Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sailing on dreamland

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I am sitting at a corner table of a bar, looking at the ocean through a line of steel railings. I can hear the sound of the waves as I take a swig of my afternoon drink. To my right, I see kids playing with their parents in the salt-water infinity pool. Beside the pool are two ladies chatting while trying to get some tan. Beneath them is a view deck with more lounge chairs for sunbathing. I feel like I’m in a luxurious cruise ship, and I couldn’t resist dreaming that I am somewhere in the Carribean or heading to the Greek isles.

In reality I have just crossed the fork that separates the two resorts in the Antulang Peninsula to get to the other side of the bay, not by boat but via a habal-habal. Ron and I are now staying at the Antulang Beach Resort, which apart from the magnificent view of the ocean and the hotel services’ standard cut-off time at 10pm, bears a stark contrast to the resort on the other side.

The rooms here, for one, are more expensive than the cottages at Kookoo’s Nest. The standard cabana, where we are presently staying, costs almost as much as the most expensive cottage at the other resort. And while there we had a big bamboo cottage with a loft that could accommodate four to five people, here the room’s just big enough for a double bed and a bathroom. The tiny cabana is concrete with a wooden interior wall and is airconditioned.

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Ron and I would have loved to stay in one of the resort’s pool villas that has its own swimming pool and Jacuzzi, a big bed, cable television, and a VCR. But its steep price could already pay for our month-long trip.

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The thing is we didn’t really plan to stay here. We had only wanted to check the place out to see if it indeed deserves the overwhelming recommendations we heard among the Negenses. And besides it seemed to us then that we have already left our hearts in Kookoo’s Nest. But the grand view of the ocean from the restaurant, the interesting concrete trail surrounding the resort, and its beautiful three-basin infinity pool instantly erased all our preconceived notions of exaggerations in the statements of the Negros locals. And that was enough to make us stay for at least one night.

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The resort stands on top of a cliff, which gives one the impression of being on board a ship. Lounge chairs are scattered around the area at well-positioned viewing decks. A staircase leads to the concrete trail around the resort and towards small packets of white sand. But the water current is quite strong and not really conducive for swimming.

Antulang Beach Resort, however, deserves extra points for its friendly staff. After a very quiet stay on the other side of the bay, with its very reserved attendants and equally reserved guests, the jovial greetings of the Antulang staff becomes such a welcome treat.

Most of the guests here are families from either Bacolod or Dumaguete, with one or two balikbayans in their group. Still, this could be linked to the resort’s highly rising reputation as Negros’ premiere tourist destination. I would probably take a balikbayan relative here as well, should my area code ever becomes 035.

The thing is there is really nothing much to do in this place for people like us, who have very minimal dough to spare. Their long line of resort activities—from snorkelling to diving, rapelling to horseback riding, to tours of Apo Island and Tambobo Bay—are only for those who can afford their steep prices. This is why I am here right now, doing the only thing any one with very little money could afford to do in any expensive place—enjoy the magnificent view, drink the cheapest beer, and dream away.


EdiTrixiaGomez said...

I was at the Hilton Cebu three weekends ago and while I was at a really nice, big suite---alone---i felt like I never really have any use for it. I needed someone else to be with me in that room. There was also this really nice view deck (nothing compared to the antulang) but really, i wanted to be in good old familiar, fun boracay. where you can drink when you want to drink and dip your feet on a real beach. But then thats just me. And i need to be on a beach now because I'm so pale and I just had a haircut which makes my face even bigger when its just white. Really nice views ha, especially yung parang infinity pool at yung stairs leading to the sea. kyeri nyo naman mag-pay di ba?

Lost Sputnik said...

You seem to be visiting Cebu a lot in the past couple of months ha. Anyway, if you want to go to a beach, why not try Siquijor? They have really good beaches there. Para lang maiba naman. Will be uploading our articles, photos and videos from our Siquijor trip really soon.

lee said...

was with my wife at antulang resort last december. it's sooo pricey but really nice. I'm googling up for kookoo's nest and found your blog. With kookoo's lower rates, I think i can afford another vacation come december.