Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Birthday Getaway: Amarela Resort in Panglao, Bohol

I knew that this year's birthday celebration would be a lot different as I will be tagging along R on his business trip. Though I was expecting that we'd find time to at least have a mini celebration together, it didn't exactly turned out as such given that we had a packed schedule to follow. But just when I was frowning and at the verge of crying, R surprised me with a lovely stay at Amarela Resort in Panglao, Bohol the day after my birthday. 
Hello, Amarela Resort.
Defined as a rustic resort in Dauis, Panglao, Amarela is a beautiful gem sitting a few kilometers away from the busy Alona beach.
R booked a Superior Room (PHP5,700/night) which comes with free airport transfer. We decided to get picked up though at a nearby mall instead as we had a vehicle with us when we visited the island. There was a bit of confusion though with the pick up as the initial meeting point was hard to find. 
It took about 25 minutes to get to the resort from Tagbilaran and we were welcomed with a glass of calamansi juice.
After the usual paperworks, we were ushered to our room fronting the pool. 

The room is equipped with a queen sized bed, TV, DVD player (you can borrow DVD from their library), private bathroom, and complimentary water and coffee. 
I love that it even has extension cord for guests who wish to have their gadgets near them. 
R called the reception in preparation for his "surprise" but got surprised instead. He was told upon confirmation of booking that Amarela will arrange a romantic dinner by the beach for us to celebrate my birthday. But it totally changed when we got there. The reception said that we had to confirm it at 2 p.m. the latest but we got there a lot later. It would have been understandable but we didn't get any disclaimer that there's a deadline for confirmation or that we even had to confirm thinking that it has been settled. And when we insisted that it was in the email confirmation that we have a scheduled dinner by the beach, they reasoned out that they lack manpower to do the set up. Frustrated with what was happening, I went to the reception myself and talked to the person behind the front desk. After expressing my disappointment, they finally made the necessary arrangement for the promised dinner by the beach.
Come 7 p.m., we went to the beach and were pleased with the set up. It was better than I imagined. What made it even better was that we were the only ones there under the dark star-filled sky. (Note: Guests are required to order a minimum of PHP2,000 worth of food in order to have dinner by the beach.)
Amarela has a separate menu if you wish to dine by the beach but you can order other dishes from its regular menu as well to complement your course meal. I went with Grilled Prawns in Garlic Butter (PHP990) while R got Gr‎illed Fish Fillet in Herbs and Spices (PHP820). For drinks, we went with Cucumber Lemonade Shake and Coconut Shake (beverage prices range from PHP100-150). 
First served were our appetizers Crispy Shrimp and Carabao Cheese Fritters
Both are good and its light taste make it fitting as appetizers.
Our crunchy starters were followed by Squash and Fresh Tomato soup served with soft dinner roll. 
Just like the starters, these thick soups were delicious and flavorful. Do add a bit of pepper for both if you want a slight contrast in flavor. 
Healthy plates of Amarela and Island Salad were served after which whet our appetite for our mains. 
Grilled Prawns in Garlic Butter had that addicting buttery flavor but it was a bit hard to peel off the skin. It went great with garlic rice. 
R's Grilled Fish Fillet in Herbs and Spices had that strong curry flavor which I was not very fond of and it would have been better with plain rice than herbed rice.
To cap our dinner, we had Fruits in Season and Leche Flan. Both were straightforward and the usual fruits and flan you get elsewhere.
While enjoying our dessert, I was surprised by our waiter, Manuel, with a plate of Ube Halaya (jam) and while singing Happy Birthday. His stellar service during dinner definitely made the visit pleasant again and made us forget the stressful arrangement of this supposed "surprise". 
I woke up early the next day to enjoy the morning sun. R soon followed and we had  a blast having the beach all to ourselves. We also borrowed one of the kayaks to go a bit further without accidentally stepping on sea urchins. 
Note: Use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment are free of charge.
After an hour or two of splashing around, we decided to head back for breakfast. 
The breakfast spread is limited but ample. 
You can also request for your omelette to be made based on your preferences.
We decided to drop by the pool and take a quick dip before checking out. We didn't stay very long as the pool area had no shade.
The check out process went smoothly. And our ride back was already waiting for us when we got to the lobby. 
Overall, it was a pleasant stay. Though it started a bit rough, everything else was great. But what made it extra memorable was how exclusive it felt. We had the beach and pool to ourselves and it was totally different from when we were at Alona beach. We'll definitely be back. 
Amarela Resort is located at Barangay Libaong, Panglao Island, Bohol.

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