Did you know that we, Filipinos, are actually known for our propensity for Amazing Race-like vacations? Yes, we are the people of “must maximize this trip” or “kailangan natin ‘to sulitin, minsan lang tayo dito,” with the ever-present fear that “di na tayo makakabalik dito ulit! (we’d never be able to return here!)” From sun up to sun down, we create itineraries filled to the brim – the only thing slowing us down is our posting of photos on Facebook and Instagram – that instead of relaxing, our trips tend to become stressful as well. So, what would happen when you incorporate a staycation within a vacation, a whole day of just lounging around, eating and taking pictures? Well, that’s what I found out during my stay at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort Davao.
Pearl Farm Marina Wharf
Our staycation at Pearl Farm started with us checking in our luggage at the Marina Wharf in Davao City. Since we arrived only half an hour early before our boat ride, the place was already packed with guests. Good thing there was free wi-fi available so we were able to entertain ourselves. When 9:00 am rolled around, we started boarding the boat. There were porters who loaded our luggage, but I found it odd that there was no attendant on-board to greet us, or help us with the life vests.
The boat ride lasted for 45 minutes. There wasn’t much in terms of sights aside from the sparkling blue seas and the Samal Island coastline. However, this changed once we rounded the Malipano Island and were greeted by the iconic Samal Suites: elegantly-styled nipa huts set against a backdrop of lush tropical trees.
Upon docking, we were greeted by welcome drinks and music from a kumintang. We stood around marveling at the super clear waters of the beach where we saw numerous fish feeding on the chunks of bread that some of the guests and personnel were throwing to them.
We tried checking in to our room… but it seemed that all five of the good-for-3 Hilltop Rooms were not available for early check-in. Because of this, we were able to check out their Changing Lounge, which looked well-maintained even if it looked like not many people have been using it since Pearl Farm no longer has day trip tours. We were given lockers for the meantime for our hand carry baggage, as well as beach towels.
Unfortunately, breakfast was the only meal included in our booking. Hence, we had to pay for lunch at the Maranao Restaurant. They had a menu for ordering à la carte and another one for the salad and dessert buffet. We opted for the à la carte dishes since they were significantly cheaper and we didn’t think the buffet was worth the price.
Our Hilltop Accommodations
Finally our room was ready so we took a golf cart shuttle to our room on the hilltop. I thought the golf cart would not make it to the top since the road was very steep. On the other hand, that slope definitely caused exhilaration on the rides going down.
What I could not take a photo of was the wardrobe that had amazing bathrobes, plenty of hangers (always get bonus points from me), an electronic safe and room slippers. They also had great cable TV with plenty of channels to choose from. A knock on our door brought in some yummy oatmeal cookies. However, it should be noted that the free wi-fi did not reach our room, and even mobile data was unreliable. Meanwhile, getting back to the beach was as easy as dialing to the reception desk and requesting for a shuttle.
Just Keep Swimming
Our first swimming destination was the Infinity Pool. We had a lot of fun playing with Baby Andi and taking photos of the pool + sea + Parola Bar. After that, we took the free boat shuttle and visited Malipano Island. We did not swim at the Pavillon Beach because it seemed a bit dirty with lots of dark debris floating around.
The boat transfer between Samal Island and Malipano Island runs every hour but as we couldn’t find anything else to do (the Villa Beach at the other side of the island being even more exclusive), we requested for a special ride back to Samal Island. I was able to take another photo of the very photogenic Samal Suites.
As the sun was ready to set, we lounged around the Maranao Beach, eating french fries and hiding from the really hot afternoon sun. Once it cooled down a bit, we spent the rest of the daylight taking photos of the sunset.
With the night came dinner at the Maranao Restaurant. We ordered Pinakbet, Camarones and Tinola. I will no longer include a photo of the Tinola, but I will do note that they have a certain way of serving it: with chicken chunks and not chicken parts. ;p
While eating, we were serenaded by a quartet. Together with the ambient lighting, the music made the atmosphere very relaxing. Perfect to end the very tiring day. Too bad, they wouldn’t give me cake for my birthday.
Just like typical Filipinos, we were very eager to get on with the itinerary and do some touring. So, despite the check-out not being until noon the next day, we requested to be part of the earliest boat back to Davao City. We basically wolfed down our breakfast and rushed to the boat.
Indeed, Pearl Farm Beach Resort Davao is a great place to escape from the hubbub of city life and even from the bustle of a crammed trip itinerary. One just has to be in the right mindset because if not, you might miss out on a lot of things by thinking too much about the other things you think you are missing out on. Haha! Sorry if that confused you. But yeah, that’s what happened to me.
March 13, 2016
***photos were taken using iPhone 6 and GoPro Hero 4