There are times that you just feel you want to escape the toxic life in the city. Sometimes you just want to change your current background that consists of noisy streets, polluting cars, and the tiring view of lots of people. I felt that last week when I got sick. At that moment, I just want a remote control that will instantly transfer me in the province where the air is fresh and there's a tranquil environment.
I want a weekend getaway! I want to explore and experience the exhilarating combination of nature island, leisure and adventure. I want to be close to the nature and breath some fresh air! But of course I don't want to be 'disconnected' to the online world, I still want a wi-fi connection :) Luckily there's Grande Island Resort for me!
Grande Island and Chiquita Island are surrounded by blue green clean water at the mouth of Subic Bay, Reachable by a car in less than one & half hour drive from Balintawak. The island is rich in historical legacy, an untouched forest area and sea breeze. It is also home to many birds and their nestling place. Definitely an ideal place for relaxation, nature lovers, family reunion, friends or a place for your "me time."
Aside from the breath-taking and serene backdrop, Grande Island Resort can offer. They also have those unique antique collections of cannons and battery flake tower!
HOW TO GET THERE
The island resort is located approximately 1 1/2 hours drive from Manila to Subic and 15 - 20 minutes ferry boat ride from Subic Terminal to Grande Island Resort.
But since we went there riding a car here's the direction that we followed: (via SCTEx) -- Drive the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), take the Spur/NLEX interchange located between the DAU and Sta. Inez Exits of NLEX and proceed to the SCTEx Clark Logistics Toll Plaza.
After crossing the bridge, follow the loop of the ramp towards Subic. Follow the road directional signage going to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ), then go to Rizal Highway, turn into Burgos Street ( just at the corner of Subic Bay Yacht Club) and then go towards Waterfront Road where the Grande Island Terminal is located.
INTERVIEW WITH THE OWNER
We had the privilege to have a quick interview with owner of the island, Sir Thomas Maki. He's the one currently managing the whole island resort with his wife.
I asked the owner why they called the place Grande Island Resort? "Honestly, I didn't know." They told us that, 2003 is the year when they got the lease for the islands. Yup. they owned two island including the smaller Chiquita Island. "The island is 40 hectares plus 4 because there is a small island called Chiquita Island. These island is actually visible in Google Maps. We have the lease for both islands." he added.
"There are 80 rooms, we have 20 chalets and each chalets has 4 rooms. There are 2 beds and there are 3 beds. The only difference is there are no cabinets in 3 bedroom rooms." Each room is air-conditioned and there are TV and drawer." he detailed. Each room has private verandas and most of rooms are beachfront, just like ours! :) When one of the blogger asked why there are only 4 channels on their television, "People don't go here to watch TV." he said in jest.
Honestly I don't care if there only four TV channels. I just want aircon, wifi and hot shower ;-) But of course if you don't wanna miss a single episode of Walang Hanggan they have ABS-CBN ready for you. ;) Surprisingly there are 3G signal from (SunCellular) in the island! I can upload pictures via Instagram instantly. Their wi-fi is almost island-wide! It can even reach our rooms and at the seaside. We can upload photos easily of our artsy sand castle, haha :D The owner said to us that the water in the shower is potable because their waters came from the main island via interconnecting tubes. According to the FourSquare app the distance of the Grande Island to the port is almost eight kilometers.
Regarding overnight rates, "For off-peak from (June 1 to December 31) it's P4,400 for two people with breakfast. If there are additional persons that's P1,000. Kids aged 7 and below are free. That's inclusive of a set breakfast and the free transfer from the pier to the island." They advise us to be at the terminal 45 minutes before the ferry schedule.
You can also just visit the island without actually staying (Day Tour) just pay the rate of P300.00 per person. From 9:00AM to 5:00PM. That's inclusive of the use of swimming pool and their showers. "these are the scheduled of ferry: IN is 9AM and 1PM and OUT is 2PM and 5PM." But of course if there's an emergency there's always ferry on standby.
I've always wanted to try banana boat, but I never had the chance. I'm about to ride it at Boracay last month but when I saw that "Flying Fish" is also available, I opt to try that. So when I noticed that they offer banana boat here at Grande Island for just P200, (per person each round) of course I will never let this chance pass again.
I tried it for two rounds and it was surreal! We fell on my second try. Haha! Super fun! :) Another fun water activity you can try is "Kayaking" I though at first that it will be boring but it's so exciting. I want to buy one.
But of course my ultimate favorite is, jetski! It's nerve-wracking but super fun. I'm the one who controlled the jetski so the feeling is more tense. This is the first time that ride a jetski and I will do it again for sure.
The rates of their jetski differs. depending on the size. The Jetski (Parungay) and the Jetski (Lunday) is 3,300.00 for one hour and 2,000.00 for 30 minutes while the Jetski (Malasugi) is 4,000.00 for one hour and 2,500.00 for the 30 minutes ride. I've tried the bigger one ;)
FACILITIES & AMENITIES
You will never ger bored staying at this place. Just choose from these exciting activities: Banana Boat, Jetski, Ferry Cruise, Horse Back Riding, Rubber Boat, Biking, Speed Zone, Snorkeling, Kayak, Badminton, Mahjong, Videoke sessions or just the good ol' Fishing!
Beach Volleyball, Billiards, use of Swimming Pool and Wifi is free during your stay!
Their bathrooms are well-appointed with black and white marble walls and countertops and a sophisticated shower system with multi-directional nozzles to point the streams of water at your body in varying angles. This is the first time I've tried something like those! :) Each chalet has white walls and is decorated in warm red and natural colored rattan headboards and furniture. One interesting thing to point is that all of their hot water are powered by solar panel.
THE FOOD! ;-)
Aside from the stunning backdrop that Grande Island can offer, they have great food too! I heard they have a resident chef ready to attend to the customer's needs. I just let the photos below to tell you more :)
GRANDE ISLAND Resort also offers their Honeymoon Suite located right next to the Side Beach. This suite is exclusive for couples only and comes with a private pool, Jacuzzi, steam and sauna room. Enjoy all these luxury for Php12,000 per night.
According to their website they have different function rooms such as Orchid Restaurant, Eagle Function Room and Parrot Function Room, though I didn't get to saw these functions rooms in personal because it's raining that day. But I saw their 'coffee shop' just near the pier. This is where we eat our daily breakfast & lunch.
As I expected their staff is attentive and friendly. Their staff name "Sai" know the resort very well and answer all of our questions swiftly even those silly questions like "may mumo ba dito?" She's always there for us and her smile is not fake. ;-) Some of us even became her Facebook friend.
I've left Island Grande Resort with a heavy heart, surely I will miss it! I will come back for sure. :))
more photos at http://www.facebook.com/blog.ph
GRANDE ISLAND RESORT
Subic Bay Freeport Zone
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Tel: 047 2502963 to 64 ; Mobile: 0917 8738777