Pico Sands Hotel: Finally, Vacation Time!

I'm pretty sure by now, we are at that point where we just want this pandemic to end and get out of Manila to breath some fresh air, bask under the sun, swim in our beautiful beaches, and just be free! I won't deny that being stuck here in Manila is starting to frustrate and tire me, thankfully, a week before the implementation of stricter community quarantine in NCR and nearby provinces last March, my friends and I finally pushed our year-long delayed beach trip plan! 

Together with my friends Rod Magaru, Myke Soon and Ryan San Juan, we spent a relaxing and truly memorable 3-day, 2-night stay at the beautiful Pico Sands Hotel, which sits at the heart of Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas. This is the only hotel in the community, and thankfully, their doors are open to metro dwellers who are looking for a safe place to commune with nature. 

(left to right) Myke, Alex, Ryan and Rod

When we went there, Nasugbu, Batangas and Metro Manila are both under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), hence there's no extra documentation needed to cross boundaries and stay at the hotel. But since Metro Manila is now back at Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) status, and Nasugbu is at GCQ status, the whole Hamilo Coast is only open to local residents of the serene province.

(left to right) Myke, Alex, Ryan and Rod

Anyway, when these community quarantines ease out, I'm pretty sure that they'll be opening their doors again to residents from the Metro to share the beauty of this well-protected coast.

Pico Sands Hotel is a treat to metro dwellers as it is. With safety protocols in place, that homey and refreshing vibe topped with its remarkable service led by its Club Manager, Mr. Brian Bicaldo, was just an icing on the top of our weekend quick getaway.

Uncompromised Relaxation
Upon arriving at the premises of Hamilo Coast, we were welcomed by the lush and captivating beauty of the nature. Despite of being here numerous times before, the place is still mesmerizing and time-stopping. We were greeted by the guard as we arrive at the main gate, but unlike before, our body temperature were taken prior to entering the community. Once cleared, we're off to go. It is highly suggested that you book your stay here at Pico Sands Hotels through their website: www.picosandshotel.com. Currently, they are offering flexible booking terms, so you don't have to worry if your initial booking got cancelled due to ongoing safety protocols.

Fresh and sanitized Room

Anyway, as we reach the steps of Pico Sands Hotel, we were greeted warmly by their management as we unload our luggage. Same safety protocol procedure is imposed upon entering the hotel to make sure that we are all safe. To be honest, I like that they are strict about these protocols given that people who are staying here will be more relaxed when it comes to remembering the do's and don'ts of going out.

Safety Freebies

Pico Sands Hotel remained as one of my favorite hotels in Luzon, and still gives that "kilig" feeling whenever I am here. The rooms were marked clean and sanitized before checking in, which give its uncompromised stay experience for everyone. Toilet bowl, bed and other important items inside the room also carry sanitized label, along with free safety essential such as facemasks and alcohol were made available for guests. Sadly, due to the ongoing community quarantine measures, guests 18 years old and below, as well as 60 years old and above are still not yet allowed to stay here.

Aside from the rooms, common areas such as the lobby, restaurants, Pico Beach, chapel and other non-amusement areas have safety reminders for everyone. Guests are required to wear facemask while inside the community all the time, and only allowed to take off their masks if they are dining, swimming and staying inside their respective rooms. Other amusement rooms such as the game rooms, kiddie rooms, karaoke rooms, basketball and volleyball courts and bowling rooms are temporarily closed in accordance to the national government's protocol.

View from the Chapel

Customized Dining Experience
One thing that I like about Pico Sands Hotel is its amenities, which are designed sustainably. Their dining places have ample spaces for adjustment, which made naturally easy to adjust to the spacing needs due to the on-going quarantine protocols. This provides guests with more nature moments as we enjoy dining the al fresco way. Since the whole lagoon area is almost covered with tall trees providing shades and fresh air, dining out is really a tropical treat here at Pico Sands Hotel.

Al Fresco Dining at Pico Bar & Restaurant

The time we went there, we had our first meal at Pico Bar and Restaurant where we savored Filipino dishes, along with our favorite Filipino desserts that pumped up our excitement. Everything were served plated, while utensils were sanitized and sealed for guests' safety.

Filipino Dessert at Pico Bar & Restaurant

If you want a more romantic or more private setup, by breakfast or dinner, you can ask them to prepare one for you and your companions, which will surely give you all a fun way to enjoy your meals. I was surprised how the taste of their food has evolved. One cuisine that I suggest you try - which is off the menu - is their Spanish spread, which include cheese croquettes, sopa de ajo, nicoise salad, gambas ala ijillo, beef salpicao, paella valenciana and crema catalana for dessert. Super yum!

Sumptuous Beef Salpicao and Paella

There's also the Lagoa Restaurant which serves international buffet during holidays and weekends and an Asian a La Carte menu on weekdays. But if ever you prefer staying by the beach, the Reef Bar is still open but only provide limited menu due to safety that they are implementing in the area.

Sangia and Reef from the Reef Bar

We had a wonderful sunset moment there while sipping Sangria and eating cheese - a relaxation we all deserve no matter where you came from.

Al Fresco Dinner Setup at Pico Bar & Restaurant

A Nature Trip Like No Other
Number one on our list when we decided to have our weekend getaway here at Pico Sands Hotel was to see nature again, and Pico Sands management didn't disappoint us as they prepared us a nature-trip activity, which is only available upon request.

Sunset View from Pico Sands Hotel

From mountain hiking, to beach bumming and even learning things about mangrove, Pico Sands Hotel highlighted the wondrous experience one can have when booking your stay with them. 

Santelmo Cove
Yearning for an adventure with the nature, if you are up for a morning hike with some of Hamilo Coast's official tour guides, you can trek one of its best-kept secrets - the Santelmo Cove.

Hiking at Santelmo Eco-Trail

A stimulating 45-minute to 1 hour trek from the Country Club, the Santelmo Eco-trail is a hiking adventure we all deserve as we escape the urban jungle and reunite with nature. Due to limited access, our group was only able to explore the first viewpoint of the Eco-Trail, which gave us this:

Reaching the First View Point

The wondrous and breathtaking view of Pico de Loro Cove

The Eco-trail has a banister to hold on as we hike up, which is made of a line of rope tied from tree to tree. The rustic colors of the fallen leaves and the relaxing natural sound of nature made our trip quite relaxing and enjoyable while catching as we ascend. From the first view point, we were guided through intertwining of nature's beauty until we reach the crystal clear water and pure white, sandy beach of Santelmo - a very rewarding endpoint of this trail

Santelmo Beach

Hamilo Mangrove Forest
Another nature adventure one can experience in Hamilo Coast and can be prepared by Pico Sands Hotel management upon request is the Hamilo Mangrove Forest. A 10-hecatre of estate filled with more than 10,000 mangrove trees, this location is just around 5 to 10 minutes away from the Country Club. Named as the largest mangrove area in Nasugbu, Batangas, this place was put by Hamilo Coast and protected together with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines to keep nurturing the beautiful and abundant ecosystem of the province.

Educational mangrove tours were provided to guests to increase awareness about mangroves and their restoration, as well as to share the amazing impacts of these trees to the livelihood and people of Nasugbu, Batangas.

Due to the tide condition, we were sked to have this tour at around 2 in the afternoon. Despite of the tremendous heat of the sun that time, our group had fun communing with nature nd having fun with our tour guides. The learning and the picturesque beauty of this property is indeed a great break after being locked in our houses during the quarantine period.

Pico Beach
But if you just wanna beach bum and enjoy the signature scenic beauty of the Pico Beach, it's open to all guest guided by safety protocol as mentioned above. 

Morning at Pico Beach

May it be a morning dip in its calm and clear water or afternoon sunset session while watching families and friends gather by the beach is a stress-relieving activity you could enjoy while staying here.

Sunset at Pico Beach

Named as one of the best private beach resorts in Nasugbu, Pico de Loro Beach is has been a great destination for many families since it was opened to the public and became part of many milestones as it became the venue for wedding, anniversaries, birthday and even team buildings.

Today, Pico Beach prioritize safety of its guests as it continues to provide luxurious vacation option to metro dwellers and nature escape to everyone.