Being the stereotypical tourist that I am, I wanted - no, scratch that - I needed to visit Pearl Farm. It promised a taste of luxury for a day tour rate of P1,950/person on weekdays and P2,500/person on weekends *gulp* Of course I scheduled our day trip on a Thursday. Besides, if we pushed through with the original itinerary and visited on the next day, which was a holiday, I'm pretty sure we'd have no place to even have our asses seated judging by the number of people already waiting in the resort's, well, "waiting area" (sue me for my limited vocabulary ples).
Pearl Farm is located in a huge island called Samal (its official name is Island Garden City of Samal or IGACOS but ain't that quite a mouthful). It's a good 40 minutes away from the city by boat and thank freaking God the transfer is already included in the rate. Anyway, we arrived at the drop-off point a few minutes before 8am and I thought we were still early and had the chance to take in the calmness of the morning but no, overnight and day tour visitors were already impatiently waiting in line for their boat passes. I was like, chill people!! I smiled at the receptionist after handing out my reservation printout because I certainly did not want to be at the receiving end of her deadly glares. She was obviously getting impatient at how impatient the visitors were. It was a beautiful morning, indeed! /sarcasm
I was uncharacteristically very relaxed and not in my where's-your-manager mood that morning. I decided against joining the rowdy crowd and just sat down on one of the beautiful chairs by the pool. Ain't that fly! Just a receiving area and they got a swimming freaking pool! That certainly made me even more excited to see Pearl Farm in all its glory. I mean, gahd, a swimming pool in the RECEPTION area, people! (Please excuse my ignorance - rural girl coming out).
So after what seemed like a whole day under the gloomy weather (the damn thing moved slower than a snail), we finally reached Pearl Farm. And oh my goodness, it looked so....so normal. So...so so? So outdated? I wanted to die inside for shelling out almost P2k for this. But then again, it was too early to tell!
People were already at the iconic Pagoda for yet another round of complimentary drinks - this time fresh pineapple juice - so I quickened my steps and gorged on them freebies. No judging ples. Two grand for all these complimentary drinks, I've got to take advantage of them (had two or I think three glasses and I swear the waiter was already judging me *what-are-these-commoners-doing-here kinda look*).
After changing to our swimming attire, we excitedly went to the infinity pool by the Pagoda. But lo and behold! It was already crowded and I was beginning to rethink my decision to take this day trip. The place isn't even that gorgeous to risk my life by getting into their jammed infinity pool. In one way or another someone was bound to get hurt, either by a pair of kicking legs trying to swim or by arms trying to help their owner float. Nu-uh. I wouldn't even dare try going near that pool! And the worst part here was, we didn't know where to stay because all the lounge chairs were already occupied! And you would think since this was a day tour we would have our own tour guide. But no, we were left on our own and were expected to be good as long as we wouldn't go to off-limits areas, such as that (fake) white sand beach that was seriously calling me with all the empty lounge chairs. No chance, though. It's only for check-in guests. I could certainly feel the social status gap slapping me on the face. Hard.
But before I wallowed in self pity we decided to go back to the information officer and ask if there was any other place where we could chill and maybe soak a bit because I had mustered enough courage to wear a tankini and show too much flabby skin. We needed to at least have our ankles wet. And thank goodness they have another pool on the other side of the the resort that's also open to day trippers. Halle-freaking-lujah! I couldn't bear the looks that some check-in guests were giving us any longer as if it was our fault that they did not have chairs for themselves. As if! But then again, if I were on their expensive rubber slippers and I paid a couple of months' worth of rent just to discover that the pool has been invaded by day trippers, I'd be fuming maaaad.
So we hopped on the first golf cart that arrived and were greeted by the narrowest road I've ever seen in my whole life. I was a bit worried about the safety of this small trip because I was sure that if manong drove by a few millimeters over than what the narrow road allowed, then our lives would definitely be over in an instant. Okay, a little bit exaggerated but what the heck? Can't a girl worry about her life now? (quite weird saying this after trying the inverted zipline ;))
Warning: a couple of crap photos below. Our official photographer was too busy flexing his muscles and playing Frisbee :))
And seriously, how could I even swim in a beach that's supposed to be for mangroves? No can do, sir. I'm all for growing mangroves and supporting mother earth as long as it does not require me to swim in mud. I may sound like a whiny day tour guest but could I not have at least a decent beach or a big enough pool where I could swim without hitting someone else's face?
And that leads me to the next part of this post. I cannot, for the life of me, find any single photo of the buffet table to show you its awesomeness because we were probably too busy filling our stomachs and squeezing the P1950 day tour rate for all it's worth so I will just tell you now how gluttony is bad for your health. After eating what could probably be a family's 2-week supply of fruits, my stomach hurt like crazy - so crazy that I went to the nearest toilet without so much care about what others would think. I know papaya has this notorious reputation of making you shit your heart out but I was just too starved to even care about the effects of the amount of food I consumed that fateful day. But I won't go into very specific details, will I? XD The best part of all this is that I actually have a picture of this:
After about fifteen minutes of sunbathing, I felt so much better and my skin felt 100 degrees hotter and ten shades darker. I was fully awake just in time to see Toto browsing through photos he took of the other side of the island (or up to where he was allowed).
I hope they could modernize it a bit but still maintain some sort of ethnic details, like a fusion of the modern and the traditional. Or probably they already have that going on in their villas and suites. Probably it's just really the pools that needed major overhaul, like seriously. Or probably I'm asking too much for a day tour guest who ate lunch like there was no tomorrow and pooped everything out the next hour ;))