Tag Archives: swimming pools

Serene Escape to Club Punta Fuego, Batangas

As with any adventure, it started with an opportunity. A rare opportunity. While the past two Presidents have sadly ended the policy of long weekends, this year brings together a semestral break (perfect for the kids) and a 4-day long weekend (that brings in the parents and everyone who works to earn their keep). It’s traditionally a time to visit the graves and whisper some prayers for our dearly departed on All Soul’s Day. A sight to behold, really. Come to think of it, why do people bring alcohol and other favorite food of loved ones who have gone ahead? People would like to think that it’s for the dead. But as they say, a wake and all tradition pertaining to death is for the living, not the dead.

The drive to Club Punta Fuego is a perfect time to commune with nature and, if you happen to travel around All Soul’s Day, try establish that bluetooth connection with your loved ones from the other world. It’s a bit of a drive — under 3 hours if you pause to grab a bite and those selfies on the road (although that’s just a quick drive if you’ve travelled straight to Pagudpud, Caramoan or Misibis by land from Manila) — so you’ll have plenty enough time to reflect and talk to them.

How to Get There; Directions

Now, before proceeding, let’s get rid of a preliminary matter — how to get there? There’s a lot of road leading to Nasugbu, where Club Punta Fuego is quietly hidden. The resort’s website gives to options, and we assume these are the best options because, well, they’re the ones who should know better:

OPTION 1: From Manila via the newly opened Ternate – Nasugbu Highway. Make your way to Roxas Boulevard in Parañaque and head south taking the Manila – Cavite Expressway (Coastal Road) and continue on to the Centennial Road in Kawit, Cavite. Stay on Centennial Road to Antero Soriano Highway to Governor’s Drive until you reach Ternate. Keep following Governor’s Drive until you see the left turn to the Ternate – Nasugbu Highway. Take the Ternate – Nasugbu Highway as it winds up Mt. Palay-Palay and follow the signs, passing through Kaybiang Tunnel, and skirt the mountainside overlooking the West Philippine Sea. Stay on the highway taking you through Barangays Looc, Calayo, and Balaytigue where you turn right to reach the gate of Peninsula de Punta Fuego.

OPTION 2: From Manila via South Luzon Expressway to Tagaytay. Head south on South Luzon Expressway and exit at Sta. Rosa. Continue on Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road and turn right at Tagaytay – Calamba Road and cross the Tagaytay rotunda junction. Stay on the Tagaytay – Nasugbu Highway until you reach Brgy. Palico and turn right on the Palico – Nasugbu Highway. Turn right on J. P. Laurel St. and pass through Nasugbu town proper. Stay on the road until it becomes Nasugbu – Ternate Highway, heading northbound until you reach the entrance of Brgy. Balaytigue on the left. Turn left on Brgy. Balaytigue and follow the road to reach the gate of Peninsula de Punta Fuego.

Option 2 is nice, with a big “but”. It’s nice because it goes through the scenic Tagaytay, with the majestic view of Taal Lake (or Taal Volcano, however you would like to call it), tons of dining options, and the Sky Ranch. Tagaytay is like Boracay in the sky — it’s crowded, but you’ll have the best of both nature and modern living. The crowd, coupled with tiny roads that haven’t been expanded for as long as we can remember. What do you get? Gridlock. This is why we either avoid Tagaytay City or go there during unholy hours, although it seems people have the same gameplan, if we consider the long line in Starbucks even after midnight.

There’s a longer, but potentially faster and more scenic, route: bypassing the Sta. Rosa exit in SLEX, going through the Star Tollway, taking the first exit at Tanauan, turning right at the tollgate, then heading straight through Talisay and Laurel, then to Nasugbu. We pass here from time to time, through the backwoods of Tagaytay, if we see that Sta. Rosa is choked, which is increasingly becoming the norm.

We chose Option 1. We haven’t tried this route, but it appears to be the most direct path. Plus, we heard the roads are much better. Going into the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) from Mall of Asia (MOA) was a breeze. Short, fast drive, with three potential points of confusion. First, the fork that leads to Las Pinas and Cavite: stick to the left side of the highway (the right side off-ramp that wraps around the highway leads to Las Pinas). Second, the exit right after the toll gates: again, stick to the left side. Third, just a few minutes from the toll gates, there’s a four-road intersection: just go straight through the middle (doesn’t look right the correct way, but, yes, just head straight). From then on, just follow the main road until you encounter the Kaybiang (Ternate-Nasugbu) Tunnel in Mt. Palay-Palay. You’re not there yet. Club Punta Fuego is a good 20 minutes ride from there. Just follow the directions and you’ll be just fine.

History

Punta Fuego, or Fuego Point (fuego is Spanish for fire), is the name of the area, located in Barangay Balaytigue, town of Nasugbu in Batangas province. It is said that Punta Fuego derived its name from the military command fuego! (fire!), purportedly heard by the locals during the time when Spain, the former colonizer of the Philippines, was defending the territory from the invading Dutch forces in the 1600s. It would have been a terrifying naval battle, as both Spain and Netherlands were sea powers during that time.

History, to many students, is definitely boring, yet it’s a fascinating subject that helps piece together seemingly unrelated places and facts. Take for instance, the battle waged in the Punta Fuego area between the Spaniards and the Dutch. Not a few souls, including Filipinos, will be surprised to know that the Dutch were here in the Philippines at some point in our history. That battle in Punta Fuego is part of the Battles of La Naval de Manila, won by Spain. The victory is attributed by the religious (and who wasn’t religious at that time?) to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, now known as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila (Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario de La Naval de Manila), with the Sto. Domingo Church (Quezon City, Metro Manila) as her shrine. It’s no surprise that she is the patroness of the Philippine navy.

This piece of historical knowledge won’t help you navigate to Punta Fuego, of course, but it will impress your travel mates, specially if you are making porma to the girl of your dreams. So, kids, take your history lessons seriously.

Premier Membership Resort Club

“Club Punta Fuego is a premiere membership resort club located on Peninsula de Punta Fuego on the pristine coast of Nasugbu, Batangas. It is a first class recreation facility offering services and amenities comparable only to the best resorts and hotels in the world.” That’s what the resort says in its website. Sounds nice, although we’ve since wondered why there’s a “Book Now” button on the resort’s website, and non-members like us can book a quick getaway, when Club Punta Fuego is a “premiere membership resort club.” We should have asked the management while we were there. Not that we mind. On the contrary, opening the resort to non-members is good for the club’s bottomline and even better for the general public who seeks a blissful hideaway.

There were only three things we did in Club Punta Fuego: stay at the swimming pools, eat, and rest. Then repeat. We only had three things in mind going to Club Punta Fuego. There’s a nine-hole golf course (a mini-golf course, too), a tennis court, and an indoor squash court. We didn’t have the interest to use any of those. Guests can go biking, snorkeling, jest skiing, wake boarding, kayaking, and banana boating. Yet we didn’t do any of those. We planned to watch a movie at the mini-theater, but too tired and preoccupied with the beaches and the swimming pools. The kinds, though, didn’t let the Play Room go to waste.

The place, with its beautiful Spanish-Mediterranean architecture, is gracefully showing its age. A more modern addition can be found a few kilometers down the road, the Terrazas de Punta Fuego, is also a beach property, with its cabanas and locker rooms open to members/guests of Club Punta Fuego.

Peace and Quiet

If there’s one thing that we appreciate the most about Club Punta Fuego, it’s the relative seclusion of the place.

We don’t really know if we caught the resort in its off-season. It was wonderfully quiet. There were only two other persons in the infinity pool perched on the cliff overlooking the cove, and none in the regular pool beside the beach. There were only a handful of tanned bodies littering the beachfront and the jetski looks quite bored, just sitting there on the tranquil sea. Two other tables were occupied during breakfast, with the rest of the unoccupied tables enough to host an imaginary wedding reception. There were no kids in the Play Room, with the PS3 and its company of toys longing to be used. It felt like we had the place all to ourselves and yet we had to pay only P7,000 for the overnight stay (free breakfast included). That’s getting the full bang for your buck, unlike some overhyped hotels in the metro.

[To be continued. Check the updates from time.]

The Jewel of the South, Pearl Farm Beach Resort (Samal Island, Davao): Photo of the Day

“Have you seen a better view?,” asks Pearl Farm Beach Resort (check its Instagram account, @pearlfarmofficial, for more photos). Dangerous question, sir. To be perfectly honest, yes, we have seen better views — Palawan, Batanes, Caramoan, Panglao, to name a few. But the Pearl Farm can definitely hold its own among the best. We love the Pearl Farm Beach Resort, also called Jewel of the South, in Samal Island, Davao. There are reasons why the Pearl Farm Beach Resort is a two-time recipient of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) accreditation as a Class A Resort, which speaks volumes about this resort (also a two-time recipient of the Resort of the Year from Kalakbay Awards). Those reasons include its relaxing serenity and how the gorgeous infrastructure tastefully blends with the natural beauty of the place. Yes, we will go back at the Pearl Farm, and, yes, when we’re lounging in that infinity pool, we will definitely revisit the same question: have we seen a better view? Click the photo to enlarge.
Continue reading The Jewel of the South, Pearl Farm Beach Resort (Samal Island, Davao): Photo of the Day

The Bellevue Resort (Bohol): Photo of the Day

When we travel, we always make it a point to wake up early and catch the sunrise. It’s always a wonderful time, sunrise. The play of strong colors that pick up where sunset left off. The serene world that is free from the agonies of the night and the harsh reality of the day. People are still asleep and you have the world to yourself. Even nature is calm, with the waves toned down and the breeze gentle. So, it’s always a joy to see beautiful photos like this, with the infinity pool reflecting the sunrise at The Bellevue Resort in Bohol, courtesy of @marolayta. You have beautiful country there, @marolayta. Click the photo to enlarge:

Continue reading The Bellevue Resort (Bohol): Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day: Endless Sunrise/Sunset

An infinity pool — which is “a swimming or reflecting pool that produces a visual effect of water extending to the horizon, vanishing, or extending to infinity” — is pretty easy to spot. No two infinity pools are the same, of course, but if we add the gorgeous Philippine sunset or sunrise to the scene, the task of differentiating infinity pools becomes extra difficult. To illustrate, take a look at these two photos. We first encountered the photo snapped by Jaymie del Fonso (jam0i). It’s the infinity pool of Shangri-La Mactan at sunset. It’s a beachside resort, yet it resembles the beautiful view of clouds blanketing the highest peak in Luzon, Mt. Plug. It’s like the sky has descended to allow earthlings a limited moment to enjoy heavenly beauty. Look at this photo (click photo to enlarge): Continue reading Photo of the Day: Endless Sunrise/Sunset

Misibis Nights and Misibis Bay

Misibis Bay, found in the island of Cagraray, is not exactly near Manila. Neither is the choice of this beach destination totally free of safety concerns, at least in the last few weeks, with Daragang Mayon’s most recent rumblings. This resort paradise, after all, basks in the shadow of the world’s most perfect cone volcano, Mt. Mayon, spewing lava in the past days, prompting the local government to evacuate residents in the volcano’s permanent danger zone. Of course, we very well know that travel does not come without risks — after seriously considering the cards dealt on us, we came to a doubt-free conclusion that Misibis Bay must be explored and, with the decision to make the trip more adventurous with a long drive, it turned out to be an experience of Misibis Bay by day and night. Continue reading Misibis Nights and Misibis Bay

Luxurious Refuge at Crimson Resort and Spa (Mactan, Cebu)

It’s amazing how a lot of resorts and destinations in Mactan Island — conveniently located just beside, and connected by two bridges from, the main island of Cebu — are hidden from plain sight. We won’t be surprised if a lot of our readers, even those living in Mactan and Cebu, haven’t heard of Crimson Resort & Spa. We certainly didn’t know Crimson Resort existed, not until Doc Aldrin brought us there. Navigating the narrow roads of Mactan made us realize why Crimson Resort should be labeled a hidden paradise. Continue reading Luxurious Refuge at Crimson Resort and Spa (Mactan, Cebu)

Water Fun at Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks (Clarkfield, Pampanga)

No two places are the same, in the same way that no place is the same in the eyes of different persons. In the world of water theme parks, our new favorite is the Imperial Palace Waterpark and Spa Cebu, basically because it’s the newest and cleanest among the waterpark lot. It’s found in Central Visayas, which means that it’s not a default option for a quickie weekend getaway for someone living in Luzon. The next option, just south of Metro Manila, is the Splash Island, with the most number of exciting water slides. But Splash Island feels like a theme park in serious search for its soul, so there’s a challenge to search for another water theme park at the other end of the metro. And so with hearts overflowing with adventure (and a tank filled with just enough gas), we found our way through the North Luzon Expressway, totally clueless of a destination. Continue reading Water Fun at Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks (Clarkfield, Pampanga)

Swimming Pool of Cocoon Boutique Hotel

A hotel’s swimming pool has its unique pull on certain guests. The fact that Cocoon Boutique Hotel has a pool made us decide to visit it over the long weekend. Now, there are reasons why we’re writing separately on the swimming pool of Cocoon Boutique Hotel. There are reasons why we’re writing this article ahead of the main article for this unassuming yet sophisticated hotel somewhere in the heart of Quezon City. Continue reading Swimming Pool of Cocoon Boutique Hotel

Palm Beach Resort (San Juan, Batangas)

The drive is long. The road from Manila to San Juan, Batangas, through the SLEX and Star Tollway, may be smooth, thankfully, but it’s still a long drive. And it’s not surprising to doubt if, at the final stretch through that quiet cemetery, the narrow and unpaved road leads anywhere good. But there it waits, that oasis of serenity called Palm Beach Resort. Continue reading Palm Beach Resort (San Juan, Batangas)

Imperial Palace Waterpark and Spa Cebu

In terms of historical significance, we know Mactan Island as the place where the forces of the Spanish conquestador, Ferdinand Magellan, and the Filipino forces of Lapu-Lapu, [see also Revisiting Magellan’s Cross, Mactan Shrine and Basilica del Sto. Nino]. In terms of tourist attractions, we know Mactan Island as the location of a number fine beaches and 5-star resorts, including the Imperial Palace Waterpark and Spa CebuContinue reading Imperial Palace Waterpark and Spa Cebu