New Year’s Celebration at Pico de Loro Cove – Tips & Truths for Guests

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ah 2018, you’re finally here! For anyone who struggled in 2017, the New Year comes with a promise of a fresh start. I myself felt like the previous year had too many challenges, that they somehow overshadowed both small and big blessings that came my way.

lake, trees, condominium reflecting on lake
But anyway, past is past and it’s time to move on from things we can’t change. It’s better to look forward to fresh beginnings, right? And to start my year, my family and I checked-in at Pico de Loro Cove on December 30, 31, and January 1. It was our first time there and for an extended family of 15, we enjoyed the company and peaceful atmosphere of Pico de Loro Cove, located at Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Now let me get this straight. When my mother called the venue, she was initially directed to Pico Sands Hotel (within Pico de Loro Cove, too). The total rate given to her was over Php 100,000 for 2 nights, for 15 people! Of course, we wouldn’t spend that huge amount of money for accommodation alone. So when she declined, she was referred to Pico de Loro Cove’s Residential Condominiums. Some unit owners rent out their private property, which can accommodate more than two people per unit. And so we rented out three condominium units for our entire stay, which only cost Php 36,000.
lake, trees, club house
Pico de Loro Country Club straight ahead. Inside is the reception center where guests claim their arm bands.

Day 1 (December 30)

We arrived at Pico de Loro Cove around 2:00 PM. Before entering the cove itself, all vehicles must register at the Hamilo Coast main gate, which is a bit far from the residential units (10-minute drive). I’m not sure how to get here by public transport, but it seems the most convenient, if not the only option to get here, is by private vehicle. After registration, we proceeded to the country club where the reception area can be found. From the reception desk, there’s a veranda that overlooks the infinity pool area.

One thing to keep in mind when checking in and staying at Pico de Loro is that you have to bring your credit card(s) with you. They have a strict cashless paying system and so every transaction must be paid via credit card. So even if you purchase a carton of milk or half dozen eggs at Grab N Go (convenience store at the country club) costing below Php 100, you can only pay using your credit card.

Another thing to note is that aside from the accommodation, each person staying at the property must pay Php 1,400 (non-member rate) for the entrance fee (guests with accompanying members at Php 1,200 each). Since we are all non-members, we paid the higher amount for 15 people. Thank goodness the entrance fee covers our entire stay!
fish, fish pond, koi, koi pond
Huge kois at the pond. There are staff assisting guests who want to feed the fish for an extra fee.
leaves, pond, water lily
One of the many water lilies at Pico de Loro Cove
After paying the expensive entrance fee, each guest was given an arm band which should be worn all the time (even if you swim at the beach, pool, or bathe at your own bathroom, you should still wear it). The arm band is similar to the ones you wrap on your wrist when you enter amusement parks in the Philippines (i.e. Enchanted Kingdom and Star City). After paying all the necessary fees, we were then asked to stay at the veranda for a “short” orientation about the residential beach resort, amenities, as well as house rules. Tip: Make sure to grab lunch before coming to Pico de Loro.

There are four mid-rise residential buildings at Pico de Loro Cove, which are Jacana, Myna, Carola, and Miranda. Since there were many guests who also checked-in during the holidays, we were booked at separate buildings. Two units were located at Miranda and one unit at Jacana. These two buildings are far apart from each other, but they can be easily accessed by riding golf cart type shuttles (free of charge) or by walking around the perimeter of the lake (which I find pleasant and relaxing).

trees, lake, condo building
trees, leaves, flowers, residential unit

The units assigned to us were all studio type ones, but spacious enough to have a queen size bed, sofa bed, and a pull out bed. I didn’t take a photo of the units since they are different from each other. We had our super late lunch at the Jacana unit where my grandmother stayed (we asked for a ground floor unit since my grandmother was on a wheelchair). Good thing we bought enough food that’s meant for 6 meals for our entire stay. There’s a restaurant near the clubhouse, but it’s pricey (think of Greenbelt restaurants’ price range). Tip: Bring your own food, whether it’s takeaway, prepared, or fresh food to be cooked. You can save time, money AND parking space by bringing food inside Pico de Loro for the entire duration of your stay. 

By 4:00 PM, we finished our packed lunch and proceeded to our own assigned unit at the 4th floor of Miranda building. There were plenty of free, open parking spaces at the clubhouse but the ones at Miranda were limited. So when we found a parking space at the residential building itself, we parked our vehicles and never left until our check-out day. We brought in plenty of food and drinks supply (a wheeled cooler with sodas and beers, as well as shopping bags with grocery, pots, and kitchen utensils), and our personal belongings (in backpack and luggage).

buildings, mountains, trees, lake
View from the 4th floor of our rented unit at Miranda Building
The view from our unit was gorgeous – view of the lake, the mountains, other condominium buildings, and the peaceful greenery. As I’ve said earlier, the units available for nightly bookings are different from each other. They are all fully-furnished and equipped with electric stove, kitchen utensils, dinnerware, cutlery, and water dispenser so there’s no need to bring heavy pots and pans (although I did use my own pan, knife, and chopping board). However, only our unit had a little extra – a washing machine, a dryer and some bath towels. Tip: Bring your own toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner. Bring your own bath towel, too.

After taking a late afternoon nap, we all went back to the Jacana unit for dinner. We rode the free shuttle service which was requested via the security guard on duty. My two aunts and uncle prepared dinner on our first day, though they complained it took two hours to cook the spaghetti because the electric stove didn't heat up that much. Same as with other condominiums, stoves requiring LPG tanks are not allowed.

duck, lake, grass

We had a simple dinner of spaghetti, rice, fried chicken and adobo on our first night at Pico de Loro. Because there were 15 of us, we opted to use disposable plates, spoon and fork, and cups so we’d have plenty of time to bond and less time to clean up (though the actual cooking time took longer than expected). After dinner, all of us played Bingo until we felt it’s time to bid good night.

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