Clouds flew fast against the cobalt blue sky, the day was turning out to be a scorcher. We were at the Sun Coral Cafe, one of the seven restaurants found at Hamilo Coast, a sprawling 5,900 hectare development located at the province of Batangas. We were practicing the art of doing nothing; sipping beer and trying mixed drinks, lazily lounging around and waiting for heat of the day to wear off.
Surprisingly, it only took us ninety minutes by van from Manila to traverse the road en route to Pico de Loro Cove, a residential development inside Hamilo Coast. I reckon that was faster than it would take me to go home from Makati to Malabon via EDSA during rush hour.
I was personally looking forward to this trip, not only because of the resort, but I was also rarin’ to test out a new camera I bought to compliment my old Nikon. Plus, I wanted to finally put into practice that old travel mantra, travel light, and try out a Hawk backpack that I chanced upon for shorter travel periods.
But I digress.
Anyways, we arrived at the resort past noontime and after a quick check in at the Pico Sands Hotel, our group immediately headed to the Pico Restaurant, the hotel’s 24-hour food place offering Mediterranean cuisine.
To say that we were starving was an understatement.
From their extensive menu, my friends asked for plates of carbonara, fat cheese sticks, meatball spaghetti and a tray of pizza. For myself, I ordered their Pico Burger with Cheese and paired it with a glass of their quirkily named power juice, Relax.
I liked the burger, but I love the all meat pizza even more. It was filled with bacon strips, beef chunks, pepperoni and cheese, it’s almost like Pizza Hut’s All Meat Pizza, but less oily and on a thin crust. Everyone agreed it was the best of the bunch.
It took us awhile to finish everything off and by the time we hopped on the free shuttle that scurries around the resort, it was almost sundown. Coasting silently along the concrete mini-roads of Hamilo Coast, we stopped at the St. Therese of the Child Jesus chapel, the best location to view the sunset at Pico de Loro Cove.
The structure is an actual chapel and is usually the venue for grand weddings at Pico de Loro. The sleek, steel and glass structure is perched over a cliff overlooking the beach cove, giving a perfect panoramic view of the setting sun. The view is not less dramatic even inside the chapel.
The afterglow of the waning sun was still illuminating the horizon as we headed to the beach. It was too late for a swim, but really not too early for a barbecue party. Some meters from the shoreline, Pico de Loro Cove’s Reef Bar was waiting for us.
The Reef Bar is an open restaurant right beside the beach that specializes in grilled fares. Well, it wasn’t exactly a barbecue party but close enough. Our belts still tight from our afternoon snack, we went ahead and ordered an early dinner; all so that we can experience a romantic twilight dinner right beside the sea.
For starters, some fries and onion rings paired with a basket of nachos. For drinks, I ordered their Milo Dinosaur, which looked and tasted as awesome as its name. And for the main course, uhmmm..
Grilled pork liempo, fish, shrimp, chicken and pork barbecue; for desserts, pan choco gateau. They all looked simple on print, but just wait until they’re plunked down your tables.
To our defense, we were eight in the group. But still, gluttons!
To make up for pigging out, we decided to walk a bit. Exercise time!
We checked the indoor facilities being offered by Pico de Loro Cove. Leisurely, we strolled through their ballroom, videoke and game rooms, their daycare playground for kids, gym and dance studio and finally their massive sports hall which has basketball, tennis, squash and badminton courts.
It was grand and all, but what really struck me was the bowling alley inside the billiards hall. What the!? I can’t think of anything else that they don’t have! When they said they have complete facilities, I didn’t realize it was this complete.
Confident that we have already burned enough calories, our next stop was the Pico Bar; located at the ground level of the Pico Sands Hotel where we were bedding in for the night.
Like most high-end resorts, we kind of expected them not to have our drink of choice, Red Horse beer, but we still asked anyways. The answer, Pale Pilsens and SanMig Lights only. We settled for the latter and seated ourselves at the well-lit al fresco area near the restaurant.
They said they’re open 24 hours; we almost got to test that that evening.
It was only the next morning that I got to really appreciate our room. We stayed at Pico Sands Hotel’s Lagoon View Premier Room (check rates). Man is it huge! It has two really comfy queen-sized beds which can easily bed four individuals. It has an HD cable television, a DVD player, a work desk and coffee-making amenities. Best of all, there’s free and fast Wi-Fi Internet! A must for us blogger peeps haha.
The toilet and bath is equally nice, it has the usual hot water and modern fittings befit for a hotel of this caliber. Towels and toiletries are also provided for, the only thing missing really was a bidet, but I’m nitpicking here.
The best part of our room for me was the veranda. It overlooks the resort’s man-made lake, surrounded by verdant mountains. There are a couple of comfy chairs and a table available, which makes it the perfect spot for morning coffee and tea.
After a quick hot shower, we trooped to the nearby Lagoa Restaurant for breakfast; a stay at Pico Sands entitles guests to a complimentary breakfast buffet.
The restaurant has all the usual breakfast fares Filipinos dig; longanisa, corned beef, breads, fruits, veggies, tinapa and yes, crispy bacons! They have scrambled eggs, but they also have an omelet station if you want your eggs fancy.
One of the surprises Lagoa has is its roaming pastry girl who offers different baked goodies from her basket.
The restaurant sits right across one of the resort’s three swimming pools, so after filling ourselves fat, we stripped off and immediately jumped into the water! The infinity pool overlooks the lake which is towered over by the cool architectural beauties of the residential buildings. It was a pool with a view.
After some hours of splashing around, we transferred to the beach area. The shore stretches for a kilometer and a half and has fine, light-colored sand. It isn’t white, but it’s good enough. Across the blue-green water of the cove, we can see people jet-skiing and riding banana boats, it was quite inviting if not for the jellyfish warning signs scattered along the shore; it was just too bad we visited during jellyfish season.
For lunch, we headed to the Sun Coral Café which serves mostly traditional Filipino cuisine. The restaurant sits right beside the beach, so it was quite convenient for us. We wanted to dine al fresco, since the view was really nice, but the sun was out and it was just too hot outdoors, so inside it was.
Burning through the menu, we ordered a plethora of home-cooked delights; pinakbet, seafood sinigang, chicken-pork adobo, crispy pork binagoongan, kare-kare, and to top everything off, a massive plate of crispy pata! Serving size was huge and each dish is good for two to three persons. Yum!
We stayed at Pico de Loro Cove for the weekend, but two days was definitely not enough. We had such a blast that we wanted to extend our getaway even if for just a day. But alas, most of us have office jobs and taking a day off isn’t really an option. Oh well, the resort is just ninety minutes away from Manila anyways, let’s book again the following weekend!
Pico Sands Hotel
Address: Hamilo Coast, Pico de Loro Cove,
Barangay Papaya, Nasugbu, Batangas
Contact Number: (02) 464-7888 | (0917) 809-1289
Facebook: Click Here
Room Rates and Booking: Click Here
GPS Coordinates: 14°11'31.7"N 120°36'08.0"E