(1st of 3 parts)
For part 2 of this series, click here.
As a couple, our definition of “getaway” is pretty easy. We don’t always have to go on an expensive plane ride or eight-hour road trip in order to “get away”. Sometimes, a simple day tour will do, like an 8-5 tour in a resort in Bulacan. Packed food, swimming pool, and quality time to ourselves—those things are enough to sate our wanderlust.
We’ve done a couple of day tours in Bulacan to date, thanks to the wonderful deals in coupon-buying sites like Ensogo, Metrodeal, Groupon, and CashCashPinoy (yes, I’m a mostly happy subscriber). Because of them, we got really good weekday deals for some public resorts in Bulacan.
For those who aren’t from the Philippines, Bulacan is one of the nearby provinces in Metro Manila. You can reach the province within an hour or two from the northern part of Metro Manila. Commuting to Bulacan is also very easy, as you only need to hop on a bus or even an FX from Monumento, Cubao, or Quezon City. Needless to say, the province is very accessible and is perfect for quick weekday getaways.
Despite the lack of beaches, Bulacan still sports a handful of resorts, and by resort, I mean public and private pools where you can just chill and lounge around with friends and family for quick stress relief. That is, if you’re not bothered by the sheer number of people in public resorts during weekends and holidays. So to avoid the weekend rush (and because we are really itching to swim somewhere), E and I decided to visit public resorts in Bulacan on a weekday. It’s simply a perfect way to break the monotony of our lives—him from office work and me from my daily article deadlines.
Cool Waves Ranch and Waterpark Resort
We visited this place in the summer of 2013. I think it must be a Monday, since we wanted to avoid ending up in a mosh pit of rubbing bodies in the water. Cool Waves Ranch and Waterpark Resort is located in San Nicolas, Bulacan, and it took us only an hour to get there. According to the terms of our Ensogo deal, we were allowed to have 8-5 access to all of the resort’s facilities, plus one air conditioned room for two. Although E said that it’s okay if we just stay in a cottage, I insisted for a room so that we would have a place where we could put in our valuables. After all, there were just two of us and no one would look after our things.
Upon entering the resort, we went directly to the reception area, where we got the keys to our room. We were then led to our small air conditioned room with a double deck bed, cable-less TV, and own CR. There was no Wi-Fi (not that I expected it), and the room was pretty much what you would expect a basic room to be—a place for sleeping and nothing else. There was no table where we can eat our food, but there are small cottages and gazebos outside that we can use for free.
The resort has two wave pools, plus several buildings with rooms for stay-in guests. The pools alternately release waves at a regular interval for about 10-20 minutes. The main pool was like a huge beach. It even had a hut near its “shore”. You could really feel the waves hitting your body no matter where you are in the pool. Just like a real beach, foams develop as the waves reach the edges of the pool.
The second pool was like a river with its elongated shape. Because of the structure, you have to position yourself near the wave generator in order to experience the big waves. And boy, are they huge! However, the waves were almost non-existent at the other end of the pool, which was knee-deep anyway and perfect for small kids.
While the main pool was clean (especially since there were only a few people swimming) and being maintained by some of the staff, the same cannot be said for the second pool. There were a lot of fallen leaves, twigs, and soil in the area near the wave generator. I don’t know why no one was cleaning it unlike the first pool.
There was another small, narrow pool, which we were told was what the owners were planning to be the helmet diving zone. The whole place was still being developed and expanded at that time we went there. If I remember right, they were even planning to have kayaks, fish spa, and zipline in the resort. In fact, they advertised it in the deal that we bought, so E was disappointed when he learned that those were still in the making. Tsk tsk for false advertisement.
And just in case you’re wondering why it’s called a ranch, it’s because it does have one. I wonder if they’re going to offer horseback riding someday. (Actually, their website does say so.)
I noticed that a lot of public pools have their “themes” when it comes to decorating the resort. They’re very fond of huge figures of superheroes, cartoon characters, and animals where people can take photo ops. And Cool Waves is no exception to this kind of theme.
There were small sari-sari stores inside the vicinity of the resort, so if you forgot to bring merienda, you can totally buy your food there. As for E and me, we brought our own packed lunch and ate at our bed, since there were ants in the nearest gazebo to our room.
In the afternoon, the ants were gone and we sat outside and enjoy the halo-halo we bought from one of the stores. We also took our last dip in the pool before rinsing up and going home.
Perhaps the only bad experience that we had was when an attendant tried to barge into our room without knocking. She said that she heard the TV, so she went inside our room to turn it off, not knowing that they had guests there. E was pretty pissed, but decided not to complain anymore. That girl was lucky that she did that to us and not to other people. I’m not sure how others would react in such a situation.
In general, we were pretty satisfied with our day in the resort. We didn’t have high expectations in the first place since we just wanted a place where we can unwind for a while. The whole deal cost PhP1,210 (PhP115 each for day tour entrance fee and PhP980 for the room for two). The money we spent the whole day for food and transportation couldn’t be more than PhP1.000. At 6PM, we were already back in Manila.
You can reach Coolwaves Ranch and Waterpark Resort by riding a Victory Liner Bus from Monumento bound for Malolos. Ask the conductor to get you off at Tabang Exit. From there, you can ride a tricycle and tell the driver the name of the resort.
By the way, E said that one episode of Marvin Agustin’s Karinderya Wars was shot in this resort. If I find that episode on Youtube, I’ll post it here.
Watch out for Part 2 of our weekday fun in Bulacan at the end of this week!