“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
Siquijor is paradise. I love Palawan, and I think Palawan is great, and I still believe that it has the best beaches in the Philippines, yet Siquijor is also amazing. Siquijor is laid-back, unspoiled and rustic. In a way, it sharply contrasts against Puerto Princesa’s flock of tourists and the overcrowded town of El Nido.
What added to this great visit to the island is where we stayed: Coco Grove Beach Resort. It made me feel that we really escaped the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila.
At first, I didn’t want to shell out too much of this trip’s budget for accommodation, despite the urging of a friend that it was totally worth the price. But after seeing photos in Pinoy Adventurista’s site, I couldn’t help but want to stay there too.
The truth is that I almost backed out from this resort due to the lack of quality of service from the reservations staff. Coco Grove has a website, but apparently, you cannot make instant reservations through the internet.
First, you have to inquire via e-mail whether rooms are available. It doesn’t help that they take a day or two to respond. Next, you’d have to make a deposit. In their website, there is an option for online payment, yet you have to have a code to make that online payment. I tried calling the hotel for the code, yet they told me that the reservations office would be the one handling this, and because they reply very late to e-mails, you’d rather make the downpayment via the bank.
Maybe a week would lapse before you can make the reservations final. Believe me, it was really annoying. (I reserved for a hotel in Bohol at the same time I was making one in Siquijor, the former took me just two days, including depositing the downpayment.)
We arrived in Coco Grove just before sunset. We had to rush the receptionists to check us in so that we can snap good photos of this golden hour before the sun goes down. Luckily, we had time to get a few before King Sun went to bed.
The resort is like a giant garden filled with exotic plants, interspersed with traditional décor. I loved how they used native materials in the cottages, and how this felt like a tropical paradise. I also liked that there aren’t too many guests around, despite the time being a peak season.
Jeaneth and I went ahead to the cottage, chose our beds (ha!), as Aiza, Amy and Jo stayed behind to watch the sun go down. After we all settled in our cottage, it was time to fill our hungry stomachs. There are two restaurants in the resort, both overlooking the sea. We chose the one we saw during the sunset for the evening meal – Sunset Restaurant.
After dinner, we opted for a night swim in the swimming pool, where there was nobody else except us. The pool is small yet there is ample space to swim around. I also liked that it wasn’t too deep, though there were portions that I was completely submerged in water (yes, I’m that short).
On the following day, we had our breakfasts at the other restaurant: Salamandas Restaurant. Service here was superb — fast and professional. Contrary to what I’ve read in reviews, being a Filipino didn’t affect the quality of service I got.
After breakfast, we took our dip in the sea. In front of the restaurant was a marine sanctuary, but we didn’t go snorkeling. We just played around the shallow portion. One thing I loved the most in beaches is the sand, and the sand here didn’t disappoint. Though there were traces of palm leaves on the sand, I loved how white it was and how it touched against my skin. What a lovely day!
Soon, we went swimming in the bigger pool. We spent the entire morning just swimming in this pool. It’s nice that it’s nestled under the shade of palm trees.
We dined in Sunset Restaurant again for lunch before we left the resort. I wish we could stay even just one day more. In the end, you’d realize that some things are worth the price tag. Staying in Coco Grove is. 🙂
Note to reader: If you are considering staying in this resort and wouldn’t like to shell out too much money on food, there’s a small eatery outside the resort. Too bad I didn’t see this until we were checked out! It would’ve been a great experience to eat like the locals do. 😛
Dumaguete will be next. Happy travels!