cordova reef pool unedited
Unedited picture of Cordova Reef's pool.

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.

cordova resort non-functioning fountain near parking area
Cordova Reef’s Non-Working Fountain Near the Parking Area and Lobby

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.

cordova reef lobby building
The Lobby Building of Cordova Reef

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.

cordova reef lobby interior
Inside their lobby.

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.

cordova reef foot path
Foot path fronting the villas and is near the beach.

The function building and the restaurant below shows a consistent tropical design and color scheme.

cordova reef function building
Their building for functions.

Cordova Reef's main restaurant and bar.

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:

SAMSUNG CSC
Cordova Reef’s unedited picture of their pool.

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:

cordova reef beach line overview
Somewhat and overview image of the resorts 2 sided beach.
cordova reef beach
View from their beach line at low tide. Check out another cement structure on the middle of the sea again only on fish ponds I can see those.
cordova reef left sid beach line
One side of the resorts 2 side beach line.
cordova resort beach feeling like a fish pond
I’ve only seen sea structures like these on fishponds.

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:

cordova reef right neighbor
This is just beside the resort. Apart from a dock for small fishing boats, guess what this place is for?
Mission complete! :)
Mission complete! 🙂

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):

This is the porch of their oceantfront villa.
This is the porch of their oceantfront villa.
Villa by the pool shot b
Villa by the pool shot by Jeu Nesse Mirafuentes

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.

Some of the dishes I didn’t forget taking a snap (not really my habit to take pictures before eating) include these:
cordova reef tomatoe pizza

Tomato Pizza.

cordova reef clubhouse sandwhich
Clubhouse Sandwhich.
Lechon Kawali.
Lechon Kawali.

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:

cordova reef sunset
A sunset scene to remember.
cordova reef low tide
My son exploring the critters of the sea.
tambasakan
Si Pilimon, si Pilimon… Namasul sa kadagatan! Nakakuha-nakakuha, ug isdang TAMBASAKAN!
cordova reef sea urchin
Sea urchins, lots of them! I just noticed these critters actually have mouths on them (those pinking cirles on them)!
cordova reef sea urchin
Sea urchins, lots of them! I just noticed these critters actually have mouths on them!

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.

pacific cebu resort
Photo by Pacific Cebu 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.

 

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