It was sweltering hot, though the sky is a vast expanse of grayish cloud hiding the sun though barely. A little breeze touch my cheeks but couldn’t dry the moist at the back of my neck. It was a perfect beach day, as our van pulled up at the entrance of this secluded beach resort on the outskirts of Lucena City in Quezon. Pueblo por la Playa, it said on one side of the wall leading to the gate. Spanish name. Interesting. My friend, then, explained that it was loosely inspired from the beaches in Mexico. Even more interesting.
We parked on a lot lined with cars by the guardhouse, beside a roofed space that housed the service cars. I got out of the van and smiled. The service cars looked like open minibuses that probably are used to drive around safe African savannas. But then again, it could be the ones used to drive along Baywalk at Roxas Boulevard for tired tourists and locals. It could sit more or less 10 people, with their baggage included. We climbed up to the seats, in twos, and moved forward down the path.
We passed a few cottages that looked nothing like modern or local even. I saw the tops of these cottages earlier just before we reached the gate, and couldn’t help feeling transported, not in Mexico totally but almost closer to the witch’s hut in Hansel and Gretel, what with all the different colors they were painted. I felt a bit shocked, or rather incredulous, just staring at them. But it wasn’t an unpleasant reaction. The architecture is interesting, with arched wooden doors and windows, opening on a wide patio reminiscent of Spanish or Mexican houses, while the upper part of the house is distinguished by a curvy, almost imperfect tower, like the chimneys drawn on fairy tale books. And the ones we passed were painted on varying shades of yellow, orange, pink and purple. I was actually eying the purple one, wondering if a guest’s favorite color is the deciding factor when checking in. Against the clear sky and untamed landscape, the colors stand out as if it don’t belong there. Somehow, though, I’ll give it a few years, when the landscape has been polished and the grass have grown beautifully, then that balance will complement each other.
We stopped on a honey-colored clubhouse, with its tropical charm, blending naturally amidst the date palms and lush greenery. The Mexican accents are evident upon the multicolored tiled floor, rough muted yellow walls that was made to look like stone, with sliding glass doors at the back opening into a small patio filled with round tables under the shades of bright white umbrellas. The rest of the resort lay downhill from there. Unlike most resort patios that open into a panoramic view of the beach, theirs only have glimpses of it, mysteriously covered with small trees, which i think, was designed to make guests even more curious that they really have to go down, on paths that opened their eyes to the little wonders of this resort before reaching the beach.
That was how we were enchanted exactly. I walked down the grassy path, dotted by stone squares. I liked that it’s not cemented. It makes you want to walk on barefoot. My friend behind me was busy taking pictures, working herself into the most uncomfortable position just to get nice shots. I rounded the corner and stopped, breathed the sea air, and marveled at the almost raw beauty of the resort.
The grassy path went on alongside the sprawling infinity pool, surrounded by several chaise lounges, facing a strip of beach the color of coral. No gray sand anywhere. It must have been unnatural, but don’t you think, a coral beach is more appealing than the natural dark gray sand? I think so, too. Today, the sea does not mirror the cloudy sky. Rather, it was surprisingly blue, like the blue tinged water of the pool, softly rippling from the breeze. I smiled ruefully, glancing down at the yellow painted lines curving underneath the pool water. It didn’t make sense to me, apart from the ones painted to mark the steps.
By chance, something at the far corner of the pool caught my eye, shoving down any thought. There was bar, and not just any bar. It was a swim-up bar. Ah, now that’s more like my idea of bliss. Sitting by the bar with the water up to my waist, gazing the length of the pool, and thanks to the design vision trick, mingling to the open sea, stretching to infinity. The horizon though was not the usual straight skyline but a lush green display of small mountains and dotted villages from a distant island or perhaps a peninsula. It didn’t mar the view. The only thing that bothered me was that the swim-up bar was empty, and it looked like it wouldn’t open yet for weeks. Darn.
What’s even more darning? I developed an allergy rash when I took a dip on the pool. Not that I think the pool is not clean but I have been sweating the whole day and any pollen landing on the pool is enough to trigger it. Sigh, in this case, my allergy is a spoiler. I hurriedly took a shower on their bamboo native inspired bathroom. Others may be bothered that the shower itself comes from a sort of gutter type stone carved on the top of the wall, and a planter box adorn the cubicle full of leafy plants, and broken stones as the floor. I don’t mind. It feels slightly like getting a primitive bath, straight from a small waterfalls.
After the dip in the pool, we took a stroll along the beach nearing sunset, taking wacky photos and exploring nook and crannies. We walked till we reached a little stone walkway from the shore leading outward to the sea. I can’t resist myself, I just have to climb it up, regardless of my platform Havaianas, inching my way out to the edge and make a pose for a photo op. The late afternoon breeze is refreshing. Another afternoon was also spent just lounging on the back patio of our blue cottage, facing the view of the sea. There’s this charming sitting-hammock made of white ropes and smooth wood. Won’t you like to idle away the time, sitting there, swaying, while gazing at the sunset between the tall coconut trees?
Just below, there’s a footpath leading straight from the cottage down to the beach. Our cottage is nestled at the corner most of the beach strip, so it’s very secluded. Although I’m not keen to the outside design, I feel in love with it after stepping inside. It’s the ultimate rustic tropical getaway cottage. The beautiful inlaid broken tiles on the floor, the colorful paint on both the floor and walls, and glass sliding doors and walls covering the back wall that faces the sea. Even the flooring plan for bedroom and living area is unconventional, no full walls. A small red door opens into a big bathroom, as wide as an average hotel room. What caught my attention is the open skylight on the ceiling, under which a planter box decorated with colorful tiles full of plants flourish. Perhaps it is the smoking area of the cottage, nice touch, that one.
We spent our first night taking shots of Jose Cuervo and ended it by hogging the karaoke until midnight. Since we were the only visitors, we weren’t exactly quiet. The waiters didn’t mind either and indulged us. I don’t exactly remember singing myself nor taking home the bottle, so it was hilarious to see a photo of me holding a mic and another hugging a half-filled tequila bottle by the door of our cottage. Most likely, I was the last one standing.
It was late morning when we gathered for a much needed coffee and some breakfast. We had brunch on the patio of Cafe Oaxaca. The huge iron chair I’m sitting on was pretty and seriously heavy. You don’t just randomly pull it. I love the round table, decorated with colored broken tiles arranged in geometric patterns. As well, even the patio floors are made out of interesting patterned small stones, then clustered together. All in all, the whole style and architecture of the resort are well-thought of and showed the owners’ passion for everything tropical and Mexican.
It’s a bummer we didn’t get to wade or swim on the beach. Our stay have been all too short. I’d like to explore more the surrounding cottages and try picking my most favorite color, ride on a motorboat to a nearby island where the owners got the creamy sand from, try a little massage on their outdoor spa huts, eat more Mexican dishes from their own Cafe Oaxaca, and spend an afternoon cloistered on their greenhouse looking at familiar plants. Unless, I’m a member of the resort’s exclusive club, I don’t think I could be back there so soon. I guess, I’m still fortunate to have the privilege of staying even for a couple of nights.
Perhaps, by the time I get back, the swim-up bar is already swinging. Now, that would be even lovelier.