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“2013 Update on Bluecove - Still Good but No Longer My Favourite”

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Blue Cove Island Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Port Barton
Reviewed August 3, 2013

Hi I first wrote a review on Bluecove on this site in Jan 12 titled “My Favourite Island Resort - Simple, Elegant and Beautiful” and feel I should update this. I have been back to Bluecove twice just for day trips since Jan 12 and stayed for 4 nights on one other occasion. During the 18 months there have been a few changes both good and bad.
The Good.
There is now extra accommodation (2/3 cabins) that are well placed and still maintain privacy.
The generator is quieter than before and the plumbing is in better condition.
They have a new bigger faster banca (boat).
The road to San Vicente is almost finished with only about 15km of dirt remaining (Yes it is still the best way to get to bluecove and you still need a chiropractor if you must go via Port Barton. Any of the shuttle services to San Vic are fine... UV has the best vans while the guys working on Cathy's Vans are the best fun).
The natural beauty of the place largely remains
There are more accommodation and food options in San Vic if you arrive late and wish to spend a cheaper nights accommodation on the mainland before getting on the banca to Bluecove the following day.
There are still no sandflies at all at Bluecove.
There is NO pool....the four stars are for the ocean cove.

The Bad
Mike and Melody are gone and a guy who lives in Manila has leased the resort. So the vibe of the place is less personal.
Meals are still fine but are smaller than before and much slower to arrive.
The turtle sanctuary has disappeared.
The marine lease is not being protected as well as before and the fish numbers at the front of the resort have reduced dramatically (although it is still a great place for snorkelling and there are still plenty of fish)
Service standards have declined
Prices have increased (most rooms have gone up by about 300 peso - $US 7 a night).

Summary
Bluecove is in a state of transition at the moment and it remains to be seen how it will all work out. It's still a lovely place but not as special as before. There is increasing optimism and tourist development in the San Vicente municipal area with new options for tourists being planned and built as we speak. It is likely that Bluecove will have much more competition over the next few years...so look out for other island alternatives in the area (especially on the blessed and stunning Boayan Island which you can see from Bluecove) and for the beach lovers....definitely check out Long Beach near San Vic if you are there between November and April, no coral but 14km of white sand and coconuts!

Room Tip: All rooms are in good order but rooms furtherest away from the cooking area are quietest.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled on business
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3  Thank GrantBoayan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 2, 2013

Absolutely wonderful place but not yet completely taken back from nature. think "the beach" really a place for serious travellers who are more for the quiet rustic experience rather than creature comforts. Very quiet, relaxing great beach and snorkelling. We stayed in the waterfront cottage so we also enjoyed the bonus of waves crashing beneath us as we sleep.

As Albaguen island is 30 minutes away from the mainland with no regular power, the place runs on a generator that's turned on 8 hours (9AM-12NN and 6PM-10PM) a day, which you can extend at P100/hour. Everything you want has to be brought in by boat so make sure you request for things early and expect to have a "diesel mark up". understandable as each plate of tomatoes you ask for came more than 10Km away.

It's not a luxury resort and the people are more grounds keepers rather than hospitality staff but they will try to accommodate as best they can (or know how). We wanted to celebrate with a roast pig and they brought in a live one the next morning. Killed and prepared it themselves superbly! :)

Feel free to imagine this place as your own summer place and it will feel that way sometimes because you will rarely encounter the staff unless you call for them.

Make sure to bring insect repellant because the place is in a clearing just at the fringe of the jungle. Expect wildlife of the creepy crawly kind. the cottages are huts made from local materials so they're as simple as can be (no hot water or air conditioning). Looks like the owner reads the comments/concerns of previous visitors so they installed canopies to catch the bits and pieces of the thatch roof that tend to fall on the beds.

Overall had a great quiet time, and the food was good (be sure to try the fish fillet). Just had to manage our expectations before we came. If i have one complaint, i just wish they had nicer beds and screens on the cottages (beneath the floorboards too).

Room Tip: presidential room is great and close to the main facilities but if you want to be closer to nature...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank stitch81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2013

In my last visit to this island paradise, I said I would recomend tis resort to friends and relatives. The opportunity arose to celebrate a special occasion so I brought this July the whole family and relatives to Blue Cove, comprising of 12 adults and a 3 year old grand daughter. For 9 family members, this is their first visit to this resort and they love it.

On the day we arrived a Belgian couple, Peter with their 12 year old son were checking out. This was their second return visit to Blue Cove so we were fortunate to have the resort all to ourselves so we occupied seven cottages including the much requested honeymoon cottage by the sea.

By the way seeing the family members enjoy themselves so much by hiking, boat paddling, fishing and snorkeling this resort would be an ideal venue for family affairs such as island wedding or birthday celebrations including one-of-a kind corporate meetings or weekend company team building activities inspite of the long land travel and boat ride from San Vicente. The road leading to Port Barton is close for repairs and one has to travel to San Vicente which is an addition of one hour land travel. The good news for Sunday church goers, there is a Catholic priest now assigned to Port Barton and mass start at 4 PM in the afternoon.

Services have definitely improved and more consistent. This early they have started to hire and train new staff in anticipation of the arrival of new and returning guest for the high season starting October. I am told that the fish cage project which is an offshore attraction will be finished by then.

I would like to thank Sam one of the Blue Cove owners, Joseph a former manager and Angel the current resort manager and the staff for making our family celebration and vacation very memorable. Guys keep up the good work.

We did something new during this visit: island hopping. We visited a nice resort Coconut Garden Resort, a 20 minute boat ride from Blue Cove.

Room Tip: The honeymoon cottage by the sea occupied by my son, his wife and daughter is tops
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank RolandoB219
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

I had a wonderful time in this place; which made me to appreciate the Natural Nature of this Island Resort compare to the other place's i've been,.
I don't normally write kinda a good comments based on what i've experience and share to the other traveller 'how so great it is' But this place is a Spectacular and this is how amaze me by living a good comments and share my unforgettable experience.

Definitely going to recommend this Paradise Island of Blue Cove Resort to anyone who's looking for a good accommodation/good location to stay; With only 25 minutes ride by boat from the mainland of Port barton and Enjoy the quiet piece of mind that you cannot find it anywhere except here, Relax the lovely white beach with no sandflies at all on there Island Resort.

The Crystal Clear Water which protected by this Resort is a good opportunity and incredible to go for snorkelling 'i really had a great time watching the little fish while i'm doing snorkelling'
If you guys are adventures or a Mountain Climber I would love to recommend you to go and explor the Lookout Tower of Blue Cove which surprise me and gave me a Panorama of the valley 'the sweeping view of an gorgeous island is absolutely amazing.
After all the climbing i feel so so hungry! 'the new manager recommend me to try their fish fillet and it was so good, the next day i tried their fried fish cook with coconut and it was so good as well.
If you guys wants to order some food is best make an order in advance and they also have a Free Wi Fi connection for the guest that you can use while you are waiting for your food to be served.
The service i'd experience here was good enough a friendly staff and a nice company with the new Manager bring me in the perfect conversation.



Believe me you don't wanna live when you appreciate and enjoy the atmosphere of this Paradise Island of Blue Cove Resort.




Definitely coming back here for another taste of freedom.

2  Thank Fawn B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2013

Despite reading some of the negative reviews before we booked Blue Cove, we had a good feeling about this place and what it had to offer us. We knew it was simplistic and going to be rustic, but this was just what we were looking for and we weren't disappointed.
The food was good, especially if you take into consideration they are isolated on the island and rely on supplies from the mainland.
The staff were excellent and from what we could make out, some of them had only just started at the resort and brought with them a fresh & happy to help attitude. Sam one of the owners, Joseph the Manager and Angel all went out of their way to ensure we had everything we needed. I love my white wine and although they didn't have any in supply when I first arrived, they had it brought across the next day for me. If you have any dietary requirements or certain drinks you like, just email Sam before your arrival and I am sure he would arrange for you.
We stayed in the over water bungalow, which was private, peaceful and totally relaxing. No hot water, but you don't really need it. Generator power only comes on at certain times ... but you just work around it and to me it was just a reminder of how much we take for granted back home. Yes there are bugs, but being from Australia we are used to creepy crawlies so they didn't really phase us.
Wi-Fi access was good, except during bad weather, but that didn't bother us as we weren't there to sit on the net.
The snorkeling was great, they have set up a fish reserve in the cove, which is obviously a good hide-out for big and little fish alike.
We were up very early one morning and saw dolphins swimming past about 100 metres from out bungalow deck. If I hadn't already dressed and packed up I would have swum out to them!
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our say and have recommended to other friends who are traveling to these parts.

Room Tip: Over water bungalow was peaceful and private.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Diddles43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2013

We stayed here in January 2013. Can't complain about the location and the quiet atmosphere but that is about it. However...and putting besides our foreign exchange purchasing power and our combined Swiss/Australian standards.

The food quality is mediocre and over priced when compared to the quality. For the most part, the seafood is not really fresh (more processed quality that comes out from a box) and the quality comes with a high variance. It is either ok, so-so or bad. I think they can really play with more native food variety on the menu.

The rooms are basic and rustic. As long as you are away from the generator. The noise is just terrible, particularly in the evening or if you are very close to it. Bring ear plugs and make sure your mosquito nets are free of holes and tears. Have extra batteries handy for your flash light or torch during the evenings. In addition, bring excess water from the mainland if you can. It is certainly much cheaper.

The service was fine but in saying that, I do share the same cultural heritage and took that advantage. However, they could certainly raise the bar. As for management, they really need to look at turning this place around. That young guy we met on our horrifying trip in, apparently the "manager" during our visit, is not fit for the job.

The inbound travel to the resort is terrible. On bad weather conditions, forget about it. Too dangerous and believe me. If you are deciding to use their shuttle services, make sure you ask for a clean and functional vehicle because ours wasn't. For a hefty price that we paid, we certainly deserved more. Don't forget to ask for ear protection if you are doing excursions. The boat noise is unbearable and particularly for kids.

The beach. Not much to really say about it. It is very rocky and you can't really swim.

Overall, the stay was disappointing. If they could work on their product and service offerings (including service levels), maybe it could slightly improve things. Until then, there are better places around for similar value.

Room Tip: As far away as possible from the generator.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank heilouie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2013

Blue Cove was one of the most enjoyable and relaxing parts of my trip to the Philippines. To preface, I wouldn’t highly recommend Blue Cove if you are seeking a spacious, Western-style resort. If simplicity isn’t your thing, spend the money and go elsewhere. That said, if you’re looking to escape the world, Blue Cove is perfect. The staff was incredibly accommodating and made you feel as if you were family. The waterfront bungalow was absolutely epic with the water at high tide coming right underneath the balcony; you will fall asleep to the sound of the waves almost directly underneath you. The food and drinks were above average. The scenery was spectacular especially at the peak of the island (I will warn you that while the hike is only about 10-15 minutes, it is quite steep). The snorkeling and swimming on the small, private beach-area is great. Overall, if you are looking for a quiet, romantic place to stay for a few days, you’ve found it with Blue Cove.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank James D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blue Cove Island Resort

Address: Albaguen Island, Port Barton, San Vicente, Palawan Island, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > San Vicente > Port Barton
Amenities:
Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Port Barton
Price Range: $25 - $56 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
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Also Known As:
Blue Cove Island Resort Port Barton, Palawan Island

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