If there’s one place all Metro Manila residents should visit before they die it’s probably the ISLAND COVE HOTEL AND LEISURE PARK in Kawit, Cavite.
It’s true! However, that statement may sound too “press release” for some people, and that is because they have never been to the island or they may have visited it once or twice before but didn’t really pay any attention.
In my opinion, ISLAND COVE is definitely one of the most worthwhile resort place here in Mega Manila to spend quality time with your family, friends and loved ones during the summer or at just about any time of the year. And hey, it’s the closest island paradise here in Metro Manila!
I was just there a couple of weeks ago, and all I can think about after leaving the island is WHEN to schedule my next visit.
You can tell from the first three paragraphs on this post that I really had a great time at the Cove and part of it was because of the warm and friendly welcome that we have experienced on the island from everyone that we got chance of meeting. From that ‘Manong’ who was in charge of renting out bicycles to guests in the area of Oceania Swim and Splash Park to the cool sounding quartet who serenaded us at the Fishing Village while having the most sumptuous lunch ever!
Journalist-Politician and Island Cove Managing Director Gilbert Remulla and Executive Assistant Manager Malu Samaco made sure that our stay there was indeed worth remembering – from the awesome tasting dishes in their restaurants to our relaxing moment at the Island Spa and our exciting adventures with the animals in their Wildlife Sanctuary. Thank you.
HOW TO GET TO ISLAND COVE
The funny thing is, I have known about this place since 2000 – the year when we moved from Manila to Bacoor. Our house then is just less than 10 minutes away from Binakayan, the town where the Island is located, but, not once have we visited it.
Anyway, Island Cove is only 20 to 25 minutes away from Manila and Makati City – so it’s basically the nearest resort island from the busy business capital of the Philippines. We went there on a Friday morning and I think that 25 minutes is a very conservative estimate. On a good day, you can get to Island Cove from SM Mall of Asia in less than 15 minutes. The only bottle neck is that toll area in the middle of Coastal Road in Paranaque.
To commute from Manila or Makati: There are many Cavite-bound buses, Jeepneys and UV Express Shuttles that has terminals in Lawton, Taft Rotonda, SM Mall of Asia, Coastal Mall and Baclaran, Roxas Boulevard. Sometimes there are also terminals sprouting in the area of Kalaw, Taft and Buendia. The one that passes through Covelandia (that is your stop) are the vehicles that are going to Naic, Tanza and Cavite City – most of them are now taking the Cavitex road which improved the travel time to the said destinations 20 – 30 percent faster than before its construction.
THINGS TO DO IN THE ISLAND
But aside from the short distance to Mega Manila, Island Cove offers something much more than any other new and classy “resort” and leisure destinations found in Metro Manila. Let me give you a walk through or a visual tour of what to expect and what to do at the Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park.
Go on an Island Staycation
According to Ms. Samaco, the accommodation facilities of Island Cove have just finished major renovations to make it more in tune with the needs of guests. Rooms are now Wi-Fi ready and fitted with new and modern bathrooms, USB charging ports, flat screen television but still maintain its exclusive and relaxing Mediterranean feel.
Here’s my most favorite spot in the hotel, nothing calls out “Mediterranean” than these views:
- Superior Single Rooms (17 units)
- Superior Twin Rooms (5 units)
- Superior Single Rooms with Veranda (5 units)
- Superior Twin Rooms with Veranda (4 units)
- Superior De Luxe Twin Rooms (8 units)
- Superior De Luxe King Rooms (2 units)
- Superior De Luxe PWD Rooms (2 units)
- Family De Luxe Twin (8 units)
- Family De Luxe King (4 units)
- Poolside De Luxe Twin (5 units)
- Poolside De Luxe Queen (4 units)
- Premier De Luxe Queen (3 units)
- Premier De Luxe King (3 units)
- Cabanas (Villas) Simplex (3 units)
- Cabanas (Villas) Duplex (7 units)
- Cabanas (Villas) Half Duplex (14 units)
- Calero Dormitory (20 pax)
- Isabel Dormitory (16 pax)
Standard amenities includes a Key Card System, Wi-Fi Access, Safety Deposit Box, Cable TV, and a 24-Hour Business Center.
Drinking water is provided in each hotel room in re-usable sanitary tumblers. This is one of Island Cove’s initiatives to decrease number of plastic bottles that occupy landfills. Water is refillable upon request.
Family De Luxe room occupants get 30% off on kiddie meals while all those who book the Premier De Luxe room will receive complimentary assorted pastries. A jacuzzi and pool is also made available inside the hotel exclusively to all checked-in hotel guests.
Here are the room rates for Summer and the Holy Week:
Go on a Food Trip
During my day tour there, I have discovered four awesome food destinations inside the island that would even make Shaggy and Scooby cry! The brilliant chef behind all these food spots is Executive Chef Vill Purification, who I later learned to be the father of my lifestyle blogger-friend Ann.
First stop was the iCafe which is located at the Island Cove Hotel Lobby. Their coffees are prepared via french press or by an Italian espresso machine which makes each cup very distinct and flavorful. Aside from coffee, they also serve light snacks, sandwiches, fresh cakes, pastries, cold and hot drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
A cup of their signature Island Cove Blend coffee will only cost you 70 Pesos.
For lunch, we took a ride from the Hotel using one of their electric-powered shuttle service or as they would say ‘tram’ to get to the very famous Fishing Village Restaurant of Island Cove. A Filipino themed restaurant where you can dine in any of the 21 bamboo huts on stilts over the waters of Manila Bay overlooking the Manila and Makati Skyline.
You have the option to go fishing for your food or make it simpler by ordering what you like from their menu. Their specialty are fresh seafoods, mussels and oysters. But just because there’s fish on the name of the restaurant, that doesn’t mean that they serve only seafoods, in fact one of their newest dish is not made of fish but pork. Lechon De Pugon was just recently introduced by the Island Cove chefs – it’s slow-cooked in a brick oven for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours which allows the fat to drip out gradually and make the delicious pork meal more enjoyable minus the guilt.
You’ll also find their Sungkaan (385 pesos) very interesting. It’s an appetizer sampler prepared using Sungka as a dish tray.
If you can’t decide what to order, then go try and order one of their Fiesta Platters which is good for 2 to 4 persons (630 – 820 pesos) or get a last meal on earth set menu for only 3,000 Pesos (good for 6 to 8 persons).
Island Cove also have a Bayside KTV just beside the Fishing Village. This is basically for late night pica-picas and long evenings of singing. The Bayside restaurant was still closed when we visited the place, and I bet that it gets pretty crowded there when the sun goes down.
The KTV has 9 private rooms that can seat groups of two to 30.
Sangley Point Bar and Grill
Our last stop was at Sangley Point. This al fresco restaurant is located right beside the Oceania pool and Splash Park and houses three huge function rooms called Magdalo, Magdiwang and Aguinaldo ideal for various events like wedding receptions, debut party and even JS Proms.
Island Cove has 2 main ballrooms, 10 air-conditioned function rooms (including the La Covia Tent), a concert ground, and other non air-conditioned function rooms and pavilions. In fact, the whole island is capable of catering and organizing events for as many 15,000 people.
Speaking of concerts, Sarah Geronimo will have one at the Island Cove concert grounds on April 22. So that’s a little something to look forward to this summer.
Sangley Point serves western-style cuisines and other mouth watering international dishes like baby back ribs, home-made bacon barbecue and wagyu burger.
Relax and Unwind
Island Cove can also be your weekly or monthly destination to get that much needed rest and relaxation. After that very hectic schedule at work or in your business, nothing rejuvenates the body, mind and spirit than going some place where you can just let go and be pampered. Well, with Island Cove, you don’t have to go too far away from Metro Manila to get all that.
Get all the residue of stress out of your body by visiting the Island Spa and Fit Club. The place is conveniently located right beside the main hotel, so you can go there anytime that you need to.
Island Spa is one of the first spas to adopt and promote authentic Filipino therapeutic treatments that combine healing and relaxation techniques such as hilot and dagdagay.
They call their signature massage as Hilot Isla which uses varying pressures and strokes on different parts of the body until balance and harmony are restored. An hour session would only cost 850 Pesos. Other massages includes Swedish, Shiatsu an Dagdagay (traditional foot massage).
Aside from massage services, they also offer foot and hand spa, facial treatments, scrubs and milk baths.
The Fit club on the other hand is an air-conditioned membership gym that offers a complete line of fitness equipment. Members of the Fit Club can also enjoy the facilities of Oceania Swim & Splash Park. Walk-in clients pay 200 Pesos per visit add 400 Pesos and you get a personal trainer.
Oceania Swim and Splash Park
Oceania is a 3,000 square meter lagoon-shaped pool with a depth ranging from 3 to 6 feet. Equipped with four giant fiberglass slides of varying heights and lengths and a couple of giant inflatable slides.
It also has a 350 square meter kid-friendly splash park, the largest this side of Mega Manila.
Choose Your Adventure
Now if you’re really up for a full day of fun and excitement, Island Cove has a lot of other fun things for you to try.
Island Cove Wildlife Sanctuary
With an entrance fee of 150 Pesos, get up close and personal with all the animals at Island Cove which includes many different species of birds, reptiles (monkeys, crocodiles, snakes) and mammals (Philippine Dee, Bengal Tigers). Get a chance to interact and feed their beautiful lion Elso and receive a warm embrace from their 15-foot python.
Here are some of the birds:
Feeding Elso the Lion:
Feeding the Ostriches:
Paintball and Airsoft Zone
Grab a couple of your friends and get crazy with Island Cove’s paintball arena, one of the largest in the Philippines. Each player gets 25 bullets and you pay only 250 Pesos per head (minimum of 4 players). The airsoft field access is 100 Pesos per head.
For the sporty type, Island Cove also has many outdoor and indoor sports facilities like basketball courts, tennis courts, a 1.4 km jogging path, bicycles, billiards, table tennis and a game room for the adventurous geeks.
They also have a maze challenge, a giant chess board, children’s playground and their newest attraction for kids – the King Crawler which was designed by Carve, a Dutch company. It is a vertical urban play structure that combines different types of play and climbing opportunities for kids.
And complete the island experience by taking a Kalesa tour:
Here are a few more other things to look forward to this summer at Island Cove:
A few reminders when planning a visit to Island Cove:
- Bringing in of food and drinks is prohibited – but I promise you, you will not go hungry inside the Island and the prices are really not that high. You might even gain a couple of pounds because their dishes are so irresistible.
- Motorcycles are not allowed inside the resort island and must be parked only at the designated parking area near the entrance. Island Cove has its own electric powered trams (shuttle service) that can take you anywhere you want to go inside the island, free of charge. Or you can just rent the bikes and have an awesome good time with your friends.
- Pets are allowed inside the island! However if you’re booking for a hotel reservation, bear in mind that they only allow one pet for each room.
Don’t forget to say hello to this African Grey Parrot who greet guests entering the Island Cove Hotel:
So that was all about my first visit at Island Cove. I am sure that I will have more stories to tell on my next visit but for now keep on checking #RainCHECK for more adventures and FOLLOW me on Twitter at @raindeocampo