When we arrived at Pico de Loro the day before, grey skies and a lingering afternoon drizzle almost placed a scheduled tour of the coastline in jeopardy. But not today. The morning greeted us with a magnificent blue sky, and it was time to explore the private coves along Hamilo Coast.
The Pico de Loro Beach Club is the jump-off point to the thirteen scenic coves of Hamilo Coast. The property forms part of the famous global Coral Triangle, within the Verde Island Passage. The Coral Triangle encompasses the islands and waters of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste. In the Philippines, the Verde Island Passage is one of the most significant links in the global ecosystem of the the Coral Triangle, a known center for marine biodiversity. And Pico de Loro puts you right in the center of it all (for more on Pico de Loro, check out my previous post here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2014/03/escape-to-pico-de-loro.html).
The preserved marine sanctuaries and reef ecosystems provide some of the best snorkeling, and soon, scuba diving, adventures. As Pico de Loro's speedboat takes us through the coastline, one can't help but be amazed at the enormous size of the property.
Along the way, one gets to see some of the coast's unusual natural rock formations, like Elephant Island (see the "trunk" sloping down on the left side?)...
...and Turtle Island, offering some cool snorkeling and dive spots to complete your adventure.
Dramatic cut-throughs formed by years of erosion from wind and surf dot the coastline, and at low tide, and with a little luck, Pico de Loro's speedboat could easily navigate through the natural formations.
On the next bend, we finally arrived at Santelmo Cove, one of the jewels along Hamilo Coast, and one of Pico de Loro's private beaches. Santelmo Cove's white sand is as pure as powder, a perfect sanctuary to complete your escape. Protected by the cove, the waters are calm and the surf gentle, an ideal spot for leisurely swim or a family picnic.
As you walk up the powdery white sands of Santelmo Cove, you will find small circular fences protecting sea turtle nests from natural predators. As part of Pico de Loro's coastal resource management, sea turtles are protected in the sanctuary with an established marine turtle conservation program. Other environmental programs include regular clam seeding, and Hamilo Coast has already seeded more than 175 giant clams at Pico de Loro and Santelmo Cove, all thriving and contributing to the rich ecosystem. Pico de Loro regularly organizes an Annual Coastal Clean-Up involving the community, a yearly mangrove reforestation activity as well as provide support to Bantay Dagat.
Santelmo Cove is the perfect place to get lost and away from it all, and just the place for that cold beer. Seems I'm not the only one enjoying a cold beer at the beach...
Santelmo Cove has tables and cushions to make your stay at the beach comfortable and enjoyable, and Pico de loro can arrange tours via speedboat inclusive of lunch and drinks. With my packed lunch from Pico de Loro, and another cold beer, things just can't get any better than that.
Take a walk along the beach, and for a day, the beach is all yours. All yours.
Heading back, one can see the twin peaks of Mt. Pico on the top left, resembling a parrot's open beak pointing upward, inspiring the name Pico de Loro. And as we returned to Pico de Loro Beach Club, plans of a second visit to Santelmo Cove loomed in my head. Soon...
With all the comforts and amenities of a modern resort, and the natural attractions at Hamilo Coast, your perfect escape from the city is closer than you think.
For more information on Pico de Loro, visit http://www.picodelorocove.com/.
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