Hof Gorei Beach Resort, the name of the place we're heading to which I mentioned in a previous blog, is a beach resort in the "island garden city of Samal". Like us, you might be wondering what's with the name. Explained in their website, it is actually a name of a "picturesque, small dairy farm in the Alps of Salzburg, Austria". This will be our jump point in Samal island to see the natural beauty of the island and the surrounding waters.
Jojo and I were waiting aboard M/L Hof Gorei - 5, a passenger vessel then docked in Sta. Ana pier that transports commuters between Davao City and Kaputian, Samal City, when a smaller boat, the M/L Hof Gorei - 3 arrived and "docked" itself at the tail end of the vessel we were in. Transferring boats was easy for us because the head end of the smaller boat is flat, which makes it accessible for us to walk into.
a boat docked Sta. Ana pier that bears the logo of Philippine Airlines
Off we went for a supposedly 50-60 minutes boat ride to the resort. Sun is shining but it was a windy day and we were riding against the wavy waters of Davao Gulf.
Halfway through the journey, we saw a number of peculiar-looking boats that I think is more like a mutated spider transformed into a boat. I never had a chance to clear with a local what exactly they are for but I guess it's safe to say they are for fishing.
Somewhere, as we approach near the resort, we saw this islet
boatmens, heading near Pearl Farm Beach Resort
After a bit more than one and a half hour (which really seemed like just an hour because we are entertained by the view on the way), we were drawing nearer to Hof Gorei and in no time we were already there.
Two personnel were waiting for us, the one on the left is waiting for the boat for him to tie it up with the jetty and the other guy, Joel, who took care of our needs during our stay, is holding our welcome drinks - a freshly squeezed watermelon drink!
The jetty looks beautiful but it was rather a long walk of floating wood in the water. For some, it might be scary but I'm sure it's pretty safe.
me and the welcome drink
As we enter the resort, I begin to look around and see what's the concept or motif of the whole place. Although it wasn't so clear to me, my take is that the resort is designed to be laid-back and local style like in a farm, back to the basics with the trees, animals running around everywhere and nipa hut accomodations.
Originally, we are booked for the green beachfront bungalow but the unit had a problem with its airconditioning system. For this stay, we were housed in the bungalow next to it which is colored yellow.
Lo and behold! Behind the seemingly seem life in the resort outside, a luxurious accomodation is waiting for you inside! The yellow beach front bungalow is an airconditioned unit with a queen-sized bed, sofa sala set, personal refrigerator, television and other amenities. The toilet room is even separate from the bathroom! No intercom, phones or high-tech communication devices to interact with the staff - instead we were given a hand bell that we ring when we need something and a staff will come in seconds time.
The balcony/veranda of the bungalow gives you a good view of the gulf and surrounding greens. It was perfect timing because it was almost sunset time.
After settling in, I went out of the room to take photos of the surrounding place. There are lots of plants in the resort, all sorts from flowers to bushes to fruit-bearing trees.
view of the yellow beach front bungalow from afar
There are also a number of animals in the resort (or is it a farm?). Geese, ducks, chickens and birds chirping and flopping their wings that adds up to the relaxing ambient sound of nature.
There are also 3 fish ponds where they culture fishes for serving.
Instead of ordering dinner and having it served in the room like most guests do, we opted to have it served at the Gorei restaurant, located in the guest house atop the nearby hill.
Bistek filipino and tinolang manok was waiting for us when we arrived at the restaurant. There were no other guests and the setup was ready. The food was pre-ordered so we readily enjoyed it while it's hot.
view from the restaurant
Early next day, we ordered our food from the room but we opted to have it served in the stone hut, an elevated hut with a good view of the area.
our breakfast setup
my breakfast - corned beef with 2 sunny side up eggs, served with rice and vegetable sidings
While having breakfast at the stone hut, we were amazed by the serene view and the relaxing experience we're having.
Because we are elevated, we can see more birds on the trees. Not sure what they are called though.
We are scheduled for some island activities later that morning and since I still had time after breakfast, I explored more of the resort and walked up further this time over the hill.
hillside roundhut accomodation
Viewing from above, I realized that this the resort is bigger than what I expected. I thought it was smaller because the kind of service we get is as if you're the only guest in the resort.
I had a good time in the resort. Warm and friendly people, starting from the Madam April, the managing director, to the accomodating staff and attentive waiters. The whole experience is very personal and at home and I will never think twice to come back here whenever I got the chance.
Up next... island hopping experience!