Saturday, November 26, 2011

At ‘Island & Sun Beach Resort’

There we were on Gilutongan Island, probably 6 or 7 kilometers away from Cordova town center on the bigger island of Mactan. Yey! Boatman said we would stop by the public area beach to let my fellow passengers off, then proceed to deliver me to Island & Sun Beach Resort. I said “okay”, but when all of them started getting off the boat, I followed hehe! Told boatman I would just walk to the resort which was not far from where we were anyway. I probably got excited with the unperturbed white sandy beach with no human beings around. I asked my co-passengers where their houses were since I could see just a few. They told me that most village houses are somewhere behind the trees and shrubs all the way to the other side of the island. I asked if I can go there to visit. All hesitated but the lola said “puydi ra” and followed that with “wa’y ayo amoang barrio” or something like that.

So I walked to Island & Sun Beach Resort, their own private wharf being very visible even from afar. You notice that gray thing on the sand? Ah, I learned long ago it is an indicator that the place is not yet so disturbed by human activities! Those are dead seaweeds and/or sea grass washed ashore by the little waves. They’re not as if something that must be avoided or gathered as trash. They’re nature ‘au naturale’! So I told myself this is “fresh”! Well, Boracay was like that when I first went there more than two decades ago! Mind you, those are not really trash or dirt. Some creatures like crabs on the beach or little fishies on the shallows make use of them as food source. Anyway, I remembered as if I was walking on the beaches of Potong. Interestingly desolate!

Hey, I was still some distance and a staff already hollered to ask if it was I – to which I jokingly answered “NO”! Still far for a normal conversation distance, I could clearly hear him laughing as a reaction to my reply. Real ‘unpeopled’ place! As I walked towards their facility, he guided me where to pass until I reached their fence already open for me to enter. Introducing himself as Alvi (or was that Alvin?) he told me that Cordova Reef staff called to advise that I was coming. Hmm, he seemed too excited to see me and eager to show me around as he led me to their reception area. I learned he was alone in the whole facility as there were no guests. So, I took it that my presence was another chance for him to practice his craft of being a ‘service provider’ – which obviously does not happen daily hehe!

I was still consuming the breezy quiet of their reception area / lobby (yes there is, and better than most resorts I have seen in Cebu) when Alvi asked if we should go and check the place out. So, though I tried not to show my reluctance, tour the place we did! And what a coolness place! Hey the guys over at Cordova Reef did not tell me there are rooms here! And OMG not just so-so rooms. Big, clean, comfortably luxurious rooms with a view! A view? Well, yes, a view of the sea and the sand and some little islands or islets in the distance. Wow! I could even see the fast crafts and ROROs passing by the horizon, probably to/from Bohol. My golly what a lovely place! These rooms are in concrete buildings that look like houses on stilts from a distance but their posts, walls and floors are all made of concrete. The showers and amenities are not so-so either! Looking around, I was already sure who I would recommend this place to. Expensive yes, but a real hideaway!

There is a restaurant cum ballroom cum coffee shop, ahh whatever! Its big and quite definitely also of the upper crust of resorts you see around this country. From the look of the place, the materials used, the decors, furniture, down to the bar and wine racks… not just your usual run-of-the-mill Mactan Island escape! Alvi was so kind enough to give me a peek at the big kitchen. Gosh, it could pass as location venue for some cooking TV Show or something like that. Of the luxurious hotel kind, I must say. Clean, orderly and spacious with materials and equipment definitely far from your common fastfood or 5-star restaurant kitchen! Even the cutlery and other utensils (yep, I looked at some) are of a brand that not many of us can afford hahaha!

All told, what I liked in this place was “space… and quiet”! Yeah that translates to peace, tranquility… away from the maddening crowds of humanity… but not from luxury! Golly what a place. Hey, they’re even growing their very own ‘farm’ of salt-water fish right on the very facility! How? There are nets around those concrete posts that support the buildings, and them fish and other sea creatures do drop in and are not bright enough to find their way out hehehe. So, they’re harvested live and fresh when needed. Right on the resort’s very grounds! Alvi told me they have had the chance to serve 2 or 3 kilo fish caught just from those nets. Fantastic!

But the beach area bar was the killer of them all! It’s a hut alright. But, like the rooms, not your usual cheap nipa roofing and bamboo everything pretending to be ‘environment friendly’. It has the same sheet metal roofing as the cottages, concrete floors, bar and counter top. Out in the open like this island is, you cannot settle building with light materials, I guess. Otherwise, they’d go flying away when the next monsoon comes! Am not sure I found the pink tiles attractive though! Aside from the high bar stools, there are tables and chairs around the place with some sunning recliners, kayaks, paddles and a banana boat just scattered around! I went to this place to savor more of the breeze and the views. Alvi followed of course! And he gladly told me things that I wanted to know, like the names of those islands and islets that I could see in the distance.

And I complained that I was in a bar and there was no beer. Apologetic, he said they did not crank the generator on, since they were not expecting any guests. Reaching to his bar’s chest cooler he said all drinks were not anymore cold since they switched the genset yesterday, when a guest and his family checked-out. As I asked who those guests were, I motioned for him to pass me one ‘beer in can’ so I could also feel how warm it was like he just did. As he described that guest and his family, voila, I already pulled the tab open of that SanMigLight in can I was holding hahaha! In my mind I was saying “I think I already drank warm beer sometime ago, so why not do it again”!

For lack of anything to talk about, I kept asking about their ‘guests yesterday’ and their usual clientele. Hmm, aside from the omnipresent K and J crowd, I realized they have quite a who’s who for a list of repeat patrons. That family that checked-out yesterday owns a mall chain, and I know they don’t go just anywhere as they have to avoid the crowds lest they be ganged upon by solicitors of charity, the social climbers and/or the media – in no particular order hehe! I was thinking… if they reduced their rates to be competitive – I mean to be affordable to just about anyone like us, surely these regulars with surnames that ring a bell would shy away from this placeI Anyway, I enjoyed the topic… and the “uncold” beer just seemed to settle fine with my throat and stomach. When I looked again, I already had 3 cans. Whew!

So I said I better move on and asked Alvi where I should pass going to the village and eventually to the docks where I could get a ride back to Cordova. That’s my next story!

5 comments :

  1. Wow... Ganda po... Peroparang kailangan kung mag ipon ng isang taon bago ako makapunta dyan... hehehehe..

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  2. Tripper, yes its really maganda. My ideal hideaway. If you just want to go there as in just go and see the place, you only need P60 from the town of Cordova (P30 one-way boat fare) PLUS some charm to gain entry into the facility. But if you want to stay in this resort, yup mahal. Tell me if you're around the area and we'll see if we can pull some miracles hehe!

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  3. wow! this is an awesome island..
    I've been to cordova last month but I didn't hear this resort.
    I wish I will be here next week.:)

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  4. I was there way back 5 years ago, visiting the Gilotongan Fish Sanctuary. I just don't know if the Island & Sun Beach Resort was around then. The island is really comely.

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