Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Resort Feature: Malipano Villas (Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte)

Malipano Gazebo
The secluded, 7-hectare Isla Malipano, a part of Pearl Farm Resort, is just a 2.5-min. boat ride from the mainland. The 200-pax, octagonal and multi-functional Malipano Gazebo, at the other end of the island, is a perfect alternative for weddings, theme parties and other occasions.  
Isla Malipano has a white sand beach, an offshore reef plus 7 lavishly-decorated, 3-storey private luxury villas, each with a wide veranda with breathtaking views of the Davao Gulf. Small barbecue parties can be held at the veranda.

The island's sparkingly white sand beach
Malipano Villas
The villas are composed of 3 octagonal structures with reception areas, guest suites and dining area, all around a cantilevered deck. Their roof design is patterned after the salakot (traditional Filipino hat).  Four of the villas are perched on stilts directly above the sea while the 3 other villas are built over rock outcrops on the beach.
Five villas have 3 bedrooms (with 2 queen-size beds and 2 single beds or 3 queen-size beds) while 2 villas have 4 bedrooms (with 3 queen-size beds and 2 single beds or 4 queen-size beds).
Veranda with a great view
All villas are airconditioned and equipped with minibar, coffee and tea making facilities, safety deposit box (at the master's bedroom), cable TV, hair dryers, spacious living room and toilet and bath (the master's bedroom has a bathtub).  Butler service is available for food orders and other guest assistance while a standby speedboat is available to transport guests to the restaurant and other resort facilities.
One of the villa's master bedrooms
The island is also ideal for scuba diving as the wrecks of two World War II Japanese freighters are located 60 m. away and in front of the resort.  The 40-m. (132-ft.) long Wreck I is located just a few meters from the resort’s Samal houses, in 35 m. (115 ft.) of water.  Here, you can find groupers, jacks, moray eels and others.  For advanced divers, an open bay hatch allows safe penetration.   It is also recommended for underwater photography.  The slightly smaller, 35-m. (115-ft.) long Wreck II rests on its side at a shallower dept of 28 m. (98 ft.) of water.
Pearl Farm Resort: Kaputian District, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte.  Tel: (082) 221-9970 to 73.  Fax: (082) 221-9979.  E-mail: pearlfarmresort@fuegohotels.com.  Website: www.pearlfarmresort.com.  Davao Citysales office: G/F, Anflocar Corporate Center, Damosa Bldg., Lanang.  Tel: (082) 235-0876 and 234-0601.  Fax: (082) 235-0873.  E-mail: dvosm@pearlfarmresort.com.  Manila sales office: 15/F, 1504 Corporate Center, 139 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City.  Tel: (632) 750-1896 and 98.  Fax. (632) 750-1894. E-mail: mlasm@pearlfarmresort.com.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Resort Review: Pearl Farm Resort (Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte)

Date of Stay: May 19 - 23, 2009

RATING (Scale of 1 to 10)
Location: ********
Rooms: *********
Condition and Cleanliness: ********
Staff Performance: *********
Room Comfort: *********
Food and Beverage: ********
Other Amenities: ********
Value for Money: *********
The Parola at Pearl Farm Resort
The resort's white sand beach
This 11-hectare, Class “AAA” resort, located on a secluded cove at the Island Garden City of Samal’s Kaputian District, was formerly the home, since 1958, of the Aguinaldo Pearl Farm which produced cultured pink, white and gold pearls from white-lipped oysters brought from Jolo.   It ceased operations in 1980 but was developed into a world-class beach resort, opened in 1992.  It started out with 10 hillside cottages and 2 Samal cottages on stilts. 
The Samal Suites
Today, the main resort has expanded into 70 guestrooms (17 standard Hilltop rooms, 21 superior Samal Houses, 6 executive, 2-storey Samal suites and 19 de luxe Mandaya Houses and 7 Malipano Villas) made mainly with bamboo and wood and harmonizing with the clear, blue sea, the white sand and its backdrop of impressive greenery.  Noted architect Francisco “Bobby” MaƱosa designed the cottages and villas as close as possible, in both materials and form, to the different Mindanao tribes they were named for, notably the Bagobo, B'laan, Maguindanao, Tausug, T'boli and Yakan.  For its depiction of regional traits, the resort received the Kalakbay Award for Best Resort for two consecutive years (1994 and 1995) and was one of the venues of the 1994 Miss Universe pageant.  
The master bedroom
Maranao Restaurant
The Samal suites (as well as the cottages) were patterned after the stilt houses of seafaring Samal tribes of the Sulu archipelago. The master bedroom,  on the second floor, are provided with a king-size bed.  At the first floor is a living room.  Both floors have their own private bathroom with the masters' provided with a bathtub.

Both rooms are airconditioned and provided with cable TV, a well-stocked mini-bar, coffee and tea making facilities, safety deposit box and hair dryer. Our veranda,  overlooking the serene blue water, had a private staircase leading down to our very own small yet private beach. A jar of water and a coconut shell dipper are placed near the entrance to our suite so that we may wash away the sand after a day of barefoot walking on the beach. In local custom, this gesture is also symbolic of a cleansing of the spirit.
Infinity pool
The Maranao Restaurant, a cavernous dining pavilion replete with tribal motifs, has a menu with an assortment of international culinary influences, all wonderfully prepared by Filipino chef Edgar Chavez.  The buffet features Spanish paella and calamares,  Madras seafood curry, Italian pasta, Japanese tempura and even Thai tom yum soup plus sweet pomelo, mangoes and other tropical fruits.
Cocktails, plus inspiring views of the sea and nearby De la Paz and  Malipano  Islands, can be enjoyed at the Parola Bar.  Both restaurant and bar offer free Wi-Fi internet access.  The resort also has two swimming pools, one of which was built right on the shore, giving the illusion that the pool water meets the sea, while the other has a jacuzzi.

The Ylang-Ylang Spa, located beside a waterfall and beneath swaying coconut palms, offers several indulgent body and beauty treatments based on natural products.  They include a relaxing Papaya Body Scrub, a revitalizing Honey and Cucumber Facial Cleansing and the refreshing Floral Foot Soak. Massage therapies, embracing the most effective European and Asian techniques and using the stress-busting and soul-soothing power of coconut oil, includes the healthy aromatherapy massage.
Getting around the resort is easy as there are two shuttles, one of them electric-powered. The Mandaya weaving house has a couple of tribal women making colorful tribal dresses, costumes and jewelries.  Pearls, hats, T-shirts and other accessories can be bought at the nearby boutique. There are also 2 function rooms, 2 tennis courts, game room (billiards, chess, mahjong, etc.), children's playground and a mini-aviary. 


The Game Room
Aqua Sports Center
Function Room
Mandaya Weaving Center
An aqua sports center offers windsurfing, fishing, jet skiing, sea kayaking, island hopping, banana boat rides, Hobie cats, wave runners, snorkeling and scuba diving.   
Pearl Farm Resort: Kaputian District, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte. Tel: (082) 221-9970 to 73.  Fax: (082) 221-9979.  E-mail: pearlfarmresort@fuegohotels.com.  Website: www.pearlfarmresort.com.  Davao Citysales office: G/F, Anflocar Corporate Center, Damosa Bldg., Lanang.  Tel: (082) 235-0876 and 234-0601.  Fax: (082) 235-0873.  E-mail: dvosm@pearlfarmresort.comManila sales office: 15/F, 1504 Corporate Center, 139 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City.  Tel: (632) 750-1896 and 98.  Fax. (632) 750-1894. E-mail: mlasm@pearlfarmresort.com.

Resort Feature: Pearl Farm Marina (Davao City, Davao del Sur)

Pearl Farm Marina
The Marina Cafe
Pearl Farm Marina, the docking and loading area for Pearl Farm Resort (a 45-min. motorized boat ride), is also a quaint and secluded hotel for those who wish peace and quiet in luxurious surroundings.  Many of those who stay here are also guests of Pearl Farm Resort who wish to stay overnight in Davao City.  Opened in 2006, it only has  4 rooms (2 standard and 2 deluxe), all equipped with airconditioning, NDD/IDD phones, safety deposit boxes, cable TV and hot and cold shower.
Swimming pool
The T'boli Weaving Center
It also has a coffee shop (Marina Cafe, open 8 AM-10 PM), a mini-bar and an inviting swimming pool, all exclusive for guests to enjoy while waiting for the next boat service to the resort, their next flight or just to hang around.  The mini-bar (open 7 AM-10 PM), ideal for small meetings, training sessions, seminars and other private functions, can accommodate 20 people.  Both restaurant and mini-bar are wi-fi ready.

Its garden area, a popular venue for weddings, cocktails, private parties and other special occasions, can accommodate 200 guests. Right beside the hotel is the T'boli Weaving Center where guests can experience the rich cultural heritage of Mindanao.  The ferry boat to the resort leaves 4 times daily (8:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 4 PM and 6 PM).
Pearl Farm Marina: Km. 10, Lizada Drive, Lanang, Davao City. Davao del Sur.  Tel: (082) 234-7018 and 234-6987.