Though it would seem that we went on an expensive trip, if we will only base on the published rates, our recent trip to Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa, was not as exorbitant as it appeared to be.

One of our friends disliked air travel so we opted for land and sea travel.

We left Manila Thursday, at ten in the evening and had two stop overs: first at the the Shell station in the SLEX to meet with the two other families going on the trip with us; and second, at the Villa Escudero McDonalds in Tiaong, Quezon for a late dinner and early breakfast rolled into one.

We hitched a ride with a couple friend to the Dalahican port in Lucena City, where we left the cars in the parking lot and boarded the ro-ro to Balanacan port in Mogpog, Marinduque.

Waiting for the ro-ro, in Dalahican port. Photo by H

Sunrise over the Philippine Sea, crossing Tayabas Bay, photo by H

Arriving at Balanacan Port, Mogpog, Marinduque. Photo by H

The Montenegro Shipping Lines ro-ro left Dalahican port at 4am (fare: P260) and arrived at 6:30am on the other side. We boarded a jeepney going to the airport where our resort pick up awaited. Jeepney fare was P80/pax for an hour ride.

When we got to the airport, resort staff waited for us with a bottle of mineral water and refreshing cold towels. We boarded the resort van while the staff boarded our luggage in a separate jeepney especially designated for luggage. The van ride from the airport to the resort port took nearly an hour.

To give one an idea of the trip, here is a map of the island:

Though I was very, very sleepy, the highlight of my trip occurred on this van ride from Gasan to Buenavista. While we were speeding on the seaside roads, I saw that the fields were covered and fully dotted in bright pink – cadena de amor was all over. I found that very beautiful in its simplicity. It is what I look back to every time I think about that trip – the sight of cadena de amor-covered fields.

At the resort port, life jackets, speed boats and towels awaited us. The towels are handy for preventing getting wet on the speed boat ride.

View of the resort from the port on the mainland, photo by H.

Speed boats. Photo by Angku.

Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa, photo by Ruth Rivera-Manalo

It was a brief crossing and we arrived on the island shortly, greeted by a song from the staff and and the general manager himself. Garlands of calachuchi-bougainvillea-ipil were also hung around our necks. It was very sunny and the wind whipped my hair about.

Welcoming, Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa staff, photo by H

The resort speed boats, at the Welcome Pavilion. Photo by H

The Welcome Pavilion, view from the Aqua Sports Center. Photo by Angku

Onboard golf carts, we we’re brought to the main building, where welcome drinks, refreshing cold towels, register cards and the staff awaited us for a mini-orientation.

The mode of transportation in the island, photo by Ruth Rivera-Manalo

These golf cart rides provided excellent opportunities for taking photos. I just made sure we were always seated at the back for an unobstructed view. Here are some examples of photos taken during these rides:

The 40degree incline going up to the main buildings. Photo by Angku.

One of the villas. Photo by Angku.

Our hotel suite had its own balcony with a view of the sea and Mt. Malindig. A balcony that I enjoyed to its full potential, along with the free coffee and tea.

Hotel Suite. Photo by H.

Mt. Malindig, viewed from our next door neighbor's balcony. Photo by Ruth Rivera-Manalo.

The best part of a tiring morning is having coffee whilst enjoying the view.

Coffee time. Photo by Angku on a camera phone.

Coffee time. Photo by H

In fact, I was so tired that after having a bit of a long lunch that amounted to more than P2,000, we dropped by the library and borrowed the complete Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and three books. It was going to be an afternoon of reading and re-watching movies that I liked.

I emerged from the room just in time for dinner. We were warned that the food, though expensive, wouldn’t be as good as we all hope to be, (the actual words were “the food sucks”) but the buffet dinner did not really disappoint. Sure, it wasn’t as good as buffet in Lagen or Miniloc, but at least it wasn’t as bad as that of Pearl Farm.

We spent the better part of the night just hanging out in the balcony until we all said our good nights.

Couples night. Photo by Cheska, using her mom Myla's phone.