If I had endless riches, I’d undoubtedly travel the world with my closest family and friends. That has yet to happen, so I’m going to take all the travel opportunities I get presented with at the moment.
Last week was Holy Week in the Philippines, meaning a four-day weekend was available for the majority to enjoy. People take this time to fly to other countries, visit provinces, hit the beach, or simply recharge at home. I was at Subic for a part of that long weekend and went to one of my favorite places on our last day: Anvaya Cove.
Anvaya Cove is a project of the Ayala Land Premier group. It’s located in Morong, Bataan, which is just a couple of minutes drive from Subic in Olongapo. You would have to be a member/resident or have them invite you as a guest to the place before you could go inside.
I was blown away by the sights the first time I visited this place back in 2010. I loved the beach and the pools! That’s already something, considering I’m not a big fan of swimming at all. I do enjoy lounging around in big, open spaces and this place fit the bill.
I decided not to use the pools during our most recent visit, but needless to say, they were still pretty awesome. The pools are all connected to each other and will not be more than 5 feet deep (if I remember correctly). There’s a kiddie pool with a slide at a separate area where smaller children can swim safely. All areas have lifeguards assigned to them.
Every Easter Sunday, this area also becomes a venue for different activities meant for the guests (especially those with kids). I’ve seen Easter egg hunts and live bunnies during the previous years. This year, there was also an Easter egg decorating session and a “Mermaid class”. A professional “mermaid” taught participants how to swim with a mermaid’s tail. :p
We normally have lunch at the Bamboo Café, which is near the main receiving area and has the view of the pools. Guests may order a la carte or avail of the buffet. The buffet spread is located inside the air conditioned area, but you may choose to eat your food outside.
I’ve made a list of some of the dishes we’ve tried from Bamboo Café below. You might want to give them a shot when you find yourself at Anvaya Cove for a visit. Note: I’m not the one who gets to pick the stuff we eat when we’re here, so forgive me for not knowing most of the dishes’ names.
Fish Crackers. If I remember correctly, these were complimentary. We noticed that the food don’t really get served quickly, so these helped keep the hunger at bay.
Make sure you order your food ahead before your famished, tanned and soaking wet companions arrive. :p If you don’t want to wait as long, you might want to head to the buffet area. Just make sure your clothes are already dry since they’re not allowed inside the air conditioned area.
Shrimp Pomelo Salad. I wasn’t able to sample this, but it looked pretty good. A healthy dish which consists of salad greens, chunks of pomelo and several pieces of grilled shrimp skewered on a lemongrass stalk.
Chicken Wings. The sauce coating the chicken wings wasn’t spicy like I had hoped for. It tasted more like the tangy barbecue sauce usually served with baby back ribs. These chicken wings were served with carrot, cucumber and turnip sticks and a small bowl of light garlicky dip.
For the meat-eaters out there, you may choose to order grilled porkchops. Two pieces of meat, topped with button mushrooms, spring onions and gravy, served in a sizzling plate.
I remember enjoying this kangkong (water spinach) dish, with its sweet sauce and fried garlic bits on top.
Here’s another one of those dishes which I wasn’t able to try. This piece of grilled fish fillet was served on top of bok choy and carrot sticks. I think the sauce might be the same as the one in the kangkong dish.
Tofu: one of the simplest, yet most delicious things in the world (in my opinion). It was no surprise I felt joy when I saw this placed on our table. The silky tofu was sliced and drizzled with a bit of sweet soy sauce mixture and some sesame seeds. On the side was a small mountain of chopped pineapple and mango chunks in the same sauce, which you could choose to enjoy with or without the tofu.
Salpicao. If only I still ate beef, I would have devoured this in a blink of an eye. I loved this garlicky beef dish back when I was younger and it’s still one of those dishes which make me miss those days.
With a full stomach, a short period of rest and a fresh layer of sunscreen lathered on, most of the people usually head back to the pool or the beach. Some opt to hit the showers early and then hang out at the game room or library. There are still a multitude of things one can do at this place: go try the zip-line, play table tennis, lawn tennis, or air hockey, spend some time at the spa, etc. It’s really all up to you.
I travel with a very big group and we no longer stay at Anvaya Cove overnight. We usually leave once the sun has set, grab dinner somewhere and make the 2-3 hour drive back to Manila (this depends on the traffic situation, especially if it’s a local holiday).
I love spending time at this place; I find it to be a great escape from the daily grind. As of this last visit, there were noticeably more people there, making it just a bit more crowded than before. I hope it’s just because of the long weekend; I’d love for the place to remain a sanctuary.
**Interested? Learn more about Anvaya Cove by visiting their official website here.