Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016
Infinity Pool at SECDEA Beach Resort.
My cousin told me that there is a world-class resort in the island so after our overnight stay at the Heavenly Beach Resort in IGACOS (still popularly known as Samal Island), in the late afternoon, we decided to drop by the place.  We drove passing by the overlook drive of the Holiday Oceanview Marina where several yachts were moored, mostly owned by foreign tourists.  I thought the place is closed because of the kidnapping incident that took place in September last year were 4 people (2 Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipina) were abducted by an unknown group.  But judging by the number of boats within the enclosure, it looks like it’s still in operation.

Holiday Oceanview Marina as seen from the lookout.
The lookout on the promontory just above the marina commands a nice view of the blue ocean, the marina, and the small island in the middle of the sea beside it.  There were tables and benches which mean that people could have a picnic there? Not sure.
Then off we took the long drive east of the island, perhaps, if you’re coming from the ferry wharf, it may take more than half an hour to reach it.
The place is a piece of paradise!  With all the small resort establishments around the island, SECDEA Beach Resort stands out with its topnotch and charming facilities sprawling over 50 hectares along the shoreline of Barangay San Isidro, Babak. 
Upon entering the main gate manned by security staff, we were transported along a boulevard by the resort’s golf cart. Few meters from the main reception building, on the left side of the boulevard we stopped over at a man-made waterfalls along the way, fashioned on the side of a cliff with the name of the resort on the upper part.  Accented with green plants and shrubs, the water cascades onto a koi pond with lots of big colorful fishes, a wooden platform in the middle beside the pond and the waterfalls where one can have a closer look.  Beside it a lawn with huge turtles, three of them slowly lazing around which at first I thought were turtle-shaped rocks until one of them started to move its head.  The children loved it.  
Cascading waterfalls near the reception area of Secdea.

We walked to the domed reception area just across the falls, it is accented with a small koi pond, sort of a wishing well as I’ve noticed shimmering coins beneath the surface and there are also red and white colored fishes, theme was of Japanese. 
Reception building and the Secdea sign on the cliff wall.
Reception Area.
Corkage Fees and the Breakfast Hall.
Passing by the lofty breakfast hall decorated with several fans on the ceiling on the left side of the reception, it opened up onto the neat vast pool area all the way to an Infinity Pool overlooking the picturesque ocean with the pavement in between the pool and the white sandy beach.  
Swimming Pools at Secdea.
Infinity Pool with the scenic ocean and mountains in the background at Secdea.
A jetty is jutting out from the white sandy beach onto the middle of the water with a hut in the end of the walkway.  Beside it is a small blue-striped watchtower at the tip of the breakwater perpendicular to the jetty, ambiance is serenely scenic with the vast blue ocean and the silhouette of the mountain range on the far horizon.
Jetty at Secdea.
Kayaking near the jetty.
Lighthouse in the middle of the sea at Secdea.
At the back of the parked speedboats is an entrance opening up to a pathway onto a mangrove park.  The beautiful Mangrove Walk can be explored leisurely along a very long cement walkway elevated couple of meters from the wet ground winding through tall mangroves, some concrete benches along its sides facing the sea.  The walkway ends on an aviary with several chirping birds and a big Philippine eagle.  
The boardwalk along the Mangrove Walk at Secdea.
Explore the mangroves safely along a winding elevated walkway.
Beside it is a lofty overlook accessible through a spiral staircase and a little further to the left is the Fishing Lagoon
The fishing Lagoon at Secdea.
The whole resort area is a huge park in itself with many things to see and explore by its guests.
The resort offer many beach activities like snorkeling, kayaking, beach volleyball, basketball court, a tennis court, banana boat ride, and there are several speed boats. 
Dotted by variety of accommodation types from full villas for families on an outing to couples who need a romantic getaway.   There stands beside each other two-story villa with four rooms, two big rooms with two matrimonial beds and two single beds each and two small rooms.  One of the smaller rooms has one matrimonial bed and the other one has two single beds.  Although each of the rooms has its own bathrooms, the two bigger rooms have spacious bathrooms.  There is a large porch with furnishings overlooking a partial view of the ocean and the beautifully sculpted lawns.
The friendly staff who toured us around told me that the rate of the whole 4-bedroom villa is P18,000.
The spa on the right side of the two-story villa at Secdea.
The two-story villa with 4 bedrooms and a wraparound patio at Secdea.
Fronting the villas is a long two-story building which houses rooms for big groups also with 6 double beds and costs P15,000 per night good for 10 to 12 persons.  Though I find that a bit odd because if I’ll be staying with a group of 10 or more, I’d rather take the more spacious villa rather than the large one-bedroom with just a difference of P3,000.  The villa is a lot bigger, more privacy, a large porch, several bathrooms, it’s like having your own house compared to being housed in a hotel-type accommodation no matter how spacious the bedroom is.
Side-by-side, the two-story hotel-type building and the one-bedroom cottage; on the right side is the 6-bed room.
Beside the building are small cottages for couples opening up to a big lawn though I have not seen the inside of it.  Standing on a stilt on the water few meters from the sands is a lone cottage which is also for rent, I think it cost P4,000 or something, I just forgot, but it doesn’t have its own bathroom instead you have to walk a minute to get to the common bathroom.  Perfect place for viewing the sunset, I personally like the idea but not if you’re  bothered by the lack of ensuite bathroom.
Seaside Cottage at Secdea.
Should you want to bring your own food and beverages, you definitely can for a pricey corkage fee.
The resort also offers a day tour (not overnight stay) wherein, for the whole day, you may enjoy swimming at the pools, beach, and enjoy exploring the surroundings. 
This stunning resort is relatively new, opened only in 2013, so noticeably the staff – although friendly – lacked the usual courtesies (the greetings like Good mornings or Welcome to - whatever) that I usually find at premier resorts or hotels.  I cannot differentiate the ordinary staff or rank and files to the supervisors or managers or team leaders – if there are any.  Nonetheless, it’s a good competition to the long-standing Pearl Farm, maybe even better – if properly managed.

For reservations and rates, you may call SECDEA Beach Resort at (082) 305-2774 or (082) 305-4028.


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