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“Wonderful place with lots of charms and refinement”
Review of Mangenguey Island

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Mangenguey Island
Ranked #92 of 115 Hotels in Palawan Province
Reviewed 18 March 2011

Definitly a place to go if you are in the area and that have a sense of refinement and appreciate to be in exclusive places!!
The host, Helena and Richard welcome you as if you were old friends without interfering on your privacy. You abviously are free to participate or not.
Concerning the rates and taxes that some former guests highlighted as too high or being a surprise, I believe these informations are properly communicated upon your arrival on the island and/or the taxe and service rates are also well communicated on any guide... thus it should not be of any surprise!!
Concerning the food and the fact that Helena is in charge of it and that you share the dining table with the other guests, I believe Helena is smart enough to understand that any guest may like or not such or such food eventhough you need to consider that the planification of the food ordering in such place is complicated if you want and have nice products as she offers - it is not as if you were grocery shopping right at the corner... - and that a couple may want and have dinner all by themself and not with the other guests staying in Mangenguey... eventhough, once again, it is part of the place and part of nice encounter you may have during such trip. I personnaly met a very nice couple from Uruguay, they were on their Honey Moon and we stayed in touch since...

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mathoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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72 - 78 of 119 reviews

Reviewed 19 February 2011

Our stay started out nicely. Richard the owner was quite friendly and went out of his way to make our stay comfortable. But our stay soon soured.

Guests have their meals together on one dining table, so you're pressured to socialize with complete strangers, make conversation and be nice. My wife, being a very private person, wasn't happy about this and avoided having meals unless they were served in our unit.

The meals were hit-and-miss - 40% hits and 60% misses. It was as if the meals were experimental. A couple of times, the soup was inedible. To Helena the chef's credit, the cookies were to die for. On checkout, we ordered some of these heavenly cookies for the road.

My biggest peeve was this: when we stayed one extra night, the hotel, without advising us, charged the extra night at DOUBLE our booking rate.

Also on the bill was the return boat trip to the island: an unexpected $75 fee. This is rich, considering we could have arranged the same trip independently for maybe $20.

Anyone going to this hotel should ask for all fees prior to booking. There are far too many hidden charges. And be warned: service fees and government taxes adds 22% to your subtotal! Your final bill will floor you. What you pay for at this resort will put you in a luxury resort elsewhere, e.g., El Nido, where you can enjoy more bang for your buck.

Another frustration we had - although this is about Agoda rather than the hotel - is that there is no way to contact Agoda other than via the form on their web site. They publish a phone number - which to our surprise was a Thailand number (a long distance call from the Philippines!) - but if you call it, you only get a recording instructing you to use the web form. On an emergency, such as when my wife contracted dengue and was hospitalized for 3 days prior to our arrival, we had no way of knowing whether rearranging our trip was acceptable until 2 days AFTER filling out the form. During this whole time, we could not rearrange our flights.

In conclusion: we won't be back at this hotel, we won't recommend it to others and we warn others about booking thru Agoda.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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29  Thank tru3north
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
elf001, Owner at Mangenguey Island, responded to this reviewResponded 7 March 2011

No matter how hard we try there is always people we cannot seam to please! I encourage everyone to visit our website before making a decision to visit Utopia. Mangenguey is wonderful but not for everyone! Regarding charges this gentleman had move dates two ice, the first time we waive the charges but the second time we apply the Cancelation Policies clearly written in both the Agoda page and in our website. 100% charges for cancelation 20 days to arrival date, and yes we do charge 12%vat and 10% service charge on top of your bill. Is not true we charge double in this case, we charge our regular full board cost. By the way he extended his stay by one night, I wonder why? If he was clearly unhappy and dissatisfied. I also want to point out we did room service every meal to his wife without extra charge and try very hard to accommodate her. Regarding my food and culinary skills I guess you can read the other reviews and make your own conclusion!
We are proud of our ratings and we work very hard to make Mangenguey a perfect experience and will continue to do so hoping to share Utopia with you.
Mangenguey is an adult destination and guests must be 16 years or older.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2011

I've never come back from a place more rested, refreshed, and relaxed than I have from Mangenguey. The only thing missing from the place is a white-suited Ricardo Mantalban speaking his line from the TV show. I found the island to be:

Beautiful
Quiet
Relaxing
Still (not the same as quiet)
Clean
Inviting

I say these things knowing full well that my fiancee and I are probably not typical visitors to the island. The property is geared towards high end tastes, while being set among rustic simplicity. The food, particularly, is an Epicurean extravaganza. You could easily see many of the dishes come out of the CIA or Cordon Bleu, and the bottom line is that this overshot our palettes. Since we were lucky enough to be the only guests on the island during 3 of our 4 nights, we were able to communicate this to our hosts, and they tweaked the menu to accommodate us - which to me showed a great degree of flexibility and hospitality.

Among the strongest impressions I came away with was the incredible attention to detail that Richard and Helena have shown in crafting the island. Seashells leading up the steps to our cottage (alternated left side and right side) were just an example. One of the evenings they set our dinner up out on the beach, with hurricane lanterns scattered all around - just for us.

The swimming and snorkeling are beautiful, and the island itself is breathtaking. There will always be things that a person could complain about - but as long as folks are apprised of the fact that the cottages aren't set up with AC, that the power is on from 6 PM to 6 AM (although it was on more often than that when we were there), and that the food is driven by the hosts, rather than picked from a menu - I can't imagine anyone would come away from there with anything but good memories, and a recharged personal battery!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank MichiganTed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2011

Great stay at a very small boutique resort that is well throughout and in good
taste with influences of fashion detail. We stayed there from October 31 until
Nov 5.

TRANSPORT
The resort will help arrange this. They will pick you up from Coron with their
own boat. Depending on the weather, it takes around 1.5 hours to reach
Mangenguey.

ROOMS and WEATHER
It has a small island feel. Basically there are 2 main buildings, the main
building has 2 suites, more modern and contemporary in feel (hot water, bathtub,
tv). The other buildings are bungalows, the style is more rustic with Asian
decoration details. One bungalow (yellow building) is a suite and the other is a
duplex with 2 rooms (red building). Our duplex room did not have hot water, just
showers and the bathroom is semi-outdoor.

We stayed in the duplex, upper level, we recommend this room if you plan to stay
at the bungalows as it has a very nice size terrace overlooking the sea and
gives more privacy. The terrace offers 2 lounge chairs and big outdoor cushions.
All very tastefully done. It has a great inside-outside feel. We used it a lot
for rainy days as we were not so lucky with the weather. In retrospect, I think
it wasn't the best time of the year to visit the island. Wished we had more
sunshine during our stay.

BEACHES
The island has 3 beaches but to reach the other 2 beaches requires a bite of
trekking through the jungle. The main beach is south-east facing.


OTHERS
Don't know if was the rain or being so close to the jungle but we found the
mosquitos to be a bit of a problem, especially in the evenings. So not to ruin
your stay, please bring lots of bug sprays and wear light long sleeve clothing
and shut your doors in the evening.

FOOD and SERVICE
Dinning is communal style. All hotel guests mingle and sit together at a long
dining table for all three meals at set times. The food was superb, done with a lot of thought and creativity. The quality of cooking is very high, western restaurant
standards. Everything is freshly made and prepared. For breakfast: fresh
juice, fruits, croissants and bagels. Lunch and dinner varies from steak to
rabbit to prawn salads. The cooking has heavy influences of Spain and America.
You will be well-fed, but if you're looking for local authentic Filipino
cuisine, this isn't. Drinking water are provided for the guests free of charge,
soft drinks and alcohol are charged separately.

The service was excellent. The staff are welcoming and friendly.

ACTIVITIES
You have the usual beach/water activities. Beside that, you can hike through the
jungle. There are also caves. There's no dive shop (as of yet during our stay
there), although they were building one. But diving can be arranged if booked
ahead of time.

Overall, Mangenguey is charming boutique hideaway with a unique touch. Please
keep in mind that the overall feel is more western and less local Filipino.

Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
1  Thank GTLon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2011

excellent island getaway for a laid back or more adventurous holiday. had the beach to our selves and explored the islands coral reefs and jungle. food was amazing mostly spanish cuisine and all rooms have a stunning beach side view. not your typical hotel but more of a remote island utopia (but only 1.5/2hrs by boat from the mainland) couldn't recommend the experience enough!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank axelrose79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2011

My boyfriend and I went in search of a unique experience on our second trip together to the Philippines. After back packing through many destinations last year we wanted two things 1) to return to the beautiful islands of Palawan 2) to stay somewhere we could experience a bit of luxury as well as experience a place with a truly unique offering.

This place had everything we were looking for, we really felt like we were in paradise. The beach cottage where we stayed had a beautiful beach view with the sound of the ocean and the waves. I love the way these cottages are designed, while mostly made of bamboo the interiors are luxurious with a boutique hotel feel. We spent every night chatting in bed cuddled up while the sound of the water lulled us to sleep - it was a god send to have been without a TV and air con (much more romantic!!)

Helena and Richard have a strong vision of Utopia that my partner and I share and we really understand and support the romantic ideas of conservation and all the hard work that has gone into the creation of Mangenguey.

We couldn't have asked for a better experience, the food was amazing and their service is warm and friendly. We had three amazing meals a day and enjoyed the beauty of the island, which is indeed a tropical paradise. We spent our time snorkeling around the island, the reef is full of different kinds of tropical fish. We even got a chance to see Helena and Richard release a number of baby turtles that had hatched back into the wild.

There are also many great hiking trails through the jungle and forests of the island that lead onto beautiful vantage points from different areas. Great places to view the sunset if not from the bamboo dock leading off the beach.

We had a wonderful trip filled with romantic sunsets, amazing (no really, AMAZING) food, and fantastic company. I highly recommend a stay in Mangenguey to anyone looking for a different experience full of luxury, charm and personal touches. We loved it and hope more like minded people get a chance to experience Utopia!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank alesstinio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2011

What can I say about Mangenguey - this is the most beautiful island I have ever seen. We were met at the airport by a friendly driver who took us to the port in Coron where we were directed to a small bar to wait for our banka. As with everything in the Philippines don't be surprised if you have to wait a few minutes for things to happen, but just relax and take in the scenery!

The 1.5hr boat ride to the island was great, very scenic, zigzagging through the islands. When you finally approach the island you really get a sense of how remote this paradise is.

We stayed upstairs in the cottage on the beach with a fantastic view of the sea right from our room. The rooms are bohemiam luxury. Minimalistic but with that touch of style that graces the whole island.

If you are expecting all the mod cons then this isn't the place for you (although the wifi is a welcome bonus). You wont get aircon or TV but you will get tranquillity, fantastic food, and a great communal area to meet your fellow guests.There are also water issues (hopefully they will get this sorted with the recent addition of a de-salinator) which means that they encourage you to preserve water (It's cold water too by the way unless you stay in the main house)

Food is served at set times each day and there isn't flexibility with these times but that didn't bother us one bit. The food is amazing but if you have any special dietary requirements make sure you let them know in advance of your stay as everything has to be ordered and shipped in.

The staff are great and make you feel welcome, whether it is a chat about the island or talks with Richard about his life in New York.

We spend most of our time snorkelling on the unbelievable reef just metres of the beach. It was without doubt the best snorkelling we had ever done, and that includes the Great Barrier Reef.

Whilst it isn't the cheapest place to stay, it is worth spending that little extra to get a truly unique holiday/experience.

We'd love to come back one day.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank travel0830
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mangenguey Island

Address: Philippines
Region: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#34 On the Beach Hotel in Palawan Province
#39 Top resorts Hotel in Palawan Province
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mangenguey is truly like no other place in the world. It is intimate and private, a destination that blends the incredible beauty of untouched Nature with culture and art. The island is a perfect location to create a new vision of Utopian living and redefined luxury for the twenty-first century. Mangenguey is an exquisite and remote Virgin Island comparable in natural beauty to the best in the world; it is located in the Calamianes archipelago in Northern Palawan, Philippines. It is right at the center of the Coral Triangle, one of the world's richest marine biodiversity zones. Getting There. Mangenguey is 45 minutes away from Manila, Philippines by plane. There are regular daily flights to Busuanga airport via Air Phil Express, Cebu Pacific, or SKYJET.Upon arrival at Busuanga Airport, guests take a thirty-minute drive in an air-conditioned van or private car (with additional charge) that takes them to Coron Town. In Coron, guests board our native banka for an approximately 1-1/2 hour (depending on sea conditions) beautiful scenic journey to the island. Airport transfers are $65/ trip and include land and sea transport. We recommend a minimum stay of three (3) nights for guests traveling from not so distant locations, and a week for guests coming from far away. Food and Beverage: The dining experience on Mangenguey is like no other: fresh sea air to stimulate the appetite, gorgeous views of the ocean, superb cuisine, warm and friendly service, and interesting conversation. Helena's simple and approachable Catalan-inspired cuisine is definitely one of the highlights of the Mangenguey experience. Gathered around the gracious table for communal dining or "al fresco" in the garden, meals in Mangenguey reflect the distinctive character of Helena. Shaped by her Spanish childhood and her years of travelling throughout different continents, combined with her knack for using local ingredients, each meal on Mangenguey is a unique epicurean adventure and pleasure for the senses. All guests are served 3 gourmet meals a day for a fee per person, per day. We accommodate "Special diets" provided advance notice and at an additional charge per day per person. Guests can also enjoy a variety of classic cocktails and a selection of wines, spirits, and beers. A truly luxurious moment on the island is the pre-dinner drinks at the Big House: sip the house champagne or our Signature Cocktails as tantalizing aromas waft from the open-style kitchen while Helena's cooks. Entertainment. Guests can swim and snorkel in the reef, paddle around the island in native bankas, bird watch, or trek through the forest. They can read on the veranda facing the sea, play pool in the Big House, or watch the sunset while sipping champagne and listening to Maria Callas. The adventurous can dive or snorkel in the magnificent house reef or in the turquoise waters surrounding the island. We customize island hoping and diving tours on our comfortable bankas to fit your desires and interests that come complete with gourmet picnics and butler service. Our private diving trips must be booked in advance with our Dive Master. Experience the beautiful reefs and the Japanese wrecks. We can plan a perfect diving experience based on your skills and desires. Private diving courses may also be arranged. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mangenguey Island Hotel Coron

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