Re-Discoveries; Rock Garden Resort

A lot of resort-properties open as works-in-progress and end up either becoming better, or worse, ruining what was initially a good thing. Rock Garden Resort in Brgy. Arnedo, Bolinao started out with a modest array of diversions for the harried weekender; billiards for the Bata Reyes wannabe, a karaoke machine in an acoustically correct gazebo for the vocally inspired, and even a menagerie of birds for animal lovers- enough we believe to overlook the fact that Arnedo Beach lacks a suitable shoreline. There's Patar White Beach anyhow, which is a good 15 minutes away on roads that would soon be completely paved.

Rock Garden's spacious Php 1,200 air-conditioned rooms can accommodate up to a family of 5 (with a comfy mattress-bed thrown in as an extra). Its Php 600 a night cottage which can similarly accommodate a group of 5 people is equally comfortable sans air-conditioning because you have the entire South China sea roaring in front of you with breezes the whole day.

There's a restaurant but since the resort is actually a good 2 kilometers from the main road, the lack of walk-in customers dictate that it be open only on days when there's substantial occupancy. Drinks are available, but food has to be ordered out and for this, Yummy Teasers restaurant (see review) provides the service for a small fee. This is the only drawback to being the only overnight guests in the resort. If you don't like fastfood, you would have to make advance arrangements for someone to cook seafood you've just bought at the market and even then, there's no guarantee that a cook would always be available. Should you like to see the night life (see review), you would again have to make arrangements with management because the caretaker might either be away on an errand or sleeping soundly and no one would open the gate for you.

Our advice is, bring extra food and water. If you're doing an all-nighter over beer or liquor, it's always a good idea to stock ice in an inexpensive Styrofoam cooler, as well as the requisite pulutan, extra glasses, water and even five-peso coins for the videoke machine- the staff sleep notoriously early. Should there be another group of guests in the resort who are not up to providing you stiff vocal competition, it's always considerate and a sign of good manners to end your Tom Jones sing-a-thon at around 9:30 PM (you're supposed to be on holiday anyway so you could always start your singing and drinking spree right after lunch, para di bitin).

Like we've said, most resorts are works-in-progress and Rock Garden is almost nicely complete, adding what could be the final feather in its cap, a swimming pool. Small, yes, but a pool nonetheless for those who find the scent of chlorine like a welcome whiff of civilization. There are some new additions in the aviary and further landscaping has been done tastefully- no fake grottoes, simulated concrete logs. What we find remarkable is the incredible profusion of plants- bougainvilleas of every possible color fill each nook and cranny of the resort, giving it an ambiance of perpetually languid summers.

For reservations and inquiries, call them up at 075-5542876 or at cellphone # 09204139272.

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