Friday, May 25, 2007

office fun in el puerto marina

it took a while for us to plan our summer trip here in the office, but last weekend, it finally pushed through!

el puerto marina resort in lingayen, pangasinan was our destination for the weekend. i had been there before, but there have been a lot of improvements with the resort this time around.

it took us four and a half hours to get there, including a pit stop at luisita mall for those who needed to relieve themselves. while waiting in front of chowking, i saw jollibee step out of his kingdom. of course, a photo op should not be missed.

to get to the resort, you have to pass through plaza de lingayen, where a shrine for jose rizal stands. the public market is across the plaza, and is a great place to get pasalubong for the family. they sell 100 pieces of puto calasiao for P40.

after a few turns on dirt roads (just follow the el puerto marina sign), we saw the resort. our welcome banner confirmed we were in the right place. we got out of our vans to stretch our legs from the drive.

the good people at the resort did not waste any time. lunch was served immediately, leaving us no room to complain of hunger. for our first meal, we had inihaw na liempo, halabos na hipon, inihaw na (boneless) bangus, halaan soup (i LOVED it!), pinakbet, ensaladang mangga, and matamis na saging. there were about three large platters for each dish, and the lot of us had a pretty hard time wolfing everything down.

check-in followed soon after, and we trouped to our designated rooms. every room had a TV, air-conditioning, and hot and cold shower. towels, shampoos, and soaps were provided for each guest. i was dismayed to find the toilet in our room to be quite dirty, though.

after relaxing for a bit, we decided to explore the beach. we didn't find it ideal to hang out there, as the walk from the resort to the beach took quite a while, and the water was pretty shallow. the shore, though, was vast, and made for great goofing around photos. all terrain vehicles can be hired from the resort to explore the beach better.

so we contented ourselves with the pool, which had a kiddie pool-slash-jacuzzi on the side that was big enough to fit about 14 people. saturday afternoon translated to a lot of people, so we had to share the space with others.

it wasn't long before we were called to the pavilion again for merienda. our stomachs had barely digested lunch, and we were faced with huge plates of pansit bihon and mounds of puto calasiao. even though we could all still taste lunch in our mouths, we couldn't help but help ourselves to the gastronomic delights served before us. because of that, i had to ask the staff to move our dinner to 830pm, instead of 7pm, as we had initially agreed upon.

after merienda, some of us took advantage of the resort's spa. since i organized the outing, i got a free massage! the massage was soothing and highly relaxing, which explained the sleepy, drunken looks some of us had at the dinner table.

speaking of dinner, it was another feast yet again. the menu consisted of sinigang na sugpo, adobong talaba (spicy, but i liked it!), inihaw na tilapia (i finished about one and a half), chopsuey, and inihaw na talong. of course, that came with garlic rice, and drinks.

after dinner, i decided to check out the resort's wi-fi access, which is free for all guests. the signal was low, but i still got to check my email. multiply and other sites with images and graphics could not be accessed. we were able to research on wikipedia about the great arapaima, the fish found in the resort's fishpond.

and of course, a few hours later, beers were served. some members of our party had already retired, while a few of us hung out in the pavilion to drink and feast on our dinner leftovers. we had fun eating talaba and tilapia while downing ice-cold beers. mark, our music dude, brought his guitar, and we happily sang along to his strumming.

we walked back to the building at 2am, and we had some frogs to keep us company on the path. i had a hard time sleeping, because the air conditioning was too cold, but the bed was comfortable and firm enough.

the next day saw us enjoying the pool. we had it all to ourselves, as most of the guests had already left. but before that, let me talk about breakfast.

the best thing about el puerto marina is that they never give you a chance to go hungry. that's one thing you will never complain about. breakfast was served and ready at 730. we were served dried pinca (a small swordfish, which is a pangasinan delicacy), daing, longganisa, salted egg and tomatoes, and vegetable omelette.

after that, we enjoyed the pool for the rest of the morning. we captured ourselves in wacky poses, jumping in the pool, splashing around. we all just really had fun that morning, and it was great to have something like that with people you see everyday.

before leaving, we were served one more meal: lunch. as a farewell, we feasted on nilagang baka, fried calamari, crispy shrimp, sweet and spicy tofu with vegetables. stuffing yourself with food is a great way to say goodbye to a place.

the people were friendly, the food was good, and the fun was endless. small wonder that i'm thinking of bringing more people to the resort.

resort details:
el puerto marina beach resort and spa
tel. nos.: manila: 8123388 (look for flor or mildred); pangasinan: (075) 5425328
mobile: 09053212056 (sally fernando); 09209506822 (flor verzosa)


Anonymous said...

they may have made sure not to make you go hungry...but for the reader, this is pure torture! *salivate*...

Anonymous said...

ops...comment above by susie.