Oh hey! Just got back from our Caramoan trip and I’m still trying to get into things since I came back. The trip was a belated birthday gift from us to us because our line of work gets old real fast without beach breaks.
Anyhoo! We decided to head to Caramoan in Camarines Sur! There were several resorts in the area but I chose Tugawe Cove Resort in Colongcogong, Caramoan because I heard it’s the nicest resort around. I was right!
In case you’d like to know how we got to the resort, we took a flight that goes to Virac airport in Catanduanes. Then, we met with our driver at the airport. The resort will provide the car for the 45-minute ride to the port. From the port, you’ll head to the resort, which takes another 30 minutes. This route is the quickest, btw.
After all that traveling, we were dropped off at the back of the resort where the resort manager and a couple of the staff members greeted us! A golf cart was also on standby to take us to the resort lobby:
After taking care of the paperwork, we were led to the restaurant nearby for a quick snack: a watermelon shake and a small serving of Tugawe Cove’s famed maruya. The rumors are true, the maruya is heavenly! It wasn’t overly sweet and is slightly crunchy too. The melted cheese on top adds to the complexity of the flavor. On the other hand, the watermelon shake is so, so refreshing. Went perfectly with that gorgeous background:
One of the resort’s most popular attractions is the infinity pool. The infinity pool overlooks the hilly landscape beyond and yes, it’s a breathtaking view. I noticed how the landscapes are always so dramatic in Caramoan. The resort has two infinity pools, one is situated near the beach and the other (the more popular one) is just a few steps away from the resto:
Between the two, we only got to try the first one near the beach. The weather’s surprisingly cloudy and windy when we arrived but we still braved the beach. The waves proved to be too big so we retreated to the nearby pool. Below is a picture of the restaurant:
Our room can be seen from the resto. According to our butler, Gerald, our room has the best view of the resort and he’s right. Since the room sits high above other rooms, it does offer a better view of the surrounding landscapes. Below is a snapshot of the restaurant from our room balcony. So nice!
Our room comes with a king-sized bed, a small seating area, a sizable bathroom (no bathtub, unfortunately), flat screen TV and satellite cable.
As far as the amenities go, they are so great. The pieces of furniture look and feel new. The bed and the pillows are luxurious, they gave me some of the best sleep of my life!
Here is a quick room tour:
Near the restaurant is a swing. According to Gerald, this area used to be a playground before typhoon Nina. I love the rustic, scenic setting and the lush greeneries. Tugawe Cove Resort is such a great place for recharging a frazzled spirit.
I only got to swim on the beach once, unfortunately. No, nothing’s wrong with the beach, it’s perfect! We just went beach hopping and spent most of our time outside the resort so we didn’t have the energy left to swim some more! If you want to know what the beach looks like, check out this quick clip:
As you can see, the beach is just as picturesque as the rest of attractions at Tugawe Cove resort. The weather’s a little windy so the waters aren’t as calm but I bet this place looks even better on a clear, cloudless day! The water is clear although not as clear as Pearl Farm. If you love snorkeling, the deeper parts of the water are teeming with marine life. The beach is a little pebbly but it’s not too bad.
If there’s one thing that I feel this resort should improve on, it’s the seating near the beach. They were using monobloc siesta beds of sort that are always being knocked over by the strong winds. The owners should invest on heavy-duty and hefty lounge chairs so guests could enjoy the view without worrying about their things being knocked over by the wind. Also, the seating areas do not offer decent shade and I wish there were cabanas that could protect the guests from direct sunlight. I don’t like tanning my skin and I’m trying not to get too much sun. It was hard because I really can’t find a shaded spot near the shores. Thankfully, I wore a large brimmed hat!
I’m always mindful of the customer service, especially if I’m staying at a high-end resort. Tugawe Cove resort’s customer service is better than some, but there is always room for improvement. We enjoyed our stay because the staff members are so nice. They were courteous and warm. They were fast and efficient too!
However, we feel that the resort is sorely under-staffed. There were times when no one was in the lobby or restaurant because the staff members were busy attending to the guests. Gerald, who’s our designated guide or “butler” is helpful. He made our stay so convenient and fun. We asked him to arrange a picnic (my first picnic!) by the lighthouse, a beach-hopping sojourn, and an hour-long massage and everything went smoothly. I will talk about these experiences in the next post!
I read quite a few reviews before choosing Tugawe Cove and I noticed that most guests complain about the food. I’m not a picky eater but I found nothing to complain about. I feel that some people are just nit-picking when it came to the food because I was there for four days and I tried the buffet and the full-board meals. They were awesome. They’re not five-star quality but for a resort that’s so remote, the chef did a great job.
What you’re seeing above is our first meal. We had grilled zucchini, grilled tanigue tails, meatballs with gravy, and gambas. Every dish was cooked to perfection. The servings were so excessively large. We came to a point when we begged Gerald to minimize the next meals’ servings to no avail. If you opt for the full board meals like we did, prepare to be overwhelmed by food. A typical meal consists of at least 4 dishes + rice + desserts. If this was a man vs. food episode, we lost every round.
The Dreaded Steps
The 200+ steps that lead to the beach is a sore issue for some guests. I must admit, my legs were killing me going to the beach and back to our room. FYI: our room was at the top of the hill, near the restaurant while the beach is below the hill. However, I expected that my legs would hurt because I did my research, bitches.
It’s not so bad, to be honest. Yes, the steps will make your legs hurt but as long as you 1) did your research and 2) brought a backpack so you have something to store your beach essentials before heading to the beach, I think the steps aren’t really worth stressing about.
Don’t choose this resort if you are traveling with seniors or people with disabilities/joint problems, that’s my advice. This is simply not a senior-friendly resort because the landscape is naturally hilly. It’s not rocket science. Also, keep a checklist of all the stuff you need with you before heading to the beach. One time, we forgot to pack our swim shoes and we chose to walk over the pebbly areas rather than head back to our room to fetch our swim shoes.
Also, and this one is for Filipino visitors, wag nga kayong maarte. Quite honestly, I heard guests complaining about the steps aloud several times (within earshot of the staff members) and I found that rude and obnoxious. They are trying their best and the owners made the most out of the obviously unyielding terrain. Again, this place is not seniors or PWD-friendly so save yourself the headache of climbing a small hill and go elsewhere instead of complaining about something that’s been explicitly explained on the resort’s website, intiendes?
Oh wow, this post is getting too long! I will outline all the activities we did in the next post, cheers!