ISLAND COVE, A NATURE/SPORTS PARK MINUTES AWAY FROM MANILA
One of the best kept secrets in the leisure and tourism industry is a world-class resort right on the doorstep of Metro Manila, perfect for sports lovers, honeymooners and conventioners who have no desire to fly hundreds of miles and spend thousands on transportation just to spend the day or a weekend.
Island Cove Resort and Leisure Park in historic Binakayan in Kawit, Cavite, is a short 30-minute drive along Coastal Road, at the end of Roxas Boulevard. It remains one of a handful of mangrove-enclosed coves on the coast of Manila Bay.
The island, which used to be accessible only by boat from the opposite bank of the Binakayan River, is now linked to a mainland by mini Golden Gate-like bridge.
Emphasizing the Cavitenos' pride in its place in history is a monument in mural sculpture honoring the heroes of the Battle of Binakayan, half of the two-pronged attack by the Spanish Forces of Governor General Ramon Blanco against the Filipino revolucionarios of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. The other battle was in the next town of Noveleta, where hundreds of Spaniards were killed.
In Binakayan, a force of about 5,000 Spanish soldiers all armed with more sophisticated guns and bayonets, was the biggest ever encountered by General Aguinaldo. Outgunned and outnumbered, the Filipinos won this battle.
The banks of the river separating Island Cove from Binakayan proper, is where Gen. Candido Tria Tirona, one of Aguinaldo's top generals was killed by a Spanish straggler. The brave general, who led the victorious Filipino forces at the Battle of Binakayan, was instantly killed by a bayonet thrust through his forehead.
Today, Island Cove has a cluster of pavilions built over a mini-lake, a 130-room hotel and elegant duplex cottages with all the amenities of 5-star hotels: aircon rooms, hot and cold water, cable TV, 3-channel piped-in music, direct dial phones, and safety deposit boxes.
For family fun, the island offers Oceania, an activity center with swimming pool and four towering giant slides, a kiosk and a gym.
Still hungry for activities? Try the giant outdoor chessboard, mini-golf course, video arcade, a souvenir shop, concert park and a mini-zoo.
City folk enjoy the experience of a lifetime at the fishing village, where they fish with bamboo rods in the comfort of nipa houses built on stilts right in the middle of a fishpond. The resort's kitchen can cook the fish caught and serve it to the city fishermen. A secured boating facility will soon be added to let visitors boat and fish at the same time.
For gourmets and other food lovers, Island Grill offers an array of native and international dishes. Weddings, birthdays, reunions and conventions are held in several banquet rooms.
The Island Cove also has elegant and fully-equipped seminar halls and function rooms to handle all types and sizes of meetings, conferences and conventions for up to 2,000 persons at a time.
If all that is not enough, the guests can always avail of the resort's other attractions: bowling, billiards, darts, disco, KTV, bingo and ballroom dancing.