Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I've been sick for a few days already and it's all because of the changing weather in Metro Manila. Just when I thought I needed a break, we were invited for an overnight getaway in Subic at Grande Island Resort. And just as I thought, my much needed rest slash fun happened in this quaint island and more. 

Grande Island Resort is located near the business district of Subic Bay Freeport Zone. To get to the facility, you need to ride a ferry (inclusive in their Day Tour and Overnight Accommodation). If you will take the Day Tour, the ferry schedule is 9:00AM going to Grande Island and 5:30PM going back to the terminal. If you're in for the Overnight trip, going to Grande Island is at 1:00PM and checkout is 12:00NN. 

Just going to the beach is already fabulous for me. I'm ecstatic because it's just January, but I've already had my early vacation. Thanks to Pope Francis' visit, I had the chance to enjoy the holiday. Arriving at Grande Island, I already had my sights to the beach, but I was also excited because I've seen that you can rent a bike (Php150/hr) to roam around. That time, I felt as if I'm going back to my old love. You see, it's hard to ride a bike while you're living in Metro Manila. You have to look for safer spots, unlike in Grande Island, a bike ride is easy-peasy. I can roam around without a care in the world. 

I was roommates with Nikole during my stay at Grande Island Resort. We were in their spacious Chalet Room with generous sizes of queen beds. I must say that their rooms are huge for only the two of us. We were kidding each other that the additional bed is just for our things. But if you're bringing your kids, the room can already fit in the whole family. Their Room Rate is Php5,500/2pax/night. Extra person is charged at Php1,800 while children from 4-7 years old has a Php500 ferry rate only.

After settling in our rooms, we had the chance to try out the Water Activities. We first tried the Helmet Diving for 20 minutes (Php1,000). For Helmet Diving virgins like myself, you will have to go to the deep part of the ocean where you can see the underwater creatures, with the help of an underwater helmet. When we went to Bohol years ago, I was already amazed when I was snorkeling, so imagine my excitement while breathing underwater and seeing the fishes and the corals and...okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. :)

So anyway, we were briefed with the different hand signals before going under water. Since we can't talk while inside the helmet, we had to remember signs about okay, up, down, problem, take a photo or a video of us. Eco, our diving instructor was very patient since it was hard for me to breathe and my ears were stinging too bad because I was nursing a cold. But I cannot give up and pass on this adventure of a lifetime, so I tried to calm myself and look for ways to make the pain stop. Thankfully, seeing the wonders of the sea was all worth it. It's even more fun when my fellow bloggers finally joined me. We were feeding fish and touching starfishes underwater. What's cooler than that?

After our Helmet Diving experience, we tried the Banana Boat next. A one round is minimum of 5 persons for only Php230 per person. I've always wanted to try this, but I always travel with a small group. The ride was fun because we were trying so hard to balance ourselves so we wouldn't get thrown in the water. I must say we succeeded, but I think it's more fun if we just let ourselves go and float away.

What I love about Grande Island is how quiet the place is. This environment is actually perfect for people who wants to relax and escape the city life. During the night, my blogger friends and I pretty much just talked about life and topics that we all get along with. You see, it's not everyday that we can just sit and talk about things, since we just see each other during events. It's kind of cool to just not care about the world and breathe.

On our second day, we were treated to a Buffet Breakfast at the Orchid Garden Restaurant. The place is overlooking the pool, so we were excited to take a dip in the morning. But while the other group tried the Historical Island Tour (Php250/person), we went Kayaking and Jet Skiing.

Riding a Kayak (Php150/30mins.) is hard. But it will challenge you to the limits and will make you exercise your arms and concentration. If the sea is not so calm, it will be very challenging to control the kayak. But nonetheless, it was fun trying it for the first time.

Another activity that you can try at Grande Island is riding a jet ski. I must say that in one day, most of the things on my bucket list was crossed off. You can rent the Parungay Jet Ski (600cc) for Php3,300/hour; Php2,000/30mins, the Lunday (700cc) at Php3,300/hour; Php2,000/30mins and Malasugi (1200cc) for Php4,000/hour; Php2,500/30mins. The staff in Grande Island is very accommodating and they will really help you if you're a first timer in trying these activities. 

Aside from those above, Grande Island also has Speed Boat riding, Snorkeling, Fishing Rod Rental, Bay Island Cruise, Horse Back Riding, Volley Ball, Soccer Ball and Basketball Facilities, and their newest attraction is the Zip Line Ride. 

Telling you that I had fun in this trip is definitely an understatement. While Grande Island can still improve in their facilities, (a mini-grocery perhaps?), I can definitely recommend the place to people who wants absolute relaxation, while indulging in a little adventure. 

For reservations, you may inquire at their contact numbers:

Manila Line: +63 2 584. 4359
Subic Line: +63 47 250. 2963 to 64
Mobile Number: +63917. 873. 8777

Plan your summer vacation this early and include Grande Island in your list. I'm sure it'll be worth it. To know more about Grande Island Resort, you may visit their website at http://www.grandeislandresort.com/ or visit their Facebook Page through this link

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