I had such an amazing time at Pico de Loro, even if it was just for two days. My Corner Deluxe Room at the Pico Sands Hotel was huge with the balcony wrapping around the sides giving me an amazing view of the lagoon and the mountainside, I got to worship the sun and go snorkeling, spent some much needed quality time with an old friend from high school who owned a residential unit at the cove, and got to tuck into some really good fare at some of the restaurants within the vast property, a lot of which are actually good for sharing.

Pico Restaurant

 

Located inside the lobby of the Pico Sands Hotel, the restaurant specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, also offering a food delivery service to the guests and condo residents. It’s bright, airy, and very comfortable, with ample seating to accommodate groups of friends and big families. Jericho and I met up with our high school bud, Alvin for lunch and to catch up.

 

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I’m such a sucker for wings, so it should come as no surprise that we got Buffalo Wings (Php 340) to start. Done a bit differently, these fried chicken wings were tossed in a spicy beef, tomato and onion salsa with sour cream and cheddar cheese, making for a finger licking appetizer that was gone as soon as it hit the table.

You can’t go wrong with Classic Calamares (Php 330) over chit-chat, and I think I polished off most of the golden fried squid rings served with an aioli dip.

 

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If you’re looking for something spicy, I recommend Pico Restaurant’s Shrimp Diablo (Php 785) – a mildy spicy pasta dish with plump prawns sautéed in garlic, chili, and pomodoro sauce.

When dining with a group of four or more, the gigantic Bulalosso (Php 1,750) is what the restaurant is popular for. This was huge and could probably fit six people easily. Huge pieces of beef bone marrow are cooked osso bucco style and served with your choice of pasta or rice. We all did our best to make a dent in the monstrosity, but in this case of man versus food, the food won.

We ended up taking most of the food out, as it would have been such a waste to just leave it, and Alvin went home chipper as a chipmunk with most of the virtually untouched Bulalosso.

Reef Bar

 

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The beachside bar serves refreshing drinks, a variety of tasty appetizers, casual meals, and specializes in grilled dishes. It is also terribly romantic at night, and the staff prepared our table on the beach, with candles all around us in paper lanterns dug into the sand. Spending some time with Celine, the Area Marketing Communications Manager of Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club and Pico Sands Hotel, she put out quite the grilled spread for us, and ate with gusto, talking long into the night about the beauty of Hamilo Coast, the ecological concerns and projects they currently have, and of what to prepare for the cove tour the next morning.

 

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Instead of serving the grilled meats separately, the staff made our lives a lot easier by serving everything in one platter with ensaladang mangga. With Jericho being mildly allergic to shrimp, I had most of the Inihaw na Sugpo (Php 675) grilled prawns with spicy sauce served with vegetables; the Spicy Grilled Chicken (Php 320) was grilled Korean-style with a tangy sauce; Inihaw na Liempo (Php 30) marinated pork belly served with pinakurat vinegar and homemade atchara; Jericho traded his share of the prawns for most of the Inihaw na Pusit (Php 350) grilled stuffed squid with seasonal vegetables; and lastly, Fish of the Day (Php 430), which I think was tanigue, served with seasonal vegetables.

 

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While the rest of us retired for the night, Jericho stayed behind to take pictures of the tranquil beach, which was absolutely beautiful, as the stars were out and it was a clear sky.

Sun Coral Cafe

 

The Sun Coral Cafe is actually a member’s only restaurant located inside the Pico de Loro Beach Club that specializes in Filipino fare. We made our way there after spending most of our morning cove hopping and snorkeling neat Santelmo Cove – a private strip of beach owned by Hamilo Coast.

 

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Ironically, after a whole morning of swimming with the fishes, the Spicy Marinated Tanigue (Php 400) marinated in lemon, vinegar and ginger never seemed to good! The Filipino version of ceviche was tangy and spicy, activating the saliva glands and whetting the appetite, making for the perfect start to the meal.

The Pinakbet Topped with Bagnet (Php 380) is both healthy and sinful – a medley of sautéed vegetables tossed with bagoong and topped with crispy pork belly. One could hear the melodious crunch of the fried pork skin echo throughout the restaurant. Usually I’d feel just a little bit bad for indulging in so much skin and fat, but after two hours of finding Nemo, there was no shame!

 

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Our favorite dish that afternoon was probably the Adobo Baby Pusit (Php 360), basically baby squid cooked in garlic soy and vinegar. The squid was oh so tender, flavorful, and had me thinking about asking for an extra cup of rice.

Lastly (yes, lastly!), I could never say no to Kare-Kare (Php 455), and seeing the traditional Filipino stew of oxtail and tripe in a thick peanut sauce on the menu, we tucked in to this, too, with just as much gusto as the rest of the dishes! I really don’t know how we managed to actually get through most of them – we were probably just that hungry – but for this dish I just picked through most of the local vegetables and had them with bagoong.

 

Dessert

 

I think the dessert at Pico de Loro deserves it’s own little section in this feature because unlike most out of town resorts and hotels, their selection is far from boring. While Pico de Loro does have our usual delicious summer staples like halo-halo, banana splits, and fresh fruit platters, they take it a step further with interesting offers that make you want to keep coming back for just dessert!

 

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At Pico Restaurant, their Affogato (Php 220) wakes up right up before you sink into a food coma, with cold vanilla ice cream served with a shot of espresso. Pour it in and take a bite, the sweet creamy ice cream and the sharp, bitter taste of Italian coffee makes for a really delicious contrast.

Pan Choco Gateau (Php 320) is a hands down favorite, a flourless baked chocolate cake served with strawberry syrup, vanilla ice cream and a custard sauce. This dessert can serve two and takes 20 minutes.

 

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For Filipinos looking for their local favorites, Halo-Halo (Php 250) is always a crowd pleaser, made with a traditional mélange of local sweetened fruits served with milk on shaved ice topped with ice cream.

Lastly, for something different, the Honey Cheesecake (Php 160) makes for an interesting choice, made with cream cheese, ricotta and yogurt served with natural honey making for a rich and decadent dessert.

The Conclusion

 

One thing’s for sure: You will never go hungry at Pico de Loro. With at least five different restaurants to choose from with different specialties and cuisines, discovering your favorite restaurant is yet another activity you’ll find yourself doing whilst at the cove. Yes, the food is a little pricey (disclaimer: prices are subject to change), but then you realize that most of the dishes are good for sharing, and also quite delicious, which is bang for your buck. Personally, liked the simplicity of the Reef Bar – I find the idea of freshly grilled seafood and ice cold libations on the beach the ultimate #islandlife goal. Good friends paired with good food always means you’re in for a good time, and that is exactly what happened with Celine, Alvin, Jericho, and I.

 

The Pico Sands Hotel is located at Pico de Loro Cove, Hamilo Coast, Barangay Papaya, Nasugbu, Batangas. For inquiries or to make a reservation, please call +63 2 464 7800.

 

 

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