Out in the massive parking lot, Dalampasigan Beach Resort seemed alien from the rest of Guisguis and the adjacent town of Talaan. The impressive mansion-like villas, with their suited-for-tea-party verandas and dainty verdant lawns seemed to be malapropos for a town where either side of the road is hemmed with coconuts, rice paddies, mountains and nothing else; a town unheard of even by Google maps. An overnight stay looked promising.
|Gorgeous villas. Now only if the management maintained them so they can be as pretty inside.|
The smell of trouble began however, when I called minutes prior to arrival and was informed that we can make use of their nipa cottages to eat baon food because the restaurant is not exactly open, except for catering services for sizable parties. Didn’t the website say “We can cater both for small and large group for any occasions. Requested menu can also be entertained.” ?
|The dining hall. Huge but largely unoccupied.|
Now I told you, this town is lined with farms and nothing else, and it goes to say there are no restaurants or eateries in view for miles, too. All we have in the bag are chips. It was almost 1pm, my mother-in-law was starving and ready to transform to a beast anytime soon. Oh crap.
|Beach fronting the resort at 7AM|
Grace, the person-in-charge of the resort, offered a set meal with pritong liempo, ginisang chicharo, halabos na hipon, a cup of rice and softdrinks for P225/ head. Pricey but better than none. Food was served an one-hour-and-a-half after we arrived.
|Small and messy souvenir shop.|
There was confusion with the rooms, which made check-in at sweltering 1pm painstaking. Not sure why as we had prior reservations and there were only three small groups of guests in a resort that can accommodate approximately 200.
We shoved our bags into the huge Gumamela room. There was ample floor space to move around that I wondered why they prevented us from getting the smaller Dahlia room, so much so that they downgraded the price of each room to match that of Dahlia’s.
|Big room for a group of 3, but no TV, ref or cabinets. This regularly costs P4,000
and was given to us for P3,500 each.
Impressive shower set, only the hot and cold mechanism is faulty.
Not that enough water comes out anyway.
From the scent of it, the rooms have obviously been cleaned – ages ago. The sheets and corners smelled old and musty, the ceiling and bathroom were dusty, and under the foam by the window there was a dead lizard with a flattened lizard cocoon. We were billed three of these rooms, each with two queen-sized beds plus one single, a bedside table, a dresser, a coffee table and a private veranda. Didn’t have telly, WiFi or cabinets, but hey, whatever they lacked in facility, they made up for with tables (Huh?).
|Vast sections of lawns and playgrounds within the premises. I stopped counting at three.|
There’s a recreation area for a dart or table tennis match near the shore, which you could rent hourly. You may also opt for a leisurely walk or a swim on the beach, but onlyin the morning as the wooden gates are locked by management before noon.For whatever reason, I didn’t bother to ask. The beach area did not seem that inviting anyway. Black earth, litter on the sand and on the seabed, and shavings of coconut shells sprawled everywhere.
|The gate was locked by noon. No other paths leading to the beach.|
|Nipa cottages fronting the shore for picnic purposes.
There are also grilling sheds nearby should you fancy a BBQ sesh.
There’s not much too expect on the menu either. Meals are so-so and too salty – certainly not worth the P225-P250/ head price. Choices are very limited; whatever meat or vegetable is available gets to be served. You may request for a particular dish in advance but few requests are granted.
|Wide parking lot outside. Also serves as a grazing area for cows and horses.|
While the staff is generally friendly, there aren’t any around during the night. Service is rather slow and I take it because there are very few personnel to service the guests. Grace
doubles triples as a receptionist, caretaker and admin. She was even the one who brought our coffee the next morning – which by the way was ordered at 5:30am and arrived at 6:30. And no, it wasn’t brewed coffee in china cups. Just six sachets of Nescafe 3-in-1, 6 paper cups and an air pot of hot water. That for a measly P30 each.
The total bill was a whopping P15,500+ for an overnight stay in three very basic air conditioned rooms, plus set lunch, dinner and breakfast for six. Steep and incredibly unjust, I should say.
|Lia’s first swim and sand-eating experience was at this beach though, so it can’t be all that bad 🙂|
If anything, their only saving grace were the pretty lawns and the swimming pools, which were kempt, large and just beautiful. Chlorinated just right, too. Perfect for a warm swim in the morning. Lia immensely enjoyed both the adult and kiddie pools.
The resort potential is there. The grounds and the feel are kind of lush, but terribly overpriced. If Google Maps mentioned it correctly that Paraiso Beach Resort was actually situated right beside Dalampasigan and not on the outskirts, we would’ve booked there instead. Half the price, more amenities. Sure looks more fun, too, with so many guests coming and going.
|And up we go swing!|
Lessons learned: Research weeks in advance, don’t rely on Google Maps at all times, and always ask if the restaurant serves meals regardless of what the website says.
|Don’t say I didn’t warm you though!|