Isla Polillo Beach Resort was the only fully operational resort that we found online while looking for a place to stay in Polillo Island in Quezon Province. Another exclusive resort called Balesin Resort (located on Balesin Island off the coast of Polillo) was currently under renovation. It turned out to be a good thing that we booked our first night’s accommodation with the resort in advance.
We hadn’t expected the journey from Manila to this remote island in Quezon to be so long and tiring, and finding a place to stay in an unfamiliar area with heavy backpacks in tow would have made everything more stressful. The serenity of this beach resort, however, with its lush surroundings and the melodic calls of the many birds that frequent the area was a great breather for us after the uncomfortable and chaotic journey.
Upon arrival at the Polillo Town Pier, it was only a 20-minute tricycle ride to the resort. Although we had planned the resort to be just a jump off point for our four-day island exploration, it turned out to be a good destination in its own right. We were welcomed warmly by the very friendly caretaker (Tita Pines) who is also the aunt of the resort’s owner. Our lunch was already set in the dining hall when we arrived and we were so ravenous that we didn’t even bother to check-in our things before devouring the cocidong yellow fin tuna while chatting with the vivacious Tita Pines. It wasn’t long before my requested fried tuna was served as well as the resort’s specialty – ginataang alimango (crabs cooked in cocomilk).
Full and recharged, we set about exploring the resort and were surprised by its extensive and modern grounds. It was unexpected given its location in a remote, sleepy town that doesn’t even have paved roads and a 24-hour supply of electricity (power supply starts at 2p.m.). The resort has recreational facilities that include lawn tennis and basketball courts and a hall that houses a ping pong and pool table. This hall however is a bit smelly because the birds could freely fly inside and leave their droppings as well.
OUR FAN ROOM CABANA
Fan Room Cabana – (good for 5pax-Php 1500)
There is also a nice pool opposite a tower which affords you a great view of the beach and the surrounding area. It has a mini bar at its base and it also serves as a cottage. There is a separate dining hall and restaurant with a bar inside. The resort’s property is laden with coconut trees, lush plants and a man-made pond with a wooden bridge in the middle.
Aside from its spacious rooms and good food, the best feature of this resort is the opportunity to see many species of birds that seemed to make the place their home. The presence of various species of birds and other endemic fauna that has become extinct in many parts of the world is one of the reasons why we chose to visit the less trodden path of Polillo Island. Seeing some of them in the resort without hiking through the thick rainforest was indeed a pleasant treat. I had seen more birds here than in the Minasawa Bird Sanctuary in Patnanungan which we also visited on our third day in the island.
The downside on the other hand, is that the beach in front of the resort isn’t really a good place for swimming. It turns into a mud flat at low tide and the seabed is rocky. Luckily there is a pool and many other activities if the guests don’t want to explore the nearby beaches. As a whole, our stay here was pleasant and comfortable. The food is reasonably priced and very tasty as well. I also like our spacious native hut bungalow. It was the cheapest fan room available (Php1500) and it would have been cheaper if shared with others (the room is good for 5 persons).
BEACH FRONT ON LOW TIDE
(About 4 in the afternoon, we left the resort to swim at the nearby beach in Barangay Kalubakis)
(This is part of our 3 nights adventure at Pollilo Group of Islands in 2010)
Day 2: We rented a van together with the other guests of the resort and went to the quaint town of Burdeos. We went Island-hopping at Anilon Island and had a short walk to Anilon Cave at the end of the beach. We then had lunch and went swimming at Anawan Island before heading to Buguitay Island. Unfortunately the waves were too big so we weren’t able to dock near the shore so we asked the boatman to drop us at Ikulong Island where we camped for the night ala survivor.
Day 3: Our boatman fetched us the next day from Ikulong Island and took us to Puting Bato Island where we explored two of its caves. After that, we headed to the beautiful Island of Malaguinoan, which was my favorite among the beaches we had visited. We finally braved the big waves from the Pacific Ocean to get to the Minasawa Bird Sanctuary. On our way back to Burdeos Pier, we had a short stop at Binombonan Island and the Bakaw-Bakaw Island where hundreds of mangroves abound.
Fortunately, Mayor Gil allowed us to stay in his place for the night when we did a courtesy call. We then took the first and only trip of jeepney in the morning back to the pier and had a few hours of boat ride back to Real, Quezon Pier.