Monday, September 21, 2009

Santiago Bay Resort and Santiago Beach

This is not literally a 'beach resort'. Rather, it sits on a cliff above a beach. From Mangodlong we forded southwards on a good road that circles the island of Pacijan. The road seemed to be climbing uphill with good views of the sea. Just a little over 5 minutes at leisurely speed and we were already at the entrance of Santiago Bay Garden and Resort. Mangodlong, the Green Lake Park and this resort belong to one owner.

Entrance to this resort is generally beside the road that is way high up on a hill overlooking the sea. Parking is across the road from their entrance gate. And mind you, for choices, there are other resorts or accommodations just beside Santiago Bay Garden and Resort. A guard ushered us in and everyone seemed to know my pilot! I asked about rates while other crews chatted with Randy.

Ah now there were guests hehe! I counted at least 3 different sets of guests. Plus those curious day trippers like me. Two couples were having meals or snacks at the restaurant-cum-lobby while some kids came and went, probably to the pool or the beach down below. The beach down below? Yes. In fact, "Santiago Bay" (that’s how the resort is commonly called) overlooks the Santiago Bay. This place is like on top of the right end of a cove with a big white sandy beach. So from the resort’s cottages perched on this rocky cliff, you make your way down to the big beach.

Big? Well, just look at the pictures. During high tide, it is a fantastic beach down there long enough to tire you walking the length with nice green cool waters. But during low tide… look at the pictures again, you will really have to tire yourself just reaching for the water hahaha! The sea goes too far out on that wide and white sandy beach. Some like it and some (include me) don’t. Its such a weird thing walking far just to take a dip in the water.

But the views from the resort is breezy fantastic. I thought of whiling away a few minutes, so we ordered sandwiches, beer for me and coke for Randy. He declined the beer saying he was driving. In my mind I was applauding as indeed I was fortunate to have a learned responsible hotel employee for a driver! The damn bacon and egg sandwiches took forever. And when they did arrive, I was already on my second bottle of SanMigLight. Yup, I got a bit impatient and irritated at the long wait but it was Randy who first reacted. Why? Being a hotel employee himself, just a look at my sandwich, he sensed something was wrong…

Asking for my permission he flipped my sandwich open using the little umbrella on a toothpick that adorned it. Voila! And it was very wrong. My sandwich had no bacon. There was just egg and tomatoes. He immediately called the attention of the waitress and pointed out the “discrepancy”. Waitress said sorry and went back to kitchen. Randy followed and I don’t know anymore what transpired there. Did he scold or admonish them? I didn’t care anymore… the two bottles of beer probably already relaxed my nerves. He returned to our table somewhat seething and said it was grossly unacceptable. I told him to keep calm, and I mused at the situation that I was the one asking somebody to keep calm hehe. It usually is the other way around hahaha! See?! Sometimes my blood does not actually immediately shoot up to my head – that is when someone else does so ahead of me hehe! Soon a waiter came with a plateful of bacon and a fork. He looked me in the eye and apologized. I smiled and said “its okay” (esp that it looked like there was more bacon than needed for a sandwich) hehehe!

After my 5th beer (don't worry, it takes me only a few minutes) we decided to leave and head out to the beach. No we didn’t walk the many steps down. We went out of the resort and proceeded with our habal-habal ride. The road winds down to the main populace of Barangay Santiago heading right for the church and beyond it, we reached the white sand beach that we were looking upon just minutes ago at the resort. Ah nice beach and it is “public”. The name is “Santiago Beach”. Cleanliness and order is maintained by the barangay folks. Even the nice huts on the sand are owned by the barangay that rents them out. The other resorts (many of them) are just accommodation places, so none of them can own and fence-off any part of the beach like at ugly Mactan! Thus, a beautiful contiguous white sandy beach, like a little Boracay. And the sand is real fine too!

Hey the beach area and the garden are well kept. In a pro way, I might add. Then there is their basketball court that also serves as drying area for copra and palay during midday. Then there is the church that I find amusing. It is actually a fairly new chapel but they painted the face to look like limestone rocks piled atop each other the way old churches were done. On this one, it is just new concrete but they have painted it so, to attempt an ancient look hehe! Amusing!

Alrightie, after Santiago beach, we moved on to circle the island and back to center of San Francisco. Wow, the views to the sea are real great along these roads. And we went straight for the causeway going back to My Little Island Hotel. Oops, I got an idea… I saw last night that most people by the roadside were drinking coke and “lapad”. I told Randy I wanted to try that out too. So we bought Tanduay Rhum from a little store before we headed back to the lush mountains where the hotel is!

Incredible day!


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