Just veering away from food talk, and going back to my travel writing/photography days. :)
Puerto Galera in Mindoro is synonymous to the seedy side of Makati Avenue and Malate. Internationally, it's like Pattaya in Thailand. Galera is known not only for scuba diving, but also for prostitution and drugs. It's one of the nearest, most accessible beaches in the Metro, being just off Batangas. I have been to Puerto Galera around 4 times, and I've seen the same beaches, eaten the same food, drank the usual drinks, and heard the usual disco music.
But not until I found myself going to another side of Puerto Galera, did I realize that one place could be multi-faceted. Where we went to, was like the hidden gem of Galera. I have never enjoyed Galera as much as I did when I was in this resort. Also, neither have I enjoyed a trip as much as this one as a travel writer. Yes, I enjoyed Puerto Galera MORE than Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Friends, I am talking about the oh-so-fabulous Coco Beach Island Resort. When in this resort, you'll absolutely forget you're just in Puerto Galera.
I came here with my fellow officemates, Ninya, Jenny, and Chuchie. It was a treat for us because we weren't always allowed to travel in huge groups, let alone allowing all writers be gone from the office for a long time. So us being together in a trip, we made sure that we made the best of it.
The first part of the blog on Coco Beach would be to showcase the hotel itself. We were so (100%) pampered on this trip that we almost did everything, ate anything FOR FREE! Yes folks, FOR FREE!! Just when I thought nothing was free in this world, there was Coco Beach Resort to change all that! :)
Anyway, our room (Tagbanua) and the entire row of other rooms on our side was the newest. So it was brand spanking new and we were the first to use it! It was a cozy, spacious room that could fit a family of 6-8. I just don't have a picture of it, but there's a loft which has 2 more beds.
Our room was the most accessible to the beach, pool, activity area, and the big restaurant up front. It also had fresh tap water unlike the other rooms on the upper part of the resort which used salt water.
The resort island is also a huge hill. So most of the other rooms are on the upper part of the hill. It's so Robinson Crusoe-ish, with the huge coconut trees covering the entire resort. Here are some of the rooms on the upper part. These rooms offer a beautiful view of the ocean and parts of Batangas. It would have been a very lovely experience staying in these huge rooms, but the only downside to this is since it's kinda high up already, pipelines for fresh water can't reach the areas anymore. So they make do with salt water, which still leaves you uncomfortable. But it's super beautiful and cool. The air here is fresh, and the area really quiet.
If you're just plain lazy to walk all the way up to your rooms on the upper part of the resort, they have this electric cable jeepney to take you up there. It was sooo cool. Although a bit slow, it gets the job done. We enjoyed every trip on this thing!
Since we were pampered like royalty during our 3-day stay in Coco Beach, we had the opportunity to try their all their restaurants. With the up and down walk, and the swimming, we were hungry most of the time. In the morning, we usually had our breakfast and lunch at the Carabao Restaurant, which is the big one near the beach.
For our first dinner we were asked to go to the top most part of the island resort to get to the Touch of Asia restaurant. This resto basically serves food from the different parts of Asia. I remember enjoying long conversations with the girls here. Perfect place for a romantic dinner with your loved one. And the food was really good. We particularly loved picking on the bread with butter. :)
On our last night, we were given the chance to eat in the ONLY REVOLVING restaurant in Puerto Galera. It's name is Dona Liña Restaurant. Again, this island resort is filled with surprises. It does revolve, but it's kinda creepy. We asked them to turn the revolving thing on, but since it's too slow it kinda made us even more dizzy so we asked them to stop. We didn't enjoy the 5-course meal here because they mostly served us vegetables. All four of us are carnivores, so we really didn't like munching on the greens. But we loved the dessert! But then again, if you're with your loved one, this is also a perfect date spot. Intimate and really quiet.
Next stop, are the bars. Since it's a huge place, there are also several bars located in several places in the resort. The biggest, most alcohol-laden bar, is the bar found right beside the Carabao Restaurant. This is where most of the guests stay. And this is the bar with the most activities. I'll be posting more info on that on the next blog. :)
The other bar is the Anito Bar, found at the Silent Pool at the upper part of the resort. We weren't able to try drinking here, but I remember they bought beer here for the beer tanning. :D I didn't get a shot of the bar, but in this pic, you see the Silent Pool and the bar.
And that night, we made use of the family area on the 2nd floor of the Carabao Restaurant. We watched a movie in the family room, and watched the people play darts. Drinks were taken from the Barracuda Bar. They also had very comfortable chairs, and even had a lazy boy in the movie/family room.
Puerto Galera is also known for it's beaches and some scuba diving spots. Coco Beach has a nice beach with clean waters. They have powdery sands where they also put up tables for people to eat breakfast in. And most of the guests who come to the resort all come for scuba diving. Coco Beach has a dive shop, with a very friendly German as head diver.
Coco Beach also has two pools. I already showed the Silent Pool, but this pool is situated at the front, near the dive shop and the restaurant.
Last but not the least, Coco Beach also has a very simple but according to Chuchie and Jenny, cool and relaxing spa. Named the Jewel of Mindoro, they have the usual massages and other spa services.
Our stay at Coco Beach Island Resort was truly the best! Ms. Lyzzelle was super accommodating. She's the manager, but she assisted us on our tour, and made sure we were a-ok!
It was the most relaxing vacation EVER! Up to now, I still have fond memories in thi place. It was so far away from the real world, that our cellphones couldn't even get signal. Thank God there was wi-fi. :)
And what's cool about Coco Beach is their use of service families. At first we didn't understand this. But every spot in the resort has their own service family. They are the ones who attend to your needs 24/7. According to one service family we interviewed, they really set up their home in the resort. Most of them also met in the resort. Some of them have kids who already graduated because of their job as service people in the resort. The kids also inherit the job, so they're assured of having a job after graduation. It was a really smart move, and very unique to Puerto Galera. And these service families are TOTALLY accommodating. They treat every guest as part of their family.
If you want to stay in Coco Beach, check out their website. It's truly a fun experience. And you need not worry about transportation, in their office in Malate, they have a van that will take you to the Batangas Pier. From there, they also have their own boat that will take you directly to Coco Beach. Hassle free!! :)