Thursday, September 21, 2017

When in Davao: Paradise Island Park & Resort

Mindanao used to be a place I was afraid to visit. With media and elders saying that this part of the Philippines as an unsafe place, I didn't even consider to travel and spend my vacation down south. Sure, there are cities that are considered safe like Davao. But it being a few miles away from NPA surrounded areas and even a war zone made me feel even more afraid. But all that changed this year when I visited President Duterte's hometown not just once but thrice. And for this trip, I got to enjoy Paradise Island. 
Hello, Paradise Island Park & Beach Resort
This resort in Samal Island is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. With its affordable ferry ride (from Davao wharf) and island day pass (PHP20 and PHP200 respectively) and lax policy on outside food, several families spend the weekend in this pocket friendly resort. 
To celebrate the launch of R's Davao branch, we decided to cap the week at Paradise Island. We booked 5 double occupancy rooms at PHP4,000 per night with his family and key employees. 
Given that I've been to Bluejazz Beach Resort and Waterpark, I knew that this was an upgrade. But I wasn't expecting it to be a lot better. 
We were given welcome drinks as soon as we got to the reception. The receptionist was very accommodating to our requests for room assignments and we were able to get our keys after a short wait. 
We were also given 5 coupons for free use of its pool or table tennis table. Each coupon is good for 30 minutes.
Our room was more quaint than I expected. It has its own fence gate, a small garden and veranda where you could enjoy your meal. 
There is also a foot wash area to get rid of sand.
The room itself was spacious for two. It has a king size bed with clean linens, small console for bags, work area, and decent washroom. We also got two complimentary bottles of water. 
I love that the management is so thoughtful to include 4 plastic bags for wet and dirty clothes. 
There are also guides for remote buttons and even shower knobs!  
Since we were tired from all the early morning calls and it was still too hot to go for a swim, we decided to take a power nap. And we ended up waking around 5 p.m. which was perfect for that lovely late afternoon swim. 

But we got too lazy and ended up just ordering Halo-Halo Special (PHP130) and Fish & Chips (PHP250). 
We knew that Paradise Island's food service could be very slow. It is even stated on its menu. Luckily, my halo-halo only took around 20 minutes for it to be served while R's fish & chips took more than half an hour. 
The Halo-Halo Special was your usual halo-halo. I liked that it had generous serving of saba and langka though which made it sweeter and more delightful to munch. 
R's fish & chips looked a bit sad. With only three battered fish and fries that you could easily count with ten fingers, it was overpriced. Though it tasted like your average fish & chips, R wished he got something else.
The Pomelo Shake (PHP100) had a bitter taste so we asked for water instead. But it was a struggle to get it. It took several follow ups before we got two glasses of water. And since we wanted more for our companions, we asked if we could just get a pitcher of water to save him the trouble of getting us more every time we ask. He said that it's not possible as they serve water by the glass. We then pointed out the table across ours that had two pitchers of water. But the server reasoned out in a very rude tone that it was for the performers and cannot be given to us paying customers. It was an illogical excuse and the server's behavior was made us very upset. R complained to the manager and another staff was assigned to us. Also, to appease us, we were given two complimentary fresh buco juice. 
Dinner though was better. We got Sinigang na Hipon, Liempo, Steamed Eggplant with Shrimp Paste,Tuna and Kinilaw. All were good and filling. 
My favorite though was the eggplant. It had a slight sweet taste that went well with the shrimp paste. 
But the highlight of our dinner was the impressive fire dance performance. 
It seems that fire dance is something common in Samal Island as we also watched one in Bluejazz. But the group that performed in Paradise Island seems to be more professional and had more budget based on their coordinated outfits.
After watching two rounds of fire dance performances and finishing a plate of Leche Flan (PHP120), R and I decided to head back to our room before more mosquitoes try to bite us. 
We just watched a  few shows on TV and slept till 10 a.m.. It was hard to get up since the bed was pretty comfortable. 
It was too late to go for a morning swim so we just showered and packed up to leave before 11:30 a.m. to get back to the city at 12 noon in time for lunch. 
Despite the rude service we got from one of the staff and our room getting skipped from the bag pick up service, it was still a pleasant visit. I'll definitely skip getting the pomelo shake and fish & chips next time though.

Paradise Island Park & Beach Resort is located at Caliclic, Babak, Samal Island.

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