Philippine Travel: Review Of Montemar Beach Resort in Bataan
After New Year’s Day, the second of January 2009, I took a trip to Montemar Beach Resort in Bagac, Bataan to attend the wedding of my good friend Joey Zamora and his wife Geri.
I drove up to Bataan from my home in Paranaque, leaving home just a bit after breakfast at around 8am. The drive through EDSA in Manila was pleasant enough, and thanked the holiday season for not making it the congested traffic hell that Metro Manila is known for.
The drive along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) all the way to the end at Tarlac was also easy, and of course I really enjoyed the long straight drive along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), which leads directly to Bataan via the Dinalupihan Exit.
After the exiting the SCTEX, it’s roughly another hour to an hour-and-a-half of winding roads that eventually lead to Montemar Beach Resort. What’s interesting is that the roads to Montemar follow the path of the historic Bataan Death March and also provides a great view of Mt. Samat. But anyway, that’s how to get there. It’s a long drive, but as long as you follow the explicit directions to get to Montemar Beach Resort, you really can’t get lost. Well, not really.
Anyway, Montemar Beach Resort has been around a long time, and it has gone through some renovations to keep it rated AAA by the Department of Tourism. The beach itself is awesome, covered with mocha-colored powder and receiving a cool breeze from the South China Sea. Very little rocks and corals around the beach, which makes it perfect for wading and comfortably lounging around. The ocean’s pulse also sends shallow waves, which offers a good opportunity for skim boarding, but not strong enough to suck a wader out with an undertow.
Montemar Beach Resort also has a very cool lagoon pool, and an awesome “backyard” that is abundant with green shade and a well-maintained garden landscape. In fact, I really admire the manner with which the Montemar staff constantly busy themselves sweeping off dry leaves to uphold the pristine cleanliness of the resort.
The rooms of Montemar Beach Resort are very spacious. I was given a basic room with a double bed and a balcony overlooking the resort backyard with the sound of the ocean surf just hypnotizing a few meters away. Montemar Beach Resort even has huge inns that are capable of hosting families.
All in all, the Montemar Beach Resort experience is very relaxing. The only complaint I had was the breakfast bufet. I don’t know if it’s because of the meal pass that came with the wedding guest deal, but when I went down for breakfast at the main cafe and restaurant, there was a delectable spread of awesome breakfast dishes – beef tapa, pork tocino, salted fish, salted egg, scrambled eggs and longganiza among others. I was about to choose around 2 viands, but was told that I could only pick one among the many offered. That was a bit disappointing. I just wish they could give the entire option for the breakfast buffet instead of relegating the guest to just one viand. But then, maybe that’s the deal for the wedding guests and might not apply to the “regular” customers, but still… It’s the only setback I faced despite a near-perfect on everything else about Montemar.
What I found interesting also about Montemar Beach Resort is that their beach is actually a nesting ground for sea turtles, or what the Filipinos locally refer to as Pawikan. Sea turtles come to the shores of Montemar to nest their eggs. Once they hatch out, the sea turtles go back to sea, roam around the oceans to wherever, and return again to the beach once a year to nest once again.
The sea turtles nest every November, which prompted Montemar Beach Resort to come up with the Grand Pawikan Fest, which is held annually every November. Apart from witnessing the spectacle of the sea turtles in their nesting grounds, audiences are also informed on activities and ecological concerns of the sea turtle. As part of Montemar’s Eco-Tourism and Eco-Conservation efforts, a team tags the turtles and also raises funds through those who would wish to adopt sea turtles. Not that they get to take them home, but just that they get to name one and have a tagged turtle that bears their patronage.
In any case, the Eco-Tourism aspect of Montemar Beach Resort is something that I laud. It’s different and unique, and really offers something more than just what comes with just being a beach resort. Plus the fact, that Montemar Beach Resort really takes a step further in the conservation of the sea turtles is an admirable cause.
Anyway, for more information on Montemar Beach Resort, you can visit their site.