Monday, October 24, 2016

Anvaya Cove - Morong, Bataan

Anvaya Cove is exclusive for members only but they can endorse or accompany their guests. In our case, a unit owner of Sea Breeze Veranda which we rented through Airbnb has endorsed us. Our name has been included on the daily visitors' list at the main entrance; a security pass was issued to us upon entry. Don't lose this pass since you have to surrender it to the reception area at the Beach and Nature Club during check-in.

Beach and Nature Club

The famous wooden walkway

Regardless whether you are in day tour or you have rented your own place inside, the first place that you need to visit is the reception or receiving area of Beach and Nature Club. To enjoy its facilities, you need to pay 400 pesos per person in which 250 pesos is consumable.

The most popular area in Anvaya Cove for selfies is the wooden walkway which is just beside the receiving area.

The "credit card"

Lower your expectation about the beach front. Though it’s spacious the sands are not as white compared with other white beaches in the Philippines. The brackish sea water would disappoint any seasoned beach combers too. Anyway, it seems that beaches within Bataan and Zambales are not so blessed with pristine white beaches and crystal clear water unlike in Pagudpod, Quezon and Pangasinan to name a few.

The beach

The sunset

The beach front

Infinity pool

Nonetheless, the facilities are superb. The picturesque infinity pool is massive and perfect for night swimming, there is also lap pool for those who are in competitive mood. They have several bars and restaurants around but during peak season their Bamboo CafĂ© can easily run out of vacant table. We learned this on our first day so we trekked to Pawikan Grill for our lunch. Like any other service-oriented facilities, prepare for 10% service charge and VAT; you have been forewarned. Aside from this, expect a lengthy preparation of your meals which unfortunately won’t satisfy your inner foodie. I got a half-cooked fried chicken as dinner. The same with our complimentary breakfast; nothing especial. We have eaten better “Pinoy” breakfasts in other 3 star hotel and restaurant.

Inside the club house

Outside the club house

Pool and Bamboo Cafe

You can rent a towel for 50 pesos if I my memory serves me right. They have large shower areas for both male and female while wash/rinse areas are strategically located in some places. There are also plenty of interesting recreational facilities inside such as spa and game room but we had no time to explore them all. We opted to enjoy the sunset and had a night dip in the pool.

You don’t pay cash here; the reception staff upon check-in will furnish you a swipe card that you can use in all your payments. Settling of bills will be upon check-out, again from the reception area. Once all your bills have been settled then your security clearance form will be stamped and returned back; without this form the main entrance security won’t allow you to leave the place.

Admittedly, the place is perfect for family or group bonding. You’ll find the place enjoyable since there are no large maddening crowds like in other famous beaches. The place being secured is another contributing factor.

Anvaya Cove is situated in Morong, Bataan fronting West Philippines Sea. If you are coming from SCTEx it is preferable to pass at Olongapo City if you want to avoid the zig zag roads of Mount Samal and traffic in Balanga. You can even enjoy duty free shopping on your way back home. Total travel time from Manila is around 3 hours.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Anvaya Cove Sea Breeze Veranda (2 BR) - Morong, Bataan

Just a note to those who might be unaware: Sea Breeze Veranda is quite far from the Beach and Nature Club or from the beach itself. It will take at least 5 minutes of leisurely drive inside Anvaya Cove to reach the place though there is a shuttle bus arriving at 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM that will bring you to the Beach Club; it isn't free though. According to the security guard one-way fare is 165 pesos. In addition, the Anvaya Cove's facilities are for members only but Sea Breeze Veranda unit owners can sponsor their guests.

We booked this 2 bedroom unit for one night through Airbnb in June 2016. Our host, Lordelino was pretty quick and very accommodating regarding our inquiries. Booking was without a glitch except on our arrival. Aside from locating the correct building, I wasn’t informed that parking was at the basement while its entrance was at the back side. Fortunately, some staff showed us the way to the parking area where the contact person and a reserved slot were waiting for us.

We arrived early so we decided to proceed to the Beach Club for our lunch and returned for check-in. In case you have plenty of things with you, no worries since there is an elevator at the basement parking area.

We were five and we found the place quite spacious for all of us. The unit was fully equipped but some cabinets were locked including the walk-in closet; maybe because we were booked for one night only.

Infinity pool

Interestingly, there is small infinity pool nearby with stunning view of Bataan mountain ranges but don’t waste your time here if you’ll spend one night only, the infinity pool at the Beach club is much better especially at night time.

Inside is a huge flat screen with cable channels, wi-fi and other creature comforts you normally find in any three star hotels. You can even prepare and cook your own meals. Complimentary breakfast is served at the Beach Club. Bedding and towels are in fairly good condition.

Moreover, the whole place is secured; you won’t be able to enter without any confirmed reservation. Sure enough, the unit is ideal for family or a group with own transport otherwise it’ll be difficult to go back and forth the Beach Club. You’ll definitely enjoy your privacy and the serenity of the surrounding areas.

We preferred to come to this place through Olongapo City to avoid the zig zag roads if you are coming from Balanga City area.

The family is planning to return back next summer.

Wait for my review on Anvaya Cove.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dad's Review - Qube's 24 inch HD TV

Our first 21 inch Samsung flat screen, costs me an arm and leg many years back. I even bought it from Abu Dhabi since it was too expensive to buy it in the Philippines at that time. Okay, it was more than a decade when I bought it.

Nowadays, you can buy the same size of flat screen at less than half of its old price.

A few months ago, our first flat screen bogged down. Eventually it reached its life span, if I may say so. Actually, it was my in-laws who were using the said TV. As a good son-in-law I need to replace it ASAP so they could watch their favorite daily noon time show.

While searching for a replacement unit, I noticed on my FB timeline a super cheap HD TV from Qube.

Fortunately, there is a Qube branch in SM North EDSA. Long story short, we bought a 24 inch flat screen for 5,990 pesos. Surprisingly, for its dirt cheap price, the demo digital movie was crystal clear. More so, Qube offers one year warranty for its TV line-up and seven day unit replacement period with free delivery within Metro Manila. Quite amazing isn't it? Don't ask about the sound quality though; its produces tinny sound compared with more expensive brand. I won't go into technical specs anymore since the flat screen is connected to a digital TV Plus. Meaning, any HD TV will have clear video when watching news and daily TV shows broadcast in digital format. The unit has standard inputs such as USB and HDMI aside from free wall bracket.

Why am I doing this review after buying that flat screen six months ago? Because I wasn't expecting it to last this long. But it did and my in-laws were happy for their new TV.

And because of that, I bought last month another unit for my kids' condo; I threw my bigger and more expensive but defective TCL TV to the bin. Understandably, my music lovers cum Spotify addict kids were not happy with the sound. In Tagalog, the audio was "tunog lata" according to them and I agree. My youngest techie kid ended up hijacking my new soundbar and connected it to their TV. Now, the flock is happy with a cheap but good quality flat screen.

Qube HD TV with Sembrandt soundbar

If you plan to purchase a Qube's flat screen then I advise you to focus on the sound quality during testing since its video will be definitely clear since the sales staff would play digital demo movie.

Obviously, gone are the days of expensive flat screens. Of course, latest models still command premium price.