Friday, May 22, 2009

Travel Review: Punta Bulata Beach Resort, Negros Island, Philippines

RATING: *** 1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars, above average)
Phone: +63344335160 (To dial from U.S., 011-63-34-433-5160)
Web site: Punta Bulata
Price: $40-$65/night USD (April 2009)


  • The View. Punta Bulata is an above average beach resort located on the western coast of Negros Island. Facing west, it offers a breathtaking view of the calm Sulu waters. You can also see nearby islands and an interesting rock formation on the right side of the resort. I rented a kayak ($1.50 USD/hour) and observed some of the wildlife nearby. I was amazed to find a wild fruit dove, with a distinct blend of greens and red feathers. Its body type is similar to that of a pigeon or dove but the color patterns are definitely different than anything I have seen. Perhaps the near extinct Negros Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus arcanus)? Who knows.

  • Adventure. The drive to the resort is an adventure in itself. Negros Island's foothills, mountains, and S-curbed roads make it a fun drive. At one point I parked besides a cliff and was able to witness a decent sunset (see picture above). And as you go through the final stretch of unpaved roads, you suddenly find a modern resort in the middle of nowhere.

  • Solitude. The municipality of Cauayan, where Punta Bulata is located, is essentially a small village. It isn't a party town and is a bit more peaceful compared to some other beach resorts in the country that mainly attract the bar hopping and night club culture. The resort's rooms have no television sets, not even for a news junkie like me wanting to see the midnight news. Here time is slown down a bit.

  • Con
  • Room service. The hotel rooms badly need an internal phone system. You have to go to the nearest hotel desk to order food and drinks, which makes it less than ideal if you are already in your pajamas. 1 star off.

  • Cleanliness. Overall the hotel and my room was clean, but the wooden architecture does invite certain types of pests that needs to be regularly checked and cleaned. I saw some wood damaging insects from time to time. You can often see the after effects of this if you see the insects' "saw dust" on your bed. Half a star off.

    Located in Negros Island, Philippines, Punta Bulata Island resort is one of those in the middle of nowhere resorts. To get here, you have to fly to Manila, Philippines (MNL) then to Bacolod, Philippines (BCD), a city located on Negros Island. Taking a taxi or rental car from the airport to this resort and vice versa will cost you $250 USD total for the round trip. Using public transportation like a Ceres bus will cost you less than $20 USD round trip. The time to travel will take roughly 2.5 hours by private car/taxi, and 3-4 hours by bus, depending on how many passengers they pickup along the way!

  • Swimming pool, kids area and adult
  • White sand beach
  • Kayaking, swimming, snorkeling
  • There are air conditioned hotel rooms and cottages available.
  • Please note there is no television or Internet connection on any of these rooms.
  • Room service available generally up to 11:00 PM.
  • Restaurant/picnic areas/guarded parking areas

    To note: If you must absolutely have Internet (like me), I have been able to utilize a popular pre-paid Internet service by Smart called SmartBro. It is USB device that connects your laptop to GPRS/3G cell towers. Expect dial-up speeds though they advertise otherwise. Its $45 USD for the device and about $0.50 USD/hour.