After our long motorcycle ride from Manila to my hometown Naga City in Bicol, I was all set for a few days of just chilling out at the beach. My family decided to spend Christmas Eve in Caramoan, a rugged getaway best known for being the filming location of hit reality show Survivor. To maximize our stay, we took a 3D2N package at Tugawe Cove Resort, a beautiful resort hidden in a cove.
Tugawe Cove Resort is located near the tip of the Caramoan Peninsula in Camarines Sur in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. Though it’s part of the province of Camarines Sur, it’s actually nearer the island province of Catanduanes. If you don’t like long land trips and are not coming from Naga City, you’ll find it more convenient to travel by air to Virac, Catanduanes and take a boat from there.
Since we were traveling with parents who are based in Naga City, we arranged for the pick-up service from the resort. A van picked up our group in Nagaland Hotel and took us to the Talisay Port in San Jose. Coming from Naga, land travel time was 1.5 hours while the speedboat ride to Tugawe Cove was another 2 hours (it can take 4 hours via regular boat). While the mainland town of Caramoan is now accessible by land from Naga (3-4 hours drive), the only way to get to Tugawe Cove Resort is by boat since the cove is not connected to any road.
From the boat, you wouldn’t think there was a resort on the island.The structures are designed around the cove’s environment and are not visible from afar. After our thrilling speedboat ride, we were welcomed at a small beachfront by the staff who picked us up with golf carts. The first order of the day was welcome drinks and snacks before heading to our villa.
Guests have several options to choose from since the accommodations are located in different areas of the cove, each offering a distinct ambience. There are 23 cabanas in all, some of which are located right beside the lake, others on the hillside, while others are at the hilltop.
We stayed in a Hilltop Family Room, which had 2 double beds, a single bed, and a sofabed. Just right for our group of 5 adults and 1 kid. The beds were very comfortable and spread apart to allow lots of space to move around. The bathroom was pretty long and had 2 sinks and a closet. We even had a small wooden table in the veranda area.
The Lakeside Rooms offer more privacy for couples and are nearer the beach, but getting up to the dining area requires a lot of climbing.
Each room comes with air-conditioning, a wide veranda, 32-inch LCD HDTV satellite TV with 21 channels, private toilet and bath with hot and cold shower, complimentary bottled water and complimentary coffee.
It was a bit overcast and rainy when we arrived and during the afternoon, so we decided to spend our first afternoon at the beach. The resort has 2 beach areas. The wider beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Checked-in guests are free to use the kayaks and snorkeling gear, while a wave runner is available for rent. There are lounge chairs here and picnic tables. Great place to just chill out.
The smaller beach has a rockier shore and is where boats dock to drop off and pick up guests for island-hopping tours. There are also lounge chairs on the sandy beach. If you want a quiet place to enjoy the breeze at night, this is a good spot.
For those who prefer pools to the beach, the view from the resort’s infinity pool is pretty hard to beat. With the lawn chairs set up nearby and two mini pools, you’ll want to just lounge here all day and enjoy the view. At night, the pool is lit up with colorful lights.
Tugawe Cove Resort has its own al fresco restaurant where all the meals are served. They usually serve plated set meals, but if there are a lot of guests, meals are served buffet style.
Meals were mostly standard hotel fare, but there were a few standout dishes like the grilled chicken, laing, and crab paella. The meals also come with soup and dessert. The restaurant also has a bar, where you can order beer.
For Noche Buena, they even brought in a whole lechon and grilled barbecue for guests! I really appreciated the effort of the staff to prepare all the food for checked-in guests, especially since they were working on Christmas away from their own families.
KID-FRIENDLY GAME ROOM AND PLAYGROUND
Tugawe Cove Resort has a few recreational facilities to keep guests (especially kids), occupied. There’s a game room with a billiard table, air hockey and a foosball table, a TV and Wii, a mini-library with books and board games. The game room is decorated with photos of different spots around Caramoan which you can visit during island-hopping tours.
Right next to the game room is a wide deck that offers a great view of the coast. The resort staff let the kids light fireworks here on Christmas Eve. It’s a cool place to hang out after eating, especially since the free WiFi signal is strongest here and in the dining area. Near the swimming pool, there’s also a small playground for kids, which my nephew loved.
Guests can arrange for optional resort activities, including beach-hopping (visit nearby beaches of the resort), birdwatching, firefly watching, bio-luminescent plankton watching (only visible during new moon), bonfire at the beach, and picnic at the lighthouse. We opted to hike to the lighthouse (minus the picnic) to watch the sunset.
The resort also offers several island-hopping packages, including whole-day and half-day tours to different islands including Katanhawan Island, Pitogo Bay, Tinago Cove, Tayak Lake, Matukad Island, Lahos Island, Sabitang Laya, Cotivas, and Manlawi Sandbar. (Separate post on island-hopping soon)
WHY YOU SHOULD CHECK-IN:
Tugawe Cove Resort is a great getaway for families with kids, leisure travelers, honeymooners, couples and groups/barkadas who want the amenities of a quality hotel in an adventure-type setting. They offer hassle-free stays, with rooms, full-board meals, transportation and transfers and optional activities so you don’t have to worry about anything.
The service was great and everyone was friendly and courteous. I want to commend the resort staff for going out of their way to make our Christmas vacation fun and memorable. For rates and inquiries, please visit their website.
ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO:
Tugawe Cove Resort is located in Brgy. Colongcogong, Caramoan Peninsula,
Camarines Sur 4429, Philippines.