Pico de Loro: Unexpectedly SM
When someone mentions about Pico De Loro, I can't help but think SM. I know it seems very racist, but I couldn't help downgrade my expectations of a place when it has the brand SM to it. And I am ashamed, since I just can't give them the benefit of the doubt. So when we arrived at Pico Sands, the only hotel in Pico de Loro, a seaside development by SM, I naturally gave a half smile.
Well, first of, we arrived at night. The trip took almost three hours from Manila to the edge of Nasugbu. I thought the trip would take shorter, but the winding roads proved to be a challenge.
Our rooms were decent. Again, I am resisting to say great things, since this was an SM property. All I can think of is cheap materials. And some details were evidently cheap looking, since the wooden fixtures and even the quality of furniture. Nevertheless, it was decent and for the average person, almost luxury as well.
Though my standards were kept low, I was happy to see bits and pieces of design throughout the property. Like this wall art. It was surprising to see quirky elements in this rather bland structure. This gave the place a whole lot of character.
So we managed to sleep through the night comfortably. For me, any hotel would be five stars as long as I can sleep well. And I was able to. That is the measure of a great hotel for me. As soon as I pulled away the curtains, another sense of greatness made my jaw drop.
The view. Set between a backdrop of a bald Pico hill and a calm pristine lake, these uninspiring condominiums suddenly transformed into something wonderful. It was a peaceful view, even though the sea was out of sight.
I took several pictures of this view in paranoramic mode. I just couldn't stop snapping away from the balcony of our hotel room. With this sudden holy of excitement, we rushed downstairs for breakfast. The lobby seemed to have risen to life with all the natural light coming in. The greens from the gardens outdoors seemed to want to come inside.
I stepped out into the patio and felt a cool breeze coming from the hills behind. I insisted we had our breakfast al fresco, but the tables were already full. There was a feeling of Baguio in this setting. I almost forgot the sea was just a golf cart ride away.
I gazed at the lake which was confirmed to be man made. Well, I didn't know if it was an environmental issue or just an aesthetic move by SM to put up that lake. Nevertheless, it became the landmark of Pico de Loro, the center lake where everything else revolved around in.
So after a normal tasting breakfast, I explored the rest of the resort. There were several lobbies and dining areas in entire complex. There were huge ballrooms as well, making it a perfect events place for both weddings and corporate affairs (that is what I was here for).
But of course, I couldn't be more excited about its beach club. I hopped on a golf cart and soon enough, I was seeing more blue.
I must say, the pool in the beach club was amazing, and the cove - absolutely beautiful. I was amazed with the natural landscape of this place. The beach was fine, though the waters looked murky. It was hard to believe that this was just near Manila. It felt secluded and exclusive. And yes, I am still talking about an SM property.
I may have had doubts about Pico, but after my first visit, I found myself wanting to go back time and time again. Although I would rather visit the place on a weekday since I am allergic to "city people escaping to a club like complex". The cove gets a lot of noisy balikbayans and their families on weekends.
So, my take? Pico passes and for all the right reasons. I am happy that it is an SM property, but I do hope and pray that they maintain the beauty of the place for years to come.
Pico de Loro Cove, Hamilo Coast, Barangay Papaya, Batangas City
+632 214 7800
Over-all Experience: 3.5
IE Score: 3.42 (Good)