The Philippines is famous for its beautiful beaches. Being surrounded by bodies of water, this tropical country is a haven for people seeking for a relaxing time in the sun.
I’ve been wanting to bring my husband to one of the beaches in the Philippines. I’ve been on a beach in the UK last year during summer, and that’s when I realized how beautiful the Philippines’ shoreline compared to others. So, we’ve decided that we should also visit the nearest beach after our wedding. and since my stepdaughter, mother-in-law and her partner will be in the Philippines too, I thought that it was as well a great opportunity to showcase the tremendous culture of my country.
We chose Bataan as our “honeymoon” destination (technically, it’s a family trip). I remember that there was a long list before we’ve decided what province to choose. We didn’t want to travel longer than five hours, and since Bulacan (my hometown) is in the central part of Luzon, we need to travel far to reach a beach. But gladly, Bataan is just more or less four hours away! We also found a nice beachfront hotel in Morong, a town in Bataan.
Day 1, Sunday
It was a rough morning for all of us after the wedding night, so we were later than we expected. Before leaving Bulacan, we’ve decided to bring my wedding dress, my husband’s Barong Tagalog (a traditional outfit for Filipino men; that my husband wore during our wedding), and my stepdaughter’s lovely pink gown to the laundry shop. We left it there and planned to pick up before flying back to the UK. We then went on and stopped by a mall in Clark, Pampanga to have some lunch and buy our favorite Chef Tony’s flavored popcorn for the trip.
Thankfully, we already have GPS in our time today because I wouldn’t bother to read on a printed map since I was a little sleepy, aside from the fact that my husband does not trust me in navigating for him (even we’re already using GPS!) The road going to the hotel gave me a headache too because it was zigzag and most of the time were blind curves. Aside from the ascending roads as we were on a mountain then went down to the beach. We even missed the entry point to the hotel! Anyway, we still made it through the rough road of the entrance gate to the hotel by the afternoon and welcomed by the staff of Morong Star Beach Resort and Hotel.
This hotel is excellent for team buildings. Their rooms are mostly for big groups. and they’ve got a bunch of activities that everyone will enjoy. They also have rooms for couples and families. We rented a room for four for my in-laws and stepdaughter and on another building was our room, which was for a couple. Reminder: this hotel is not a luxurious hotel so don’t expect that the amenities are like in five-star hotels. This place is good for those on a budget. Even so, we loved the service that they gave us (we give them five stars!).
My husband sent an email to the hotel management a month before to let them know that it will be our honeymoon trip, and he wanted it to be special. They arranged our room in a romantic (with candles) setting which I think why we waited for a bit longer as they prepared it. In addition, what I love the most was we have our VIP table in the restaurant! They had my name on it and there was always someone assisting us all the time. So we really relished our time there.
The morning drive was tiring, and we still have hangovers from the wedding, so we’ve decided to chill that day. We roam around the hotel area which was kind of big. Aside from the swimming pools, they have biking area, which has different types of bikes, an adventure park with a hanging bridge and playpen for kids, a mini zoo with farm animals like pigs, ducks and an ostrich. They also have a basketball court, table tennis, and billiard hall. Of course, the most favorite place for everyone; the shore! They have different water activities there which we tried on our third day. The resort has a diving course as well; they have a specific pool area for divers.
Day 2, Monday
The next day was another exciting day! My stepdaughter Emily swam with the dolphins.
We left the hotel early and followed the GPS to the Ocean Adventure Park in Subic Bay Freeport. It was around 30 minutes drive from the hotel. And on our way there, monkeys were on the road! There were signs that animals are crossing the area so better be careful. We stopped by for a while to see those cute monkeys. Sadly, they were on the roadsides because they have learned how to ask for food from the tourists passing by. There was a male monkey that was staring at us while we pulled over. There were a bunch of baby ones too! Then to our surprise, a female monkey came to the male and gave us a show! Maybe the male monkey thought we had been there for a while and didn’t give them anything yet so a show might help to get them some food. I think that was a hilarious moment of our trip. It was very spontaneous of those monkeys to give us a good laugh!
So when we arrived in the park, we paid our entrance fee, including the fee for swimming with the dolphins. The place was massive, and good thing it was Monday; the place was not packed with visitors. The climate was excellent since it’s pre-summer (February), the weather was not too hot and there was no rain! The schedule for the dolphin encounter was 11 a.m., and gladly; we made it!
All of us adults (viewers) were at the side of the shore while the participants were given instructions. There were two dolphins that were released to swim with them, a mother and a son (I forgot their names). The son was still a bit childish, so he just swam around and never forced to be with the guests. It took a few minutes for them to call a new dolphin to play with them. The session lasted for more than an hour. The guests were taught some tricks so the dolphins would play with them. Everyone was happy after swimming, and we know that this was something that Emily would never forget about the Philippines.
After this, we went to watch a dolphin show. The trainers and dolphins showed off some skills. They also explained the condition of these poor animals and why they were in the conservation area. Most of them were victims of dynamite fishing that caused them to be impaired. Some dolphins that were in good condition were released back to the wild after some treatments. The presentation also talked about how to take care of the ocean. There were educational shows for the whole day, that unfortunately, we missed.
After eating lunch at the restaurant, we wandered into the area. We went to the sea aquariums with different sea creatures and descriptions about it. We also went to an aisle with 3D fun arts that we enjoyed taking photos of ourselves.
And then the most torturing (and funniest) moment of my life came… we went to a fish spa! It was something that I really wanted to try, but I was in huge doubt because knowing myself, I am a very ticklish person. In fact, my husband is not allowed to touch my feet or a flying kick with a loud scream will come back to him (imagine Bruce Lee’s iconic flying kick!). But then, I thought that I could manage this one because I had a foot spa a night before the wedding day, and I somehow managed it (well, there were some squealing noises every now and then), but hey! I didn’t give the attendant a flying kick! So I asked my family to try it (with me, of course) and those were the most torturing 15 minutes of my life! I was wrong! It was never near the same sensation that I felt in the spa therapist the other day! To be fair, it settled down a tiny bit. However, there’s this one spot of each of my foot that made me squeal and uhm, cry. at the end of it, I survived! Believe me, I still felt them when we went back to the hotel (gladly, no nightmares about it!)
So, folks, this is the first part of our family trip in Bataan! For the continuation of this fun-filled trip, please read the Part Two!