Team Building at Estrellas de Mendoza Playa Resort

Estrellas de Mendoya Playa Resort was the venue for our recent company summer outing. The planning committee chose the resort for the following reasons:

  • it was an accredited establishment by our company
  • they gave us the most reasonable corporate rates. Though not the cheapest among the resorts that we contacted, the inclusions and facilities made up for their price point
  • they had facilities for team building activities
  • we heard the food was good
  • a beachfront resort with an infinity pool

All of us had a great time at the resort and we were able to recharge our work-stressed minds during our stay. πŸ™‚

Taking a relaxing dip at the resort’s infinity pool

First Impression:

Upon arriving at the resort, I was surprised at how big the area was. The parking area is so spacious and the main building looked imposing.

A first look at Estrellas de Mendoza Playa Resort

The staff was all smiles when they greeted us and they made check-in a breeze. We were able to go to our rooms within 10 minutes of our arrival.

I immediately looked for the pool and the beach area which both called out to me. I was more excited to get into the pool when I learned that it was only 4 feet deep. Perfect for someone like me who only knows how to float but not swim. But we had to participate in the team building activities first before our free time.

Estrella de Mendoza’s spacious infinity pool

Beach area

Our Room:

The arrangement was quadruple sharing for each room. Despite this, me and my companions had ample room. There was a double bed and 2 single beds which were all comfortable.

Room interior

We were each provided with our own toiletries, a towel for the room, a towel for swimming, bottled water and blanket.

At first, we had some trouble operating the air conditioning. But a call at the front desk was able to rectify it. They sent someone within 5 minutes to turn on the air conditioning and teach us how to operate it.

The bathroom was nice and clean. I rejoiced at the hot and cold shower even though it was summer time. I was sleeping with the air conditioning on anyway. πŸ™‚

View of the pool and beach from our room

The only problem we had in the room was that the bathroom door didn’t lock properly. But as we were all females in the room, it wasn’t a big deal. However, it seemed that the locks of the bathroom doors was a common problem. I heard that our colleagues’ room also had a non-working bathroom door lock while another room’s lock was working so properly that my colleague was locked in until someone from housekeeping set him free. LOL.

Team Building Activities:

Estrellas de Mendoza set up tents and an obstacle at the beach area so we can conduct our team building activities. There were 2 courses, but we only used the one in the shaded area so we won’t get burned under the sun. It was summer so it was so hot, but we really didn’t notice since we were all trying to be competitive with each other while having fun. From time to time, a cold breeze would come to bring relief from the heat.

Everyone’s getting ready to beat each other in the games!

Obstacle course

We also used the Function Room for our program in the evening which was just about enough for our group of 20+ people.

Function room

The team building activities were tiring but we had so much fun in the friendly competitions. A few of us acquired bumps and bruises along the way but they weren’t so serious. The staff was able to provide first aid to our wounds.

Food:

Though we heard the food was okay, I wasn’t really expecting much. We were all pleasantly surprised when we tasted one dish after another and they all tasted delicious!

Our package included snacks, dinner, breakfast and lunch. Everyone was very satisfied with the food. My favorites include the pork sisig we ordered during our drinking session in the night and herbed roasted chicken they served during dinner. The only fail item for us was the pork embutido included in the breakfast buffet. It didn’t taste bad. But it just didn’t have any taste at all.

By the way, the resort doesn’t allow outside food and drinks to be brought into the resort. Chips are fine but the guests have to sign a waiver first.

Note: I have no pictures since I always left my phone and camera in the room everytime we ate 😦

Final Thoughts:

Overall, staying at Estrellas de Mendoza was a fun experience. I would recommend it for large groups, families and couples. We went on a Friday and left on Saturday which meant that we only shared the resort with another 3 or 4 groups. But they were expecting another 300 people for a company outing that Saturday which made me glad we came a day earlier.

For the rates, I find the resort a bit pricier than those I’m used to but I definitely think that it’s worth the price. It’s a good place to consider when you’re looking for a nice resort in San Juan, Batangas. πŸ™‚

I hate going down circular staircases, but they are wonderful to look at

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Riding the Waves in San Juan, La Union (2014)

Out of the blue, one of my friends suggested we go to San Juan, La Union on the Holy Week weekend. It was the perfect idea since I would be in Pangasinan at that time, it was summer and I’ve been itching to try surfing again (and plan to succeed this time). This was a semi-unexpected trip because I only had a month to anticipate and prepare – I usually plan trips months in advance. The search for our accommodations and budget planning fell to me as the usual protocol during barkada trips.

My Companions

The most annoying part of planning a barkada trip is that I don’t know who would really go until the day of the trip itself. There were some who said No to this trip and ended up going, Yes which turned to not going andΒ Maybe’s who didn’t decide if they were going until the last minute. Such is life – full of uncertainties. Anyway, 8 was our final number. All of my companions were really good friends so I was looking forward to the fun times ahead.

meet the guys: Ian, Francis, Bernie, Jhodan

meet the guys: Ian, Francis, Bernie, Jhodan

meet the girls: Mae Ann, Zhorea, Ruby, Rose

meet the girls: Mae Ann, Zhorea, Ruby, Rose

The Roadtrip

Jhodan had his car so 5 of our number rode with him. The others had to commute to San Juan, La Union. It was a 3 hour ride from Pangasinan to La Union. There was moderately heavy traffic for the first half of the journey so we took longer than usual to reach our destination. I wish I could give the exact route, but I’m hopeless with directions. All we did was follow the highway. That is all I can remember. Please forgive me, it was still early in the morning when we left Pangasinan. My brain was still not functioning.

Our Accommodation: Normi’s Beachfront Resort

I searched for our accommodations 3 weeks earlier. My criteria for searching was the room could accommodate 6-10 pax and would not cost more than Php 500.00 per person. All the famous hostels and resorts which fit these criteria were already fully booked for Holy Week. Then more Googling led to me discover Normi’s Beachfront Resort where there was still an available room for 5 pax at Php 2,750.00 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Further inquiry revealed that in case there was more than 5 people in our group, we only had to pay Php 350.00 for each extra person. I immediately reserved the room for us with the hope that the room can accommodate all of whoever would be going on this trip.

I didn’t have to pay any downpayment or any reservation fee. All they require is that I call 3 days before we arrive to confirm our reservation. Otherwise, they would be giving our room to someone else. We gave the full payment upon check-in. This was not required but we decided to pay immediately so we don’t spend it on other things.

Normi’s is not located in the touristy part of San Juan, La Union (contrary to what I initially thought). We knew we finally arrived in San Juan when we saw many resorts, restaurants, parked cars and tourists along the road. But it was another 10-minute drive before we reached Normi’s, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds.

all 8 of us comfortably slept here

a peek inside the Berlin room

a peek inside the Berlin room

2 of the 4 beds in the room

Our 5-pax room was spacious enough for all 8 of us. All we had to do was arrange the beds side by side and place an extra mattress or 2 so everyone has enough room to sleep.

Wandering around Normi’s, I discovered that they had 3 pools: a semi-olympic pool (10 feet deep), the usual 3-6 feet pool and the kiddie pool. The pools are heated at night so it wouldn’t be so cold for swimmers. We lounged around the pool until it closed at 11 PM.

signages can be found so we don't lose our way in the reosrt

signages can be found so we don’t lose our way in the resort

the semi-Oympic pool & some of the rooms

the semi-Oympic pool & some of the rooms

the 3-5 feet pool and kiddie pool

the 3-5 feet pool and kiddie pool

The breakfast that came with our room was a simple affair. It consisted of 2 slices of white bread, egg and banana.

breakfast ng nagda-diet

breakfast ng nagda-diet

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