Reviewed by Philippa Langrish
Why you’ll love Fisherman’s Cove
Located in Puerto Galera on the island of Mindoro, Fisherman’s Cove is a peaceful retreat perfect for families. Surrounded by gorgeous palms and tropical flowers, it’s obvious that the owner Guiseppe, takes great pride in his island paradise. The resort was first established in 1987 and brings the best of Italy to the Philippines, creating a gastronomic delight amidst some of the best dive sites in South East Asia.
When we went I had forgotten just how much a family-owned and run property creates such unique tranquility. It didn’t take long, however, to adapt the the relaxing island way of life. My husband and I were lucky enough to go on a couple of dives thanks to the baby sitting services provided by the hotel and our two children were kept safe and entertained on the boat while we discovered sea horses, giant clams and nudibranches beneath the surface.
The property itself is small with just 22 rooms. It’s sits within a small, picturesque bay with four lovely beaches nearby and within walking distance to the town. In addition to diving you can enjoy snorkelling trips, massages and even a game of billiards.
Looking for more travel inspiration in The Philippines? Take a look at our family guide!
Why the kids will love Fisherman’s Cove
Fisherman’s Cove was a wonderful place for our family to visit. Although it is by no means a dedicated ‘family resort’, there was more than enough to keep our eldest Maya (3 yrs) busy and the staff were simply fantastic with both our children.
Staff accompanied us on our dive boat and looked after the children while we discovered the Technicolor world beneath the surface. After we had finished, Maya and her new friend Ryan swam in the sea for hours, climbing the ropes attached to the boat and playing pirate make believe. Maya’s jazzy new goggles allowed her to swim out to the coral reef to spy parrot and angel fish along with acres of unspoilt coral reef sparkling in the sun. In the meantime, baby Gillan slept, fed, slept again, gurgled and was rocked into a deep sleep on the boat ride home. No sooner did we get back to shore, then Maya was eager to start painting what she had seen on her pirate adventure.
The food is another family highlight at Fisherman’s Cove. The restaurant serves typical Italian cuisine with fish, homemade pasta (a hit with the kids!) and freshly baked bread.
The resort consists of 22 rooms; 17 Deluxe Rooms, 2 Suites and 3 Nipa Huts (‘nature cooled’ bungalows – i.e. no A/C!).
The Deluxe Rooms and Suites are positioned in the main building and are decorated in minimalist Italian style with touches of native Filipino décor. The Nipa huts are standalone traditional huts made from palms and local wood. All accommodation is furnished with huge mirrors, large wicker armchairs and decorated with huge colourful batik wall hangings. Take your own toiletries as none are offered. There are no fridges or kettles in the rooms but you can ask for tea or coffee from the restaurant whenever you like.
When we visited, we stayed in the two suites which gave us ample room. White curtains let the breeze from the large balcony flutter into the airy living space. The bathrooms are modern and tiled throughout and the free standing shower gives the effect of a wet room.
Best rooms for families: Any of the rooms can work for families depending on your requirements. Ground floor rooms offer easy access to the pool while the top floor rooms are somewhat larger and afford incredible views across the bay. The Nipa Huts are characterful but lack A/C, which may be a consideration if you’re travelling with young kids that nap during the day. All the accommodation is sea-facing. Cots and extra beds are available on request at no extra cost.
The food at Fisherman’s Cove is one of the big draws to this resort. Authentic Italian dishes are created from the fresh catch of the day. There is also Filipino food on request. The bar is fully stocked with beers and Italian wines.
There is a menu although we were happy to be served without having to choose. We enjoyed delicious platters of giant marinated prawns, whole snappers, fresh salads, perfectly cooked pasta, fresh clams and fish carpaccio, all washed down with a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio – perfect!
The kids were more than happy with the pasta on offer. For breakfast we all enjoyed pancakes with toast, eggs and bacon. Maya was very happy with her daily mango and bananna shake
For Kids: There are no dedicated kids’ menus but there is plenty of kid-friendly fare available, including homemade pasta!
Activities for Parents
Our favoured activities were of course diving, snorkelling and swimming. Others include island tours, kayaking, motor bike tours, bar games, and visiting the local village and waterfalls.
You can also enjoy a soothing massage at the end of the pier as the sun goes down – bliss! My one hour evening massage at the end of the pier and long morning soak in the Jacuzzi were long awaited indulgences for a mum of two.
We visited a couple of quiet beaches nearby, including Long Beach and Halijhi beach.
The most memorable part of our stay was definitely the day out on the dive boat.
Activities for Kids
There are no dedicated activities for kids but there is plenty for them to do. The beaches offer plenty of little critters in the rock pools for the children to discover along with crystal clear waters inhabited by rainbow coloured coral reefs and tropical fish.
Kids of all ages can enjoy playing in the beautiful sea, chasing butterflies around the resort and splash in the pool.
Maya and Ryan had a great time playing pirates on the Bangka Boat which took us out to the dive site. Life jackets are provided for small children since the waves can be tricky for young swimmers.
Maya and I also visited a local village where the women made their living from making hand woven baskets. This was a very interesting excursion and a fun ride back as we both bundled into a motorised trike.
Air-conditioning in all rooms except the Nipa Huts, babysitting, common rooms, cots available, doctor on call, the nearest hospital is in Labriz, 2km away, extra beds available, laundry service, pets allowed, pushchair friendly, dive shop, no spa but massages are available, swimming pool, travel desk, wheelchair access (not dedicated but rooms on the ground floor are accessible), limited Wifi.
When to go:
The best time to visit the Philippines is between December and February in the cooler months. The wet season is from June onwards; be careful travelling in the months from September to December as this is when the typhoon season is. Avoid travelling in the busy holy weeks of Easter and Christmas.
Location & Travel:
Fisherman’s Cove is located on the island of Mindoro which is just a few hours drive and boat ride from Manila. For international travel fly to Manila and take a taxi to Batangas port (approx. 1,000 – 2,000 php for taxi). At the port take the Minolo shipping line across to Muelle.
1) Pack hand sanitiser and mosquito repellent. Sunglasses, cream and a hat are also a must.
2) Small umbrellas are useful for both keeping off the sun and rain, especially if travelling with infants.
3) We bought a life jacket for Maya as it fitted her well and had a cute design on it which meant she would wear it!