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Resort Review: Misibis Bay

by Mimi Tiu

Since opening its doors and revealing the beauty of Cagraray Island to outsiders back in 2009, Misibis Bay has established itself as the go-to lodging in Albay for travelers in dire need of a rejuvenating R&R session.

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A combined 100-minute plane and car ride whisks you away from the madness of Manila and transports you to the laid-back pace of the southeastern Luzon province (with an incomparable vista of Mayon Volcano that greets you when you land!). At Misibis Bay, you’ll come across a motley crew of tourists—parents eager to let their children disengage from their devices and have fun the old-school way, couples getting to know each other through the resort's seaside activities, and friends kicking back in the best way possible.

DWELL

Misibis Bay has 150 spacious rooms and villas thoughtfully spread out within the five-hectare property, all appointed with thick, immaculately white beds on which flights of fancy are guaranteed to take shape. Barkadas on vacation would benefit from booking a room situated beside the tropical-inspired lagoon pool for refreshing dips and Instagram-worthy #pool posts, while those embarking on a more contemplative respite would appreciate the peace and quiet provided by a stay at the beachfront villas.

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During my visit, I was checked into a spacious, cozy minimalist suite at the Pacific View Wing which overlooked the Pacific Ocean. The walls and floors were adorned with deep blue accents, while the woven furniture honored Bicol’s ethnic artistry. My heart leapt at the sight of the open bathtub, and I naturally indulged in nightly warm bubble baths that were a welcome contrast to the freezing temperature of my air-conditioned lodging. (Later, I would discover that the bathtub was a treat that could only be enjoyed by guests staying at the new buildings.)

Feeling totally serene, I hit the sack earlier than usual and woke up in time to catch Mother Nature’s handiwork: a seaside sunrise that was prettier than a postcard.

EAT

A stone’s throw away from the resort’s infinity pool, the Spice Market is where you’ll find most of the guests at meal times. The restaurant’s name is an homage to the Bicolanos’ predilection for fiery food, with the kitchen cooking up spicy homegrown dishes—laing (a coconut-based spicy dish with dried taro leaves) and chili crabs, anyone?—as well as equally good but less hot international fare.

Since I was already up at sunrise, I took advantage of sampling Misibis Bay's breakfast buffet spread which was only available until 10 in the morning. I found myself gravitating toward the Filipino fare—silog favorites such as Guinobatan longganisa, beef tapa, and crispy dilis paired with a heaping of garlic fried rice and eggs—which kept me stuffed until it was time for lunch. Once, my friends and I even ordered a bowl of champorado from the à la carte menu and peppered it with dilis for a delicious, sweet and salty combo in every bite.

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Guests can make special arrangements to partake of a boodle fight lunch consisting of grilled seafood, seasoned meats, and sliced fruits at nearby Pinaghulugan Island. Since every dish was laid out enticingly, we filled our bellies to the brim without worrying they would jut out of our swimsuits. We leisurely swam in cool waters after the feast in an attempt to escape the sweltering heat produced by the mid-day sun.

Perfect for merienda or a late-night snack, the Leche Flan Turon deserves a special mention in my book. I mistakenly thought of it as cheese sticks because of its deceiving appearance, but once I took a bite, I was utterly enraptured. Crunchy and creamy in each bite, the decadent treat must be dipped in vanilla cinnamon sauce to complete the gastronomic odyssey. Thankfully, it never becomes overbearingly sweet.

If you want something extra, the Spice Market staff can prepare a beachfront barbeque or a private five-course dinner with a personal waiter to boot. One evening, I came across a romantic table setup complete with rose petals strewn on the floor and a softly-lit path. I imagined a couple enjoying the meal with the man ending the night with a touching wedding proposal, and the woman saying yes!

ENJOY

A day isn’t enough to try all the amenities, activities, and tours offered at this getaway destination. Aside from swimming at the beach or taking a dip in any of the five swimming pools, beach lovers can do an early-morning snorkeling or introductory diving class at the marina. Within a manmade cove that promised placid waves, I tried windsurfing (it was challenging to follow the instructor’s directions, but immensely satisfying once I got the hang of it), stand-up paddle boarding (a true test of balance that made me feel one with the ocean’s hypnotic rhythm), and jet skiing (I got a thrill when I saw the speedometer’s pointer hit 60 mph).

Rev up your vacation by exploring the nearby areas while riding an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Take an exhilarating drive to a verdant eco park to see a magnificent outdoor amphitheater and an underutilized chapel. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, inquire about flying across the 200 or 450-meter steel line of the zip line towers.

End the day with an unforgettable sunset viewing at the top of a hill or on a private speedboat with snacks and cocktails on hand.

On our last afternoon at Misibis Bay, my friends and I were all set to enjoy drinks by the amphitheater, but the outdoor party was cut short due to an unexpected thunderstorm. We enjoyed the impromptu light and sound show as it crept its way from the other island, then hopped on the van moments before we got drenched in the rain.

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Depending on the season, you can extend your escape by reserving a half or whole-day tour to the neighboring cities and municipalities: Legazpi (visit a lava wall and explore the foot of Mayon Volcano on an ATV), Malinao (get a rush as you try water rafting down Quinale River), and Donsol (have a one-of-a-kind underwater encounter with massive but gentle whale sharks or graceful manta rays).

Misibis Bay
Misibis, Bacacay
0917 599 1606
0921 487 3869
reservations@misibisbay.com

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About Mimi
A freelance editor based in Manila, Mimi Tiu finds pleasure in coming up with meticulously detailed travel itineraries, wearing layers in autumn, and chronicling her ice cream discoveries on Instagram at @nicetomitiu.

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