Had a day of relaxation at the beach last weekend – Sunday, November 21. This was at a beach resort at one of the southern tips of Batangas. It’s in the title by the way. About a two and a half hour drive from Metro Manila. Make that three with short stops in between. Was with my brother and sister on this trip.
But why on a Sunday? And why just a day? This was the only date that worked for all three of us that did not fall on a holiday, or push as late as December, I guess. Busy work schedules and life. 😎
This was my first time in Batangas. If I did venture to this Philippines province before it might have been nearer to where Batangas and Tagaytay meet. So this was perhaps my longest drive ever. Still not used to it. I have been driving for several years now, but mostly within city limits. My last trip outside Metro Manila in Angeles City, Pampanga was a shorter drive. About two hours, maybe even quicker if not for the necessary stopovers for coffee and the toilet breaks. Come to think of it, I have been racking up road trips for the last couple of months it seems. In fact, two in the same month of November 2021 now and one last October too.
The last time I was at the beach was over two years ago, some time in March of 2019. With Gem. Somewhere in Mactan, Cebu. That was just barely before the Covid19 lockdown took effect in the entire Philippines. Heck, the whole freaking world. This pandemic really screwed us over. My planned trips to Japan were cancelled as a result. After being cooped up inside the house for almost 2 years, these road trips are really a welcome break.
This is not really a review of the place. Just sharing my experience there.
There are parking spaces. I don’t think it is enough. Over half the parking spots were along the road. The rest are at the resort’s driveway which became a converted parking lot of up to four vehicles. The resort was not at full capacity when we went there. If that was a summer weekend, at peak season, I don’t think there would be enough space for parking for everyone. Not unless they came in using public transportation. So if you’re a big family or a group of friends, best to come in one vehicle when possible, I’d say. Probably a large van. Saves you the trouble, and gives other guests room for parking for their vehicles too.
Lunch, dinner and breakfast are included in the stay. That comes with the main dish, soup and dessert. You can order anything from the main menu for the main dish. The soup and dessert is whatever they have prepared at the time for lunch and dinner. I don’t think breakfast came with soup or dessert, but they did have freshly brewed coffee with it. The rest of the drinks you’ll have to pay extra.
I would say the food tasted good. I particularly liked that tomato-based soup for dinner they gave us. It was delicious. The only thing is that the fish portions, that salmon cut you see in the picture, is small-ish. It would have been perfect if it was a bigger cut. The pork meals I ordered were plenty enough though. The same with the breakfast meal.
Amenities and Facilities
Note really sure if there were function rooms or something similar. I think there is a massage room. A tiny hut as you go down the path that leads to the open dining area. So there should have been massage services offered. Due to the pandemic this was not available during our stay.
A rectangular freshwater pool lies by the cliff-side and overlooking the beach. The view is quite nice. Especially on a sunny day where you can see far and beyond. I suppose watching sunsets too, since it is facing westward. The smaller islands of Sombrero and Caban, both situated near the larger Marikaban Island just across Batangas, are quite visible from this vantage point. There are chairs and tables along one side.
If you’d rather dive into the sea and feel the sand and the saltwater on your feet and skin, head on down to the beach. The waters are clear and calm. You’ll have to go down a short trek via a sort of winding steps. There was supposed to be a monsoon around that area on that day but there was none of that when we got there. Thankfully so. It is always nice to have clear skies and the sun out when at the beach.
Going down the same path, the dining place is situated almost at the bottom of these steps. This also doubled as a lounging area where people can hang around to drink coffee or sip cocktails. There were a number of chairs and low tables placed in the forward part of this area facing the beach. Directly behind is the main dining hall where a few tables for four are neatly arranged in rows.
Oh, by the way, I might have mentioned cliff-side and winding stairs. Yes, this place - Vivere Azure - is located by a cliff. You come in from the top, and go all the way down to get to the beach. There are several levels to this place. For example, the receiving area, the pool and garden are at the upper levels. The largest, most expensive suites go up one flight higher. Then there are more guest rooms at the lower parts of the resort. The dining area, "massage hut" are at the lower-mid levels. With this, you may really work out a sweat going up and down the place.
Finally, there are lounging chairs arrayed on a platform right by the beach where one could lie down and take a break after all that swimming. If you’re not up for a swim, one can simply take a nap at this spot with the sound of the waves lapping the shoreline and the rustle of the leaves above, without worrying about getting burned by the sun. Because a huge tree guards the spot with its sprawling branches and big leaves as cover. That’s just what I did as I laid down lazily at this spot, enjoying my beer and looking at the beachgoers, the sea, and dozing off in between.
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