Friday, April 23, 2010

Caluwayan Palm Island Resort, Marabut

If you are coming from Tacloban, this resort is still about 16 kilometers before the town center of Marabut. So don’t tell your driver you’re getting off at Marabut. Just say Caluwayan. In my case however, I was almost 2kms south of Marabut as said above is about 16kms south of Caluwayan, thus, I needed to backtrack that distance – very far for a trike and no habal-habal available. So I waited for a van or bus. And a bus came. I hopped in! Whoa the bus would have been brand new if today was 1969 hehe! But I needed a ride fast! (picture of bus seats in previous post)

Caluwayan Palm Island Resort and Restaurant… that is the official name of the resort and it sits in a scenic cove on Barangay Kaluwayan. Now THIS, is the resort! This one is more on the upmarket category. No wonder even the Jasmin cashier intimated to me that although Caluwayan is more expensive than theirs, it is definitely more beautiful. The big lawn is well maintained. There are circular decorative concrete seemingly floating on a pond with a lot of Koi fish! Hmm, nice! Just like Jasmin, frontdesk also serves as a bar, but at Caluwayan that is not a concrete building but a hut-like combination of wood, nipa and concrete. Hey even the bar stools, tables and chairs are made of hard/heavy irregularly shaped wood (roots?).

The rooms are not huts nor lowly cottages but are houses in themselves called Beach Villas and Beach Villa Suites that run from P5200 to 5900 a night. Each house has a loft also with a bed. Am not sure if all have kitchens but those I saw had them, One even has a Jacuzzi by the porch. Whoa! Windows, floor to ceiling are glass and of course can be opened to let fresh air in if you don’t like the air-conditioner. They say a cottage can accommodate 5 persons but I think even more!

Now there are the intriguing open cottages. Ah no no no, these are not those with rectangular tables that are used for eating. What they call ‘open cottages’ are two such structures with similar round roof and floor. Instead of a table though, what is placed on the round concrete floor are beds. For a wall or what you might want to call “privacy”, they tied cloth across the huts’ four posts. That’s it! And that is what costs P1600 a night. I tried sitting on one of the beds, yes it is indeed breezy as it faces the sea and nearest the water’s edge.

Lunch was good. I ordered a sizzling blue marlin, well done. It was indeed well done but did not taste anywhere near burnt. Haven’t had that kind of “just what I like” cooking in more than two years! Ah that costs P180 or therearounds. And SanMigLight is P50. They have a big, clean and nicely done pool with a mini-waterfall thing on one side, a Jacuzzi and an in-pool bar. Swimming for non-checked-in-guests is P100 per head plus P50 for towel rental if like me, you don’t bring one hehe. Checked-in guests can use the pool for free plus free use of their row boats if you want to circle around the rock formations to the right.

Hey I was already convinced to stay overnight in this beautiful resort and try the challenge (or is that adventure?) of the open cottage. But it pays to be talkative sometimes. As I conversed with the crews, there was something they said that made me reconsider hehe!

There was no checked-in guest! The foreigner with his Pinay wife, child and house help on the next table were checked-in but was about to go. That meant (and they were even joking I would own the resort for the night) I would have been the lone guest. No qualms there… this already happened 5 or 6 times during my roams. However, kitchen closes at 7PM and all crews go home at about that time. They told me there are two guards anyway. Hah, with that expanse of a resort (and am sure they’d put lights off everywhere) two guards, meaning just two human beings plus me staying in an open cottage did not sound lovely to me! Add to that, there are no phones. Well, who would I be calling with a landline anyway when all staff goes home hehehe!

Here are some things to ponder for those who might be planning to go there. They do have a staff house, but staff are requested to stay there ONLY IF there are a lot of guests. How many ever is “a lot”, I did not anymore ask. To the left of the resort’s perimeter fence is the owner’s residence. But I doubt if they’d hear me screaming in case its scream time hehe! Beyond their residential perimeter and all the way to the other end of this scenic cove is a barrio. The folks who live there can and will pass by the beach going to or coming from the rocky ridges to the right of the resort. That means they pass by the open cottages or any cottage for that matter. This happened many times while I was dipping in the Jacuzzi end of the pool. Many of them men, women and children kept passing. Some do not just walk on the sand but by the resort’s grounds itself. And I noticed a guard would usually appear at the area when those folks pass – always after the fact though. Am not saying those could be bad folks that kept passing. But what if there is one?!

Hey, in the paragraph above, I have just been discussing the live and real people scenarios. It does not include if there are any creatures that creep from the sea or fly from the forest at night. And what about the “unseen creatures” of Samar? Awooooooooo! Ayaw… a…yaw hehe!

Well, let me tell you though that early as now, friends and some family are already planning to go there as a pack. I cant wait for Caluwayan would probably be a good base when roaming the area - you have a pool to come home to! Now that should be fun. I was just wondering that on an April (a vacation for most folks) with the sun always blistering hot, practically no folks were checked-in at the resort. Maybe Caluwayan is too expensive for most. Maybe. But during my visit, I enjoyed mingling with a lot of day visitors, families and families of them! Most were the typical “foreigner-husband and pinay-wife” with children and all the in-laws in tow! But there was an 80 year old fine lady who can still swim that I enjoyed conversing with who is from somewhere in Luzon but now a longtime resident of Tacloban as she is the wife of one of the affluent surnames in the region!

More notes… the beach is not white nor cream nor yellow. It borders between gray and black. Sand strip is narrow due to the resort's development/s. You would wonder, how come the whole expanse of the resort's grounds are white sand when the beach is not?! But there's a pool at Caluwayan Palm Island Resort, no where else hehe! Hey, there are very prominent signs for folks to beware of jellyfish – only one victim during my stay, a little lass, daughter of the Dutch visitor and his Waray wife. That made every swimming human migrate from the sea to the pool. Ha, how many P100s was that, eh?! Lastly, their rowboats are big probably for 6 to 8 persons and better fitted with engines than just paddles. So think if you can handle that before paddling out.

Oh, just before going out and while waiting for my bill, I teased the koi with my hands above the pond. Suddenly the owner (a foreigner) boomed behind me saying “don’t touch the fish”. I said “I don’t and of course I won’t”! Who touches koi in a murky pond, anyway?! His son probably! Nyeta, what did he think of me, just another of his neighbors that kept passing his resort’s compound to and fro?

Verdict: I will still give it another shot (with friends and family)! Or maybe check-in at Jasmin's, enjoy their white sand then come here for the pool. Oh yes, I will bring a towel hehe! Perhaps even a bottle or two of ammonia for his koi pond, to teach the owner that I don’t have to touch his fish”? Ah that’s cruel!

Oh well!

4 comments :

  1. oh my goodness, haven't read for a long time a travel blog that made me laugh so hard... this is just amazing... cool...

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  2. how was the staff during your stay? I'm planning to hold my wedding there but hesitated after reading several disappointing reviews. Do you think a wedding by the beach is possible? thanks!

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  3. weng, the staff were fantastically fun and very attentive. except for... read 2nd to last paragraph again. yep, just one sentence from the owner himself and I marked it a 1 out of 10.

    am going there 3rd week of april btw, so I can probably re-check, re-assess, re-view hehe.

    am not very keen at suggesting a beach wedding if you mean it to be literally on the sandy beach since its too narrow even at low tide.

    doing it at the grounds in between the cottages and the coconut trees will probably be 2-thumbs-down from your videographers and photographers.

    how about moving on further to the surf camp on calicoan?

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  4. We really want a wedding literally by the beach..with sand, waves and all! The caluwayan staff informed us over the phone that a wedding by the beach is possible but looking at the pictures in the internet, I didn't think it would be. Thanks for confirming that it can't be done...and we don't want it between the cottages either.:D

    The surf camp would have been the best choice if we didn't have to come from ormoc. :( We'll probably try kuting

    Thanks for your reply and this blog post. You've really helped us a lot!!

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