Day 6: April 28, 2010 - Coron Village Lodge and CLUB PARADISE!!!
I woke up at 5am feeling really sick. Very bad congestion, headache and a bit of throat irritation. Not a good sign. Worse, I could hear a steady drizzle on the roof! By 5:45, I woke Ariel and we got ready to leave. Bags packed, room checked, we headed down to the front desk. Only, there was no front desk. The office is still closed. By 6:15, our scheduled departure, there was no sign of the CVL staff, nor was there any van waiting to take us to the airport where Club Paradise crew will pick us up. At 6:30, the van arrived and started loading our bags along with some other passengers'. Still no sign of the office personnel. At 6:40, the office lady finally came and with shocked face told me that we still have a balance of P200+. I told her that I wanted to settle that the night before but she said she will be in at 6am so it's her incompetence that placed us in this position where we need to rush to the airport (actually, we really didn't have to rush but other passengers needed to catch a flight to Manila) but we couldn't leave yet since we need to settle our P200+ balance. Of course I said it nicely. Good thing it was a quick transaction and soon, we were cruising along a scenic road back to Busuanga Airport. At this time, the rain already stopped but dark clouds still loomed above us. Our driver drove like a maniac which made up for the time we wasted waiting at the office. It didn't take long before we drove into the departure section of the airport.
After a few minutes, the Club Paradise jeep arrived. There were a few other guests from Coron who, like us, will also transfer to Club Paradise. We boarded the jeep but had to wait for more guests arriving from Manila. At around 8am, the guests finally arrived and we started the land trip to the river dock. The ride was about 40minutes along a mostly dusty dirt road. Then we transferred in a boat docked by the river. Among the guests were a Japanese family with two young boys, a Filipino family with 3 kids and a grandmother, and a Korean couple wearing matching shirts (I initially thought they were Fil-Chinese but Ariel pointed out the matching outfits). We cruised through the mangrove-lined river until we reached the ocean. Sandwiches and juice drinks were served to the guests - an early taste of Club Paradise's excellent service.
The waves were a bit rough since the weather wasn't so good and water started splashing onto our faces. The staff started handing out Club Paradise- embroidered towels to keep us from getting wet. After a few minutes, we set anchor in front of El Rio Y Mar Resort nestled into the side of a big island (which we found out is still connected to mainland Busuanga). We were later informed that El Rio Y Mar is a sister resort of Club Paradise.
After almost an hour, we finally stepped into the blinding white sand beach of Club Paradise.
We were ushered into the reception area where cold welcome drinks awaited us and a group of musicians serenaded us with a welcome song.
We quickly filled out the paperworks and a quick orientation ensued. Since it was still early (not even 10am), we couldn't check in to our beachfront cottage. We were ushered into another cottage (a duplex) where we could freshen up and relax until the 2pm check in time. Our temporary cottage was just a few steps away from the sunrise beach. We were told that our beachfront cottage would be similar in size and interiors but single-detached. We just relaxed for a bit before deciding to explore the area.
Just before noon, we started walking towards the main hall. We stopped by the spa to schedule a massage that afternoon. Then we went into the front desk to check out the tours. We decided to sign up for a Calauit Tour morning of the next day. However, the tour requires a minimum of four guests so we had to wait for other guests to sign in, otherwise,we would need to pay for four.
Ahhh lunch! A mouthwatering spread welcomed us into the main dining hall. The appetizers alone were enough to satisfy my cravings. Olives. Two kinds of smoked fish. Yummy. There were 3 to 4 main dishes aside from the rice and steamed veggies. And the dessert! I had to stop myself from getting some.
After lunch, we were advised that our room was ready so we checked in by around 1pm. Our cottage is located at the sunset beach. The room was spacious, furnished with a king-sized bed, a coffee table with two chairs, and a dresser table. The bathroom had hot and cold shower and full amenities were provided - towels and toiletries. There is a walk-in closet with dresser table. In one corner of the room is the mini bar.
At 2:30pm, we went to the spa for our massage. Heavenly! We just relaxed the rest of the afternoon. By 6pm, we got outside to walk by the beach and take photos.
We heard a loud squeaking above us and was surprised and awed by what we saw. Thousands of huge fruit bats were flying above us, ready to fly out into the night in search for food. As part of our orientation that morning, the front desk staff mentioned that Dimakya Island is home to fruit bats. We had no idea there were so many of them. For about 30 minutes, we just marveled at the sight of the bats flying across the sky.
At dinner, we were treated to a beautiful full moon. I didn't bring my camera at first so we made plans to go back to the cottage after dinner to get my camera and tripod so we can take photos by the beach. We later found out that there would be a cultural show during dinner. So we decided to stay a bit longer to see the show. After that, we got our cameras and took photos by the beach. It was a huge blessing to be at a beautiful island and having a full moon made it even more beautiful.
We had a wonderful time just relaxing throughout the day. I took cold meds round the clock and pumped my body with Vitamin C morning and evening. I was still not feeling 100% when we retired for the night but that didn't stop me from enjoying our first day at Club Paradise.
For the complete set of photos, click here.
To read part 5, click here.