Summer’s out, and the rainy season’s still in (or at least until early October). When the beach bum in you’s itching for a quick swim, one of the most accessible alternatives from Manila would be Splash Island Resort. From EDSA Makati, it can be reached in only about an hour or less (without traffic) via private vehicle.
Located in Binan, Laguna, Splash Island is one of the first water theme parks in the country. A few years back, the resort used to be open only from summer till mid-June, but since its management’s turnover from Ecocentrum to Global Gutz, the resort is now open daily, all year-round, from 8AM to 6PM. It tends to be packed during weekends, though, so it’s recommended you arrive before it opens to get a good picnic spot.
Fostering a fun-filled ambience, Splash Island is the perfect getaway for families. For a P500 entrance fee (P400 for kids above 3ft), visitors get to enjoy 12 exciting slides and water attractions:
1) Agos Grande
Agos Grande is Splash Island’s famous wave pool. The pool is largely spread out, fronting a makeshift beach area, which is landscaped with real coconut trees and brown sand. It features a variety of thrilling wave patterns that perfectly captures ocean waves. With its strategic location (lying from across the canteen and other amenities) and being the only wave pool in the entire resort , it’s no wonder this pool is always packed.
|Makeshift volleyball court|
2) Big Bamboo
Big Bamboo is a network of two storey-high tunnels fringed with various trees on the sides. From the mouth of the tunnel, visitors mount a life buoy that drifts them down to a pool.
A collection of kid’s slides built side by side. This is a fun and safer option for little tykes who want to experience the thrill of slides. Inflated donuts are provided prior to slide usage.
4) Water Wahoo
An interactive kiddie pool that features a myriad of play activities for kids. Children will surely fall in love with this place. It’s so fun, there are actually more adults in the pool than kids! Haha.
5) Balsa River
This is my favorite water attraction. A very relaxing ride as you float on a balsa along a gently flowing “river”. An entire river cycle spans about 15-20 minutes.
6) Rio Montanosa
A raft ride where 3-4 people are drifted via a huge donut down a towering slide overlooking SLEX and rice fields. Recommended if you’re fearful of slides (’cause its’s not scary at all). Expect a long line of eager visitors ahead.
7) Dos Supremos
Two heart-racing giant twisters that takes visitors swiftly down a pool. The plunge down is so fast though, it can be quite dizzying for some.
9) King Pilipit
Almost the same as Dos Supremos, although these are partly covered twister slides.
10) Magellan’s Drop
One of our favorites. Visitors lie flat, face forward on a thin, cushiony board down a slope (yep, much like planking, hehe). The view from atop is incredible, as one slides down a wavy 30 feet-high slide.Superbly exhilirating.
11) Tausug Trails
12) Curl of the Orient
“This kiddie continuous river ride is a non-stop flight to fun.” (source:Splash Island website)
…Twelve reasons and then some:
13) Other fun amenities such as the Zipline and Rock climbing (P150 each)
These are fun additions for the kids (and the kid at heart). Both are duly supervised by Splash Island instructors and personnel. The zipline runs on top of the Agos Grande, while the rock climbing wall is located just beside the starting point of the zipline.
14) Grilled food sa bilao!
There are two stalls – both located from the walking path across Agos Grande – where grilled food in a bilao is served for P450. The bilao is good for a group of 4-6, and consists of 4 cups of rice, 1 medium-sized grilled fish, itlog maalat at kamatis, grilled liempo, grilled eggplant, manggang hilaw and 4 pieces of barbeque (of course there are other food combinations, but this is what we usually order). Super sulit.
15) Kayaks and group balsa
Since the new management took over, the addition of kayaks and huge floaters have been allowed in the wave pool (Agos Grandes), which is either a bad or good thing. It’s fun when you’re the one paddling the kayaks, but annoying when you’re a person who simply wants to enjoy a good swim. Being the sole wave pool in Splash, Agos Grandes is already jampacked as it is, and with 10 huge canoes and floaters (or more) taking up more space, swimming is sometimes already impossible.
16) Free tents with tables and chairs
Free monoblock tables and chairs are offered to guests who don’t want to pay extra for a cabana. The area is pretty much covered with a tent, so you need not worry about being too exposed under the sun.
If you wish for a more relaxed and private resting place though, you may want to rent a small cabana (P500). The small cabana can accomodate 3-4 persons in sleeping position. The cabana also comes with free monoblock chairs and a table for those who need more space.
There are a few things I don’t quite find endearing in Splash, though:
1) The shower area
The shower room is this one huge space where about 50 women bathe altogether, much like a men’s gym shower, or perhaps a little more like one of those onsens in Japan. There’s one main shower post for each group of four, and these posts are aligned contiguously in rows.There are no cubicles or partitions. What you see when you enter the bathroom door are a bunch of women – sagging and skinny – bathing in their swimsuits.
Changing rooms -which directly face the shower area- are covered only by sheer shallow curtains, pretty much a “danger’ in itself. There was an instance when I was butt naked in one of those rooms and a bunch of naughty 3-5 year old kids suddenly swished the curtain away, took a veeery long peek, and ran off chuckling. All I was able to do was cover my privates and shout, “Hey! That’s not too nice!” Talk about embarrassing!
Also, most of the showers are in dire need of a plumber. If ever they’re half-working, the water’s supply’s too bad you’d have to duck your body forward to wet your entire body.
2) Majority of the pools and attractions operate by schedule.
I could only think of this as an attempt by Ecocentrum to cut down huge on costs. Majority of the water rides are operated by electricity. Ergo, if you shut half of them down for hours at a time, you save on electricity. Which is good for Ecocentrum, but very bad for the customers. The reason why people go to Splash Island is to enjoy and relieve stress. How do you do that when you have to make mental notes of the pool schedules? Remember: customers are paying P500 for an uninterrupted all-day pass to these attractions, not for half of it.
3) They make you pay for a parking space
We thought that parking space is always a courtesy service for guests at any resort. We were surprised to know they charge customers for a service that’s supposed to be free. For a parking lot that’s all dirt and mud, a P50 flat rate for parking is like 25% tax on a cheeseburger with no cheese.
But still, for P500, I would say the all-in-all service and quality of the resort is still satisfactory, although it was definitely more customer-friendly way back when Global Gutz was still managing the resort.Would recommend it for families and teens looking for unique resort amenities and an enjoyable swim near Manila.
How to get to Splash Island (from Manila):
- Via private vehicle:
- Via public transport:
Take a jeepney or FX to Lawton, then board a bus to Pacita Complex, San Pedro, Laguna. From there, you can take a tricycle ride to Splash Island Resort.
Board the LRT to the Buendia/ Gil Puyat station, then take a bus to Pacita Complex, San Pedro, Laguna. Hop on a tricycle to Splash Island Resort.
From Taft Avenue, take a bus to Batangas and request a drop off at Southwoods Exit. Board a tricycle to Splash Island Resort.