Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club is by SM, while Anvaya is by Ayala.
Date of visit to Pico: May 8 (see entry)
Date of visit to Anvaya: May 16 (see entry)
Onto the blow-by-blow, under cut.
To get to Pico, we drove south from Makati on Ice's CRV. We left Makati area around 4:30 a.m., took the Tagaytay route, and reached the resort around 7:30 a.m. Travel time inclusive of breakfast and bad weather conditions. (Yep -- we drove to the beach at the height of Bebeng. Haha.)
Pico de loro map source
Anvaya Cove map source
Summary: Travel time from Manila to resorts: approx 3 hrs.
|Pico: Beach club lounge|
Pico: Hotel personnel manning the gates were already informed beforehand of our arrival. They were courteous and there was no delay. We were instructed to drive to the beach club, where we were met by the couple who facilitated our daytour. Staff in the lounge were helpful and attentive. We were briefed re: the facilities at the beach club, then we headed to the country club where we settled our fees. There was a driver's lounge available.
|Anvaya: Bridge to the entrance. Pretty.|
Anvaya: Hotel personnel manning the gates also already informed beforehand re our arrival, hence no delays as well. Same instructions to drive to the beach and country club. Was instructed to register with the day visit counter, who informed me of the rules. After being given a resort card, we proceeded to enter the resort, but being first timers, got a bit lost haha. Space was quite larger than Pico, and we got lost trying to find the locker rooms as there were no available staff to ask. Should have asked for clearer instructions. Sabi kasi ng tatay ko hindi ako maliligaw kung magbabasa ako, pero wala namang signs. Yari. Haha. :) Anyway, they also ushered our driver to the available lounge. Wish staff were more accommodating but I guess they had too many people on their minds (staff I asked later said there were about 400pax in the resort, both day trippers and those who checked in whoa)
|Pico: Locker room. Space kung space.|
Pico: Staff friendly enough to point us to locker area, where we were met by two accommodating kuyas who gave us our keys and towels (no other towels allowed, towels cost P50 each, not included in consumable amount tucked into the entrance fee though you can opt to share). Separate lockers for boys and girls. Airconditioned locker room was SPACIOUS. My huge backpack fit in quite comfortably into the locker itself, with space to spare, plus a nifty little compartment in the lower left corner. Very useful. Locker room joined with bathroom (also huge) and shower room (lots of stalls with available shampoo and shower gel) and a steam room (bonus feature! loved it hard.)
|Anvaya: Locker room cramped. Sayang.|
|Pico's pool: Nothing out of the ordinary, but it does the job well.|
Pico: Spent virtually all of our time in this pool taking silly photos of ourselves and pretending to be mermaids in underwater videos haha. Pool was enjoyable albeit ordinary. At least, it was more enjoyable compared to the sea, which was a bit cold due to the weather.
|Anvaya pool complex: I just died and went to heaven, right?|
Anvaya: Resort's strongest point. Huge pools are huge, man. I don't mind spending all of my time here at all, swimming laps basically. Water about 4 feet deep, and you can transfer pools by walking on submerged walls (no hot surfaces ever! useful under all that sun) plus you can't really complain about all that landscaping -- coconut trees around, huge decorative rocks, tarpaulin shades, bermuda grass. PRETTY. Also: The Life. This is what a pool in a Philippine resort should look like. EVERY TIME, EVERYWHERE. And oh, have I mentioned they had a somewhat jacuzzi pool somewhere? Heavenly. I'll go back here to enjoy their pool complex again. For serious.
|Pico's beach: I should see this under sunny skies. It should be amazing, I'm sure.|
Pico: Cold. Haha. Sorry, it must have been the weather. Sand was fine at the beginning, at the shore, but under the sea there were random rocks. But the shore was littered with beach seats. I should go back here to properly enjoy the beach so I can give a more thoughtful review.
|Anvaya's beach: LOL insert gratuitous photo of me posing by the beach.|
Anvaya: When I got there, there were kids screaming things about jellyfish. Yikes. Way to go, random strangers. Not wading into the water ever. My more marine-friendly sibs (LOL) said they also saw fishes. Best feature of the shore: um, girls, I guess? Haha. At least meron. Oh, plus beach seats! Andaming beach seats, you'll never run out. Beach seats with umbrellas. Nice touch.
|Pico's food: Specialty pizzas|
|Anvaya's food: Comes with Java rice. WIN.|
Anvaya: Our P400 entrance fee included P250 consumable on food. We ordered nice grilled things with rice and veggies -- because they sold them! Hahah. Prices started at P225, while drinks cost P65 up (not surprising). I guess there was a buffet available somewhere too, but why look for that when you have NICE GRILLED THINGS! WITH RICE! For P225++!
Pico: We spent our day at the Beach Club but Pico also has a country club with a pool (though the view -- buildings being constructed -- wasn't much to look at just yet) and I was informed that the place has a basketball court, and other indoor sports facilities, etc. Also, there were kayaks for rent (which we didn't try) and a spot for snorkeling (Ice had her gear, but wasn't able to try due to the weather at the time), and also volleyballs and soccer balls for rent (there were football goals! but it was raining boo). There were also veranda-like structures, which some of us used for camwhoring haha, and tables around the pool for lounging. Pwede na.
Anvaya: There are conference rooms and lounge couches on the second floor of the building at the entrance, plus they can also arrange for nature treks etc (NO MORE NATURE TREKS FOR ME HAHA quota na until next year!!) They also have a spa (services start at P600++). You won't run out of tables/beach seats/etc as they are plenty as in all over the place. Plus points for the adult jungle gym (very Glorietta and very enjoyable). Also, I think they also have kayaks and snorkel gears for rent, etc. (unfortunately was unable to try any, maybe next time)
SHOWERS AND OTHER POST-BEACHING FACILITIES
Pico: Plenty of stalls to choose from, though some of the locks were broken and some of the hooks were unstable. Also, for all the locker's spaciousness, could use a better showerhead. A trash can inside the stall could also be a good detail, as there were some unsightly feminine messes everywhere. Heh. Just a thought.
Anvaya: Stalls were limited, so you better time your entry to coincide with no one else's. The bench in the stall = good detail, very useful. Also the shower head is FANTASTIC. Couldn't as for more. Swimsuit dryer is also an awesome facility -- the little details almost make up for the cramped space. Luwangan na lang kaya, para perfect? Suggestion lang! :)
Pico: At checkout, staff pointed out we still had credit to spend on food and provided me breakdown of every expense for the day. Very thorough and accommodating, despite the gloomy weather heh.
Anvaya: A bit of a confusion upon checkout, but not with our group. The group ahead of us was having a pretty confusing debate about the charges, and that's what took us a bit longer than usual. Nevertheless, staff at the desk was nice when my turn came, accommodating me with a smile despite the obviously annoying customer ahead of me. Good job ate for not taking out your potential annoyance at me! Much appreciated :)
Pico: Straight to the point, luxurious stay with attentive staff and great facilities. Enjoyed the day despite the dreary weather, and I think that's the true test of any resort :)
Anvaya: Pretty place with beautiful landscaping. Could do better with better staff, but the place itself feels and looks like paradise, it's as perfect as that day's weather :)
I'd go back if I could to both places! So much more left to be experienced! :) See you soon, Anvaya and Pico. Til next summer.