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“A Romantic and Isolated Paradise”
Review of Mangenguey Island

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Mangenguey Island
Ranked #92 of 115 Hotels in Palawan Province
Reviewed 18 March 2012

Truly paradise.

If you're looking for isolation, romance, and adventure - this place delivers, and then some. White sand beaches where you can be completely alone, spectacular reefs, amazing views, and memories for a lifetime.

We stayed in the Crimson and it's the most popular for a reason. The bamboo floors and balcony were my favorite features. Nobody was in the Azur below us, so we weren't bothered by any noise (and didn't have to worry about treading lightly). The water pressure in the shower was low, but when you consider the location the fact that there is running fresh water at all is impressive. If something like that would ruin your day then you should probably look elsewhere. We saw all the other rooms available and we definitely liked the Crimson best. The suites in the main house were very fancy - hardwood floors and really nice full bathrooms. The Rosa cottages are sort of set back to the side of the main house and don't have as nice of a view as the others, in my opinion. However, the mud brick construction keeps them very cool and comfortable on the inside.

The food was fantastic. All our meals were served on small tables about 15 feet from the water in front of the main house. Breakfast was my favorite - a coconut with a straw in it, a huge plate of fruit, and a basket of bread/pastry. All the dishes were really well executed and I could only muster one minor complaint if I really tried (that I've already forgotten about). In my book, the food they served ranks just below any 5-star restaurant I've been to.

All the staff were very polite, friendly, and "hands-off" - which was fine by us.

From the negative reviews, you need to know what to expect if you want to stay here. It is not a "luxury" resort, but what they do manage to provide in such a remote location is fantastic. I would especially recommend this for the more adventurous couple. The rooms aren't totally private because of the openings and whatnot, but there was never anyone around. Nobody ever bothered us. We spent our days there snorkeling, kayaking, rock climbing, and swimming. But we also got in plenty of lounging, reading, and napping in various spots around the island. You might have to deal with the occasional bug or wildlife, but that's just part of the experience.

There were a few construction projects going on the island and quite a few workers, but none of it was a nuisance. We were the only couple the first night on the island, and two more showed up over the next two days. We got to dinner early in the evenings hoping to mingle with the other guests over cocktails, but the other couples didn't seem interested. Oh well. We wouldn't have minded sharing a table with the other guests, but we ate separately for all the meals.

Richard was a wealth of good advice and tips for where to go and what to do around the island. He would have taken us around personally, but he was hard at work fixing the desalinator (which they got working just before we showed up). We got along just fine with just his info though. Also, he was good company and makes a darn good cocktail. Helena was nice as well and you could tell she was hard at work behind the scenes making sure everything met her vision of utopia.

Transportation was arranged for us by the island - a van was waiting at the airport to take us to the boat. It was a 30 min van ride and 1.5 hr boat ride. Getting there was half the fun.

We loved every second of our time there and we rank it as the best trip we've ever taken.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank MarkyMark50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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48 - 54 of 119 reviews

Reviewed 7 March 2012

We spend a few days in Coron so we could visit all the sites then headed out to Mangenguey for Valentines Day. We were on our Aniversery and wanted to end with some romantic down time. It was a great choice. The place was clean and very well run. The staff was freindly, helpful and professional. The resort had 3 couple besides ourself. We eat together for some meals and really enjoyed the diverse company. For Valentines dinner the set out individual tables by the beach with candles spread out tastfully on the ground around us. It was very nice, the food was great. For a touch of class at the end of the world it can not be beat.
Richard and Helena we perfect hosts and everything work smoothly ( which is not the case most of the time in the Philippines) We live in the Philippines and miss some Filipino Culture. I would highly recomend Mangenguey for any one looking for Solitude in a first class environment.

Room Tip: Bring Cash as they have only Filipino Credit Card service
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Bula2424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2012

My boyfriend and I came to Mangenguey for three nights at the start of a trip around the Philippines - and only wish we could have stayed a lot longer!

It was quite simply one of the loveliest places I've ever seen - with beautiful pristine white sand beaches, spectacular sunsets and amazing coral reefs no more than 10 yards off the shore.

Helena is a wonderful cook and reading some of the negative reviews below I cannot recognise the charming friendly woman we met in them at all. We were surprised that the food was European rather than Filipino recipes but Richard and Helena's background in New York restaurants explains this - and it really was all delicious with the most amazing fish stew I've ever tasted.

Richard is absolutely lovely - I cannot stress our gratitude to him enough. He took us on two expeditions around the island - climbing rocks and snorkelling into caves - which made our trip so special. He's a fascinating man and kept us very entertained with stories in the evenings too!

Regarding some of the negative comments - yes the amenities are more basic than you would expect in other Philippines hotels for the price - but when you think you are on what is basically a desert island it's pretty impressive! The desalinator wasn't working when we went and the staff were having to roll barrels of fresh water in from the beach and up to the kitchen - it makes you a lot more aware of wasting resources which can't be a bad thing. We were still very comfortable there.

You are expected to eat with the other guests in the evening as a default but I'm sure you wouldn't have to do that if you didn't want to. We found it a really interesting approach and we really enjoyed getting to know some Russian rocket scientists (seriously!)

We also loved the no-children policy - we love children (honestly!) but it's really nice to be staying somewhere entirely adults only. You're not mollycoddled here and it makes it so much more fun.

My boyfriend and I stayed in other five-star hotels around the Philippines but nowhere was as enjoyable as this! I'm already dreaming about hiring the whole island for my 40th birthday party......!

Thanks Helena and Richard for a brilliant time xx

Room Tip: We stayed on one of the cottages and woke to sunrise every morning - bliss!
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank charlie_girling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2012

Although the location is a paradise, the staff and the hosts, to the exception of Richard,were rude, impolite and unprofessional.

Arrival
The first thing you are being handed over when you arrive instead of a glass of water or a juice like at most luxurious resorts, are forms you need to sign off the minute you have touched based on the island. Worth noting that the location being in a remote place, it would take most people coming from the US or Europe about 24h. The island is situated about 3h boat ride from the city of Coron, on the busuanga island, about 1h flight from Manila.  

Food and meals
Although the food is generally good it is not exceptional and certainly not to the standard of a 4/5 star hotel. Also if you have a special diet such as eating fish and no meat you will be charged an additional $25 per day on top of $75. In my opinion eating fish on an island shouldn't be an issue and more eco-friendly than Parma ham imported from Italy at exorbitant prices....

General hospitality
This is the main issue we have experienced on the island. Although the website sells a formidable and hospitable atmosphere to foster intellectual conversation between people and where Helena wanted establish her salon, the atmosphere we've experienced is one of a tyrannic and bossy hostess with little savoir-vivre or warmth and on the contrary rather rude and arrogant. When we arrived on the island before lunch we weren't greeted by Helena until the evening and in a rather laconic way. The only sentences she addressed to us (apart from the rather rude one I will detail below) were: "lunch good?" or "dinner good?". As a second example when a friend joined us later on the island after a very long trip from Sydney, in her usual fashion she sent her employee to ask him to sign-off the forms straight away and pay the additional amount for the room. Since I had negotiated a discount price of $350 for the 2 bedroom cottage Mimosa for 3 people occupancy I explained that the additional person should only pay $30 extra as per the website rate and asked her to check with Helena as we had agreed by email. About 5 minutes later we got the visit from Helena (notwithstanding she had never spoken to us) asking without even greeting my friend freshly arrived after an 18h flight, or rather barking what was the problem. She was so aggressive with us that we didn't want to discuss and agreed to pay the double rate. When my friend went to the office to pay he was asked to give his credit card so they can make a copy of both sides of his credit card which he refused as one should while travelling. Helena then informed in front of my friend that my friend was leaving the island and they should get a boat ready to leave the island. It was 9pm!

Prices and service
Totally overpriced. You're paying for a 4/5 star rate but it is mostly 2 star if not less. You feel at someone's place and you are disturbing and that anything you ask is totally inappropriate. You don't even get water during the day in this heat. And this is not due to a lack of staff... The room usually doesn't get cleaned until the following afternoon which makes it uneasy to use considering we were 4 people sharing a 2 bedroom cottage.
Due to Helena's tyrannic management the Filipino staff is afraid of her and has lost total sense of simple hospitality than most Filipino are naturally good at. Some take on her arrogant attitude and have no sense of running a hospitality business. We also learned that they worked about 13h a day with only 4 days break in a month!

Overall a place to absolutely avoid.
Although the concept keeps attracting people to this resort that is a place to absolutely avoid if you don't like being ripped-off and talked to arrogantly. The region is beautiful and club paradise has been recommended to us ... But who knows if it's not another tyrannic western woman exploiting the local staff and ripping-off tourists lured in another paradise....

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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36  Thank MlleCoco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2012

My girlfriend and I had the most amazing and romantic vacation visiting this breathtaking island. The stunning white beach and the fantastic variation of beautiful corals and marine life set the perfect frame for a both relaxing and adventurous experience. We stayed in one of the charming cottages on the beach with a gorgeous and very personal interior design. We enjoyed the most astounding sun sets from our terrace while sipping a young coconut or one of the many delicious island cocktails from the the menu. The staff and the owners – Helena and Richard – will treat you as family and make sure that all you wishes come true. It’s not often that you get to meet people with such dedication, kindness, passion and energy!

We got up early every morning and walked the 10 meters down to beach for a morning swim and a spectacular sun rise. Breakfast was served at the waterfront (lots of fresh fruit, homemade croissants and marmalade, young coconut and coffee). The afternoons were spent at the beach and in the azure blue water snorkeling or paddling kayaks. The three courses meals (both lunch and dinner) are very special. Helena is truly a remarkable chef and her cocking makes the island a foodies’ paradise. You’re in for a very special treat 
Words and pictures can only describe a sliver of the beauty of Mangenguey Island. We highly recommend you to go – we promise that you will get a very special memory for life. We certainly did!

To Helena and Richard: We miss your unique paradise, your lovely company and kindness, your cocking and cocktails. THANK you for making our visit so memorable! We really hope that we can come back to visit some day. Take care.

Mikael & Marianne

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Mikael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2012

We just came back from Mangenguey and we are already missing it so much! I can't understand the bad reviews... At the beginning I was worried about getting bored and the bad reviews but there is always something to do like visiting the island, kayaking or going with Richard for a walk. He is amazing, very interesting, ecological friendly and I loved the way they built the resort respecting the nature. It's not cheap but is the price for a remote place far from all the noise in the cheap place of Coron city and you have the service of a five star resort.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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1  Thank duiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2012

Stayed at Mangenguey Island from Jan 30th & left on Feb 2nd. If you are looking for downtime with the luxe of what nature has to offer including a scrumptuous meal each time, this is the ultimate place to be. Yes, it is remote, rustic but the beauty, the charm, the total hospitality of Richard, Helena and all the staff that made our stay memorable. I also miss the mascot of the island, Pandac. We wish you well and thanks for the memories!

Rosemarie & Kola
Canada

Room Tip: We stayed on the 2nd floor of the main house which is overlooking the sea. You listen to the waves...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Rosemarie P
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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