While making my 2014 Goals, I took the time to really contemplate about my life as a traveler. Travel has become such a big (and influential) part of my life. So for 2014, I’ve come up with a simple goal—to visit one LOCAL destination per month. As much as I love traveling to different countries, I’ve come to realize that supporting local tourism should come first—this helps the economy and provides livelihood for thousands of our kababayans. And come on! The Lord has blessed us with such a beautiful country.. it would be a such shame not to discover it. I would like to really support local tourism one month at a time. Whether it’s just for a day or for an entire weekend (depends on my work sched!), as long as I’m able to purposefully explore the Philippines at least once a month then I would consider myself a good resident-slash-tourist! So for January, here’s my chosen destination: Pico de Loro in HAMILO COAST, Batangas.
This is going to be a picture heavy post because I was feeling extra camera happy this weekend. And by heavy, I mean “Di ba overnight lang kayo dun pero bakit parang one month worth of photos ang nasa album na ‘to?” kind of heavy!!!! But trust me, once you see the photos, you’ll understand why I had to do this. I. just. had. to. Not that I’m saying I’m a marvelous photographer–quite the contrary actually, the place I’m blogging about today is already very photogenic on its own which made my so-so level photographs feel like Conde Naste editorials. Naks. (Just agree with me okay?!?!) Just a few days ago I was seriously contemplating about selling my old point and shoot to upgrade to a better one—then this trip happened and my faith in my Lumix LX5 was renewed. I can’t believe I almost chucked you out–Lumixeeeee! Thank God for Pico De Loro naka-step up ka ulit 🙂 And my LX5 just sighed “Phew, that was close!”.
Initially, I was planning to push this post to next week (because of all the backlog with work!) but because I had so much fun I wanted to share all this happy energy as soon as possible while everything’s still fresh in my memory. Also since most of you are probably planning your Valentine getaways, anniversaries, prenup shoots, and weddings around this time—I thought it would be best to introduce Pico de Loro to you since it’s really a place I would consider if I were you.
The lovely Celine Arenillo sent me an invitation to Pico and I was more than willing to take her up on her offer. We decided to make it a double date weekend with our closest friends, the Montemayors: RG and Marge. 🙂
Pico De Loro is located just about 90 minutes away from Mall of Asia thanks to the newly opened route via Cavitex and the Ternate Tunnel. We traveled from my folks’ place in Alabang and it took us exactly 2 hours to Pico. Not bad at all. This makes overnighters/day trips much easier to plan on the fly because of the decent travel time. And I must add that the drive was a smooth and scenic one, with well paved roads and spectacular views of the countryside. I had my muni-muni moments in the car and thought to myself “Napakaganda talaga ng Pilipinas!” 🙂
We checked into our gigantic suite overlooking the man-made lake and instantly I was put on vacation mode. Patrick was happy they had cable and caught a few minutes of a basketball game before we met up for our morning snacks with Celine. But obviously I also had my own snack stash from Healthy Options ready (which occupied a quarter of my overnight bag)! Hehehe!
It’s easy to navigate the entire Hamilo Coast property thanks to these shuttles.
Rg and Marge indulging me and giving me pre-nup worthy shots! Hehehe, aren’t they the cutest?
Yummy snacks at Pico Restaurant. You have to order their MILO DINOSAUR drink!
I was really impressed by the architecture in Pico De Loro.
It felt modern but organic at the same time.
Pico de Loro is perfect for families and barkadas in all shapes and sizes! Aside from the glorious beach, you can enjoy a host of other indoor activities as well. The kids were going cray-cray in the playground when we stopped by to take a photo. I was so tempted to dive into the ball of colored balls as well, parang ang saya-saya nila! They also have a bowling alley, a full fitness gym, and courts for your fave sports like badminton, basketball, and even tennis. I forgot to bring my rubber shoes but next time I’m definitely packing a pair so I can play badminton. The last time I played was in high school (not as a pro OKAYYY…just a few chooks chooks with the shuttlecocks for my PE class, I was a very wimpy kid) and so I was desperate to give badminton another shot. Maybe next time then 🙂
Lounging by the beach in style. This has got to be one of the classiest lounge areas I’ve ever seen.
You can also rent a bike/s and enjoy a leisurely ride around the property.
The jaw-dropping moment came when we visited the St. Therese Chapel—-WOW. Friends, please, please get married here and invite me. I just want to dress up and attend a wedding in this beautiful chapel! They say Sunset weddings here are just breathtaking and I can totally picture it. We were there just on a regular day, without any elaborate set up and we were already so blown away.
via inquirer lifestyle
From the chapel we hopped on the shuttle again and made our way to the Marina which was so serene and peaceful! I almost wanted to do a photo shoot just to make use of this perfect backdrop. Where’s my striped boatneck shirt?!?! Where’s my navy blue nautical shorts?! Where are my topsiders?!?! Damnit Patty, you are not stepping up here. Note to self: Always pack a nautical costume and a YACHT when visiting Pico de Loro.
Oh and we were very well fed during our weekend stay. So much so that instead of just having a cheat day, I ended up having an entire cheat weekend. We kept eating and eating! Kudos to the F&B team of Pico De Loro for their well-plated and tasty meals. I’m a very visual person so if the meals are plated properly, this heightens my eating experience. When the taste matches the visuals, then that’s a perfect combo for me! I visited Pico De Loro a few years back for work and I must say their food has improved immensely. I look forward to seeing their menu evolve further.
Are you still with me?!?! Because I HAVE MORE photos coming your way! I couldn’t help myself! There were just so many cool things on our itinerary. But this was the highlight of our whole Pico De Loro stay—our trip to Santelmo Cove. Pagbigyan nyo na ako and my ambisyosa self—but maaaan, I felt like I was Beyonce and Patrick was Jay-Z (if JayZ was white!) on the speedboat! “Am I in a music video right now?!!? I should be popping some champagne and singing in a bikini!” And just when that thought bubble entered my mind, we saw the Pico staff by the Santelmo Cove shore waving at us. Our own personal butlers in a private island?!? You gotta be kidding me! Sorry but for a simple Manila girl, this was definitely a big deal for me. Guests of Pico De Loro can arrange for a trip to Santelmo Cove—you can even arrange for a private picnic lunch too! Fellas, if you want to pop the question–this is how you would like to do it!:)
We had the whole cove to ourselves!!! Look at that pristine beach, not a single piece of trash, not even a candy wrapper in sight..how can you beat this?!
I loved this!!!! Sir Chris and his friendly staff by the makeshift kitchen.
Hammocking like it’s nobody’s business. Ahhhh, this is the life.
One of the things I really noticed about Pico De Loro was their very personal approach in dealing with customers. Everyone from the guards, to the front desk officers and shuttle drivers, to the waiters and butlers were all very warm and friendly to their guests. Though naturally for luxury resorts it would be a no brainer for the staff to treat guests like VIPs, here I felt that they were more doting and hospitable in a “welcome to our home” kind of way. They made us feel comfortable without fussing over us excessively, accommodating and welcoming without being too overbearing and chatty. And they all carried themselves so gracefully and dignified—ala Carson’s staff in Downton Abbey! You could tell that they were all very well trained 🙂
I wouldn’t mind getting stuck in this island for a whole week!
I would totally rock the Robinson Crusoe look 🙂
The Pico De Loro staff prides itself in going the extra mile for their guests. They are surprisingly flexible, giving their guests the opportunity to make their dream dates, fantasy proposals/weddings, and even corporate gatherings a reality. As long as it’s something that’s within their capacity to achieve—they will definitely go out of their way to work on it! Speaking of going all out—they surprised us with this romantic set up by the beach. My camera is a weakling in low light conditions so you’ll just have to take my word for it. They put an elaborate candle lit dinner set up by the shore and it was sooooooo wonderful! I’m such a sucker for sweet things like this!:) It was a bit chilly so as much as we wanted to spend the whole night there—sumuko rin kami sa lamig! Hahaha!
So from the beach we moved to Brisa and tried our best to be “cool dudes and dudettes”. Guests can enjoy some bar chows and signature cocktails from 9pm onwards. In our case, we just enjoyed dancing to some old school tracks. Forgive the blurry photos—I think it was my Lumix LX5 that downed the martinis. Parang laseng na laseng na sya! Hehehe!
Here we are dancing like goofballs. Thank God it was dark and blurry.
Nothing too incriminating I hope. Hahaha 🙂
The worst part of this trip was checking out! How I wish we could’ve planned for a longer stay but these urban warriors had to face reality and so we all checked out by Sunday. Bitin na bitin! But I must admit for an overnight stay, it was such a jampacked but easy paced getaway which was more than enough to recharge and refresh us for the coming week. Thank you so much Celine Arenillo for taking care of us!!! 🙂 🙂
Thank you again so much to the wonderful Pico De Loro team for being such gracious hosts to the Filarts and Montemayors! (L-R) Cecilia Tejada, Celine Arenillo, Marge and RG Montemayor, Patty and Patrick Filart, August Samala, Angel Cabusao and Jam Manikan.
Want to enjoy the Pico de Loro Experience with your loved ones? Here are the contact details 🙂
Property Sales Hotline: (+632) 945-8000
Club Membership Sales Hotline: (+632) 902-8053
Visit their Manila Office: 4/F One E-com Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City