Yeah. It’s a long ways just to chill I know. But A and our good friends convinced me to go all the way to Cagayan Valley so that I can spend some down time with them away from the hustle and bustle of my town that is Manila.
But what really convinced me was the surprise birthday party planned for our dear friend J. And so I obliged and found myself on a bus one August evening en route to Tuguegarao. A 10-hour bus ride had me arriving at 7am the following morning. After breakfast and a bit of a rest, I was soon off again with the gang on 3-hour drive to Sta. Ana.
Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised when we reached the unpretentious entrance that lead to a simple structure,
that is the resort’s reception lobby. Located at the northeastern tip of Luzon, in a 7-hectare waterfront of Cagayan Valley facing the South China Sea,
Cagayan Holiday & Leisure Resort provides
112 spacious villas,
a seashore swimming pool,
a Spa and Holistic center and a fine dining Chinese Restaurant.
Our ocean front villa came with a private pool where we of course spent most of our time chilling.
Each of the 17 ocean front villas has 5 bedrooms with its own bath and albeit not to my taste is fully furnished and in fairness, tastefully designed. The kitchenette does not really allow for real cooking but we had a feast just the same.
We bought most of our food from the local market and for a fee, asked a restaurant — JnJ Seafood Restaurant along the highway — to cook for us. We had a feast. A seaside town, Sta Ana is known for sweet, inexpensive crabs and lobsters, which suffice to say, was the highlight of our stay.
News of disgruntled residents somewhat taints this Chinese owned resort in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZF) area — they are accused of employing many Chinese citizens offering less opportunities to the locals. There were undeniably Chinese-speaking employees working alongside Filipino employees during our visit, perhaps to cater to the mostly Chinese tourists billeted at the resort. This town was once only known for game fishing without much facility, it is today attracting tourists from Hong Kong and China, mostly gamblers. The resort complex is really known for its casino but if gambling is not your thing, there is the spa and some watersports facilities such as jetskis and kayaks that can be rented.
The beach however does not boast of the same esteemed white sand of many Philippine beaches.
The sunset though managed to get my seal of approval. 🙂
If you are in the area and only if you are, I’d recommend that you check them out.