The ferry cruised along a channel as we steadily approached Puerto Galera Bay. The afternoon sun was radiating its warm light on a number of parked boats and yachts along the bay, making them appear golden above the cobalt sea. As the light strikes the ocean water, the surface glinted with a playful array of shimmer, dancing along the waves and ripples as our ferry drew closer into Muelle Port. It’s been more than four years since I last stepped foot on the island of Mindoro. The signs of development were everywhere — the port facilities have improved. The colors seem more vivid and alive this time around. It was much beautiful as I remembered. No wonder this bay has been awarded as one of the most beautiful in the world.
At home at the Manor
My eyes wandered across the bay to see what else has changed while I waited for my host to arrive. On my left looking towards the bay, a prominent structure caught my eye. A large mansion with light warm-yellow walls and greyish magenta roofs was standing on top of a hill. I wondered how it was like to live there and see the views from its vantage point. My host arrived shortly and we were off on the road. I asked where we were heading and he pointed into the direction of the structure I was looking at earlier. It was indeed the manor – The Manor at Puerto Galera.
It was a short 10 minutes drive up a hill from the port and I found myself in awe at the doorsteps of the manor. The entrance leads to an impressive arch that opens up to the balcony. Framed within is a stunning view of the Mindoro mountain range and the bay. The architects and designers of this Mediterranean-styled mansion sure do know their stuff. The structure stands right where one can view both the sunrise and sunset with an impressive 360 degree view of the mountain range and ocean regardless of which window or deck you look out from.
And this was just the beginning as I discovered more pleasant surprises as I went to explore the interiors of the mansion. On the upper floor is the really impressive dining and living area. Circular passageways from the living and activity areas intersect leading towards the central dining area. The choice of furniture was exquisite and the area was well-illuminated. A small gallery near the living area houses very interesting sculptures made from recycled materials. Hangings are Postmodern-style artworks.
Entering each room of the manor is another experience in itself as each room has distinct themes. The Presidential Suite on the ground floor, with its modern Asian design, boasts of four rooms in 148sqm of space. The luxurious appointments consist of a bedroom with a queen size bed, an ante room, a living room and a private office-library. To add to the mood, the Suite has an enviable sunset view.
Climbing the upper floors, I find other Asian-themed rooms such as Indonesian, Filipino and Japanese. One look is all it takes to realize that each piece of furnishing was elaborately picked, making each item more than just for mere display but rather a collection of art pieces. Regardless of theme, each room is furnished with a 37” wide screen LCD TV with 24 hour cable TV service. The rooms come with full amenities like air conditioning, refrigerators and hot water for bath and shower. At the time of my visit, internet connection was being set up.
Wandering outside the Manor
I wandered outside the mansion and found detached suites ideal for families. The Ocean House boasts of a splendid view of the bay while the lower Garden House is surrounded by a beautifully landscaped garden.
The Barkada House may be a bit distant from the mansion but does not scrimp on facilities. It has a large-screen TV in the living room, 12 single beds, eight extra beds, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a kitchen – very ideal for large groups.
The nearest beach may be 5 to 10 minutes walk away but there are a lot of activities to keep one occupied. There’s indoor billiards, an impressive infinity pool, and for those who want to work up a sweat, table and tennis courts. Now, if you prefer staying at the balcony to while away the time, the manor isn’t short of magnificent views to stare at. I myself can stay all day and just be mesmerized by the vista.
Luxury living at the heart of Mindoro
The Manor at Puerto Galera is a luxurious resort that offers the best of two worlds — it is readily accessible and yet located away from the hustle and bustle of the beach crowd. It is a sanctuary atop a hill with commanding views of the breathtaking landscape of Mindoro, an elegantly-designed and tastefully-furnished oasis at the heart of Mindoro. If you want to experience how it feels to be king of the hill, I suggest you live a manor life right here.
Text and Photographs by Ferdinand Decena*
(Originally published at Your Asia Travel Guide)
For Inquiries and Bookings please contact Mr Jonet Marcelo at his mobile at +639228750037 or +639178929718 and email jmarcelo_tosca @ yahoo.com. Don’t forget to mention Ferdz or Ironwulf.net to get the best rates.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.