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Review 4316: Owner, Punta del Este (#4769)
sleeps 2 to 30 in 2 villas, Puerto Galera, Philippines, Philippines
May 2009, 16 days
Two villas situated in Tabinay Munti, 1km to the SSE of Puerto Galera town center, atop a 30m high promontory that dominates Varadero Bay. No immediate neighbors. The isolation is pleasant but not extreme. The occasional noise from the highway is faint (200m away, dampened by dense vegetation). On arrival one is amazed by the charm and beauty of the bamboos and beautiful trees that surround the villas and mingle down toward the sea, which is seen through them on nearly three of the four quadrants.
Only a 15 foot walk to the food stores and market. Twenty feet to the passenger boat pier, restaurants, cafés, church. The illustrious tricycles motorbikes, operating like taxis, are always on the road ready to take you to town or to beaches and coves against what amounts for us to a very small fee (to town : 10PHP/person, minimal 20PHP per bike). Riding in them is also a lot of fun.
The two quite recently built villas are distant by about 40 meters. Very quiet. Buildings in excellent condition, so are pools, terraces and stairways down to the beach. The villas' sober and elegant style has the benefit of underlining the natural beauty and vegetative lushness of the place rather than distracting from it. To get a better idea of the place, please check my photo gallery (address below).
You can view the property directly: Punta del Este.
Each villa has its own pool and private terrace with a sensational view. Local fishermen may often be observed pulling their nets. The sea breeze is quite constant throughout the day and maintains an agreeable temperature. The large terraces include shaded areas, pool areas, sun decks (these would deserve a few more sun beds). Beautiful trees and groups of bamboos, swaying gently in the wind, are all around, even over the roofs in places. They bring beauty, a soft shade and coolness.
Access to the quiet shore is by a shaded stairway. The sand beach was clean from any garbage. Just a few floated woods and stranded algae. In the Amihan wind season (NE trade wind, November through May) there are small waves during the day and a calmer sea at night and in the early morning. In the Habagat wind season (SW monsoon, June through October), the sea on that side is often like a mirror, making it even a better spot for snorkeling and starting a dive.
The place is well kept and the staff cleans the rooms and fixes the beds everyday. The accommodation is comfortable, in good shape and there is sufficient equipment. Plenty space in the halls of each villa especially the main one. Excellent natural ventilation. Halls are as high as the house itself and are divided into lounge, dining, kitchen and entrance areas. Bedrooms are at the periphery, rather on the North side. In the main villa the television set could only play DVDs. But really, is it a place you come to watch TV? I was very happy with this situation. It certainly encouraged play and social exchange between the guests. If I remember well some TV channels were accessible in the other villa. There is a DSL modem in each villa. It gives a direct connection in the room where it is installed and a WiFi access in the nearby rooms. To get a better idea of the place, please check my photo gallery (address below).
In each bedroom there is a shower and toilet, sufficient space and simple but efficient shelving. Beds were firm and covered with nice linen. Protective screens were hung over the beds, even though we had very few mosquitoes. In some bedrooms the bamboo poles that sustain the veil were a bit loose and shaky, but the protection was efficient and gave a nice sense of rest and comfort at night, also eliminating the unpleasant encounter with an occasional moth.
Wide and fully equipped kitchen (except for microwave oven) with a large freezer/fridge. Cutlery and plates are of a sturdy style, in good condition. The staff shops and cooks for us (read further), so that's another economized effort. But any guest who enjoys cooking may bring his recipes and participate in the cooking. Emilda, the cook, really has a sweet temperament. I witnessed such friendly exchange on several occasions.
Problems or Bonuses
Only good surprises. The rental is provided with the services of the staff and cook. They are very helpful and amicable. Emilda talks with you about what to prepare on the next day, you give her some money for the market, you go shopping with her if that pleases you, she brings back the bills and she cooks according to your own taste and preferences. We found it very convenient.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The e-mail exchange with the owner was efficient and cordial. There was no doubt we could trust for a prepayment. He sent us useful information on how to organize the transfer of our guests from Manila. I heard that he will now be able to offer a complete transfer option, against a reasonable fee. On arrival we met his representative, Jun, also the caretaker, with whom we had excellent and friendly cooperation during the whole stay. He was keen on managing the practical details of our stay, festivities and excursions.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Because of Punta del Este's privileged features and capacity, my wife and I chose it as the place of our 16-day family reunion and vacation, renting both villas during part of the stay. We were more than satisfied. We could have a feast. Everybody was thrilled and enjoyed. We all liked the friendly welcome, the magical atmosphere, the good cooking, the pleasant amenities. The quiet beach and the swimming pool were a big success. We shall return next year. Being a photographer, I created a gallery showing Punta del Este's accommodations, some of the Filipino food and interesting things to do. I recommend this accommodation to nature and quietness lovers, yogis, divers, trekkers, as well as to families, small associations and businesses for their get-togethers. Don't hesitate to contact me here for more information.
Things to do in this area
Many of us enjoyed snorkeling over Puerto Galera's famous coral reef. We did not dive but those who do will have opportunity to explore one of the nicest and best preserved tropical marine worlds of the planet. There are several diving centers. Their tariffs are very affordable. We used services of the "Badladz" near the Muelle landing pier. They were very friendly and helpful to our beginners.
We also had nice excursions: bathing under Tamaraw Falls, karabao-cart riding and bathing at Tukuran Farm, swimming and shopping at White Beach, trekking in the Baclayan area.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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