Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Island Date

Exclusive dinner for two in Manila is hard to find.   There's traffic, a long waiting list, and a pricey corner table.  When you have tried almost every restaurant in Manila, it's time to change your "the usual" date plans.  

How about sitting on a small hut during low tide set on a long and white sand bar, drinking buko juice served by a fisherman on a banca, and just slowly watching the tides change?  How does that sound?

Picking the islands of Caramoan for the idea of an exclusive date came with bonuses and twists.  Twisty because getting in and out of the island is like joining an adventure race.  However,  paradise has it’s rewards which can only be revealed to the willing. Here’s an example taken from my notes during the trip:

 “Harry, our 15-footer commuter boat, carrying 50 plus tourists from Sabang Port, danced in the sea like a can of sardine thrown inside a washing machine.”

The islands of Caramoan is in a days journey. An hour plane ride, another hour for the land trip, a two hour boat ride, and finally a 15 minute land trip. 

But all the harshness of getting there is replaced by the fantastic island vibe of the locals, or from the people of CMC Villa Caramoan.  They just love the sight of tourists! The owner of the resort Coleen, the staff , the boatmen, and our tour guide is just plain happy to see us.  Their island vibes are just so addicting and very natural!

We also love the simplicity of Coleen's resort, and it is just how we want it to be. It's no fancy place, not even a view of the beach, but surrounded by lime cliffs, and in the morning it is so quiet you can hear old fashioned brooms or “walis ting-ting” cleaning the grounds while happy children playing. The smell of burnt leaves and the morning light slowly crawling in the surrounding cliffs were a bliss.

The staff of CMC Villa Caramoan beats any 5-star concierge service we've had. Try asking for anti-constipation pills in the middle of the night, they come rushing back and hands you a pack of Diatabs from the local drugstore. 

Have you had a personal tour guide? Maybe yes for a big group. How big was our group? It was only a husband and wife date-getaway, but we still had the luxury of having Edward with us like our personal butler. Edward carried with him everything like he has got this Swiss Knife of tricks. He carried lunch, cold water, and big, colored, fancy beach umbrellas to fashionably shade us in the gold and white sands of Caramoan. 

Oh Manang Tita, just before we leave for the islands everyday, hands to us freshly caught pan-fried Malasugui Tuna and tenderly cooked big red crabs in tomato sauce garnished with bell peppers prepared in heaven or in the resort’s kitchen. I can still smell the hot white rice I ate while hearing the waves play below our feet in our favorite beach in the universe, Manlawi Island. During low tide try running a meter dash in the endless, flat, powdery white sands (even autofocus of the camera got confused).

During high tide, fancy lunch in small huts on stilts while crystalline knee-deep waters tickle your toes. 

The last hours of our four-day date in the islands were spent inside a plane going back to Manila.  From the small window, I can already see taillights on the traffic below while heavy rains pour.  I recall writing this while the plane landed:

“Why swim in a sea of traffic when you can pick your own private hut in a low-tide white sandy beach?  Why stare at the “wait to be seated” sign in a crowded restaurant when you can have your own tour guide arrange everything for you so you have the whole day to stare at your wife while having the time of her life?”

Don’t you think it’s time for you to arrange a date in the islands for a change?  Guaranteed, your date will love it.  My island date did.

CMC Villa Caramoan, www.cmcvillacaramoan.com, 09178265336, 09999923949, look for Coleen Cordial