Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our way to ‘Our Way To Sumilon’

Easy reservations! Searching the web, we realized Sumilon is owned by the same company that does Maribago Bluewaters in Mactan. Their contact numbers are available on the web and phone directories with choices of where you want to call – Makati, Mactan the resort itself on the island of Sumilon. But calling Mactan was easiest in our case. How did the call go? Well, they told us to try calling the resort itself by giving us a number that we already had. Hmm, a fine example where sales and marketing do not have a seamless fit with operations hehe. Ah well, that is very common to many outfits in the world, right? Anyway, after some 4 or 5 attempts, we got through the erratic connection to the island. Booked! For Christmas! Yey!

On the way
We opted for an early morning Ceres bus ride from Cebu’s south bus terminal. And as if keeping with the “luxury” of our destination, we took no less the air-conditioned bus on its way to Dumaguete haha! Yeah, as if I/we were not used to roaming the southern towns of Cebu in non-airconditioned buses hehehe! Ah it was December 24, and we probably thought the air-con bus was part of the Christmas gift from us to our very selves! Oh, we only had to say the word Sumilon to our conductor and he immediately knew how much to charge us and where to let us off! Nice morning ride, sun’s gentle rays warming us on the rather ultra-cold bus (they always are), and yes (from previous experiences), we opted for seats on the left side of the bus so we could savor the wonderful views of southeastern Cebu’s coastal areas.

After about two hours, we found ourselves at the highway’s sidewalk some 50 meters or so up from sea level where Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort’s very own private wharf on mainland is located. This place is in Brgy Bancogon, a few kilometers off to the south of Oslob and already nearer the town of Santander. But yes, Sumilon Island belongs to Oslob. Gate and signage alone, ah we were somehow convinced that this resort is really up for the expensive accommodations we paid hehe. So we walked our way down the steep concrete path leading to the wharf. Sumilon here we come… yey!

The wharf experience (of a lifetime hehe)
Reaching ‘ground level’, we saw a uniformed crew walking from the ‘kitchen house’ to the ‘lobby’ with some freshly washed dishes and other hotel paraphernalia. I hollered “hi Doods!”, and as he continuing his walk with those heavy stuff, he exclaimed at the top of his lungs “seeeer, welcome back”! Ha, the companion looked at me as if I stole Magellan’s cross hahaha. As we followed Doods to the lobby, I explained that this was as far as I have been, when I dropped by while roaming the southern towns of Cebu. That, as Doods teased that we were too early (it was exactly 9:56AM) and I dismissed him saying we were very excited, that’s why! After greeting us “maayong buntag” and showing us to some of the lounging chairs, Doods excitedly darted off to the ‘kitchen house’.

Alright, let’s describe this place, shall we?! First this is just the wharf area, where guests are picked by the resort’s private boats for the 10-minute or so crossing to the island. But this place is nothing but shabby like any wharf you would see anywhere. It is a mini-resort in itself! The place that I have been calling a lobby is a wide expanse of an open building that is more of a patio or foyer with reception table, lounging chairs, rocking chairs and other native or curious native seats or sofas all tastefully arranged as you would find in any fine resort’s lobby. But there are rooms (two or three, I think) with fresh white crisp linens with all the fixtures and amenities you’ll find in a fine resort – yeah, any of these rooms can easily put to shame any of Waterfront Lahug’s best! I stand on that!

And there are permanent residents at this “lobby”! Nope, not Doods nor the other mainland crews, but little fast-flying birds that nest up the varnished wooden ceilings of the facility. I think they’re called “balinsasayaw” in Tagalog. Are they called ‘swift’ in English? Ah probably, because they fly oh so fast they look almost like bees darting from place to place hehe! While there are reading materials laid out on a coffee table and the views to the island and the sea, to while your time away, those birds and their nests will surely grab most of your attention. They don’t seem to mind people milling around nor do the crews mind that their nests stick up there while their droppings litter the floor that have to be religiously swept away. You could see the birds resting on their nests. Easy to identify who is mother bird and baby bird. That near. And if you’re lucky as we were, you may see an egg or two or a hatchling up there! Or even a worm or a twig that may accidentally drop from the nest which one of them birds will anyway pick soonest! Interesting!

Doods came back with our welcome drinks. Iced tea yes, but not the usual you would get to taste anywhere else. Ah, definitely delectably far from what you get at Pearl Farm’s that seem to be just the regular powdered iced-tea mix from any supermarket stirred in with water and more brown sugar! So, how is an iced-tea different from Pear Farm’s? Well, Doods call’s it “Lemon-grass Iced Tea” and yes it is such a refreshing drink to die for hehe! Lemon grass is called “tanglad” in this country, right? Yep, and the iced-tea takes a wonderfully unique refreshing flavor. Hey, our glasses even contained the knotted leaves of the tanglad. Ah, we naturally asked for more and Doods gladly obliged he even brought a pitcher-full of it to the lobby! We asked how this drink is made but he kindly told us he can’t divulge much about it. We learned about this drink though, and am proud to say, I already know how to make my own version. Am drinking one as I write this hehe!

Doods advised us that they were just waiting for the hotel’s manager to board the boat over at the island as he was coming to shore, so in no time, boat would be zooming thru to fetch us. Between sips of the welcome drink, we went around the facility, up to the actual wharf area for photo-ops and just to savor the nice views and the wind.

Hmm, there was something with the wind... let's do that in my next entry

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