Saturday, May 14, 2011

Raymen Beach Resort

Raymen's Air-Conditioned Rooms
Raymen Beach Resort is located at Alubihod Cove, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Province.  At present, there are four resorts located along Alubihod Cove but so far, Raymen Beach Resort is the most developed and the most visited resort in this area.  An advance reservation is needed especially if you're planning to stay during peak seasons like summer.  Reservation can be done through telephone with no advance payment required.

We stayed at Raymen Beach Resort for two nights staying in their air-conditioned room which is good for 4 persons.  The room was provided with two double-sized beds, a small cabinet for our belongings and a bathroom.  Nothing fancy about the room and the beddings and towels provided were old and may already be considered for disposal. 

There's a corkage fee for foods brought outside but they are not really strict in inspecting the visitors' baggage.  Anyway, even if you don't bring food, they have a restaurant inside with a lot of menu to choose from.  I really liked their adobong pusit (squid cooked in vinegar and soy sauce), the squid is so fresh and tender ... yummy.  It will save you time if you'll just order in advance and tell them the time you want your food served.

Fresh catch direct from the local fishermen.
There is also a common grill area provided and some guests have brought their own cooking utensils.  They cooked rice and noodles using charcoal.  If you wake up early, around 5:00 in the morning, you can wait for local fishermen on the beach unloading their catch for the day so you can buy fresh fish at a cheaper price.

The easiest way to cook the fish.  No utensils needed.

The beach front along Alubihod cove is just a short span (less than a kilometer) with rock formations on both ends.  The water is calm and clear with fine (not as fine as that of Boracay though) and cream colored sand.  Just perfect for swimming both for the young and the "young once".

A view of Raymen's beach front taken at their sundeck.

Raymen beach front at dusk.

Overall, we had enjoyed our stay at Raymen Beach Resort, we enjoyed the beach and the fresh seafoods.

How to get there?

From Iloilo City, you can reach Raymen Beach Resort by taking a 15 minutes ride in a passenger pumpboat from Ortiz Wharf to Jordan Wharf which costs 14 pesos per person.  From Jordan Wharf you can ride a jeepney going to Nueva Valencia town which costs 30 pesos per head and from there, take a tricycle ride going to Raymen Beach Resort which costs 10 pesos per person.  From Jordan Wharf to Raymen Beach Resort, it will take you about 45 to 60 minutes of land travel.

If you travel by group you may opt to rent the service of a mini jeepney from Jordan Wharf going to Raymen Beach Resort.  We took this option and we paid 400 pesos for the service.  We also asked the driver to come back for us two days after.

If you have an extra budget and you want to skip the land travel, you may also opt to rent the service of a pump boat from Jordan Wharf going straight to Raymen Beach Resort.  It would take you about an hour to reach the resort at a price starting at 2000 pesos.

For more information, see their leaflets here or contact them at 0918-5207271/(033)3960252/3960383.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our Air Philippines Flight Experience

I booked for a round trip ticket for 4 persons at Air Philippines thru their on-line booking.  For our mid-April flight for Iloilo, I booked our flight as early as January so we can avail of discounted fares and of course to make sure that we already have our flights reserved for our planned vacation in the province.

On the day of our flight, we arrived at the airport at about 9 AM, just enough time to check-in for a 10:50 AM flight.   NAIA 3 terminal was not really crowded that time and there are two check-in counters open for our flight.

It was already our turn to check-in when the person in-charge at the counter got our e-tickets same also with the other passengers at the back of the line.  She brought the tickets to her colleagues and they had a little conversation.  After a while, she went to us and told us that our flight was overbooked and that we cannot be accommodated anymore.  She offered us their late afternoon flight which is 5:30 PM.  Whhaaaat???!!!

That means we will be arriving in Iloilo at about 6:30 in the evening and we still have to travel on land for 2 to 3 hours to get to Antique, our destination.  Wow, that’s already late, thinking that we have children with us.

I really want to flare up but I was thinking, getting mad won’t do me any good.  If the plane was already full, then there’s no way that we can be on that flight no matter what I say or do.  So I just remained calm just like the other passengers.  There were about 12 of us that can’t be accommodated on the flight.

We asked for other alternatives aside from what they were offering us, which is the 5:30 PM flight.  After several discussions with her colleagues, the person in charge went back to us and offered us the 11:30 AM flight to Kalibo, which is a 2 to 3 hours land travel from Iloilo.  The land travel will be at their expense and as a way of saying thank you for understanding their incompetence, they will give us a voucher which can be claimed for a free round trip ticket in any Air Philippines destination here in the Philippines.  The voucher will be valid for one year after issue.

At first I was hesitant because I never been to Kalibo but later on we decided to take their offer since it’s their remaining morning flight and it’s still early so maybe we can check if there are trips going directly to Antique ... if none, then we will just go to Iloilo and travel again going to Antique.

Air Philippines plane at Kalibo airport
Air Philippines plane going to Kalibo is just a small one, there are only 4 seats per row and 2 seats at the last row.  I felt like I’m riding an air-conditioned bus.  There are two flight attendants checking on the passengers and in the middle of the flight, they sell snacks.  At first I thought it was for free … I was wrong … it was for sale.

Anyway, we arrived at Kalibo Airport and overall, the flight was great.  Though it’s a small plane, yet we didn’t feel any bumps, maybe because the weather was great.  It was a 1 hour flight and my children enjoyed looking at the cottony clouds and the large body of water below. 

Our return flight (one week after we arrived at Kalibo Airport) from Iloilo to Manila went smooth.  We arrived at Iloilo airport very early so we have to wait before the check-in counters opened 2 hours before the flight.  Air Philippines plane from Manila to Iloilo (the same plane that will fly us back to Manila) arrived on time so we have boarded the plane on time and we took off right on schedule.  The weather was great that we arrived at NAIA 3, 15 minutes earlier than the estimated arrival time.

Air Philippines plane arrived at Iloilo airport on time.
This time Air Philippines plane was much bigger than the one we boarded going to Kalibo.  There are 6 seats per row with more rows available.

Aside from the over-booking issue, flying with Air Philippines was such a great experience for us.  I won’t have any second thoughts flying with this airline once again.  Until our next flight Air Philippines.