Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Club Paradise Resort - Coron, Palawan


It was mid-June when I received a phone call. It was my cousin Nikki, from London, telling me that in three weeks' time, she'll be having a 10-day holiday in the Philippines. I instantly got excited and just before I can speak she said, "Where are we going?". 

That one question. I was stunned. I went on, "You know that it's rainy season here right now Nikki". That conversation was the last one we had before she came here. Apparently, she took care of everything - the plane tickets, the resort and other stuff. All I knew was we were going to this island in Palawan. It's such a cool feeling to be the one on the other side of the coin - I don't know what's going to happen in that 4 days (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Palawan)

Just a backgrounder. Nikki is a year younger than me. Her mom and my mom are sisters and her dad is British. She grew up on the other side of the world but her family usually spend some of their holidays here in the Philippines. She understands Tagalog very well and just to make her mad we would speak our native dialect, Zambal. So going back...


our island resort from the plane
Our trip was last July 6 to 9, 2012. Everything was taken care of. All I need to do was to show up on that day. Our 12:15 pm Manila to Busuanga Cebu Pacific flight (for 8,500 pesos. whew) was delayed for an hour. She told me some stuff about the island and other possible activities that we can do there while I keep on reminding her that her accent kills me and she needs to speak slower.  


source
The island resort was Club Paradise (check rates) in Dimakya island, Coron in Palawan. She scored the reservation through a hotel booking site. She reserved a "Non-beachfront cottage" for 4 days and 3 nights for 603.45 British Pounds (times 66 pesos = 39,827.70 pesos. whew). That doesn't include the airport transfers and the food during our stay. And also, that is not a beachfront cottage at all. That freaked me out, "Bloody expensive!", and she goes, "No Carla, that's cheap for a 4-day stay!". Oh sige, cheap na Nikki, cheap na... 

The airport shuttle service and boat transfer to the resort were not included in the booking so Nikki made an arrangement for it for $30 per person/per way (times 42 pesos = 1,260.00 per person/per way). We immediately saw the Club Paradise van and the Guest Coordinator, Noel, was so gracious and helped us with our bags. We were the only guests on that flight so we practically owned the van. It took us almost 30 minutes to reach the resort's own port. 


for big groups
We passed by a ranch and saw some weird bridges and the driver told us that it's a "cattle bridge". This is used to prevent the cows, horses, goats and other farm animals to go out of the ranch. The lined up parallel wood bridges is positioned with some gaps that when a cattle tries to cross it, their hooves or claws will be stuck. Nice!


cattle bridge ahead - para kanino 'yung sign? sa cows?
'twas my first time to see such bridge
After a nice view on the way to the port, we had to ride a ferry boat to get to the island. From air to land to water naman. We didn't need to ask them but they got our stuff from the van and transferred it to the boat. They also provided a snack for the both of us. Good job! 

The 45-minute boat ride was very refreshing. From the mangrove-lined lake to the ultimately calm sea. It was nice. I had a chat with Noel - the guest coordinator - ha said that the owner of the resort is a German national (who is very kind and approachable according to them, too bad he was in Manila while we were there). He leased the whole island from the government for 50 years. After that period, the government will have full control of the island resort.


Club Paradise's own port
Nikki with my personal bag
outgoing guests

Arriving on the island, we were greeted by a fresh cold towel to wipe our face with - Oiliness is next to Ugliness. And then a String group performed before us while they served us a welcome (non-alcoholic) drink. They sang an original composition about the Club Paradise. What I remembered was that they treat their guests as a family member (Kapamilya?). Hmm... We'll see. 


source
Club Paradise is HUGE
Another coordinator from the front desk, Punsai, approached us and gave a very detailed overview about the resort (they know our names by heart *winks*). After that, we did a quick tour of the resort. It was huge. We were assigned at a Non-beachfront cottage/Hillside. Mind you, it's the farthest one. We passed by the restaurant, bar, pool, diving center, shops, clubhouse, staff house (yes, they have their own cottages), the lagoon, maintenance and housekeeping, other cottages - basta we passed by everything and everyone. And what was so noticeable was that ALL (everyone) of the employees greeted us every time they passed by us. And it's not like robotic, they say it like they mean it. And then we got to our Hillside cottage.

cute
clubhouse/ front desk
the pool area - usually for newbie divers
lounge at ze beach
you'll never get lost
Nikki
moi

Our stuff was in our room already when we got there. Punsai made a quick tour around it and provided us with some information about their services. The room had everything BUT a TV set. It is to encourage their guests to explore the island more rather than staying in the room. We had a ref (which we didn't get to use), hair dryer, water heater (for instant coffee and tea which they refill everyday), drinking water and other basic stuff.

The bathroom is so huge that we can play patintero anytime. It had, again, all the basic stuff we needed. I didn't like the feel of the bathroom just because of the marble tiles. Everything is covered with marble which made it rather cold. In total contrast with the homey feel of the room (with all the wood). 

Room service was superb! Never did they interrupt our sleep (even if we slept up to 11 a.m.) for the housekeeping. We asked for a duvet and they brought one. One time, we asked for a medicine from the front desk and the resort's doctor went to our room in no time and checked us if we were ok. Really nice service. 


our veranda, Nikki's hammock and my own lil corner right there
neat
everything BUT a TV set
And when we got out of our room, we had a visitor. A lizard - a big one. A monitor lizard. It's scary but Nikki told me that they are harmless. I saw a couple of them during our stay. There were also some "flying frogs" at night. We called it such because they leaped so high that they seem like they're attacking us whenever we see them. We ran so fast and laughed at ourselves on how that tiny creature would scare the crap out of us compared to the huge monitor lizards around. 

And then the bats. They were everywhere. Well they practically just slept on our island during the day and migrated on the afternoons. But they were loads - like thousands of them. And when they go out of the island, it's a feast. The view of the sunset with the background sound from the bats was priceless. There's no way you can be in that same situation again in the city - no way.


harmless lizard
move over Batman
With regard to the food? It will be tackled on my future posts. And also with the activities in and around the island resort. We island hopped, we snorkeled, Nikki sun-bathed, I ate and ate and ate, we had some cocktails on the beach, we "trekked", we sung and danced, we chitchatted with everyone, we made new friends and more. We almost did everything but it felt like it was so bitin.


Nikki had 5 mango shakes in 4 days - "You can never have this kind of mango anywhere in the world"
ansabe ng underwater camera?
monotone
Overall, it was a lovely stay. Nikki was so ecstatic about how excellent Filipinos are in regards to their service. She has been going around the world but never (read:NEVER) did she experience that kind of service. She loved how Filipinos treat their guests - it really feels like home, like family (just like their song). They knew us - by our names. How great that simple act can be? And they were always there right even before we need them. It's just great.

And when we were about to go home, the String group with some of the staff sang "Bye, Bye Love" for us. It might look like it was so overly dramatic but it was such a great way to bid farewell - such a lovely feeling. We felt the sincerity. The love from them. It's an uninhabited island but the 100+ employees made it feel like there's a community on that island. 

And as they waved their arms while our boat was leaving, Nikki whispered, "Oh they're really sweet. I wish we stayed for a couple of days more". And then just to break the mushiness of the moment I said, "Ay naku! Pagbalik ko sa school nasa gate na lahat ng gamit ko Nikki". Good thing she understands bloody Tagalog. 


Bye island, Bye guys

Club Paradise Palawan (book online)
Dimakya Island, Coron, Northern Palawan
Contact Numbers: (+63) 2.838.4956 | (+63) 2.838.4958




34 comments:

  1. ito ang napapala ng suspended na pasok. ang mag update ng blog. hahaha!

    the place looks soooooo inviting! gusto ko din makapunta dito. pag hahandaan ko na nga ang aking beach body haha!

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    1. hi teacher ysa! kaumay matulog kaya nakagawa ng posts :)

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  2. ang ganda pero ang mhl! Haha! Nafeel ko na nagenjoy taga si Nikki! ;)

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    1. hi irish! ang mahal talaga. at super enjoy talaga ang lola mo infer!

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  3. Natakot ako bigla dun sa lizard? Lizard pa ba yun?

    Amazing ang underwater shot mo ah, perfect. Yan ang tinttry kong gawin pero fail.

    Ang yaman ng trip mong ito. ;)

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    1. monitor lizard ata marx. nakalimutan ko na. amazing na ba yun?! (yabang lang) hihi. mayaman ang mga kamag-anak at friends ko kaya mayayaman trips ko minsan.hihi

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  4. This is nice!
    basahin ko sana lahat, kaya lang ng mamadali ako..
    bookmark muna

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  5. Iloveit! Engrandeng bakasyon para sa isang ulirang guro :)

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    1. salamat naman du sa uliran.. uliran pero 2 days absent. hihi

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  6. wow..super bongga naman po ng vacay na yan.

    anyways i really like your blogsite po. Thumbs up.

    And ang cute mo po. :)

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    1. wow! thanks elem. parang maniniwala ako dun sa cute ako. teka, ako yung short hair ha. hihi

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    2. hahaha.. opo. alam ko po na kaw ung short hair.. hihi.. been reading your blog ever since i discovered it.. ahaha. and i must say na sobrang cute mo po talaga.. Crush na ba ito??

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  7. Marami bang guests nung nandoon kayo?

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    1. hi bert! yes. madami sila. pero usually may tour sila either coron or calauit kaya walang tao most of the time :)

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  8. got really interested upon seeing your blog on my news feed. just to share, i was invited by one supervisor (i think she's the PR head) of Club Paradise to work there several times. and now im feeling a little regretful for not even trying. the place and service were really superb! good to know that you and your cousin enjoyed this little piece of paradise in the Philippines. :)

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    1. wow talaga kim? sayang. ang ganda sana ng working environment mo. as in literal na maganda. or maybe baka hindi rin para sa'yo di ba?

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    2. oo nga. para kang nasa vacation every day kahit may work. ganda ng place! you're one lucky gal! i was newbie on my first job kaya di ako makapag commit then. siguro pwede na ulit itry ngayon? hihi

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    3. ang tanging kalaban mo lang malamang dun eh lungkot. ngunit bilang pamilya naman ang turingan nila dun eh keri na. go ka na! :)

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  9. mam ang swerte free trip ! at ikaw napili ng cousin mo ^_^

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    1. hi abeng. by default ata. kasi halos kaming dalawa na lang ang di pa married. or baka nga ako ang trip niyang kasama talaga. hihi

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  10. cool place to relax pero mahal nga. makapaghanap nga ng kamag-anak na mayaman hahaha

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  11. ate you na po :) Engrandeng bakasyon! Mukhang nagenjoy si pinsan :)
    Nakikipinsan? Hahahaha!

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    1. enjoy talaga siya vash.. nai-stress na tuloy ako kung saan ko siya dadalhin next time..

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  12. WOW:) Paradise.. feeling ko andiyan narin ako..

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    1. paradise talaga. go ka na manong! pero walang bundok na matindi dito. haha

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  13. Bloody expensive!! Sakit sa bangs ng rates :) But oh well pg afford ko naman su-per sulit din naman. super ganda ng place and the staffs! Awesome! :)

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    1. oh yes! buti na lang "sponsored" trip to. hehe

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