Hate the crowds in resorts during this time of the year but still looking for a place to spend the weekend before the summer ends here in the Philippines? I think I might have the perfect suggestion for you.
Lake Island Resort: Features
My dad and I were looking for a resort to stay around Binangonan, Rizal area a few years back for a Mothers’ Day get-together with the family. En route to Binangonan proper, we came across a sign with the words ‘Lake Island Resort’. This intrigued us so we decided to check out the place. I personally didn’t expect to see much in the resort especially since the only access to the resort was way too narrow passageway (i.e. only one car at a time can pass through) in the midst of a residential area. When we reached the reception area, however, it was like we were in a whole new different place.
A photographer’s paradise
I initially expected a commercialized place with lots of cottages and various swimming pools with noisy guests playing and having fun. To my surprise, the place was actually very quiet, serene, and the only people we encountered were the staff of the resort. I was hesitant at first, thinking that my relatives would not want to try this place especially since there was only one pool in the vicinity. Nevertheless, the ambiance, architecture, and interior design were enough to sell me out, and my dad and I eventually reserved the place for our weekend getaway. I became very excited that night and couldn’t wait to get back and bring my camera as soon as possible.
A Peaceful and Relaxing Ambiance
The place really just reeks of that ‘provincial’ feeling where the wind is cool and the trees protect you from the angry rays of the summer sun. The resort only has one pool, and what a very nice pool it is. Instead of the usual tiles, the floor and the walls of the pool are made of rocks. The water also didn’t have chlorine (the water is replaced every day) which makes the pool just more awesome.
The resort also boasts its pontoons (cheap floating device enabled by empty drums) which you can ride or eat on. Too bad we were not able to engage in this kind of activity, though. It could have been fun.
The sights and views of the resort in daylight are already amazing but as dusk sets in, the place becomes even more breathtaking.
Although the resort also offers/sells food to their guests, we decided to buy the food from the market ourselves. We then asked the chef to cook the food. He cooked them perfectly, and he even gave us some homegrown vegetables as extra. The localized and native presentation was also well appreciated.
Dishes include tilapia (cichlid fish), tahong (mussels), inihaw na liempo at pusit (grilled pork and squid), and some side dishes like atsara (pickled papaya), ensalada (mango, salted egg, and tomato salad), and vegetables with bagoong (shrimp paste). I think we paid 1500 pesos for the cooking service. I believe this is a fair price for cooking both our dinner and breakfast the next day.
We rented out the Sampaguita building. It has three rooms (1 executive room and 2 regular rooms with 2 single beds). Sampaguita was formerly a clubhouse, as such the swimming pool is just beside it. It also has a spacious area for lounging, talking, drinking, singing via videoke, and playing games. It is virtually a house minus the kitchen. I was also impressed by the ingenious interior design of the place we stayed in. The picture below is my favorite as it transformed the local percussion instrument, Kulintang, into a functional lamp.
I recommend renting this place for families or companies of around 10 people as it is cheaper compared to renting out individual rooms. We paid 8,400 pesos for this beautifully decorated house with free drinking water to boot. The rooms were also fully air-conditioned with their own bathrooms. Score!
The staff and the people in the resort, Ate Lulu, Kuya Dario, and others, were very nice and accommodating too. In fact, we were very lucky to meet the owner of the place, Mr. Juan. He is very kind and amiable and even gave us complimentary gifts. They have also decided to replace their ornamental plants with fruit-bearing and vegetable plants. Which is really nice considering that the land becomes more productive.
The place seems perfect, right? Well, it could have been perfect if not for the pesky insects at night. They’re everywhere. I guess it’s unavoidable since we’re right beside the lake. At least the staff was considerate enough to provide us with lots of fans. It would have also been better if we could cook ourselves, or at least a sink where we could wash dishes. The kitchen was way too far from our place. In fact, the parking area was also far, but that’s okay. It adds to the “weekend nature getaway” feel. Also, the accessing street to the resort could have been wider but that’s outside the control of the management already, I assume.
Nevertheless, the experience was definitely amazing! The place is not too commercialized and crowded, and therefore perfect for families who want to share an intimate time together. The relaxing ambiance really makes one feel refreshed and energized. It is definitely a must-see place!