Time decides who we meet in life but we get to choose who stays.
And where to stay. Even for just a while.
There’s another compelling reason to visit the coastal town of Lobo, Batangas – the rustic and charming Punta Verde Dive Resort. A sprawling family rest house converted into a resort, Punta Verde is owned by a prominent family of lawyers – Atty. Nick and Linda Jimeno, who mutually share a love for nature, especially the sea. One of their children is Atty. Karen Jimeno-McBride, one of the hosts of CNN Philippines.
The resort is located on the farthest side of Lobo. It was an impulsive out-of-town trip, so I wasn’t able to coordinate transportation with the resort. Commuting is possible, may be fun but could take forever. From the town proper of Lobo, it’s another half-hour ride going to the resort with only two public jeepneys plying the route in a day. Because the road condition is a bitch, tricycle drivers usually charge P600-700 per trip. So I think the best option would still be to avail the resort’s habal-habal or jeepney transfer, which only costs P150 per head. But despite the inconvenience I endured commuting, I can say it was all worth it once I was dropped on the doorstep of the resort, and welcomed by the friendly staff.
Punta Verde is quite romantic, occupying a beachfront, ridge, and hilly area. A hanging bridge connects some of the accommodations to the main registration and pool area. The owners’ wit and sense of humor are also evident thru the various amusing decorative signs that could be found all over the resort. One of which is “On this site in 1881, nothing happened”, implying that nobody got devirginized or slain in the area more than a century ago.
The lodges, villas and huts of the resort, made from native materials, stones and corals, and equipped with modern amenities, are a showcase of Filipino-Spanish-inspired architecture. There are no TV and wifi installed in all the rooms to encourage guests to be one with nature. The Lakanipao Lodge (named after the four Jimeno siblings Laarni, Karen, Nikki and Pao), which sits on a cliff overlooking the sea, is good for big groups or families. The remaining villas and huts (named after Philippine trees and flowers such as Balayong, Mulawin, Ligasong, Narra, Ilang-ilang, and Sampaguita) are either good for barkadas and couples.
The main dining pavilion doesn’t only offer good Filipino food but also serves as a showroom of some of the cool collection of the owners like the vintage Carlisle and Finch Searchlight from the WWII US Navy Patrol Torpedo Boat, and the 12 Toa Bolt Diving Helmet. I also found another two funny decorative signs – “Sorry we have no WIFI, talk to each other, pretend it’s 1995” and “Don’t worry, our staff is accustomed to dumb questions”.
Fronting the pavilion is a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the Verde Island Passage. The calm blue-green pool water provides a good contrast to the deep dark blue sea. Since there are only a few guests, I got to have the pool all to myself one morning.
The owners also built a small museum featuring old Philippine postcards and photographs, as well as military bayonets.
The beach is accessible from the pool area via 136 paved stone steps, passing by scenic views of the sea perfectly framed by trees, and finally the beach pavilion.
The beach area is pebbled and the waters are crystal clear, especially during high tide. There are amazing rock formations and a narrow pool lagoon, good for swimming. The place really looks enchanting.
The resort looks equally stunning at night as it is in broad daylight.
And the wind more soothing, as if whispering … “The past can't break you anymore, not unless you let it.”
Punta Verde Dive Resort
Balibago, Lobo, Batangas
Tel. Nos.: 509-1039, 0906-5293614