San Jose: Grace Island – 7 Reasons Why You Should Visit it during Off-Season
Grace Island is an island resort located in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. It is surrounded by a much larger island of Ambulong. From a simple retreat center, it was developed and evolved into a frequently-visited resort in San Jose.
It was already featured in several travel shows, blog sites, and other news outlets. Before it rose to fame, it was already visited several times by the flock.
During our most recent visit, it is yet another kind of experience. We made our visit during the height of the habagat (southwest monsoon), Philippine’s wet season often coupled with strong winds and rains (and sometimes, typhoons). We were not disappointed, rather we felt another kind of thrill, awe, and enjoyment (though it’s not our first time to make a visit on a rainy season).
1. Getting There Is An Adventure In Itself
While sailing through the seas, the strong habagat winds will greet you. Expect rough waves even during typhoon-free times especially when passing through the route by the coastline of Ilin dubbed as the “Bunganga ng Diablo” (Devil’s Mouth); you can even ask the boatmen about this. Expect to become wet no matter how you try to evade it, especially during rains.
2. The Green Foilage of the Island
The island is usually brown during summer. During dry months leaves fell from the trees planted here. But during wet months, you can see the island’s entire beauty through its green foliage that compliments with the surrounding turquoise waters.
3. Rocking Floating Cottages
One of the main, unique features of this resort is its floating cottages. Winds rock the cottages as you rest in one of them. You barely experience this during summer unless if you stay a little longer, but during the rainy season, the wind and the shrill of bamboos give a distinct atmosphere.
4. Water-sports activities
You can still enjoy kayaking, jetski, banana boat and other water sports. But doing them during rains or rougher seas is more challenging yet gives a different kind of enjoyment.
5. Other resort activities
What makes the resort’s zipline unique, is you can touch the water while on the zipline especially during high tide. You can also try bicycling and travel around the island within three minutes. There is also a basketball court and beach volleyball that you can enjoy, and if you have kids there is a mini playground for them.
6. Catch raindrops while dipping in the sea
Where do you want to bathe – under the rain or at the sea? You can try them both at the same time without worrying about the waves. You can worry less about being darkened due to the cloudier skies.
7. Go One-On-One With The Island
Technically you are not alone, thanks to the friendly and attentive staffs who are always present even during rainy season. But during this season, the island is less crowded, meaning there is a greater chance that you and your peers are the island’s only guests. Thus you can find the solitude and tranquility that you are long seeking for.
- Always check the latest weather updates before going on the trip. Even if you dearly desire, when there is a weather disturbance like a tropical cyclone or an LPA (Low-Pressure Area) coast guards and the resort will forbid traveling.
- Seal your electronic devices inside plastic bags.
- Look for cheaper flights… airlines often offer seat sales during the rainy season.
- Cellphone signals are very weak if you’re lucky, but most of the time they’re non-existent.
- Don’t trust the waterproofing of your electronic device, especially when going to the sea. Unlike freshwater, seawater is a no-joke for your devices. Better double your gadgets’ protection by sealing them off with waterproof cases.
- Using waterproof dry bags lets your belongings dry and secured, even when you’re clumsy 😛
- Bring sunscreen. You’ll never know when the sun starts to brighten up your gloomy vacation 😉
- Wearing a pair of amphibious or water shoes makes you always ready to get wet anytime.
HOW TO GET THERE
- BY AIR
Take a 45-minute flight from Manila to San Jose. From San Jose Airport there is a 5-minute ride to the Aroma Beach Booking Office where the boat awaits.
- BY LAND AND SEA (Roro)
From Cubao, take the bus bound for San Jose, Occidental Mindoro via Batangas Port either to Abra de Ilog or to Calapan City Pier. Both ports are linked by their respective provincial highway to San Jose. The bus ride takes 12 hours of travel.
Note: The shallow waters of San Jose make its port unsuitable for docking of large ships. Instead, ships dock at the ports of Abra de Ilog and Calapan. From there is an additional 6 to 8 hours of land travel before reaching San Jose.
Update: Partas Bus Line has just started operating in Mindoro Island with trips departing every four hours. Deluxe fare costs PhP1,100.
GRACE ISLAND ULTIMATE GUIDE
- Lininob Rock Islet
- Ambulong Cave (Ambulong Island)
- Inasakan White Beach (Ilin Island)
- White Island (Manadi Island)
- Aroma Beach & Landing Marker
- Lininob Point (Ambulong Island)
PREVIOUS BLOG ABOUT GRACE ISLAND
- Grace Island Resort 2012 Visit
- Finding Solitude in Grace Island
- Island Hopping in San Jose
- Ambulong Lighthouse