A Weekend in San Diego Dance Beach Resort, Tabuelan

It’s been exactly ten months since I’ve posted anything here. Not that I haven’t been to nearby places after my Camotes Island days. It’s just that my old cellphone was stolen back in May where I had all my unpublished pictures stored in.

And just last weekend, I and my friends explored one of the private beach resorts in Maravilla, Tabuelan. Situated at the tip most part of North Cebu, the small barangay is just an hour away to the town of San Remigio.

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It was quite a long ride contrary from what we expected. We chose to take the none air-conditioned minibus called Inday Memie that took us directly to barangay Maravilla, Tabuelan in over 4 hours. Not that we are fond of having ourselves brewed by the heat of non AC buses, it’s just that one of my friends suffers motion sickness so we all had to deal with it, lol.

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IMPORTANT! Last trip travels back to the city at 2:00 PM the earliest so if you want to stay longer you can choose to go to Tabuelan proper bus terminal instead thru habal-habal.

In most cases though, a bus ride can only take 3 hours max but the minibus was exceptionally slow. Or it could be just the driver’s way of making sure we arrive safely.

We left North Bus Terminal at around 9:30 AM because we missed the 7:30 AM trip and arrived past 1:00 PM.

The road to Tabuelan was for me, not an easy travel because the LGU is currently conducting a road widening causing quarries along the way which can cause major accidents.

After a very uneasy, jam-packed ride under a scourging 35°C July sun, we finally reached barangay Maravilla.

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As first timer, I was a bit disappointed with the sight of the unattractive signage and graffitied waiting shed at the side of an empty highway where we were dropped off. It was like a motley crew was going to attack me any time I touch the ground, lol.

I know I was being overly dramatic. Maybe because of my oblivion of the beauty hidden beyond the grove or maybe because of the mugginess of the afternoon that made me feel rather nonchalant.

The San Diego Dance Beach Resort was not even on the signage as you can see on the image. And we actually had no idea which resort to go to because we hadn’t booked a place to stay prior. That being said, we had a fair chance of having no place to put our things to safety.

We had to walk down a narrow dirt road to access the Maravilla public beach which is the main entry of the group of resorts aligning Maravilla shore.

Before even reaching the main entrance of the public beach, a food stall or two can be seen at the forefront where we had our quick brunch because we arrived past 1.

Food is basic but who cares if you are starving?

Here they serve mostly barbecue and some smoked fish which I haven’t been able to take pictures of being a wannabe blogger that I am.

Aside from barbecued food, they also sell appetizers (I dunno if people consider this as one but I do), one of which is green mangos. I didn’t bother checking any further because I was anxious to have a place to stay so we can put our baggage away to safety and cool ourselves off.

So without delay, we headed off the entrance of the Maravilla shore and voila! Hail the Maravilla public beach.

The entrance to Maravilla public beach.

 

The place warmly (well, it’s 2:00 PM) welcomed us with clear blue skies and sparkly waters which is not evident at this distance. We were supposed to camp the night here but the distinct noise of loud voices told us that the place was jam-packed so we changed our minds. With the help of a dispatch, we reached the San Diego Dance Beach Resort which is only a few meters away from the public beach.

So this is me doing the obligatory selfie at the north entrance.

The beach resort is named after San Diego Dance Company, a family that manages a group of dancers who are known for participating the Sinulog Festival dancing competition every year which is called the obvious – San Diego Dance Beach Resort.

This is the beach front of San Diego Dance Beach Resort. And the tiny tent is my friend’s.

And the cottage is the largest out of the three that they currently have. This photo above is the interior which was not cleaned up yet but as soon as transaction is made, it is automatically cleaned up by the caretaker.

It is mainly made up of bamboo and designed in a nipa hut fashion. The good thing about having this for a short stay is that it’s cheaper, it provides the benefit of not having to stay indoor all throughout because it is not air-conditioned and it doesn’t have anything to catch your attention. Plain and simple.

The resort offers free mats, pillows, electric fans, plastic tables and chairs, and of course electricity.

They have vacant space for tents as well as regular to family size tents for rent.

At the far right side of the largest cottage facing the sea are hand-made wooden table and benches. This was my personal favourite since this is located under a huge mango tree.

How cool is that?

We had our super late lunch, our ceremonial if not obligatory tagay session, dinner and morning coffee here.

The place is a lot quiter than the public beach probably beacuse they only have 3 huts available for occupancy so that not many people could stay around even if they wanted to.

The ambience is more serine.

And most of all, it is surrounded by trees and bushes in which the other resorts we passed by don’t have.

We didn’t take the largest cottage though (A twist huh?).

Yes. Instead, we took one of the two small cottages because they’re cheaper and with a place and a weather like this, who would want to stay inside a hut?

So this how our hut looked like inside. Airy and nothing glamorous.

It’s basically just going to guard your things to safety at night. It’s not that no one could break in but at least it’s gonna take them longer to get into your stuff while you’re somewhere else drinking your night away. Plus the door have chain locks.

This is all we got to fight humidity especially during the night which I find weird for a place like that.

So we really had to pitch a tent at the beach front to enjoy the scenery and besides, it was why we were there for in the first place.

One thing that this whole Maravilla thing lacks is an easy access to raw food and produce. You can’t find any stall that sells these kinds of things which I think is very importent for a booming business like this and knowing that visitors will most likely prefer grilling food by themeselves by the beach.

I mean it’s been a culture and a necessity. Someone from there should be able to lay it out on the table. Same thing happened in Santiago Beach in Camotes Island which I think is the only yet most significant downside.

And that unavailability took more than an hour of our time going back to Tabuelan proper by motorcycle to buy the food we needed. For first timers like us, it could have been prevented had there been an availability somewhere near.

We’re really glad we took our brunch upon arrival as mentioned earlier because we finished preparing our supposed proper lunch at around 4 o’clock inspite grilling all seafoods at once (and getting them burned).

So we had to take our super-late-lunch at an approaching sunset.

Which wasn’t bad at all. Not only were we experiencing a naturally sun-lit meal, we also enjoyed watching how other people had a great time. And a having not-so-extraordinary meal in a completely different environment from your daily corners of the city is extraordinary.

TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES

Taxi fare from downtown Cebu to North Bus Terminal and vice versa ─ ₱125.00
Minibus fare from Cebu to North Bus Terminal to Maravilla and vice versa ─ ₱110.00
Habal-habal fare from Maravilla beach to Tabuelan proper and vice versa ─ ₱40.00
Ceres bus fare from Tabuelan proper to Cebu to North Bus Terminal ─ ₱110.00

FOOD EXPENSES

Grilling coal ─ ₱10.00/pack
Spices estimate ─ ₱60.00
5 gallons purified drinking water (18.93 L) ─ ₱50.00
1 kg fish ─ ₱220.00
1 kg shrimps ─ ₱300.00
1 kg pork meat ─ ₱200.00
1/4 kg guso ─ ₱20.00

OTHER EXPENSES

Small cottage (good for 5) ─ ₱1300.00 (day use)
Small cottage (good for 5) ─ ₱1500.00 (overnight)
Large cottage (good for 10) ─ ₱3000.00
Tent for rent (good for 4) ─ ₱800.00
Dispatch (voluntary) ─ ₱40.00

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