November 28, 2009 - a very very good day indeed.
The sun was up! yehey! no rains! yehey!
It only took us 3.5 hours from QC to Zambales. Thanks to SCTEX! :)
We made reservations at WILD ROSE BEACH INN and to our great disappointment, the room conditions were awful!
The caretakers did not make sure that the rooms and toilets were cleaned before handing the keys to us.
The rooms had lizard droppings on the bed linen, spiders, cobwebs, hairs and sand all over the toilet room.
As the saying goes, "you get what you paid for" :p
In their defense, I emailed Mama Tess, the owner of WILD ROSE BEACH INN and she was also surprised to realize what happened.
Her husband flew all the way from Canada to Zambales to check on the resort.
She also offered to give us their biggest room next year, when she arrives from Canada, to show us that what we saw was not their usual degree of excellence.
I guess they just got unlucky with their staffs.
I do hope they could hire a dependable manager soon :)
So, what do we do next?
Of course, we went to PUNTA DE UIAN, which is the BEST resort in the area; and, the most expensive as well.
Trivia: did you know that this 19-hectare resort was only built 3 years ago?
It was truly way far better than Wild Rose Beach Inn.
Ben, a coordinator at PUNTA DE UIAN, was kind enough to let us view the rooms first so we can decide which room best suits us.
The STANDARD ROOM is the cheapest room in PUNTA DE UIAN.
It's good for 2 pax at Php 3,410 ++, inclusive of breakfast for 2.
Normally, the ++ is additional 22% (10% service charge and 12% VAT)
Below is the GARDEN VIEW ROOM, also good for 2 pax at Php 3,850++, inclusive of breakfast for 2.
Ben was kind enough to give us three of these rooms at Php 3,850 net :)
The garden across our rooms :)
I like our key.
The room was spacious.
The bed was comfortable and the aircon was already turned on when we came in.
Finally - a CLEAN room!
However, the comfort room was quite small, especially the shower area.
and the cabinet was very hard to open and close because the woods were not aligned properly.
Also, it gives this irritating squeaking sound each time we try to open it.
I was happy to see the room complete with toiletries and a telephone to call for room service :)
This is the MOUNTAIN VIEW ROOM
Good for 2 pax, maximum of 4
Php 4,180 ++
I find this room very dark because the light fixtures were very few for a loft style room.
LAGOON ROOM - it's one of their most recent improvements
Good for 2 pax, maximum of 4
very very expensive!!!
This is closer to the bar, chapel and spa.
All decors were carefully chosen by the owners from their China and Thailand trips.
Hard wood was everywhere!
This is the restaurant.
You can also eat at the gazebo if you wish.
For lunch, we had Inihaw na Liempo (Php 300)
Grilled pork belly with adobong kangkong
It was a winner! :)
Miso Glazed Cream Dory (Php 470)
broiled whole fish fillet glazed with spiced miso and served with butter rum peaches.
I did not like this at all because it has this weird Mediterranean taste to it.
I love Mediterranean food, but this was just weird for me.
Although, my friend LOVED it hihihihi
Smoked Baby Back Ribs (Php 520)
400 grams of smoked tender baby back ribs in a Mexican barbecue sauce served with sliced veggies and baked potato
We all loved this.
The meat was tender and lean!
Sambal Calamares (Php 200)
deep fried squid rings served with pineapple sambal sauce a.k.a. sweet chili sauce :p
It was not overcooked kasi!
Time to go island hopping!
The manager was kind enough to also extend our discount to the island tour fee.
The normal rate is Php 3,800 for the island tour.
We were lucky to get it at Php 3,200 for the 6 of us.
It's good for 2 days - 1st day was Anawangin
2nd day - Capones and Camara :)
Nagsasa was at least 1 hour boat ride away so it was not recommended to go there.
Anawangin with the trees and beautiful sand beach
It's like they have their own community here.
A lot of people were camping :)
I'm sure it's fun!
There are also areas for hiking, but I don't know if it's safe though
This is the shower area :p
... for EVERYONE camping in the island
Makeshift tables were everywhere for the island's guests.
Each guest has to pay 50 pesos as support for the island's caretakers.
A small price to pay to make sure the island is well taken care of.
Among the 3 islands, Anawangin would be the best place for swimming because the waves were tamer here.
Also, the boats can park on the shore, unlike in Capones and Camara, where rocks were everywhere.
If you're bringing your kids, it would not be advisable for them to go to Capones and Camara because of the rocks and waves but they would surely enjoy Anawangin :)
Time for dinner!
The owners, Mr. Rolly and Mrs. Norma Gipulan, were also there at the time of our visit.
They were very friendly and accommodating, even going from table to table to entertain guests.
We've learned that they named the resort after their only child, 9 yr old daughter named Uian (pronounced as Yu-Yan).
Mr. and Mrs. Gipulan were so kind that they even invited us to join them on Dec. 28 to celebrate their daughter's birthday on their yacht.
Uian decided to have a medical mission instead of getting a gift for her birthday.
What an awesome idea coming from a 9 year old!
The Gipulan family has a good heart that's why they're receiving more blessings each day :)
TRIVIA: Did you know that the owners won the jackpot lottery in the US?
The owners LOVE animals that's why you will see a lot of dogs and cats running around, even inside the restaurant.
They're actually planning on putting up a mini zoo inside the resort :)
As of now, the resort is already taking care of a few animals like the wild boar, etc.
For appies, we ordered the QUESADILLA (Php 240)
grilled flat breads filled with hoi sin chicken and smoked salmon with chive cream cheese
THIS IS THE BEST QUESADILLA I'VE HAD IN YEARS!!!
super yummy, especially with the Tabasco Habonero hot sauce
I will always ALWAYS compare quesadillas with this one!
..okay.. I am still not over with the quesadilla..
Sinigang (Php 300)
hot tamarind broth with eggplant, banana hearts, string beans, kangkong, okra and pork
Not sour enough.
Beef in Black Pepper Sauce (Php 320)
tender beef fillet in sweet spicy pepper sauce
This was very good with rice.
Buttered/Garlic rice (large - Php 150)
Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa (Php 430)
"salmon fillet to yar doneness topped with Zambales mangoes in tomato salsa served with sliced veggies"
The mango salsa was really good; but the salmon had a bitter aftertaste, which was probably because it was grilled?
That night, we decided to go around the place.
We were hoping to find the spa place and have a relaxing massage.
It was only 9pm and sadly, the spa was already closed.
I hope they would extend their spa operating hours :)
Mr. Louie Morales, Mr. Gipulan's personal consultant, was kind enough to tour us in the area.
He showed us the resort's chapel.
It was beautiful!
Next, he brought us to the videoke bar.
There are days when they would hire comediennes to do stand up comedy for guests :)
But that night, there's only us and 3 tables hanging out at the bar.
This is a great place for company outings.
We started the following day with a power breakfast, complementary of the resort.
We decided we wanted to go and see the lighthouse in Capones.
But what we didn't know was that going there was NOT at all easy.
The bangkero anchored the boat on the other end of the island because the hike there was 30 minutes, which was quicker compared to the other side of the island (3 hour hike).
The waves were fierce!
Our life vests literally saved our lives :p
Swimming ashore was a challenge and we endured scrapes on our knees, legs and elbows just to reach the island.
We just took pictures on the island and did not pursure going to the lighthouse because Ben and Lily were left on the boat - alone.
If it was a challenge reaching the shore, it was a battle going back to the boat!
My motivator: thinking of Dory in Finding Nemo : "just keep swimming, swimming swimming"
This is the other end of the Capones island.
The island's so beautiful!
Going to Camara island
See how clear the water is?
Again, we have to swim to reach the beach.
During low tide, you can walk easily to the big boulder of rock on the right.
Hermit crabs were everywhere :)
We spent the whole morning at the beach and now it's time for lunch :)
Pancit Bihon (Php 220)
stir fried noodles with assorted meat and vegetables.
Thai Roast Chicken (Php 550)
whole roasted chicken with Thai dry rub and dressing.
We love the combination of flavors of this one.
The sauce tasted like patis, but it was wonderful with the chicken!
I never thought chicken and patis could be a good combo.
This would have been a winner if only the chicken was juicy :)
Pork Trotters (Php 400)
sarap to the bones!
We used the following cameras for this travel:
Canon Powershot D10 (WATERPROOF up to 10m)
This camera is AWESOME!
The image stabilizer is amazingly good
This has the same functions as Panasonic Lumix LX3
I so love the casing!
My ever-dearest CANON S80, which endured a lot of falls.
I hope you don't retire soon :p
We HEART Zamabales!
Thanks to Ben and Louie of PUNTA DE UIAN :)
Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zamabales, Philippines
Mobile Number: +63 918 800 UIAN (+63 918 800 8426)
We've also considered the following resorts in the area:
Megan's Beach Resort
Nora's Beach Resort