16 April 2013

Day 2 of 3: A Tale of Two Cities (From Tagaytay to Pico de Loro)

After a wonderful overnight stay, we packed our bags, looked at the view one last time, and bid goodbye to Taal Vista Hotel. We readied ourselves for our next adventure, which was a trip to Hamilo Coast in Batangas City. Our next stop? Pico de Loro.

We've been to other parts of Batangas but this is actually our first time in Pico de Loro. Armed with just a virtual map of Tagaytay to Hamilo Coast, we went on our way to our next destination.

3rd Stop: Pico de Loro Cove, Hamilo Coast, Batangas (Click here for Stop #2)

We didn't really know how to get to Batangas from Tagaytay City. I could vaguely remember going straight, just following the road and eventually finding a sign that says, "Welcome to Batangas City." But of course, my memory could be faulty. So we put our virtual map and my memory together to hopefully get to Batangas just in time for check-in.

The road to Hamilo Coast was not very smooth. My memory was somewhat right, at least until we passed the Nasugbu, Batangas arch after which, we had to rely on our map for directions. After passing through the city, we found ourselves going up and down a mountainside. From where we were sitting, it looked like a pretty normal road that bent, save for some which looked really steep and curved at the same time. But don't be fooled. The road may look straight and normal, but these roads are really steep. I was praying for a safe trip to Pico de Loro since we went up the first curve.

After going up and down the mountain side, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Sort of. There was just one straight road that bent and curved from time to time in the middle of two fields and two mountains.

Finally, after what it seemed like an eternity of going up and down curves and bends, we finally saw the gate to Pico de Loro. The guards at the gate will ask you to surrender your license, but since our reservation was under Gus's name, I surrendered my ID instead. Once we got in, we thought we were five seconds away from paradise. Unfortunately, there were still some bends and curves before you finally reach Pico de Loro -- Sands Hotel, Country Club, and Beach Club.

There was quite a line when we got to the hotel. I guess a lot of families had free time to go on vacation even if it was a Sunday. But the bends and curves, and long lines were all worth it. Just like our room in Taal Vista, our room was spectacular! 

We got a premier room overlooking the lagoon on the 3rd floor of the Pico Sands Hotel. The room was also spacious, with two queen-sized beds (or were those king-sized beds?), a built-in cabinet, a bar with complimentary coffee and tea, a TV, desk, and balcony with a table for two.

We unpacked our stuff and the kids, had the obligatory photo op, and coffee before exploring the place. Pico de Loro has two swimming pools -- one in the Country Club, with a view of the lagoon, and the other in the Beach Club, with a view of the sea.

We rode a "shuttle" to the Beach Club because it was a few blocks away from the hotel. Once we got there, we decided to skip the pool and go for the beach right away (the pool near the beach was full of kids, eep.) The beach wasn't as blue as the online pictures, but it was definitely clean. There were a few stones here and there, but nothing to be scared of. No jellyfish, sea urchins or spiked corals. Yay!

After enjoying the sun, Gus and I left for the country club. We decided to swim in the pool there while waiting for dinner time. The pool in the country club was really beautiful. It was a large swimming pool with smaller partitions -- two jacuzzis, a lap pool, an infinity (?) pool, and two children's pool (since these two were shallower than the rest. After enjoying all the pools in the big pool, we went back to the hotel to prepare for dinner. The restaurant in the Country Club (Lagoa) was closed for the day so we only had two choices for dinner: the restaurant in the hotel or the restaurant in the Beach Club (Sun Coral Cafe). Since we've read a few good things about Sun Coral Cafe, we decided to have dinner there. A separate entry about dinner will be posted soon. :)

After dinner, we checked out the other places in the area before heading back. There was a bar on the second floor, a room that looked like a yoga/dance room, and other doors (we weren't sure if they were just doors to exits or doors to actual rooms). We took a shuttle back to the hotel to freshen up and rest for a bit before heading back to the Country Club. Gus wanted to check-out the gym and see if the equipment was better than Taal Vista (he really wanted to use the gym). Since the gym was closed already, we just explored the rest of the country club. There was a children's playroom, a billiards and bowling room, and function rooms.

We went back to our room to catch up on The Vampire Diaries (I got Gus to watch it!) while having tea before we went to bed. We wanted to wake up early and enjoy the beach some more.

The hotel's buffet breakfast wasn't really special, but it was definitely good enough to satisfy hungry tummies in the morning (we loved their bacon!) After breakfast, we went back to the Beach Club to get some more sun before heading back home.

Since the hotel was fully booked, we weren't able to request for a late check-out. We had to leave by 12 NN. Thankfully, we packed earlier before leaving for breakfast. All we had to do was shower, and double check the room and cabinets to make sure we didn't leave anything behind. Just like our Taal Vista experience, this was another memorable trip for us. We surely got our money's worth. We asked the bell boy to take a photo of us before checking out.

A few things you should know about Pico de Loro:
  •  It requires membership. We were able to stay here because of a summer vacation package tie-up with Taal Vista Hotel. You have to be a member if you want to stay a night. If you're not a member, you must know someone who is a member so you can stay the night and enjoy their facilities.
  • If you plan on eating out instead of eating in one of the restaurants in Pico de Loro, think again. Pico de Loro is situated at the far end/bottom of Batangas. There is no nearby restaurant or convenience shop you can go to aside from those found inside the resort. Restaurants and other shops can be found in the city, which is a good 30-45 minute drive up and down the mountain side again.

4 out of 5 for Pico de Loro (the check-in/check-out procedure could be made faster)

Pico de Loro Cove
Hamilo Coast
Batangas City


1 comment:

  1. good day!
    I'm renting out my condo units in Pico De Loro Beach & Country Club. 2 studio units & 1 bedroom unit with balcony. All fully furnished. Rate starts P4,500/night. Promo available for august & september 2013.
    Mary Jean Nieto Ner