Virgin Beach Resort (VBR) is located on the far north-northeast coast of Cebu Island. We spent two nights there, enjoying the swimming pool and using VBR as a base for exploring other areas of the far northern coast by car. Our group consisted of my wife, our daughter and 5 of her cousins -- ages 6, 10, 13, 18, 19, and 24 -- and myself. This was our first visit to VRB and the northern part of the island.
At VBR, we stayed in two of the large deluxe duplex cottages which measure about 25'x14' inside. The cottages contain two full-size beds in a sleeping area that has an semi-open entertainment center partition from a kitchen/dining room area. The kitchen contained a refrigerator and sink/counter area. (An optional hotplate, rice cooker and utensils were available for rent for p200 I understand.) The private bathroom has a sink, mirror, light, tile shower with hot and cold water, and toilet. The cottage has a small air conditioner mounted on the outside wall near the sleeping area and a fan mounted on the wall above the beds. The entertainment center in our unit contains a CRT-styled TV (about 18" diagonal), a multi-function DVD player (which also plays DIVx and MPEG4 files), and a satellite-based Dream TV decoder box which prepaid load cards may be used to activate. (The TV in the other unit was smaller.) The entertainment center also contained assorted books and magazines. (More books and magazines, as well as DVD rentals are available at the main building.) The cottages have both front and back porches or verandas, with tables and chairs.
There are a variety of activities available at VRB. For our group, the big hit was the swimming pool and waterslide, and hanging out (somewhat literally) in the hammocks and at the tables in the poolside "cottages" (that is, the covered picnic table areas). After dark, many of us enjoyed watching the stars while lounging on the seating ledge that is built into the side of the pool. The other activity that the kids enjoyed were looking for hermit-type crabs on the beach at low tide. (Although one could easily swim in the ocean at high tide, our group didn't as most had limited swimming skills.) (The jetty/dock area is unlit at night and would be an excellent place to watch the stars and running lights on distant ships on darkened ocean -- but the first night, we were too tired to do this and the second night was overcast.)
Although every lodging experience is different and customer's preferences and values differ, the following is our impression of VBR as it relates to other budget-class Filipino beach resorts we have visited:
* Large rooms
* Clean swimming pool and waterslide.
* Well located to explore the northern tip of Cebu Island.
* Friendly, helpful staff.
* Air conditioning did not adequately cool our room.
* Deferred maintenance and housekeeping detracted from the lodging experience.
* Communications: There are no phones or internet connections in the room (which is common for this category of resort). Although WiFi is supposed to be available in the main building, we were unable to pick-up the signal in our room (which was expected and ok). Our Smart carrier cellphones worked fine on the local cell towers. We did not try to establish a wireless WiFi connection through the cellphone towers.
> VBR is approximately 95 km from Cebu City. While an aggressive driver on a low traffic day might be able to make the trip in two-plus hours, our travel time was about four hours.
> The VBR exit from the main road is clearly marked by a VBR sign, and all junctions on the access road are also clearly marked.
> VBR is located 1.3km from the main paved road. The access road to VBR is very rough and narrow, but we didn't have any difficulty driving it very slowly in a normal car. However, attempted access in vehicles with low road clearance should be avoided. Personally, I would not want to drive the access road in the dark, especially if it was the first time driving it. Also, watch out for small children playing by or on the access road.
> It appears that regular public transportation on the main road is limited to buses.
> GPS coordinates for the turn off from the main paved road to VBR are: N11d09'11.6" E124d02'03.1"
> GPS coordinates of VBR itself are: N11d09'22.4" E124d01'26.3"
A few general notes for North American and perhaps other foreign guests:
> In the Philippines, "beach" means "ocean front" regardless of whether or not there is any sand on the shore. In fact, some beach resorts are perched on ocean cliffs with no reasonable access to the ocean at all. Like many beach resorts located on the northeast coast of Cebu Island, VBR no or little sand. Instead, there is a gently sloping limestone shelf going towards the ocean. This is fine to explore tidal pools on at low tide (it's best to wear shoes) or to swim in at high tide, but you won't be able to build sandcastles.
> In the Philippines, don't let short distances fool you into thinking that it only takes a short time to get somewhere. Between traffic congestion and road repairs, travel is frequently very time-consuming.
> Since there is very little light pollution at night in rural Philippines, it is an excellent place to stargaze. The stars are brilliant. At certain times of the year, you can see the North Star to the north and the Southern Cross to the south. Awesome!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Virgin Beach Resort Cebu is the beach resort you've been looking for...quiet, peaceful, secluded, out of the way, off the beaten path, private beach, beautiful swimming pool with water slide, lush tropical landscaping, gentle sea breezes, crystal clear warm coral sea, romantic starry nights, award-winning gourmet meals, multilingual attentive staff, all the amenities of a first class resort at affordable prices...and more! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Virgin Beach Hotel Cebu