Wednesday, July 5, 2017

When in Davao: Pearl Farm Beach Resort

I get super excited whenever I score great travel deals. Who doesn't? But this is also the reason why I hesitate to splurge on hotel accommodations as I always think that I'll be away most of the time and will just be back to sleep. Then again, it's nice to stay at posh hotels and resorts from time to time as a treat. And two weekends ago, R and I decided to stay at Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

Hello, Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

Known as one, if not the best resort in Davao, I had high expectations from this place and I was definitely impressed as soon as I stepped inside its wharf.

We were warmly greeted by its staff who assisted us with our baggage and ushered us to the reception where we have to register for the boat transfer. 
You can also swim while waiting for the boat.
There are only two boat transfer schedules to choose from going to Pearl Farm-- 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.. If you prefer to head to the resort outside those two schedules, you have to pay PHP7,000 (day time) or PHP8,000 (night time) per way. Or you may also try to ride other ferries to the island and take the tricycle to Pearl Farm. I do not recommend this though if you have a lot of bags and if you hate bumpy rides.

If you'll be a bit late, it's best to inform the resort as they might wait for you for a few minutes just like what they did to some tourists with us who were about 15 minutes late.

The ride was pleasant as the boat could comfortably fit 40 passengers (with 50 being a bit cramp). It takes about 45 minutes to an hour from the wharf to the resort.

As soon as we landed, we were given some cold towels and welcome drinks.

We were then directed to the main lobby where we waited for the cart that will bring us to our Hilltop Room (PHP7,900/night-Independence Day Sale). While waiting, one of the staff offered to take a souvenir photo of our getaway.
The cart arrived 10 minutes later and we had a quick tour of the facilities within the area. There's a basketball court where you could borrow sports equipment for free and a souvenir shop where you could also watch the women weaving in action.
When we got to our room, one of the staff, Riza, briefed us of the amenities inside the room. She showed us the veranda where we could enjoy coffee in the morning as well as the unreasonably priced mini bar.
The washroom was old but well maintained. 

After fixing our stuff, we decided to head to the beach for a quick dip before dark.

Though it was nice that the beach was not rocky, it would have been nice if there were more to see. 
We didn't get to see a lot of fish during our stay as most settle near the parola where tourists feed them bread.
We skipped going to the infinity pool as it was a bit too small to be enjoyable. We missed going to the other pool though on the other side of the resort as it closes at 5 p.m..

While at the beach, we decided to order Watermelon Shake (PHP100) which was surprisingly reasonably priced. Actually, most, if not all drinks (alcoholic beverages included), were fairly priced. Same goes for their food menu.

We decided to avail of room service for dinner as Pearl Farm only charges 10% surcharge for it. And we get to have a romantic dinner with the dark sea as our view.

We ordered Sinigang na Hipon, Lechon Kawali and Molten Lava Cake with Stracciatella Ice Cream. For drinks, we went with Buko Shake (which was mistakenly noted as Fresh Buko Shake). We also popped open a bottle of champagne to turn our dinner extra romantic.  

It took about an hour before the food was sent to our room and to my surprise, they served everything in one go so our dessert was a hot melted mess after we finished our mains. I was actually hoping that the server would take the dessert back when he saw my surprised face but he just asked me if R specified to have the dessert for later. For a 5-star resort, I assumed that this would be common sense but I guess everything had to be specified to them. At least the server was very polite and even returned for our requested pitcher of water.

The lechon kawali was good. You could tell that it was deep fried in fresh oil. The skin was crunchy and the meat was tender enough.

The Sinigang na Hipon (also available in pork and lapu-lapu) was salty. I ended up finishing my cup of rice because of it. But the shrimps were fresh and the greens still had that delightful crunch.

I expected a lot from the Molten Lava Cake as it uses Malagos chocolate. However, it was not something I'd like for dessert. The base was too dark for my liking that it leaves a strong bitter after taste. I guess it was made to complement the Stracciatella ice cream. Sadly, we were not able to enjoy the ice cream at its best as it was a mess when we got to it. At least the fresh buko was sweet.

We fell asleep right after dinner and woke up just in time for breakfast. Well, sort of. We woke up around 9 a.m. (Quite hard to wake up early as the bed was really comfy!)

And there was barely any food left at the buffet. I guess it's best to head down around 7:30 a.m. for more options.

Just like its a la carte menu, the food selection for breakfast buffet was limited and average in terms of taste. My favorites would be the cheeses and cold cuts which are not really uncommon in other buffet spreads.

Oh, and don't be tricked by the chocolate drink dispenser. It's hot chocolate! I thought it was cold chocolate and used a glass instead of a mug. 

We heard that there's a free transfer to the other island owned by Pearl Farm and we decided to check it out after breakfast. Boat transfers happen every hour starting 9 am and we took the second boat to the island.

And it was... just okay.

There was a peacock in the island which surprised us but everything else was just like the resort, only dirtier. There were some rubbish by the shore which was quite nasty. Too bad we were not able to check out the other side of the island as a group rented out the villa by the shore.

We didn't have to wait for another hour to get back to the resort as all we had to do is notify the guard in charge to call the boat back. And we got back just in time to shower and get ready for check out.

We called the front desk to have a cart ready for our luggage. We were impressed that it took them less than 5 minutes to get to the room as we were told that it takes 15 minutes for a cart to arrive.

Soon, we were off the island with the friendly staff waving good bye to us. (There are two trips off the island-- 8 a.m. and 1 p.m..)

Pearl Farm Beach Resort was stellar in terms of service. The staff members were very hospitable. There are a few areas for improvement though. For instance, though it was lovely that they accommodated R's request to bring a table on the veranda for us to enjoy our meal outside our room, it would have been a lot better if they served our dessert after 30 minutes or so. It was nice that they serve freshly pressed juices for breakfast but they should use a container that has a spinner so that the juice does not separate with the pulp.  And they should move the smoking area at least 50 meters away from the dining area.

Overall, it was a fun experience and I wouldn't mind going back for another relaxing getaway. I'll get halo-halo next time as pretty much all reviews about Pearl Farm were raving about it.

Pearl Farm Beach Resort is located at Brgy Adecor, Kaputian - Samal - Kaputian Road, Babak, Island Garden City of Samal. For inquiries, you may contact them at +63 82 235 1234.

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