It’s easy to forget the beauty of the Philippines when you’re stuck working at home or braving the traffic and pollution of the metro on a regular basis. But my recent trip to El Canonero Diving & Beach Resort in Puerto Galera reminded that there’s a lot to the Philippines I have not seen. The mesmerizing blue waters of Talipanan Beach is one of them.
We found the deal for El Canonero Resort through Metrodeal at the last quarter of 2011. Back then, my friends and I only wanted a chance to get away from our busy, work-filled lives by going to the beach and staying in a really nice room. We got more than what we expected and I, for one, was totally charmed by the resort and the beach.
About the resort
El Canonero Diving Beach Resort is run by father and son, Giorgio and Ermanno Borello. These Italians rent the place from a Filipino owner, according to our trek guide, Haidee. They target European customers primarily but keeps the resort busy with Filipino customers coming through Metrodeal.
It has at least ten rooms for guests. Each room is air-conditioned and comes with a TV, a small ref, and hot shower. I am not sure if every room has four beds but ours, Room 5, had four. One queen-sized bed, one twin bed, and a double-deck. Our room, the biggest by our discrete calculation, had a native theme going on but the floor was tiled.
El Canonero is the only resort in Talipanan Beach with a pool, which we found really useful at night when we can’t swim or trek the nearby mountain. It’s cleaned twice a day when guests are around as we had observed. Near the pool is the bar and the huts for dining guests. The in-house restaurant, Octopus, serves Filipino, American and Italian dishes to guests until 10 p.m.
Compared to the neighboring resort, Luca’s Lodge, El Canonero has more upscale feel with its beautifully-executed design. The main house, with it’s terrace and pool, reminded of a villa. I was charmed at first sight and I knew that I would have a good time during my stay.
The room we had was spacious though we cannot say the same thing for the other rooms. It was clean and the sheets they gave us were freshly laundered and matched. Each bed had two pillows, though they were not uniform in feel or texture. The Uratex mattresses were firm and don’t feel worn out with constant use and age.
Sadly, customer service is a bit disappointing. The cook, Sharon, was chatty and so was Haidee, who served as our guide to Talipanan Falls. They, however, kept “upselling” massages and tours to us, which I found a bit annoying, especially first thing in the morning. I did not hear a “Hello” or “Good morning” from any of the staff or the Borellos whom we saw numerous times during our stay. In fact, the only smile and “Good morning” I got was from a fellow guest, a Caucasian male with his wife. The hospitality I have encountered in other resorts was absent from this one.
One of staff did stood above the others. She manned the bar together with another girl. She knew how to smile and was quick to attend to our needs. Most of the time she had an earphone stuck in her ear. I didn’t really mind that.
I assumed that El Canonero was in White Beach when my friends told me that we’re going to Puerto Galera. If I did my research, then I wouldn’t be taken aback by the resort’s menu. It was a whole lot pricier than the restaurants in White Beach and a good meal would set back each person by at least P200, not including drinks. Their continental breakfast (P100) consists of two sliced breads, butter, and jam with a cup of instant coffee. Not really what you would call hearty breakfast.
But after ordering their Chili Shrimp, Sinigang na Tanigue, and Chopseuy, I can say that the prices of their dishes are reasonable. The Chili Shrimp (P300) contained four large shrimps, more like prawns, cooked in a flavorful sauce. The Sinigang na Tanigue (P250) was cooked perfectly and is good for three to four people. The Chopseuy was unlike others I have eaten before — light and fresh.
If you’re planning on engaging in any kind of online activity while at the resort, then prepare to be frustrated. WiFi is only available at the bar and even there the signal was so weak (or the connection to slow) that I can’t log-in properly to my email. The neighboring resort, Luca’s Lodge, also has WiFi but I wasn’t able to try it. We did try their freshly-made pizza and it was good!
Plus, you would not want to do any kind of work while you’re there. The place is meant for rest and relaxation and futile was my attempt to write an article on torx while there. The beach beckoned every morning while the swimming pool invited us to swim every night. Indeed, three days and two nights were not enough and I would have stayed longer if I could.
El Canonero Diving & Beach Resort is the perfect place to get away from the city for more than an overnight stay. It’s an ideal retreat for couples. It’s a place I wouldn’t mind coming back to given the chance. I just hope that they improve customer service by then.
El Canonero Diving & Beach Resort