Friday, April 17, 2015

Magic Island Resort, Guimaras, Philippines


     As our summer getaway, our faculty went to Magic Island Resort in Nueva Valencia Guimaras. From Iloilo City, the trip was a 15-minute motor-banca ride to Guimaras island, a more or less 1-hour road trip from Jordan wharf to Nueva Valencia and a 15 minute-ride to Magic Island  Resort itself.

    The resort has a major island and a second one. We were accommodated in the second island which was more private since the island was reserved only for us. It has five rooms, each with 6-person capacity and a bathroom. Aside from the rooms for overnight use, there were also cottages for day guests. We also had our own videoke machine for 5 pesos per song and rented mahjong for 100 pesos until the end of our stay.
     We arrived just about lunch time. We were served with garlic crabs, caramelized shrimps, and fish sinigang with pineapple juice as our drink. The food was great especially the seafood. It tasted fresh. I can taste the ocean which I usually look when eating seafood.

      The major island has a beach with coarse white sand for the guests to enjoy. Our island, though private, has no beach or shoreline. If the guests want to swim, there is a stair down for them to do swimming. Anyway, the water is not that deep depending on the tide. In fact, during low tides at dusk, guests can cross from the the resort's major island to the nearby mainland. You can actually see intertidal creatures like starfishes, jellyfishes, seaplants, slugs etc. exposed in their habitat. I just would like to emphasize however, that the sea is their territory, not ours. Just observe and look at them, and avoid taking them out of their habitat just for the sake of taking selfies. 
    At dinner, we were served with grilled liempo, sweet and sour fish and talaba. After eating, some of my colleagues went back to their usual videoke and had hard drinks which they ordered from the major island. (The food, the drinks and other necessities can actually be brought from the major island through motor banca in which guests can go to and fro for free depending on the schedule). I, on the other hand, just enjoyed looking at the night sky and its countless stars while lying in a native hammock. As night went deeper, the perfect view of the bright moonlight shining above the sea and the hills was really relaxing. 

  The next day, we went island hopping. We saw a lot of islands with variety of shapes depending on one's imagination like turtle and crocodile islands. We also got the chance to stop over an island with a sort of cave and crystal clear water. 

      Perhaps my most favorite part of the trip was our stopover in a sort of submerged sand bar with powdered white sand just like in Boracay. However, what amazed me was how it was very isolated and no human habitation was visible. It was uncorrupted and only the neighboring islands and lush green trees in the mainland can be seen in the view. According to our guide, it is under the care of the University of the Philippines which I was glad to know because I was hoping the place wouldn't be developed for commercial use. The place was so tempting that even some of us who had no intention of getting wet were enticed to have a swim. It made me so proud of the Philippines that this paradise is just kilometers away from home and we were blessed to be given with this beautiful God's creation. 

    At lunch, we packed our belongings and went home.  

    I think what also stood out in our stay was the exceptional hospitality of the staff. The man who assisted us whom we taught to be just the motor-banca operator was actually the owner's brother. The owner was as well very humble and the staff members were friendly and approachable. They really treat their guest with utmost importance and hospitality. 
    In terms of the accommodation, the rooms where we stayed were just newly constructed so it was clean and neat. If I could suggest something, perhaps it would be that their bathrooms should have something (sorry I don't know what it is called...hehe) to hang the towels and clothes on when changing. The windows in the bathroom are a bit lower so one can actually see the upper part of the head of the person inside especially if the light is on. I hope they could put curtains on the bathroom window to provide more privacy...hehe..
          Over-all, our one-day stay at Magic Island costs 1, 300 including 3 meals, 2 snacks island hopping. This package is available in groups with a minimum of 4 or 6 (notsure..hehe)  people. I think the price is very affordable and reasonable.  

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