A couple of hours away from Manila lies Pico de Loro of the Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas. Guaranteeing the chance to do some beach bumming, swimming pool lounging and access to various sports facilities, this residence-resort promises a complete vacation package. Although it is ideally a destination exclusive to homeowners and club shareholders, there are ways by which anyone could take advantage of this piece of respite from the bustle of city life.
1. Book a stay at the Pico Sands Hotel. Its official website offers quite an impressive and comprehensive list of information about their rooms and amenities. Booking a room directly through the official website seems to be more expensive for sooner stays – but much cheaper for early bird reservations – than through other sites like Agoda, Booking.com, etc. Meanwhile, make sure to read the fine print: a minimum consumable amount of P2500 will be collected upon check-in and will apply to the entire stay.
2. Get an invitation from a member. For some, the main attraction of Pico de Loro is its exclusivity. In principle, members and shareholders are supposed to be the only ones who can experience the good stuff. So, if you have a friend who happens to be a member or has a share in this property, then have them invite you. By being a guest of a member, you would be able to access all the beach and country club facilities.
3. Rent a condo unit. By renting a condo unit, access to the beach and “public” pool will be made available to you. Meanwhile, the country club and all the corresponding amenities will only be accessible if your “sponsor member” (the one renting out the condo unit) is at Pico de Loro during your stay.
Number 3 was what we did in order to penetrate the high-end walls of Pico de Loro. We rented out a studio unit that was good for six (including children). It had a single sofa bed, a single pull-out bed, a double sofa bed and a double-deck bed cramped in a 28 sqm area which included a toilet and bath, a dining set and a kitchen with a refrigerator. The shower had some hot water, the TV was a flat screen and there was wi-fi (that none of us could connect to). Beddings were provided but towels were not part of the deal. Renting a condo unit also meant we brought our own food and water. All these for the price of P5500.
But wait, there’s more. Before entering the manicured lawns of Pico de Loro, guest fees must be paid upon check-in. The rates are as follows:
Low season weekdays (Monday to Thursday)
Adults – PHP 700 per person
Children (4 to 11 years old) – PHP 150 per child
Infants (3 years old and below) – Free of charge
Peak season weekdays, Public Holidays and Weekends (Friday to Sunday)
Adults – PHP 1200 per person
Children (4 to 11 years old) – PHP 300 per child
Infants (3 years old and below) – Free of charge
There is also the small matter of cash cards which are considered as the preferred mode of payment at Pico de Loro. The cash card is P1050 (P1000 is the initial load and P50 is the value of the card) and is used for paying for food at the posh restaurants and other club facilities. I’m not so sure what happened during our stay but our sponsor no longer required us to get a cash card. We had some drinks at the bar during the night and we were able to pay through credit card.
One of the things I liked during my less than 24-hour affair at Pico de Loro was that there were shuttles everywhere. Whether or not the guests were dry or wet, coming from the beach or the pools, the drivers wouldn’t bat an eye and just took them to their desired destination. Another thing I liked was that it was a good place to do some training. The place was well-lighted and I was able to do some running. Pico de Loro is a good choice for those training for a triathlon because there’s a beach for swimming and cars wouldn’t zoom past you while you’re running on the streets. Lastly, I must say that the proximity of Pico de Loro to Manila would be its best feature. No need for a back-breaking drive just for a couple of hours swim at the beach.
On the other hand, there are a couple of things that would hold me back from endorsing this place as a perfect getaway. Personally, I think it’s just too expensive: condo unit rent + guest fee + cash card + food + water = hole in the pocket. And staying at Pico Sands – no matter how early ahead of time you book – would definitely be even more expensive. Another letdown was that if the member was not around during your stay, the country club and other facilities would be off-limits. It’s quite logical when you think about it, but who wouldn’t want to maximize the cost of their stay, right?
In any case, I’m still glad that I was able to experience what Pico de Loro offers. I might not be pining for a do over, but I’m still glad for the adventure. ^__^
May 9-10, 2015
***All photos were taken using GoPro Hero4 Silver