Tuesday, September 22, 2009
This entry may read more as a hotel review than usual but when you stay at the Pearl Farm Resort that is kinda the point…you stay. It is a 45 minute boat ride out to the resort from Davao City. There were four of us from Cebu and two others met up with us from the Manila team so we had rented a villa. The villas are located on a small private island so once you check in you’ve got to get on another boat to reach it. The private island is separate from the rest of the resort so to get to the bar, restaurant, pool, front desk, water sports, etc you had to take the boat back over.
Davao is supposed to have a few things to do in terms of sights but the main reason any tourists comes is to stay at the Pearl Farm.
We arrived early evening on Friday and after checking out our open air villa we hopped back on the boat to the parola bar to enjoy the amazing sunset and happy hour. There is only one restaurant at the resort so you either hit the buffet or order room service. It was “Pirate Night” at dinner. So, we of course went to check it out.
The buffet was brimming with fresh seafood, wonderful salads, local fruits and far more food than you could ever even try. But the highlight of pirate night was by far the dance troop who, although dressed as pirates, danced to anything but pirate music…whatever that is. Keeping in pirate tradition we also played bingo and did the limbo. It was good ol’ cheesy fun…
We hung out at the bar after dinner while we waited on the girls from Manila to arrive and after a nightcap all headed back across the water to our villa.
Jules and I were up quite early thanks to some construction in the neighboring villa on Saturday morning. Feeling tired, the day was spent lounging in the sun, doing a little bit of snorkeling on the small beach on our island, complaining to management and relaxing.
That night we repeated our happy hour/dinner/nightcap routine although this time it was Filipino fiesta night. They actually stuck to the theme so unfortunately there were no random games.
After breakfast on Sunday we all went on a three hour snorkeling tour. We first went to a coral garden, which was nice enough in terms of coral and fish but the water in the area was heavily polluted. Yuck. After knocking my head on two coconuts, again on a huge piece of wood and dodging wrappers and trash I thought the trip was going to be a bust.
That was until we got to the second location. No trash or coconuts in sight it was already looking up. But, it wasn’t until we looked below the surface that we realized how amazing the day would turn out.
There was a huge wall of intensely colored coral that dropped off sharply seemingly into an abyss. Snorkeling along the drop-off we were blown away not only by the plant life but the dizzying array of fish and other sea creatures. It was truly stunning. I regret so much not having an underwater case for my camera to share some of what we saw. Although I don’t think any photo could ever do the experience justice.
We got back to the resort in time for some of the girls to hit the spa and to grab a late lunch. A wedding was being held on our island and we had been tromping through the preparations for two days. Jules and I made a point of going back to the villa well before it actually started so we could shower before dinner. It was at this point we all realized how much sun we had gotten. All of us were a little crispy on the backside but a few, including the Wife, got charred. Even with 60 spf her thighs and shoulders were fire engine red by the time we went to dinner. We had to tromp back through the reception area just as the bride was about to walk down the aisle. We crept along the side as much as we could but there was no ignoring their wedding cake…
They had actually built scaffolding around the cake for the decorators to finish it up. Of course 99% of it was inedible but it was actual fondant and icing on the styrofoam structure.
Despite the sunburns and with the aid of some after-sun lotion, a handful of advil and a lot of cocktails we made it through dinner. No theme that night but we did enjoy the musical stylings of cute little duo who took us through a tour of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s easy listening.
We hung around until we thought it was safe to sneak back through the wedding reception. When we arrived back on the island we found it was a pretty subdued reception with everyone just listening to the band. This made it a bit harder to go by unnoticed. Although this did help us score some wedding cake from one of the waiters.
Thanks to the construction, wedding preparations and a few other issues the GM of the hotel had given us a couple of massages, which our crispy selves traded in for hand and foot treatments on Monday morning. Afterwards, we leisurely packed up and made our way back to Davao and eventually Manila and Cebu respectively.
The Pearl Farm is definitely a treat. It’s in a gorgeous setting and really has a lot to offer in ways of ambiance and romance. We had a few issues come our way that we’d like to think were out of the ordinary for the hotel. If we come back to the Philippines next year we’ll be sure to give it another shot.
This weekend we’re still debating on whether to stay here or take the ferry over to Bohol…guess we’ll just have to see.