Petra | Jordan. A rose-red city half as old as time
San Vicente | Palawan. Counting solitary strides.
Taj Mahal | India. A teardrop on the cheek of time
Catanduanes Island. Postcard-pretty slideshow.
Keep Kalm (at Kalanggaman Island | Leyte).
Nikko | Japan. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil in this UNESCO heritage town.
Counting temples in Bagan | Myanmar.
Chasing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.
Where to Stay? | Luxury, Backpacking & Glamping
Inaul Festival | Maguindanao. In homage of a weaving tradition
Rishikesh | India. a morning walk inside the Beatle's Ashram
Cairo | Egypt. a surreal moment at the great pyramids of giza

A “Break Free” Escape to Remember at Pico Sands Hotel | Hamilo Coast, Batangas

 

As a travel writer, I was fortunate to be able to break free from the clamps of the pandemic earlier than most people. I do remember my first trip since the lockdown, after six months following the government’s “stay at home” order, when I almost leapt for joy at finally smelling the fresh scent of nature. Unfortunately, many us are still reeling from the global pandemic and might have shelved their travel plans on the side for the longest time.


Levy Amosin and Sophie Gianan

Well, time to dust off that backpack or luggage of yours and set out on even a brief discharge from the monotonous everyday hustle and bristle. Reward all your hard work with a vacation to remember courtesy of Pico Sands Hotel’s “Break Free” holiday package.


Unboxing the “Break Free” Experience


Together with three other travel writer friends Anne, Karla and Tina, we experienced the 3 days and 2 nights "Break Free" itinerary curated by Pico Sands Hotel. Taking advantage of the magnificent set of nature that surrounds the Hamilo Coast area in Batangas, we beach-bummed, sunset cruised, and fancy dined our way for a much-needed nature break.


Camille Briones

After dropping our things inside our respective Lagoon View Rooms — which comes spaciously furnished with modern amenities — we kickstarted our "Break Free" escape with a seaside lunch followed by a soothing dip and swim at one of Pico Sand's swimming pools.


Anne Gumiran


Sunset Cruising with Wine on a Yacht


During the afternoon, Pico Sands' experienced skipper Kuya Jojo helped us board a small yacht together with Celine Arenillo, the lovely Marketing Manager of Pico Sands for a sunset cruise around Hamilo Coast.


Anne Gumiran and Karla Ramos

For almost an hour and a half, we sailed pass the other must-see nature gems in the vicinity such as the Bat Cave, Turtle Island, the three coves: Itayo, Elephant and Subli, and the Broken Island.


Anne Gumiran

Sharing laughter over conversations about various topics, we topped off the fun afternoon with a toast of wine and some delectable food items served on a charcuterie plate.


Anne Gumiran


Wellness at Rain and a Charming Grub Under the Stars


A relaxing tissue-penetrating hard massage at Pico Sands' Rain Spa is also included in the curated "Break Free" itinerary. I booked a 7pm massage session timing it just before dinner.


Celine Arenillo

After shredding off excess fat at the sauna room for 15-minutes, I lay down on the massage table where one of Rain's experienced masseuse Maricel calmingly almost lulled me to sleep with her piercing hands performing a combination of Swedish and Shiatsu massage.


Marky Ramone Go

Topping off our earlier seaside lunch was a dome set-up dinner under the stars. Located a stone’s throw away from the beach, the comforting sounds of the waves made the ambiance lovelier. Illuminated brightly against the darkness of the night, our dome glistens charmingly against the starlit skies.


Koryn Iledan and Sophie Gianan

As romantic as the set-up was, the four-course dinner served to us elevated the atmosphere to a ‘spectacular now’ kind of moment.


Milet Miranda

For those wondering, here’s the four-course menu: grilled marinated shrimp in Mango salsa, New England sweet corn chowder with mussels, Baked Mahi Mahi fillet with coconut crust, Mashed potato, sautéed bokchoy and shitake mushroom, plus a dessert of White chocolate cheese cake with Pineapple compote.


Picnic at Santelmo Cove — a Pico Sands exclusive


After starting our second day with a light outdoor breakfast, we headed straightaway to Santelmo Cove following a brief 20-minute boat ride.


Sara abdollahi

A protected marine sanctuary, Santelmo Cove is only accessible to guests of Pico Sands Hotel as it is a private beach owned by the property.


Mujee Gonzales and Christian Sangoyo

The sands here are finer and lighter compared to the beach in front of Pico Sands. While waiting for our lunch, we made a short trek to the viewing deck that gifted us a jaw-dropping view of the waters enveloping the whole of Hamilo Coast.


Marky Ramone Go, Anne Gumiran, Karla Ramos and Tina Punzal

Since the area is also a diving spot, Karla, myself and Tina went snorkeling while Anne free dived with our boatman Kuya Jojo. She saw a school of jackfish, mackerel and even a baby shark.


Anne Gumiran

This was my favorite part of the “Break Free” package because for half a day, I got to finally enjoy an “internet signal-less” time with mother nature, just digging my toes in the sands or hele-ing myself to sleep on one of the hammocks under a coconut tree.


Marky Ramone Go and Karla Ramos

More Fancy Dining and Enjoying Pico Sands’ other Amenities


We spent the rest of our second day exploring the other amenities of Pico Sands which includes a few indoor sports venues like a bowling alley, billiard pools, darts, and other cozy nooks where one can just relax and summon a Zen mode.


Celine Arenillo and Marky Ramone Go

During the night, we had dinner at another venue. This time on a spot called the “Spanish Steps”, where we had paella and other mouth watering Spanish dishes.


5-Mile  ̶j̶o̶g̶  walk to Marina Bay


Culminating our “Break Free” escape was a supposed to be jog to Marina Bay. However, since we want to savor the outdoor more, we opted to take a leisurely walk towards Marina Bay encompassing a picturesque nature trail located inside Pico Sands and the Hamilo Coast property.


Marky Ramone Go, Anne Gumiran, Karla Ramos and Tina Punzal

We passed by the chapel where weddings are also held, a field of blooming bougainvillea flowers, a viewing deck made from twigs and a long stretch of striking scenery.


Karla Ramos, Audrey Trinidad

We returned from our morning stroll to a hearty breakfast set-up by the lagoon. A smorgasbord of Filipino, American and Asian breakfast fares plated "Instagrammably" was served to refuel us. 


Tina Punzal

Nourished once again by great food, it was a fitting bookend to a wonderful 3-days of milking the most of the wonderful nature that Hamilo Coast can offer. 


Cynthia Diaz

Coupled with the top-notch service and fine accommodation of Pico Sands Hotel, it is an escape trip I would recommend to everyone.


Marky Ramone Go

Pico Sands Hotel’s Break Free Package: