Coco Beach - Fishing Trip

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Despite the stressful experience of last night, Tapioca and I were able to sleep like a baby and woke up early feeling fully charged and ready to start another day. We had arranged a fishing trip and other water activities for our 2nd day. Fishing wasn't really the kind of activity that appeals to me except of course for Tapioca. He loves fishing. In fact, he even has a computer game for fishing. I thought it was boring. When he found out it's being offered at the resort, he did all he can to convince me. Seeing all the excitement on his face, I knew I have to oblige. After all, this is going to be his chance to do the real thing.

We met up with Chito, the boatman who'd assisted us for the said activity. As early as 5am, the sky was already bright and the sun was out in the horizon. Perfect day for fishing.

The view was gorgeous. The morning breeze was fresh and salty. We were in a private boat. Just me and Tapioca and of course, our boatman. He brought us to the open sea where we see nothing but water. It was like we're on the edge of the world. If you look at some of the photos I might say parang infinity pool lang ang drama. When we can no longer see any island it became scary. For one thing, I do not know how to swim. Second thing, I couldn't find any life vest in the boat. I told Chito about my concerns and he showed me where the life vests were. He didn't really recommend to put one on kasi maiinitan daw ako. Also the water was calm so there's nothing to worry.

We saw other small fishing boats in the area. Pretty much it's the place where the locals catch fish to bring to their families. These fishermen uses traditional technique for fishing. No nets or anything high-tech. What they have were nylon fishing lines rolled on a piece of bamboo, fishing hooks at the end with some baits. Exactly the same thing we're using on the trip. Tapioca said it's more easy than using a fishing rod especially for beginners.

It took us quite some time before we're able to caught some fish. It's because we were chatting most of the time and before we knew it the fishes already ate the baits without getting hooked. So we decided to get down to business and focus on the task at hand. No more chikahan.

Chito was the first one who was able to caught a fish. Then he got another one. Tapioca and I were getting impatient. Those damn fish kept eating our baits but for some reason nakakawala sila. Para tuloy kaming nagpa-feeding program. We became more vigilant and thought of a way to catch those fish. Tapioca and I constantly check the bait just to be sure if its still intact or nakain na ng mautak na isda. The moment we felt something bit the line, we immediately pulled it out para di na makawala pa.

. . . hermit crabs

These babies are what we used as baits. It was amazing how Chito takes them out of their shells.

Finally, we were able to catch some fish. Between Tapioca and I, he was the first one to catch a fish.

See how proud and happy he was after the first catch? After he caught his first, I got something biting on my line, too. My turn.

Surprise, surprise! I caught not one but two fish in one line :-) Yeah he maybe the first one to caught a fish but I got two-in-one. Lucky me! When we already got the hang of it and learned the right technique, timing naman we ran out of bait. Pasaway kasi yung mga isda. Nautakan kami.

Now we have to go back to the resort and get more baits. However, it's not going to be the hermit crabs. It will take us forever just to get a lot of those. Chito went to the kitchen of the resort and asked for more bait. They have given him tiger prawns. Social! Naku po, hindi na pwede ang fish feeding program. Mahal ang bait.

Once we have the baits, Chito brought us to a different area to fish. It was somewhere closer to the resort. As soon as we dropped our lines, we felt the fish biting. It's like ang dami nila at nag-aagawan. Ang saya. I was able to caught lapu-lapu, bisugo and more but I forgot their names. I caught most of the big fish (yabang). We already caught a lot of fish and Tapioca wanted to stop na. I was like Noooo! Let's fish some more. I'm so good at it I think I can do this as a profession *joke*. Who said fishing is boring? Oops, I did. Now I'm taking it back. I highly recommend this activity.

tiger fish . . .

Chito caught this tiger fish. He said it's edible. Just like the rest of our catch, they were all edible. We can cook them all for lunch later. I love tiger fish. I used to see them a lot back in the days when I still do scuba diving. They're so pretty to look at. Actually, all of the fish we caught were all good looking. I don't think I wanted to eat them :-(

. . . our catch 

In less than two hours, we caught this much fish. Not bad. Tapioca shared my sentiments about them. We didn't want to eat them. We're just after the fun of trying to catch some fish. We ended up giving all the fish to Chito. Perhaps it would be much better to order something from the Coco Beach's menu for lunch or have room service again. Still, it's too early to think about lunch. We haven't had breakfast yet.


Coco Beach - Garden Fiesta Party

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dinner started at exactly 7:30pm. The Coco Beach staff showed us to our reserved table whom we'd share with a mother and her pretty daughter hailed from Denmark. It's their first time in the Philippines, make that in Asia and they were staying at the resort for two weeks. The only time they'd been to Manila was when their plane landed at the airport and then they went straight to Coco Beach. It was prearranged by the resort and their travel agent in Denmark. Based from our conversation with them they were quite pleased with the way Coco Beach took care of everything. We also sensed they were having fun and enjoying themselves in the resort. Imagine staying at Coco Beach for two weeks? I'm envious. Sana kami rin :-) We noticed that most of the guests were foreigners, specifically Europeans. We've never felt so outnumbered in our very own country. *shocking*

. . .The Coco Band 

The band opened the dinner party with some Jamaican-vibed song called Puerto Galera. The mother and daughter had high praises for this band. The Coco Band had a pretty extensive repertoire as they played both international and local songs, from the oldies but goodies to the latest songs playing on the airwaves.

cocktails in paper cups . . .

While waiting for dinner to be served, we were given this cocktail served in paper cups. As usual, it had this very strong alcohol flavor. Though the good thing was it had bits of fresh fruits you can nibbled. Next came the appetizers . . .

. . . salad 

Lettuce, onion, bell pepper, black olives, mango balls, chicken and shrimp bits with vinaigrette.

tanigue fillet with capers and papaya in lemon butter sauce . . .

This was good except I didn't think the papaya complemented the fish and the lemon butter sauce. I tried squirting some calamansi juice on it and surprisingly, it saved the dish.

. . . Thai-style chicken in coconut milk with warm bread on the side

When this was serve on the table, I checked out Tapioca and see if he will eat it. He didn't like coconut milk as it gives him upset stomach.  Before I knew it he was slurping the soup with gusto and polished off his bowl. In fairness, they knew how to make good coconut milk-base dishes. I kinda wish it was more spicy para mas ganahan kami for the next dish which we're really looking forward to . . .

Mr. Porky Pig . . .

Actually, di na kelangan ng pampagana.

. . . eat-all-you-can lechon!!!

my first plate . . .

Salad, baked potatoes and lechon galore! On my second plate, I ditched the carbs and went for more more salad and more more lechon. We were in luck as most of the foreigners prolly didn't know the best part of the lechon - the crispy skin. Nagfiesta talaga kami ni Tapioca sa lechon skin. Yum!

While enjoying the feast, high school students from Puerto Galera entertained us with some folk dances.

At this point mejo low-bat na our camera's battery. They danced those popular folk dance like tinikling and pandanggo sa ilaw. We were amaze at how these kids balanced the candles on their head. And afterwards they also asked the guests to try the basic steps of tinikling. The foreigner kids had fun with it. Too bad I didn't have any pictures or videos.

. . . the dessert

Dinner will not be complete without dessert. They served some kakanin and fresh fruits but my favorites were biko (the best!), fresh watermelon and mangoes. I had two rounds of these sweets. We were satisfied and happy with dinner but didn't have the energy to party so we called it a night. All we wanted now was a hot shower and a good night sleep.

I thought everything went well for our first day at Coco Beach. We loved everything the place has to offer except for some boo boos we encountered that night. As we hiked up to our cottage, I was happily counting each step we're taking when suddenly there was this stupid, ugly and slimy frog sitting smugly in one of the steps. I was almost about to step on it. It was dark but the pathway was well lit so I knew what I saw was a frog. I screamed from the top of my lungs and gosh my scream echoed. I started to run back down but I realized they might be more frogs in the area or maybe something more scary I didn't want to over think so I just went behind Tapioca and begged him to do something. I would like for him to carry me to the cottage but that's so not going to happen considering it was 170+ step and both of us we're full from the dinner buffet not to mention exhausted. Tapioca tried to shoo the frog away but the darn thing won't move so he had to kicked it out of the way. I swear I was so restless and afraid of another frog encounter. I really wanted Tapioca to give me a piggy back ride LOL.

Aside from the frog incident, we also got lost so it took more time and more steps to get to our room. We went up and down the hill, left and right, and me getting all paranoid thinking about the big chance of seeing another frog or creatures with all these walking. Until finally we found the right pathway. Thank God!

our bed at night - very romantic noh? 

When we got to our room and saw the bed all made-up (thanks to the service family), I totally forgot about my anxieties. But only for a few minutes. From our room we also heard someone screaming. Hah, I'm not alone. Siguro nakakita rin ng palaka or something hehehe.

Tapioca and I decided to take a shower so we can sleep na. While taking a shower, I heard this *tu-ko, tu-ko* sound coming from the outside. I haven't heard that sound for a long time. Back then when I was a little girl my family would go on vacation to the province. My cousins would scare the heck out of me telling stories about mumu and the tiktik and how that tuko sound was somewhat associated with aswang. I was like O-M-G. I was enjoying pa naman my hot shower but no choice, I hurriedly dry myself and went to bed.

I was so stressed out talaga. I do know that tuko is just an ordinary lizard and the aswang thingy was just some mythical creature created to scare people like me. I also didn't like the idea of sharing our room with lizards or any nocturnal creatures for that matter.  I wanted to close all the windows including the balcony but I realized we didn't have aircon. If I did that it's going to be hot inside the room and we might suffocate. For peace of mind, I made sure na naka-tuck in ng mabuti yung mosquito net sa bed so if there would be any creatures na maligaw sa room they won't be able to get onto the bed. And cyempre pa I prayed. I prayed nothing bad would happen to us. You know while all these was happening Tapioca made some remark that somehow lighten up my super tensed nerves. He was like "Babe, the bird was trying to say something." And I was like "What bird?" He said "Listen . . . There. . . It says 'f**k you, f**k you' ". Natawa naman ako ng bongga. Oist, wag green minded ha (effect ng pagbabasa ng Fifty Shades of Grey ^__^). He thought the lizard (tuko) was a bird and it was saying the f word instead of the tuko sound. During our stay in the afternoon we mostly heard birds chirping away and each bird had a different sound from another so ayun akala nya bird pa rin yon LOL.

Basically, eto lang inaman nagpa-stress out sakin during our entire stay. But if I'm going to sum up everything, mas nangibababaw ang magaganda at happy moments namin sa resort. I guess sa sobrang saya namin, we totally forgot we're staying in a different environment. And I did not anticipate any of these. Well, I knew better now and I didn't regret we chose this kind of adventure. This just made our vacation more memorable because of this experience.

My Coco Beach kwento will not end here. There are still  more to come. Just bear with me, okay.


Coco Beach - Carabao Restaurant

Monday, July 23, 2012

Coco beach had this unconventional way of taking care of their guests thru the Service Family. The Service Family lives somewhere near the guests cottages and if you needed their help, you can just holler from the balcony or pull the string. Well, we're civilized people and shouting even on top of the hill isn't our thing. Buti na lang there's another option. The service family showed us how to use it.

. . . see that string in the middle? that's their bell system.

We'd better make sure that the bell rings once we pull that cord para they know we needed assistance. When lunch time arrived, Tapioca was hungry again. I was still full from the rice meal we had from Mini Stop but didn't want to miss out the food. We decided to try out room service from the Carabao Restaurant. Our service family gave us the menu and we wrote our orders. In no time, our food arrived. Freshly cooked and covered in cling wrap(?). Well, we're living in the jungle and something might fall somewhere and landed on the food, that's why.

lunch at the balcony . . .

I love room service. See how happy I am? Now the food . . .

. . . soup of the day

I'm not exactly sure what this soup was called but it has lots of chicken bits and celery, my favorite soup components. And instead of cream they used coconut milk. I'm not really fond of coconut milk (and so does Tapioca) as I grew up with parents who ate anything and everything with coconut milk. I guess I got tired of it. But this soup somehow made an exception. There was no umay factor and the coconut milk went well with the rest of the ingredients.

 tuna sisig . . .

  . . . tokwa't baboy

Tapioca is very particular with tokwa't baboy and sisig as these were just a few of his favorite dishes. Fortunately, both dishes passed his standards.

salad elise surprise . . .

I ordered this salad because I got so intrigued by the description on the menu. It says it's a chef's special. So special the chef will decide what goes into the salad and surprise you. Indeed I was. Serving was generous. It didn't have any dressing. Not sure if the chef forgot or it's part of the surpirse. Anyhow, the salad was bursting with flavors and it had this wonderful textures from all the ingredients. I don't think a dressing is still needed. It has fresh greens, toasted bread, bacons, tapa bits, canned asparagus and stuff I'm not so sure. Over all, it was good.

. . . watermelon shake

The freshest and yummiest watermelon shake I'd ever have. Not too sweet. Kinda like there's no syrup or sugar added. Still it's sweet enough but the sweetness tasted like it all came from the watermelon itself. I believe that is what all fruit shake should be - using fruits that are sweet and the taste should not rely from the added sugar, syrup or any artificial sweeteners.

After all those food, Tapioca and I admired the beauty around us. Then it's siesta time. Later will be happy hour. Buy one cocktail get one free. I set my alarm and we took the much needed Zzz.

Carabao Restaurant's bar . . .

We slept so well we didn't want to wake up for the happy hour. Luckily when we decided to get up, we're still able to catch the last minutes of happy hour. Tapioca ordered Kamikaze while I had the Mango Daiquiri. We requested to have our drinks delivered at the pool area. Alas, the pool area was crowded and all sun beds occupied. We checked out the beach area and there was not much people around. We hung out a bit at the pool area and when our drinks arrive, we transferred to the beach.

. . . cocktails, the beach and the sundown

I love their fruit shakes but their cocktail was the opposite. It was terrible. So terrible and not enjoyable. It was spiked up with too much alcohol that you can't have a single sip without making a sour face. I hardly finished my first glass so the free cocktail went to waste :-(

Coco Beach didn't have a really nice beach. It was very rocky. Buti na lang they have swimming pools. During low tide, the shore even gets more rocky. Still, for folks like us who haven't been to the beach for quite a while now, our feet welcomed the rocky sands. The warm water of the sea was very inviting. We took a dip for a few minutes before the sun sets. Then we transferred back to the pool. This time it was less crowded so we were able to enjoy ourselves.

The pool was heated. Me likey. I can stay on the pool for hours but we have to get ready for the dinner party. Tapioca and I signed up for the Garden Fiesta Party. We'll be having roast pig for dinner. Yay. No time to hike back up to our cottage we dried ourselves and headed to the garden.


The Coco Beach Experience

Friday, July 20, 2012

Upon arrival, we were welcome with a lively song from the staff.  They draped shell lei around our necks and gave us coconut juice as welcome drinks.

We booked a hilltop suite by Tapioca's suggestion based on his previous visit. It's a little cottage setup along the hills with a great view of the sea. I double checked with him and made sure he wanted that room. It may have a spectacular view but I'm not sure if he has the energy to go all the way up and down during our stay. He said he was absolutely sure about it. When he saw the notes on our reservation about getting the highest room possible that's when he started complaining. The complain never stopped even while we were being led to our room by the service family assigned to us.

The room given to us was Suite #80. Good thing the service family explained that it was actually located at the lowest part of all the hilltop rooms. The highest would be Suite#85. Upon learning that, Tapioca finally stop complaining while I, got a little disappointed. Despite the tiring trek all the way up I still wanted Suite #85. Yeah, I'm crazy like that and I wanted to give Tapioca what he's asking for. LOL.

. . . inside our room

The service family showed us the room.  There was a queen-size bed and on top was two complimentary bottled water and bath towels all setup nicely. Aside from the bath towels, we were also provided two beach towels. The bed was not the best bed but it's comfy enough. There's also a  decent dresser. On the right side, there's a closet and a safety deposit box. To the left, there was this lovely window seat with cushion and a pillow. It's a pretty little nook for reading books or just chilling out and watching the view outside. O cya, magpictorial daw ako so you see how nice it was . . .

The perfect spot and so am I  (I kid. Yeah I'm a kid hahahaha!).

And the bathroom . . .

a peek inside the bathroom . . .

I love the bathroom especially the his and her wash basins with wooden drawer! And the separate shower stall. Did I tell you it was spacious, functional and most importantly, very clean? Actually, the entire room was immaculate. I also love the wooden floor. The flooring was so clean it squeaks whenever we walk around the room. The native design and the natural materials used in the room as well as the furniture gave it a cozy and homey feel. I'm happy to report that the pictures on their website did not deceive.

. . . Suite #85

You see that roof in the top middle? That's Suite#85. Our room was about 170+ steps from the ground. I'm guessing Suite #85 has more than 200 steps. I was trying to convince Tapioca to see the view from that room hoping he'd change his mind and perhaps he agrees to change rooms, too. Oh well, he had enough trekking already and the idea failed.

anito keychain . . .

This keychain isn't just any ordinary wooden keychain that you usually get (or give) as souveniers. It has a purpose. Our cottage gets powered by inserting the anito into the wooden slot.

. . . see? it fits!

Now we can turn on the lights, the electric fan and the water heater in the shower. Yes, you read it right. No aircon, no TV. Even hair dryer is not allowed since the power supply in the island is limited. At first, I though the room was price unreasonably knowing there's no aircon and TV. Then I realized we are actually paying for the view.

Anyway we love our privy little cottage very much. They do have rooms with aircon and TV but they are located at the ground level. Tapioca and I thought we can always have aircon and tv back in the city. This is what we're after and our favorite part of the suite  . . .

. . .  no, I'm not talking about Tapioca!

Oops! Wrong picture. I know he's lovable but . . . Let's try it again, shall we?

 . . . the balcony

There! At least hindi na maciado naka-focus si Tapioca LOL. Aside from the bed, this is where we spent most of our time.

sitting in the lounge chair . . .

. . . holding hands 

relaxing on the hammock . . .

 while enjoying this view. . .

The beach, the jungle and its many many palm trees. Such a stunning view. Crashing waves, chirping birds, rustling trees . . . music to my ears. It's very comforting and oh so relaxing. We didn't even need an mp3 player, a telly or any gadgets to keep us entertain. Coco Beach is the place to be if you wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.


Coco Beach - Tropical Island Paradise

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer maybe over but not for us folks. When the opportunity came to get some R&R we decided to hit the beach. It's never too late to experience the sand, the sea and (hopefully) the sun even on this rainy month of July. Living in a tropical country our options were endless. The only thing limited was our budget. Still we didn't want that limitation to dampen our enthusiasm over this much awaited vacation. Our destination - Coco Beach Island Resort in Puerto Galera.

Tapioca was able to visit Coco Beach before when he was younger. Their website says it all and I got sold. We contacted their Manila office and booked a 3 days/2 nights accommodation. We also availed of the Coco Beach Express shuttle service which will bring us directly to the resort. The fee was a little steep but it's nothing compared to the convenience we're gonna get. Believe me, I've been to Puerto Galera before and the hassle of haggling and dealing with people from Batangas pier was quite an experience and not very appealing if you wanted a stress-free vacation.

 . . . at Diamond Hotel's lobby

The shuttle service leaves at exactly 6:30am at the Diamond Hotel. We arrived at quarter to six and we still haven't had breakfast so we checked out the hotel's breakfast menu. Everything was so darn expensive. Well, it's expected from a 5 star hotel. It would be wiser to avail of the breakfast buffet instead of ala carte. However, the buffet won't open until 6am. Spending thirty minutes on brekky buffet was not practical so we looked for an alternative. Rice meals from Mini Stop convenience store right outside the hotel! This was a late decision. The driver has arrived and already looking for us. Poor Tapioca, he was very hungry and he had to hold up the van to get our meals. Buti naman mamang driver was patient enough. We left the hotel at 7:00am and had our breakfast inside the van :-)

kodakan moments inside the van . . . 

Mamang driver drove us all the way to Batangas. It only took an hour and thirty minutes including stop over at Calamba, Laguna to pick up other passengers going to the resort. Man, he drives really fast.

We were drop off in a private port in Batangas where an outrigger boat was waiting for us. Boatmen assisted us and picked up our heavy bags. Talk about VIP treatment. As soon as everyone has settled, all passengers were given life vests and off we sailed. More more ng picture taking. Sa boat naman . . .

. . . Tapioca

Jellybean . . .

We only had 2 hours of sleep so we tried to take a nap during the boat ride.  In the middle of our trip the boat suddenly stopped and all the passengers had this strange look. Then they pointed out a group of dolphins blocking our way.

. . . a single dolphin caught on camera

It was amazing. Our first time to see dolphins - in flesh and in a big group. It was hard to take pictures of these cute creatures since they swam really fast. We then decided to take a video but it turned out very shaky and we we're only able to capture the dolphins in a few seconds before they're gone out of sight. They said dolphins are one of the attractions here in Puerto Galera especially when the water's calm.

. . . we're almost there

Since the weather was good and the water was calm, we were able to reach the resort in less than an hour. The outrigger boat can't dock on the shores of Coco Beach so we have to transfer to a smaller boat and put on our life vest.

. . . to be continued.


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