Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Best of Both Worlds at Puerto Galera

Another trip to Puerto Galera that left me shaken by the biggest waves ever, but awestricken by nature and the joyful company I was with.

Typhoon Chedeng updates were a frequent sight on our monitors at the office - hoping it would not make its landfall on the day of our department outing, May 27, as reported by PAG-ASA.  All our pleas and prayers drove Chedeng away and the day before our trip it was reported that it would not landfall on Luzon anymore.  So our Puerto Galera department trip happily pushed through.

We picked Buri Resort and Spa to be our home for the next three days of our company department outing.


The group package includes the ff:
  • 3 days and 2 nights’ accommodation at their nice villas
  • Full board meals
  • Round trip land and sea private transfer - Manila to Buri and v.v.
  • Picnic lunch at Bucana Beach with beach hopping
  • Snorkelling trip at Coral Garden and Underwater Cave
  • Round trip boat transfer to White Beach
  • 2 complimentary body massage
  • 10% discount on any Buri Spa treatment
  • Welcome drinks upon arrival
  • Complimentary use of resort facilities and non-motorized water sport equipment
Buri Resort and Spa is listed as one of the Top 10 luxury resorts in the Philippines in WOWPh.com.


But before we reached this holiday haven, we endured a gruelling 2-hour boat ride from Batangas Port to Muelle Port via public boat because the private boat could not sail due to the weather condition (with Chedeng’s tail still getting in the way as it leaves Philippines area of responsibility).  The boat ride was certainly the (second) longest 2 hours of my life.  I was seriously scared out of my wits with the waves splashing everywhere even on the roof.

As we made it to Muelle Port, Buri’s private boat picked us up and we crossed the tranquil sea (thank God!) to the resort. 

As the boat approached Buri, we were happy with what we saw. 


Photo by Ferds Peñaranda
Photo by Ferds Peñaranda

We all stayed at Buri Villa which can accommodate 4 people, except for Jeff who stayed at Garden Villa by his own.  Buri Villa has 2 bedrooms with a bathroom each, and has its own private mini pool. 



Our bedroom from the balcony



Ours is Ylang-ylang Villa.  Jen and I stayed at the main room, while Jhellie and Rachelle at the upper room.  The mini pool was located behind our bathroom.  So I just stay there when waiting for Jen to finish at the shower, and then just hop in when she’s done (just connected by a sliding door). So convenient!

Upper bedroom, Rache and Jhellie's
Bathroom at the upper bedroom
Our private mini pool
Jen and I lounging at our mini pool.
Drink a beer, read a book while you are in the pool, could life get any better? :)

Going up the villas is like climbing a grotto of a hundred and more steps!  It was literally going up the hill.  But that's fine, exercise came cheap and handy. :)

That's our villa. It looks so near, yet you still have to assault several more steps (more than you think needed) to get there!  No wonder there's a water jug on stand-by. :D

After lunch we rested and then got back together for the Amazing Race. We availed it for PHP 2,500.  It was so much fun!  Kuya Rogie, the group coordinator, took care of the entire game course.  We were so glad we did it. (video soon)

We are the 2011 AAI Amazing Race champions!
Photo by Ferds Peñaranda
Our team, Jen, Nino, Kitty and myself, won the race so we had massages as prizes (the 2 complimentary ones included on the group package, plus we bought 2 more for PHP 990 each). The massage was so good and perfect to alleviate the exhaustion brought by the day.









At night we sang our hearts out with the karaoke after having dinner at Animasi Restaurant.


Karaoke time at Animasi Restaurant
The pools at night, and at the far end is the Blue Bar where the big white couch looks so inviting and ultra cozy.
Photo by Ferds Peñaranda

Coral Garden Wonder

The next day, we went exploring.  We went to Coral Garden for some snorkelling.  There were plenty of fishes, they were just beautiful.  Puerto Galera indeed has one of the best snorkelling and diving spots in the country.





video

We rented small boats to take us wherever we want around Coral Garden.  You can also hold on to the rope at the side of the boat for a hassle-free, non-swim snorkelling (for lazy people :p). The small boat costs PHP 200, it can accommodate 2-3 people; while the snorkelling gear rental cost PHP 200 per set.




Underwater Cave

After snorkelling, we went to Underwater Cave.  We added PHP 150 per boat.  You have to climb the coral-like cliff which was so sharp it would surely cut your skin open if you fall.  A bamboo ladder was fixed at the opening of the cave to make it easier to go down.  The current was so strong beneath the cave, we were rolling and stumbling on the waves.







Exiting the cave

Picnic Lunch at Bucana Beach

Then we were brought to Bucana Beach for lunch.  The others who did not join snorkelling were picked up by the private boat at Buri to join us for lunch at this virgin island.





Too bad rain fell as we were getting started.  The lunch was great nonetheless.



Floating at Bayanan Beach

After lunch we hopped off another island – Bayanan.  No activity, we just floated with our life vests on.  Some also jumped off the edge of the boat.  It was fun and quite relaxing.


Seafood Pizza and Volleyball at Talipanan

And then our last stop for the beach hopping, - Talipanan where we had pizza.  It’s been a year since I was craving for the seafood pizza at Luca’s.  The pizza is quite big and costs around PHP480.  One pizza can feed 4-5 people.


At last!!!
Photo by Ferds Peñaranda

Others played volleyball and some grabbed the opportunity to do a photo shoot while waiting for the food to be served. 


We returned to Buri to rest and have dinner. We swam, and goofed around by the pool before taking a shower.



Photo by Ferds Peñaranda
Photo by James Abalos

And for our last night we went to, where else, White Beach.  We rode, once again, Buri’s boat to Muelle Port and then took a jeepney to White Beach (for safety reasons).


Photo by Jenner Alagao
We played the ever popular game (to us) Pinoy Henyo.


Photo by Jenner Alagao
Photo by Jenner Alagao

And Adam and Kitty actually ate balut!




And, of course, Henna time.  PHP 100 is the cheapest - for simple and small designs.



We got back to Buri Resort around 1AM, and called it a night (some did not, yet).

Buri Resort is a very nice place to just lie down, open a book, and savour the fresh air and sound of the ocean. Or have breakfast by the pool at the gazebo far from the busy and crowded atmosphere at the city, or even at the White Beach. 

What made us not completely happy with Buri was the “hidden” charges that we were billed like the canned drinks at the Bucana picnic lunch which we had no idea were not included on the package we paid.  The boat transfer reimbursement was another issue (since we did not use their boat and rode the public boat going there) because what has been agreed was it will be reimbursed, but all of a sudden we were told they will only reimburse a certain amount equal to the value of the boat rental if they were to pick us up.  It was a matter of failure to communicate certain things regarding billings on their end.  We hope they have learned from their mistakes.

Nonetheless, the staffs were really nice and service quite good.  I love it how I wake up in the morning and see, smell, feel the nature that surrounds our luxurious little villa.  When I step out of the bathroom where the mini pool is, I can see the ocean, more of the plants surrounding the entire resort, and the rising sun.  Food was also good.  And we truly loved their pillows, blanket and Buko Pandan!


Photo by Ferds Peñaranda

Photo by Ferds Peñaranda
Photo from Jenner Alagao
On that weekend we experienced luxury and fun and adventure at its finest. Who said you can't have the best of both worlds?

It's a vacation worth a week or two of reminiscing and laughing about. ♥


See all TRAVEL posts.

3 comments:

  1. whew! a long but interesting post :)
    Buri is indeed a great alternative to the crowded White Beach.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice blog! i have a question though.. how much is Buri Villa per night?

    ReplyDelete

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