Other Grandeur Travelers.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Our Semi-Spontaneous Palaui Adventure + Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort.

Last year, Palaui Island's unprecedented popularity soared as it earned the 10th spot for CNN's World's 100 Best Beach List. On top of that award, Palaui was also the filming location for the next Survivor Installment -- Survivor: Blood vs. Water and Survivor: Cagayan. The "raw" beauty of Palaui became an instant hit for travelers who wanted an alternative beach destination. Everyone was curious and so was I. 

Our roadtrip started at 3 AM. I decided to skip bed with the fear that I would end up hitting dreamland. My travel high, however, was already potent enough to keep me awake. After almost 9 hours (with rest stop in Tuguegarao), we reached Santa Ana, Cagayan, our jump-off point for our Palaui Adventure.

Initially, my friends dared me to rough it out for this trip. They kept on repeating that my "Grandeur Traveler" reputation had already gotten the best of me. I was game to go back to my backpacking roots but after seeing most of the accommodations, I figured I needed the comforts of a nice hotel.  (Yes. It was an epic fail on my part). My excuse was straightforward and simple. My holidays due to residency training are almost nil every month. I deserved a nice place to rest. Period.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was a huge resort complex in Santa Ana, Cagayan called Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort (Formerly known as SunCity). I couldn't have been happier. I did not expect this place to exist in this part of the Philippines. The resort looks like Fontana in Clark, Pampanga but this one has unimpeachable sunset views.

We picked one of the 2-bedroom Villas. All I could say was "Hallelujah". This was definitely an upgrade from the resort that we earlier picked.

If you are a group of 4-5, this villa would be perfect. Some of the villas also have private pools.

Master's bedroom.

The other bedroom with twin beds.

The Villas were definitely a plus for the resort. However, the food and service need serious improvement.

The FOOD - Well, I did not take any photos because I did not like any of it. I am a happy-go-lucky guy and normally, I eat whatever is in front me when I am on vacation. For our breakfast, they did not even bother putting the cereals in the proper containers. I hope they work on improving food quality for all their restaurants.

SERVICE:  The staff are not as attentive as they should be. Service was slow. I asked for ketchup and what they gave me was tomato sauce! Terrible. I was surprised that service was like this since the Survivor crew stayed here already. Please fix this.


As with any resort, I love taking photos of the poolside. Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort's pool area did not disappoint.  Do not expect the beach to look like Boracay though. It is not white and powdery sand. 

The resort does not have the beautiful beach that we love but you can do other fun activities here to keep you preoccupied.


The Casino.


Our adventure started after a night's rest in the resort. We asked one of the staff to the resort to rent the boat for us going to Cape Engano. This cape was the my idea of Palaui. Initially, our boatman brought us to a beach which had a small fishing village. We insisted this was not Cape Engano but he believed this was the Palaui we were looking for! Frustrated, we demanded the boatman to bring us to the real Cape Engano. Suddenly, we realized we made one big mistake. We did not ask the front desk or main tourism office for the tour. We gave the task to our bellboy. Little did we know that we actually hired a "colorum" boat!

EN route to Cape Engano, Our boatman took us all the way to the middle of the raging ocean. That moment, we all felt hat the boat could tip over and we could all die! The worst part was that no one in the world would know where we were if this happened. After this experience, we made sure we got the "official and licensed" boats in Palaui. NEVER Again.  Do ask the front desk or tourism office.

We were relieved to reach our first stop alive. Most Palaui pictures are unedited and my photos are as real as they get. When we arrived, I was a bit disappointed that the sand was not as fine as I expected but the whole landscape and yes..the rugged beauty made up for it. Palaui had its own magic.

It will take you a good 20-30 minutes to reach the Cape Engano Lighthouse. At the end of the day, it will depend on how fit you are.

When you reach the top, you'll notice the Batanes-looking landscape on the left side. Quite a contrast.

Cape Engano Lighthouse.

The Dos Hermanos Islets off Cape Engano that looked like the guardians of Palaui.

After this tiring yet rewarding hike, we went back to the resort to catch this sunset view.

On our last day, we went to Anguib Beach to get out fill of our quintessential white beach experience.   We stayed here for almost half a day with no one but us in sight. We had all the beach to ourselves. 
I was glad my friends KK and Val pushed me to do this trip. I saw more beauty of the Philippines in the north. This may be a brief review but I hope the pictures are enough for you to pack up your bags and have your own Palaui adventure.


For more details about Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort, Click: http://www.cagayanresort.com


Unknown said...

salamat po sa pagdala sa amin sa mga ganitong lugar... nakaka inspire.. makes me realize.. masarap mabuhay... definitely wanna go here and experience the breathtaking grandeur of god's creation..

pano po ba pumunta dito? i saw the site but doesnt indicate about booking reservations...

maraming salamat po ulit...

deobaraanmd said...

Hi marian! We only did a roadtrip for this from manila. I will finish the complete posts soon.

mikilito said...

This is in our province Doc. Maganda jan. Thanks for featuring it on your blog. I'll look forward to the continuation of your trip.

deobaraanmd said...

Welcome @mikilito! Please wait for my post. :)

Kiel Lago said...

Is it Hermanos or Romanos? :-)

Anonymous said...

Went to Cagayan Leisure & Holiday Resort just last week, April 17-19, 2014. Sad to say, I have a lot of bad reviews about this hotel :(
1. They didn't inform me about the reservation details like the advance deposit payment thru bank. I was the one who asked them first if there will be a deposit and that was a week after I sent my reservation thru email.
2. When we checked in, I gave the required 11,000 deposit. I was expecting to pay all the remaining balance on the check out date as that was the way in other hotels that I've been through. But the reception told me that aside from the 11,000 deposit, I have to pay right then the remaining one night that I reserved. When I asked her why do I have to pay right away since I specifically stated in my reservation details that we will be spending two nights in the hotel. Her reason was, "Marami din po kasi ang magchecheck in check out bukas mam kaya para po sigurado na sa inyo ung room for another night, kelangan niyo na po bayaran." Good thing we have extra cash with us!! And the price of a one night in Superior Villa wasn't cheap!! So in short, I haven't even seen the room and enjoyed my stay yet and I already spent more than 20,000 pesos in just a few minutes!
3. The Chinese Restaurant sucks. The food is actually great, bit oily since all they serve is chinese cuisines. But the restaurant staff was sooo not organized. Our orders came an hour and a half late. Some of our orders wasn't recorded. The waitress who attended to us forgot to mention that one of our orders was not available and she informed us about this after 2 hours. Servies sucks so bad its not even worth it.
4. I got a Superior Villa for 6 persons. We were 6. The free Breakfast was only for 4 persons. The Breakfast was I think the worst of all. They called it buffet but they only have rice, pansit, chicken adobo/curry, fried egg, hash brown, chopsuy, garlic bread, water and coffee. I mean, what kind of buffet breakfast was that? And to think that 2 of us wouldn't be able to have the free breakfast so that's another expenses. And the service was so slow again. It takes time to refill the foods, the plates and utensils. It was such a hassle early in the morning. I was thinking, the room was way expensive and I get to have this kind of service? No way. Not worth it.
5. Our phone doesn't work. We tried to report it to the reception but apparently, they couldn't fix it. Up to our check out date, the phone was broken. (The phone was actually important since you have to call the reception for them to send a golf cart to pick you up)
6. Small pool.
7. Crappy beach. Brown sand, unclear water, like mud. White Rock Resort in Subic has better pool and beach and its way cheaper than this hotel.
8. Check out was a disaster. Their staff who checked our room said we left a luggage but actually, we didn't. We always double check the room before check out. Hassle.

The only good thing I guess is its a private resort. Lots of security. Friendly staff.

Never going back here. Once is enough anyway. Once you've gone to Palaui Island, there is really no reason to go back again. It's beatiul yes, but only the Anguib Beach and the Cape Engano. But the other beaches, not as nice as he Anguib.

deobaraanmd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deobaraanmd said...

Thank anonymous for the review! Because of that, I decided to finish part of this post already. Yes, the food and service were terrible! I did not expect the beach in the resorts to be nice though. I always have my reservations. However, Anguib and Cape Engano were both wonderful.

@Kiel - Dos Hermanos