Sep 30 - Oct. 2, 2013
Magnaga Waters Beach Resort, Compostela Valley
GPS waypoint: N 07° 09.476 E 125° 53.568
Location: Tunga, Barangay Magnaga, Municipality of Pantukan, Compostela Valley Province
With my Camiguin option not materializing, it was timely that Ciara (my Tagum benefactor), offered 2 nights in their beach resort in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, 1 hour by bus south of Tagum. Magnaga Waters Beach Resort is a vast 14-hectare beach front that spans a 300m walk on the beach! The surrounding is manicured and generously planted with trees. Shade is abundant - you don't even have to bring your hammock; they provide it. Along the beach are amptly-spaced picnic tables under the shade. The beach frontage is spacious. This entire resort is screaming wide space.
Breakfast is included in the stay. The servings are generous and attention to detail is apparent. For breakfast, I ordered Bangus and I got a thick slab of Bangus - the biggest breakfast-included serving of any hotel stay I've had. Their vinegar is home-brewed sinamak from the harvested tuba from the coconut trees within the resort. Dessert comes from YuYu Cafe in Tagum where hands-on Pastry Chef Adi painstakingly ensures quality, freshness and 'yummy' factor.
Tuba, or coconut nectar (not the coconut juice), is harvested here fresh daily and offered to guests as part of a breakfast drink. Tuba is sweet and astringent...a perfect way to start the day. My advise, order from the staff a half gallon of white sweet tuba (no tungog) for the following day. When you get it, find yourself a nice hammock in a shady part of the resort and start indulging. You'll get a pleasant buzz that makes it feel right to do nothing, but be lazy on the hammock. Be prepared to write-off the entire day. It's like being in an opium den where people smoke a few and then lie down in bed until they come out of it. NO, I've never done that. I just saw that episode in the movie, Once Upon a Time in America.
The main gathering place is the alfresco clubhouse. Meals are served here. Ceilings are high and vented. It's cool even at the height of the afternoon sun. There is a small convenience store, a souvenir shop and a cafe/bar and a billiard table. The cue stick tips need replacement though...same thing for the #1 ball.
There are 3 non-functional jetskis now used as improvised dining tables. I remember a conversation with Vistamar Resort owner Charlie - a character. If McArthur is known for saying, "I shall return", Charlie is known for his on-the-fly remark, "at 75, I'm still attractive to the opposite sex". Sorry, I digress. He said he lost money in Jetskis. The engine breaks down and it'll cost you more to have it repaired. So he junked them all. Same thing happened in this resort. But instead of junking them, at least they found creative use for it. I now wonder. What if you modify a regular pumpboat engine to fit in there? That way, Manong Fisherman can do his thing in style!
A unique touch are 3 big slides perched on the water, connected to the beach by a footbridge. Hanging out on the walkway is fun enough.
While walking on the beach, I came upon a herd of resort-owned goats. Not the local type, this one has a shedding thick wool-like hair. I learned they are kept for proliferation - not exactly for milk or meat. Not for milk? Chevre cheese comes to mind, specially when just a few days ago, I was at Malagos Farm House savoring Davao-grown European-style cheese. Olive Puentespina, the cheese artisan, keeps a herd of goats for Chevre!
I thought about crossing the water to Samal after my stay here, but learned there is no passenger pumpboat taking people to Samal. But Samal is right in front of the beach! The only passenger boat taking people to Samal is from Davao. But that's exactly my point - with a pumpboat service, people in Compostela can reach Davao by crossing Samal instead of taking the 3 hour half-circumferential bus ride to Davao. If you look at the map (above) you'll see what I mean. I would liken access to Samal as a the proverbial worm-hole that tears through the fabric of space.
Given the 14-hectare spread, real estate is not a problem. It would be a nice touch to develop an exclusive area for high-end clients where they have privacy more than others - run around naked if you like! David Copperfield (the magician) owns an island resort with carefully designed cottages where guests won't even see the other guests.
Where to, Next?
As I checked out of Magnaga Waters, Mimi, the resort manager, arranged a meeting for me with the owner of the adjacent resort regarding the branding for Compostela resorts. It's cool that they keep a healthy and friendly competition along this strip. But what really was racing inside my head was, "after this meeting, where do I go? Where would I even sleep for the night?". I couldn't wait to see what my benevolent universe has in store for me.
If I have company, I would like to come back to this resort. For long walks on the beach, the peace, a place lending itself to conversation, and its sheer expanse....it's too good for just one.
It's uncanny that as I enjoy compli lodging at the 2nd Ave Hotel and here at Magnaga Waters, I also gifted a hotel stay in Surigao City (vs my room credits for web work) for a surfer friend who extended me her hospitality as well when I met her in Siargao. What goes around, comes around.
Thank you Ciara. Thank you Mrs. Uy (Ciara tells me this happened because of your blessing).
ps - If you want me to objectively cover your resort for this website (beach resort, mountain resort, island resort, etc.), email me.
- Standard Room for 2 - P1500, aircon, private bath and shower, breakfast included. Take 20% off Mondays - Thursdays
- Beach Cottage for 12 - P600
- Tent Hall for 150 - P5000
- Dining Hall for 20 - P2000
- Daytime Entrance - P30 (P40 in December), no corkage, includes use of water slide, comfort room and grills
- Nighttime Entrance - P60 (P60 in December), no corkage, includes use of water slide, comfort room and grills
- Bus - from Davao Ecoland bus terminal, take a bus going to Mati and tell the conductor to drop you off Magnaga Waters Beach Resort, about 1 kilometer before Pantukan Poblacion. Less than P185/pax, aircon, 3 hours
- Private Vehicle - take the highway south towards Mati. When you reach Tagum, at the main intersection, (landmark: Jollibee), turn right heading to Pantukan. After 30 minutes from Tagum, you see the "Magnaga Waters Beach Resort" sign to your right. It's about 1 kilometer before you reach Pantukan Poblacion
- Bus - from Tagum bus terminal, take a bus going to Mati and tell the conductor to drop you off Magnaga Waters Beach Resort, about 1 kilometer before Pantukan Poblacion. P70/pax, aircon, 1 hour
- Private Vehicle - take the highway south towards Mati. After 30 minutes from Tagum, you see the "Magnaga Waters Beach Resort" sign to your right. It's about 1 kilometer before you reach Pantukan Poblacion
Sep 30 - Oct. 2, 2013
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