Having been born in December, I normally look forward with eagerness to savor the cool weather and clear skies on the last month of the year.
Sadly, the ill effects of climate change are upon us—extremely hot and humid days and rainy, gloomy weekends on a month like December! Traffic is also so stressful, planning a break away from the city requires much more preparation than before.
Recently, I’ve taken up diving again, and Anilao, Batangas, was meant to be the destination for a little disconnection, whether just for the day or a stolen weekend.
During my active diving years in the mid-’90s, dive resorts were more function than form, which suited me and my friends, as we were practically out at sea from dawn till dusk.
Today, a quick scan on the Internet shows a wider variety of choices for accommodations, from fancy to functional, suiting more budgets and preferences.
I had always been intrigued by the gate of La Chevrerie Resort and Spa, made of solid wood, framed by a stone wall, but I felt it would probably be too pricey for an overnight stay. A last-minute online browse scored me a “deal of the day” price which included breakfast, so I happily double-clicked and confirmed the booking of the last room available.
Online, the photos looked quite inviting, and on the rather dismal drive to the resort, with nonstop rain and gloomy gray skies, I silently hoped that my rather impulsive booking would not disappoint.
After about three hours and being forced to drive slower than I would like to due to poor road visibility, the intimidating gate was opened.
It was like love at first sight after we parked and walked into the reception area. The view of the jewel-blue waters of the pool, framed against coconut trees, was a sparkling accent against the monochrome scale of sea and sky.
We had a second-floor room with a wide, comfy terrace which was an ideal spot for reading, relaxing, an afternoon nap, or an evening cocktail. My thoughts were, if we just had better weather, this would be the perfect place to catch a stunning sunset, with a drink in hand.
The staff was extremely helpful, advising us to not go diving that day and to postpone till tomorrow since visibility underwater would be a problem.
The resort had its own dive shop and could arrange day and night dives and offer scuba certification programs. It was very convenient since you could rent everything you needed, and the resort would take care of organizing a boat and dive master based on your schedule.
First day was just a chill-out day, enjoying our stay in the room which was spacious and had lovely, playful touches.
The resort’s restaurant, L’Atelier, was interesting. “At least it isn’t buffet-style,” said my partner, as we looked at its relatively extensive menu which included an all-vegetarian selection, not to mention a good wine list.
I learned that the owners are a Frenchman (probably why the resort has homemade bread for breakfast) and his Chinese wife, who I saw walking around the resort accompanied by her two dogs.
La Chevrerie has a warmer, more sophisticated feel than the other resorts we had stayed in. Bonus, for diver and nondivers alike, it has its own spa. I treated myself to its signature massage that night, which led to a really deep, relaxing sleep.
The morning brought us a huge breakfast and plans to dive. There was a problem getting a bangka, though, since most of them had docked to avoid a typhoon that weekend.
The delay inconvenienced us, but we had time to laze on the sun chairs and go for a rather chilly dip in the pool. The owner was kind enough to offer the resort’s vehicle to take us to the nearest harbor where we might have better luck at getting a boat, but we said we would just wait around and relax instead.
After an hour, the boat finally came and we were able to do one dive that afternoon. Even if visibility wasn’t ideal, we managed to see a large cuttlefish and frogfish—making the wait and dive worthwhile.
La Chevrerie has around 12 rooms and two villas—enough space for families or bigger groups to spend a weekend or longer.
It was an enjoyable weekend for us, and even if we didn’t get to dive, just taking in the breeze, the view and the ambiance of this resort was a wonderful experience.
I discovered a new hideout just a two-hour drive from the city.