I’ve been seeing a lot “hype” regarding this rather dated resort on social media lately with a lot of people seemingly getting taken in. For those of you who are more discerning, I’ve taken the liberty to finally pen a review of this place after having spend a night there with my family back in 2016 (It’s been quite awhile indeed but my pictures serve as an easy reminder and I’ve taken the time to actually call them to ask what has changed recently and thankfully a staff by the name of Lote was able to give some insights).
The time we came here, there were more than a dozen of us total, mixed kids and adults. We were once again on the prowl for a new place to hangout and somehow, we ended up here.
Right off the bat, you’ll see that this place is a tad bit old. The entrance gives you a feeling that it’s undermanned and not at all well maintained – we even thought it wasn’t open anymore.
The exterior of the lobby, although neat and somewhat of good standing, the color theme will tell it’s again, rather old but I do like the somewhat tropical design of it.
Insde the lobby again although clean, it doesn’t at all feel like a resort that starts at P6,200+ a night relative to other resorts on the same price range.
Check out their foot path with signs of being somewhat deserted and unkempt – again something you won’t see on other resorts of the same price range.
The function building and the restaurant below shows a consistent tropical design and color scheme.
Cordova Reef’s main restaurant and bar.
The pool and the beach
Judging from what’s floating around social media these days, it’s the resort’s pool that seems to be their best foot forward. Of course photos online these days can be dangerously deceiving if I may say so myself so I had to ask Lote if there was a change on the pool at all to make it look somewhat refurbished on some pictures I’ve seen around. However, she confirmed that nothing has changed on the pool and no renovation whatsoever has been done to it so I was amazed out how much bluer the pool tiles looked on some online photos compared to my unedited pics of it back in 2016 as you can see below:
Their beach actually feels more like a “fish pond” – and that’s coming from someone who lived a handful of summers on one. Check these shots out:
I want you to take note as well that this place is in between public places. On one side is a “port” for bangkas going to other islands near Mactan and on another, a dock (and more as you can see on the pictures) for a local fishing village. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Knowing the history of Mactan being highly urbanized already, the surrounding areas of a resort is something I always check first before actually deciding to take a dip. Apart from the resort beach facility which isn’t really that inviting, seeing what my son and I saw on the side of the resort kept us all dry during our entire stay. I would recommend you do the same unless you’re keen to try their pool which I believe is just like anything else on the resort and is a huge no-no for us.
Cordova Reef’s Villas
The room accommodations here actually come in private villas that are again inline with the tropical design of the other structures of the resort – resembling nipa huts of some sort. On this department, Lote has confirmed that there are actually new villas recently made available to the public. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of those but here’s a picture of their villas back in 2016 for your reference (these are still available of course):
It’s about 15 sq m in area inside and back then it felt again, rather old. My wife remembers our kids getting bitten by bec bugs of some sort which is of course a major concern for us when we are out and about.
Is it really all that bad?
Up to this point, you’re probably thinking the place is just an overpriced rundown resort with nothing of value to offer huh? Well, I’m happy to say that isn’t really the case from our experience.
First of, one of my wife’s culinary teachers at Philippine School of Culinary Arts (PSCA) is connected to this resort so we already had an idea that the food would be good. And thankfully even with talks of “internal problems” we’ve heard from the grapevine, the food we got here were indeed of good quality and value for money.
Secondly, given this place doesn’t really do a lot (if any) of marketing (they don’t even have a basic website), there was nobody else on the resort when our group of more than a dozen visited! It felt like we had a 2-3 hectare resort to ourselves!
However, if there were say foreigners who would be smoking just about everywhere like in most resorts with not much “control” or security, then this would be a whole lot different of an experience to say the least. Point is, I feel we got “somewhat lucky” on our stay.
Lastly, given their fishpond-like set-up, I had the opportunity to show my son how life in the province like when I was growing up beside a fish pond. I took him to the parts further away from the beach line to explore the wonders of the sea and we absolutely loved it! We were able to see sea creatures and whatnot and I believe these simple moments of solitude is very helpful to any human being and for that I’m very thankful for this place. Pictures tell a better story so here they are:
The Cordova Reef Verdict
With the P6,000+ a night minimum overnight stay at Cordova Reef Resort, I can honestly say there are a lot of other resorts that can give you a much better experience. The “new” Pacific Cebu Resort can be had for almost half the price at P3,420 with breakfast for example. Then there’s BE Resort at around P4,200 a night. And even Costabella Resort.
I do still recommend this place for a good place to eat good value food, and a place to hangout and enjoy the fresh air with family and friends but not as a place to actually stay in and pay this much.