Resorts are a dime a dozen nowadays. So many know of beaches and popular relaxation destinations in places like Kalibo, Bohol, and Palawan. It’s so difficult to decide where to go.
But did you know that a paradise-like location can practically be found just beside Metro Manila? A wonderful breathtaking getaway which is just a comfortable 1.5-hour drive from the busy metropolis.
This paradise is called, “Pico de Loro”.
Named after a nearby mountain with a peak shaped in the form of a parrot’s beak, this sprawling wonderland provides way more than anyone’s general idea of what one resort can offer. There is also a great deal of sights to behold that make you feel like you are nowhere near the bustling city from which you came from.
Pico de Loro Cove is the maiden residential community of Hamilo Coast. Nestled along a 1.5-kilometer stretch of white sand and calm blue waters, the 40-hectare community is a first glimpse into the future of Hamilo Coast as the premier sustainable beach resort town of the Philippines.
Last March 24, I was able to spend 2 days (an overnight stay) at Pico de Loro with my wife and a few good friends, enjoying the view and the place’s awesome attractions not to mention the wonderful food prepared by their very own chef.
Coincidentally, it was also our wedding anniversary… so what better way to spend this romantic occasion than to bask under the sun and enjoy everything that Pico de Loro has to offer.
We arrived at Pico de Loro just a tad before lunchtime – a good hour and a half after leaving Manila. On the way inside, we just had to stop and take photos by the sign right beside the long driveway leading to the main resort.
Being the social media geeks that we are, Instragram posts were in order naturally.
I also took a few pics of the beautiful flowers spanning the driveway of Hamilo Coast.
Pico de Loro has a beach & country club, as well as 4 residential clusters which are called Myna, Jacana, Carola and Miranda respectively. They also have a beautiful 7-storey boutique hotel – Pico Sands Hotel. This was where we stayed the night.
Pico Sands Hotel is a seven storey, 154-room hotel offering spacious rooms equipped with modern amenities and captivating views of the lush mountains and tranquil lagoon.
As soon as we arrived at Pico Sands Hotel, we were warmly welcomed by some of the staff and personnel making us immediately feel at home. We were introduced to some of the amazing people in-charge of keeping Pico de Loro in great shape. Little did I know that Chef Jayme (Pico de Loro’s Executive Chef) was a childhood friend. Happy surprise! We had a lot of catching up to do but we saved that for later since we all just arrived and we were very eager to head into our rooms and relax a bit before having lunch.
Before heading to our respective quarters, we posed right beside the entrance for a quick group photograph (I’ll get to that some more later on… you’ll understand why I just had to mention it).
Off we went to our rooms to drop off our luggage and get nice and comfy.
Pico de Loro provided a very spacious Premiere Lagoon View room for us. This particular room with 2 beds can easily accommodate a family of 4.
It isn’t called a Premiere Lagoon View room for nothing, of course. Because when you head over to the room’s balcony, you get to enjoy this…
A wonderful view of the majestic lagoon which spans all of Pico de Loro’s residential clusters.
For those particular about what our room has to offer and for an idea of what to expect…
After a few minutes freshening up, we headed back down to Pico Restaurant for our much needed lunch.
Pico Restaurant specializes in Mediterranean cuisine and is located at the lobby of Pico Sands Hotel. This place has a wide variety of items on their menu to choose from… and since we were served a good number of dishes, I can promise you that every single offering that we partook of was absolutely delicious. No, I am not saying this just because I was really hungry when I tried them.
Here are just a few of the dishes I enjoyed eating…
Chef Jayme whipped up a storm in the kitchen. There was more food than our tummies could fill. Wow. Thanks, Chef!
Pico de Loro has so many attractions and we wanted to see them all… so we wasted no time as soon as we got settled in.
I familiarized myself with the place by studying the map of the entire resort.
I found out that those looking for a more laid back ambiance where you can enjoy a few drinks with friends, the best place to be at is Pico Bar which is located just in front of Pico Restaurant. This is perfect for nightcaps and intimate get-togethers. This is where we spent our post-dinner bonding time over coffee and shakes.
Both Pico Restaurant & Pico Bar are open 24 hours.
Just a short walk away from Pico Sands Hotel, you can easily find their Olympic-sized swimming pool which is just beside the man-made lake and in front of the country club. Kinda makes you want to immediately strip and jump in, eh? The surrounding mountains add to the attractiveness of this beautiful pool area.
A gorgeous restaurant called, Lagoa, can be found right inside Pico de Loro’s Country Club.
Tired of swimming? Not a problem.
This country club has so much to offer for kids and adults alike – enough to keep everyone busy (and very happy) with a ton of activities readily available to friends, families and couples. Check it out…
How can you go wrong with bowling? This was actually my “happy place”… I grew up with parents who competed in bowling and this just made me feel so nostalgic.
Pico de Loro’s country club has different areas dedicated to lovers of all sorts of sports such as badminton, billiards, table tennis, squash and basketball. Amazing. Game, anyone?
Want something a little more… ummm… hardcore? Sure thing.
If you’re a gym rat just like me or if you simply want to spend a good few minutes sweating it out on the treadmill, the Pico de Loro country club also has a really cool and fully functional gym and fitness center, complete with cardio and fitness machines as well as free weights. It felt like the room was calling out to me. Haha!
Also inside the country club is their very own convenience store – “Grab N’ Go”. Perfect for a quick bite (or drink) or for whatever knick-knack you might need.
The lobby of the country club is very spacious, making you feel right at home…
Next stop was the Pico de Loro Beach Club.
The Beach Club is exclusive to members and accompanied guests. This amazing place has a swimming pool, pool bar, locker rooms for adults and children, Kultura Butik gift shop, a few dining outlets and sports and recreation facilities.
Just like other areas of Pico de Loro, it is difficult not to fall in love with their beach club… you can pretty much see why based on the photos.
From the Pico de Loro Beach Club, we boarded a speedboat and headed out to sea…
And away we goooooo…
We were on our way to an exclusive and remote location just 20 minutes away called, Santelmo Cove.
Locals attest to seeing St. Elmo’s Fire in this area and aptly named it Santelmo Cove after the said weather phenomenon. With flawless white sand and turquoise waters, Santelmo has one of the best beaches in Hamilo Coast. One of the marine protected areas of the coast, Santelmo is also an occasional nesting ground of Olive Ridley and green sea turtles (pawikan). Giant clams (taklobos) and a diverse variety of sea creatures likewise make this cove an ideal diving and snorkeling spot.
Santelmo Cove is as beautiful as it is intimate. I was really excited to head over to this place with my wife and our friends. It’s like having an entire island all to yourself.
This was where we had lunch during our second day. It’s worth mentioning that Santelmo Cove has a few boats that were converted into tables… really amusing. It adds to the overall look and feel of the place.
I also brought along my trusty suntan oil hoping to take advantage of the intense summer sun. I was in dire need of a good tan after all! Haha!
You should definitely check out Santelmo Cove when you visit Pico de Loro. It’s just one of those places you’ll certainly regret not going to.
After a few hours frolicking and basking under the sun, we left Santelmo Cove and returned to the beach club. Before having dinner, we checked out Pico de Loro’s beautiful chapel which was located nearby.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus is a small chapel overlooking the West Philippine Sea of Pico de Loro Cove.
Mr. Henry Sy, Sr. had this chapel built for his grandson’s wedding. This all glass chapel is a great venue for weddings and other special occasions. Mass is also celebrated every Sunday at 11AM.
After a short tour, we went straight to the Sun Coral Café at the Pico de Loro beach club where dinner was prepared for us.
Sun Coral Café is a seaside grill with specialties that include Crispy Pork Slab, Pako Salad and Pancit Habhab. It is open from 6AM to 8PM (Sunday to Thursday) and from 6AM to 10PM (Friday to Saturday). Dining at Sun Coral Café is a privilege for members and accompanied guests.
While others were ordering dishes paired with rice, I opted to go for a deliciously juicy “Pico Burger”! Ah, yes! A thing of beauty!
We had so much food prepared yet again by Chef Jayme… and I have to say, there doesn’t seem to be a dish in this place that does not taste good. Everything that was served to us was fantastic.
In fact, the food was soooooo good that our pal, Gerry, which we also fondly call our “human garbage disposal unit” (because in any food event we are in, he finishes all the leftover food no matter how much is left) seemed to enjoy devouring a good portion of the dishes! Great guy!
After getting our tummies filled and spending time sharing stories and lots of laughter, we decided to head back to Pico Sands Hotel by foot. We figured the walk would do us good considering the amount of food we just had.
The weather was absolutely great… cool and windy. We took the walkway right beside the lagoon passing the residential clusters. The dimly lit path is actually perfect for couples and lovers… Hahaha! Really! I found it quite romantic.
On the way back, we stopped to take a photo of the Pico de Loro Country Club from across the lagoon. The place looked amazing from afar.
As we got ready to head back to Manila the next day, we promised ourselves that we’d be back very soon to spend more time in this wonderful paradise.
On the way home, we passed through the Kaybiang Tunnel which actually cuts travel time significantly. The tunnel looked so cool that we all just had to have a group photo right in front of it.
We decided to have a really wacky jump shot just for kicks! Yeah!
Thank you, Pico de Loro!
Truly… all good things must come to an end. But not without taking home so many delightful memories to remember Pico de Loro by.
I’d like to thank Celine Arenillo (Area Marketing Communications Manager), Pico de Loro and SM Hotels for this unforgettable experience! We all had an absofrickinlutely wonderful and crazy time!
Before I end this post, I shall leave you with one last photo of the captivating waters near Santelmo Cove…
Pico de Loro is merely a 90-minute drive from SM Mall of Asia via the Cavitex-Ternate-Nasugbu route. It is most definitely worth the trip and worth telling your friends and family about.
I fell in love with Pico de Loro… No doubt you will, too.
For membership inquiries, contact +63 2 945 8000.
For Pico Sands Hotel reservation, call + 63 2 464 7800 or +63 2 464 7888.
Facebook Page: facebook.com/picosandshotel