Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where to Stay in Bohol: Dumaluan Beach Resort

Three years ago, when I first visited Panglao Island in Bohol, I was at a loss as to where to stay. Luckily enough, a friend pointed me in the right direction: Dumaluan Beach Resort. This resort is right beside the famous Bohol Beach Club, so you basically get the same beach. I did have a great experience when I went there is 2009 and thought that Dumaluan was the obvious choice when planning the trip earlier this year.

One thing's for sure - the beach is just as beautiful as I remembered. The sand just as fine and powdery. The water still as beautiful. I did forget that there can be a lot of seaweed floating near the shore. They staff does do a good job of cleaning it up everyday, though.
That being said, I was rather disappointed upon arriving. It was not bad, really, but the resort management was busy making improvements on the premises. While I understand their sentiments, I think that they didn't get it quite right. What used to be almost rustic and cozy became really crowded. The outdoor restaurant had an opaque green roof which made even the best-tanned person look sickly.
They did have a row of tables nearest to the beach which served perfectly. This table in particular gave a good view of the sea and caught the breeze nicely at night.

This was taken inside the restaurant, where the sockets are. The office in the morning.
As for the food, I can only keep it short. Stick to the grilled food, the pizza, and the crab.
From the weighing scale...
...to my plate. This baby cost around PHP1000 if I am not mistaken. A little pricey, but I guess that's what you have to deal with - resort prices and all that.
This grilled samaral was one of the best meals I had. As I said, stick to the grill - you can't really mess it up.
This appetizer was one of my favorites - crab spring rolls. To their credit, they use real crab meat and the dipping sauce is really good.

Do stay away from the soups. This is supposed to be shrimp bisque, but I think the chef was too heavy handed on the cornstarch because that was all I tasted. Also, the bisque was the clumpiest thing you'll ever see.
The pasta was not all that bad, but it was nothing to write home about either.
I did, however, find their pancit (Filipino noodles) rather good. At least the serving size was humongous.
Now the drinks one can't really complain about.

This post will not be complete without talking about the accommodations, but believe it or not, I didn't even take pictures of the room. The first time I stayed at Dumuluan, I booked a double room by pool. It is styled like a native hut, with other rooms placed right beside each other. Back then, it cost a little over PHP 2000, if I am not mistaken. The price was just right, and I had no complains.

This time though, I stayed at the Executive Double room, which cost PHP3600 at Agoda (the resort apparently charge only PHP3500!). At that price, I expected a lot more. Alas, I was disappointed. Let me sum up the reasons:
  1. The bed was so wobbly you can't really get a decent night's sleep.
  2. The AC didn't work well, and in a room that size, you actually felt warm. (Now the room size was more than decent, I have to admit.)
  3. There was no closet. I suppose they are going for the native style, hence the wooden shelf, but it was still lacking.
  4. The bathroom - oh, I don't even want to go there. It was big, but it smelled, the sink was tiny and there was no shelf to put your stuff in. There was no place to hang the toilet paper roll. The good thing: the hot water was awesome.
  5. Aside from the minibar (which you had to pay extra room service charge for, I don't understand why), there really aren't any other facilities. No need to bring HDMI cables for the TV as I don't think you can hook up your laptop anyway.
That being said, I loved the balcony. It was spacious and was a perfect place to work from.

Overall, my second stay at Dumaluan was not that bad - thanks to the wonderful beach, which was the main reason I wanted to go anyway. As for the room, if I had gone for a cheaper one, I wouldn't be complaining. Lesson learned.

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