felt I was being swarmed with attention. Perhaps it was because I was the sole patron? Well, I liked it!

Browsing on the menu, I could not decide which ones to choose, as everything seemed delectable. I asked for suggestions and Allen (the waiter) said he thought the humba was good. So I went for it. While waiting for the food to come, all three crews (2 waiters, 1 waitress) stood some two meters away from my table, standing without a sound as if they were the soldiers over at Rizal Park guarding the dear hero. I jokingly asked “ano ginagawa nyo dyan?”, one said waiting for whatever else I might need. I said I needed a massage. And the serious reply was, I can get it immediately after lunch! One of them said he will call the therapists now so they can get ready and asked me where I wanted to have the massage (pool area, beach or the garden). I said I was just joking hehehe!

Then the food came. Simple, so-so. What do you expect? Humba can never come in any grand presentation than as it is, served on a plate at the very least, right? The cooks though made a few twists to the good old humba! Like there are greens (leeks?) and it had a more pronounced aroma and taste of vinegar. So it was for me some kind of a westernized (or even bastardized) kind of humba. Only problem is: it tasted good! I still call it so-so as I was expecting the original type of humba cooking hehe… y’know… where everything floats in oil… the peanut taste is highly discernable, big chunks but cooked right thru all the meat and the fat (and skin) that disintegrates with a mere poke of a fork… ah yumminess!

Anyway, I think things fell right into their correct places here. For some reason I ordered SanMigLight instead of the usual coke (that I always cherish to drown the oily taste/feel), and it went well with the kind of humba I had. Oh ha?! I discovered something hehehe!

After the lunch… 3rd bottle of SanMigLight in hand, I went to roam around the place. Grand! That is if we talk about the resort facilities and structures.

The ballroom/convention hall facilities are big and modern – better than many a hotel’s in Cebu City. I just initially peeped thru the glass panels since of course it was not in use. But I accidentally leaned on one of the big doors and it sprang open to reveal a grand place – even if chairs and tables were not arranged.

Oh, even just the Café Gloria itself is luxurious and well maintained! Its comfort rooms are over near the convention area and they too are clean. Again, this place can compare and compete with any of your 5-stars in Cebu City. I swear!

The Bahia Vista is a nice place to lounge around with a good view of the sea. There is a tiled area and there are sand areas amidst trees, bamboo and other greeneries at nifty locations to ensure a fine outdoor atmosphere. Well, the skippers bar looked well-stocked and a cozy convenience in Bahia Vista. But it was closed of course.

The open cottages fronting the water’s edge are so big they’d probably fit 30 to 40 picnickers at a time. One is even draped by fine-meshed nets all around to ensure that insects and other such nuisances do not bother whoever and whatever is inside. The pools, I already said it earlier is great.

But THERE IS NO BEACH! Believe me when I say that. I mean a beach that would be worth anyone’s while to frolic upon. Everything on the waterfront is stony rocky mossy and then the water. No sandy shore. It was even a bit muddy murky with sea grass and similar things when I went down as it was low tide.

Well, there is what they call a sea pool and party area. Though it did not look like much (it was even dirty with a lot of leaves and twigs) this place is probably a fine facility during summers. Am assuming they spruce it up for the peak season. The pool is a big one (probably 50 meters) and uses the sea water. At this visit, it was dry and I could see the water inlets/outlets. Frankly I was both excited and disappointed seeing it. Excited because this was probably the first time I saw something called a “sea pool”. Disappointed because it was not operational. Sigh. Ah the concrete area just above the pool (I can imagine) should be a good part/dinner area during summers when the resort is bustling. As for now however, it looked more than bleak!

At opposite end of the sea pool and beyond Bahia Vista, while walking thru a gravel path, I chanced upon some ladies cleaning one of the Deluxe Rooms, I asked if I could peep in and see what’s inside. Whoa! The room is better than anything I have seen over at The Waterfront. And that was just the Deluxe room. Well, I did not anymore dare ask to see other rooms and suites as I thought that may have been too much, and that they’d find all excuses to deny me that, and that I’d feel bad and in the end conclude that this is not a fine resort hehe!

Final verdict: this is a good resort if you want to be away from everything but not looking for a beach. I have resolved to be back one of these summers!


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