The Microtel girls having fun time at Puka Beach
I woke up as early as 4:30am and I was really hungry (do you see a pattern here?). Anyways I’m really used to waking up real early when I travel, that’s to capture what we photographers call “The Golden Hours”. Since I don’t have any snacks with me at the room, I went down to the lobby to check if there’s anything I could buy or eat. Sadly, according to the receptionist at that time, there’s nothing open and they don’t have any snacks to sell. Too bad. They should have a mini bar there or something. I went to the lounge to see what I could find and surprisingly, I found Gail already working with some CSS codes! Wow! Turns out she really works early morning.
Room 224 at Microtel Inn Boracay
The resto where we have stubs for breakfast opens at 7am and worse, it’s still raining that morning. No early morning shoot there, and I still have my hunger problem. I just bought a tetra pack of chucki choco milk drink and decided to shoot a little when the rain stopped a bit. It was so blue and overcast at the beach and when I got back, Gail was already taking pictures of Microtel and had asked the guys there to open the lights.
Microtel Inn Suites is one of the major sponsors in our excursion to Boracay. We were talking about this familiarization tour months ago and never really expected it to materialize. Now, here we are staying at their very unique branch. Microtel Inn has this famous slogan of “It’s the same hotel wherever you go“, because they have these set of standards of service and design in all their branches. I said unique earlier because their Boracay branch is different. They have to adapt their design to a resort style type to fit the place.
The dining area of Microtel resort
The style is very Mediterranean and I like the color accents on their design. As for our room, I found it very basic with air con, Cable TV, hot water, towels and soap. There are three of us sharing the room and I’m sleeping on the extra bed. In Boracay I was able to stay in around 4 different resorts from Station 1 and 2 and even covered in addition of 4 more resorts before, so I can say I’ve seen a bit more accommodations here. So from the sprawling number of resorts in Bora, what makes Microtel stand out?
First and foremost, their BEDS! I can say this for sure and proud that they have the most comfortable beds in any resorts I’ve stayed there. You just have to try it. They call them chiropractic beds. They are so bouncy soft yet firm enough to retains its shape so you wouldn’t sink in. Throw in a couple more soft pillows and you’ll soon drift off to sleep without knowing. Their room design won’t win any awards in my book but these beds are enough to get me a room here.
Mediterranean inspired facade of Microtel Inn Boracay
Just to add browny points to them, I appreciate their little notes posted on their walls like “Conserving Energy” that’s why they utilize the main power switch with the keys. And also “the use of pre-treated water and dual flush systems on their toilets” tells them how environmental these people are. I’ve always wondered how Boracay, which is fast developing could keep up with environmental sanitation for a small island. I find these little small details important.
Location is another factor, for me who likes the quiet seclusion of their cove, their place in Diniwid beach is perfect. Some may think it’s too far but it’s a nice leisurely walk to Willy’s rock. Or if you’re in a hurry,they have free shuttle service which can take to the different stations and pick you up as well. Price wise? I find them fairly competitive with the other resorts.
Bloggers puzzled on a rainy day. Clockwise: Melo, Eric, Marc, Karla, Eugene
I soon got my full breakfast and one by one the other bloggers came. It was raining all morning and we can’t go out. We have a scheduled picnic at Puka Beach that morning followed by an island hopping in the afternoon But right now we’re at the mercy of the weather so we have to wait. With nothing much to do, I attended to some of my emails but am having trouble sending large attachments. I guess with a number of us connected to the resorts wifi speed considerably slowed down but still fine for browsing. At Microtel’s lounge there are several books you could check out, some in Russian but I’m sure there’s some english there. Other bloggers found time to solve some jigsaw puzzles they found at the resort as well. We also got to talk about SEO and other monetizing tips which I found very useful.
What ya workin’ at? Gail and Noemi
Other bloggers seems to be seriously talking about their preparation for the upcoming 2008 Philippine Blog Awards or some serious gossips as well :p. Anton already was able to blog about out our first day there and talked to his son Aidan via skype. Come mid day, the rains seems to have stopped so we have a window of opportunity to visit Puka Beach. We drove off for about 10 minutes and soon found ourselves north the island near Puka Beach. Instead of having picnic, we ate at the nearby restaurant named Tesebel Ihaw-ihaw. Very sumptuous seafood lunch indeed.
Meet Puka by the beach
Puka Beach located at the north end of the island facing Romblom is a contrast to the famous White Beach stretch. Here, the beach is pebbly and the waves are strong and the name is attributed to the abundance of Puka Shells found on its coast. The word “Puka” is actually a Hawaiian word meaning “Hole” which also describes these shells having holes. These shells are also made into various accessories like necklaces and bracelets. A lot are also sold by locals on this beach.
Gail and Lauren watching Marc drown err…. swim
Anyways, the group stayed there for a while. The beach really is not for swimming, but whose to stop these beach lovers from enjoying the pounding waves on this side of the island. Of course, there’s the mandatory photo op there. Ivan had to leave early to fly back to Manila at this time by the way. After that, we went back to the hotel for a round of island hopping. Even with the weather we pushed through with it and went to the Crocodile Island, said to be a good spot for snorkeling. Marc, Gail and Lauren snorkeled by the boat but I wasn’t really in the mood for snorkeling while raining. It also rather cold, good thing folks at Microtel gave us thick beach towels to bring along.
Zuzuni beach front facade
Our dinner for the night was sponsored by Zuzuni: Boutique Hotel and Restaurant. This is a fairly new place right smack in the middle of the white beach stretch. It is also located beach front so it’s hard not to miss. Their restaurant, I think is the second in the island to serve Greek specialties. Their warm, red interiors with stylized frame mirrors surely is inviting.
Mirror mirror on the wall… of Zuzuni
The first dishes served were the Horiatiki Salad and Tzatzik. I like their Tzatzik dip very much, very rich flavor and nice companion to the Pita Bread. Also they served us Mousaka, Kebab sticks, Z Burger and Shrimp Saganaki Pasta. The latter pasta I really enjoyed, maybe it’s my preference for subtle tasting dishes but the others is just ok. What really blew me away here is their Chocolate Sin dessert. I wasn’t able to take good pictures of this one because I am hungry and am busy eating. Hehe. The Chocolate Sin is served with a piece of cake which looks like a simple crinkle with a scoop of ice cream. But once you get inside that cake, that’s where the rich flavors comes out. I’m not kidding when I say it’s sinfully delicious and considers this as one of the best desserts in the island.
Tzatzik! A yogurt, cucumber and garlic dip with Pita
After dinner at Zuzuni, we went for a beach walk. We had another photo shoot at the nicely lit sand castles and with everyone this time. The stars finally showed up tonight which is really promising for tomorrow. Anton and Lauren again where whisked by the Microtel people for more partying. While the rest of the guys went back to the resort to rest. Some of us like Fernando, Eric, Abe and I went to dip at Microtel’s pool. Did I mention that their pool doesn’t have chlorine? They use some kind of UV cleaning method to clean the pool.
It was refreshing dip there and we stayed for a while to enjoy the waters and some stories as well. It was past 1am when we got out of the waters with pruned fingers and toes. It was another night to cap off and hoping the sky would still be clear tomorrow like the night.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.