There are trips that are best told with elaborate descriptions. Not this one.
Big Rock Farm Resort in farm-fringed San Rafael in Bulacan is as straightforward as it gets. Its name, derived from a Flintstones-inspired cave pool – one of five in its expanse – pays homage to two of its most prominent features: the two-acre farmland it sits on in Coral na Bato, and its huge, recreated rock formations.
The rocks are overtly plastic in appearance, but amazing nonetheless. As amazing perhaps, as the resort’s close-to-real, life-size Marvel and Pixar character statues embellishing corners here and there, including two Spideys on the fiberglass cover of the kiddie pool.
Additionally, there’s a smaller pool fronting a private enclave similar to the cave pool, which I suppose was built for guests requiring a private space of their own. This is aside from an igloo-like venue near the Orca pool that serves the same purpose.
Ambiance-wise, Big Rock offers an interesting and amusing take on prehistoric times and cartoons. It is said that the owner – a local politician, unsurprisingly – had it designed with personal family vacations in mind. I’m thinking his family are huge cartoon fans, ’cause even their own suite (situated near the entrance) is patterned according to Fiona and Shrek’s shack.
That said, this is a resort that is best explored with kids – which is obviously its target populace, succeeded by teens. It’s a tad whimsical for adults, who might prefer a more “mature” place to bask in. On the up side, it’s a sprawling lot with plenty of space to roam around, though the pools tend to be quite jammed (particularly the Orca pool).
However, and I say this with emphasis, for a resort that’s always packed (thanks to its superbly cheap rates) and that’s been operating for four years, the upkeep is stellar. All’s sharp and dainty, from the pools to the cottages to the wooden lounge chairs, you’d think it just opened yesterday.
The restrooms – which, by the way, are too few for the resort’s capacity – could use some minor repairs and siphoning (the bathing cubicles, especially. It’s quite icky to be stepping on three inches of water with other people’s grease, dirt and soap foam in it while bathing), but for P100, I really can’t complain.
- The resort is open to both day and night swimming. For rates (as of April 2014), please see #4 photo in collage below.
|Resort facilities: 1 & 2) Cottages 3) Pool with private space 4) Rates 5) Hanging bridge 6) Resort entrance|
- There are sufficient cottages for rent, all well-maintained and come with 220V sockets. It’s advisable to come early (as early as 8am) so you can grab better cottages. We were assigned the nipa one near the cave pool, which was a bit hot ’cause the nipas are clumped so closely together. The ones near the huge slide offer more air and are closer to the toilets.
- There are several air conditioned rooms for rent for overnighters. However, please note that during peak season (summer, holidays), you might not be able to book one without prior reservation. We arrived 10 am-ish and everything else was booked.
- The best way to get there is via private transportation. The resort’s located in a secluded compound far from the main road where there aren’t any public vehicles passing by. Most of the guests arrive in rented jeepneys. Humongous free parking space. You will never have to worry about that.
- Food and beverage (including alcohol) may be brought inside and it’s better to do so since they do not have a restaurant. They say they do, but it’s really just a small sari-sari store/ souvenir shop that sells soda and pre-ordered meals in bilao. They even refused to sell us lunch, because they had too many backed-up orders already. If my mother-in-law didn’t unleash her inner tigress (again), we would have probably ended up with only bread to eat. Food’s super affordable, yummy and generously proportioned, though.
- There are four toilets but only three for bathing, one for each section (one beside the Orca pool; one in the middle, behind the stage, fronting the cave pool; and two near the cave pool slides (right most aspect of the resort). Be ready for a looong queue.
- Bonus note: it seems not many people are aware of the T&B in the middle (across the cave pool) since it’s tucked away in a quiet corridor on the side, accessible via a flight of stairs. Nearly no one uses this facility, so, there.