8-foot Waves At The Comfort Of A Swimming Pool

Trip Start May 15, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Club Manila East

Flag of Philippines  , Calabarzon,
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Today I woke up early, packed my swim gear and headed out to the Marikina Sports Complex for a workout at their Olympic-sized pool. But when I got there the pool was reserved for a swimming competition. Early on at the start of March I actually took note of the reserved dates on my phone but somehow I forgot to check it before heading out of the house. So there I was, all  geared up for a swim but with no pool to swim in, I decided to check out Club Manila East in Taytay, Rizal. I had been meaning to check out the place for a long time now but I never really got around to it. So I figured this would be a good time to do so.

From Robinson's Metro East I rode a jeepney headed to Taytay. It was a very loooooooonng ride! It was a good 30 minutes from where I came from and the road is often narrow with moderate traffic. The kind jeepney driver dropped me off to one of the gates of CME which is closer to the highway but it turns out that that particular gate was closed that Sunday. I asked directions from the tricycle drivers nearby and they offered to take me to the other gate which would surely be open today. The tricycle driver then proceeded to take me to the entrance of CME Homes/Subdivision. I paid the guy P20 but I saw he was expecting more. From that point I just walked a little bit until I got to the main entrance of the CME Resort Complex.

I checked out the price rates and the entrance fee amounted to P350. I then asked if they had individual lockers for safekeeping of personal belongings and I was advised that they only have cabins and cabanas which have key locks. A Cabana in CME rents for P1500 for the whole day (7am-9pm). A Cabin costs (P1000).There were options for an overnight stay and other packages which were very much group or family-oriented. Not very conducive for the solo traveler.

The middle-aged lady behind me quipped that I should not pay for any other storage facilities since they weren't all that good nor safe anyway. She said that she was a frequent goer to CME and based on her experience, they just place their bags near the pools and they dont find it necessary to rent the private cabins. Against my better judgment I took her advice and just paid for the entrance fee. Oh what the heck, I'll have to keep my bag under close watch and hope no one steals my stuff while I swim.

After paying the fee I was given a waterproof bracelet as a ticket. The pools at CME look very blue and invitingly nice. The sun was up high in the sky and there was a light breeze blowing. There were several kiddie pools that were situated near the main entrance. There was also a humongous slide, a waterfalls and several pools were you can go kayaking. I have tried kayaking in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte before and I enjoyed it because of the waves and the fear of being toppled over. I am still trying to figure out how kayaking can be enjoyable doing circles in a pool. There was also a shaded pool near the big slide for those who don't want to get too much sun exposure. I walked further into the complex and saw a good number or pools that were closed for renovation. Overall the resort complex was very scenic and family-oriented.

Even for a Sunday on a Summer the resort wasn't too crowded for a claustrophobic (or is it Ochlophobia?)  like me. There were a good number of kids, barkada and family groups scattered all over. Finally I got to the wave pools. Never mind the other pools in CME. The wave pools are definitely the main attraction in this complex. There was a smaller wave pool that contains about 4ft of water at static state but about 6ft waves are generated when the machines are running. There's also a much bigger wave pool that houses 6ft ++ deep water and can generate more or less 8ft waves at determined speeds and frequency/succession. It seems that the wave pools run at a fixed schedule because they didn't run continuously for the hours that I spent there.

Since the bigger wave pool (called Ocean Waves) was undergoing maintenance (the lifeguards said the machines were overheating), I spent a good hour on the smaller wave pool (called the Beach Waves). It was my first time to try out a wave pool and it's pretty enjoyable. It can give you a good workout too! Every time a wave hits you need to jump up and meet it so that you won't get carried away or feel much of the impact. Many adults actually took their kids under seven years old to this pool which had me fearing if they would be able to take it. Several times I accidentally stubbed my middle toe at the floor cement of the pool because I got knocked off-balance.  Several times I gulped pool water because I got hit by the waves at directions I had not anticipated.

The waves died down after several minutes and I figured that the round was over. The waves would resume after some time. I heard that the Ocean Waves would be open by 2pm. That signaled lunch time for me. CME strictly prohibits bringing any outside food and drinks into the complex so you have to buy food and beverages inside. CME offers fast food staples like Jollibee, Shakeys and ChowKing. They also have an in-house restaurant called Donya Nelia which I decided to try and now regret. The menu offers traditional Filipino viands priced at P125 and above (fried porkchop, fried chicken, tocino, etc). I ordered the pork adobo which I thought would be a safe choice. You have to order the plain rice at P25, if I remember correctly. Lo and behold, the adobo came plainly with pork, sweet sauce and a bit of toasted garlic. Not even any slice of potato in sight. Sigh. The pork in the adobo was laden with much fatty parts and only a few bits of lean meat.

I thought ordering pineapple juice would even out the "unhealthiness" of the adobo so I took one. That day they had two choices for dessert: leche flan and fruit salad, both priced at P50. I sampled the leche flan and I found the taste satisfying because it had just the right tanginess of the dayap rind mixed with the sweetness. Most leche flan makers offer sweet and milky flans but the original/traditional Filipino leche flan would have just the right mix of sweetness and dayap/lemon taste. Overall I would NOT recommend eating at Donya Nelia. It's really not worth the P225. I could've gotten more value for my money if I stuck with Shakeys or ChowKing. Oh well, lesson learned!

After lunch I had to wait past 2:30 pm for the Ocean waves pool to be functional. While waiting, a diving event happened at the nearby pool. There was a 14ft-deep pool which had diving ledges situated at 5ft-high, 10-ft high and 14ft-high wall above the water level. There was a queue forming at the topmost diving ledge and most of the patrons were small kids. Funnily, the kids dove without hesitation while the buffed, middle-aged, tattooed and potbellied men were pushing themselves behind each person at the line, laughing scared and silly at the thought of diving! There were a few ladies who tried the dives. The one who got the most cheers was this small dark-skinned guy who looked like an Aeta native. He gave the most perfectly fearless dives and forms (headfirst, back-flip, feet-first, etc)and he was also the quickest to get back up the wall and dive again.

The diving fun ended when the massive Ocean waves pool got back up and running again. What pure delight! Even though there were 8-ft waves throwing people around, the experience was still exhilirating. I guess you can only get that in a controlled environment like the pool of CME. There were lifeguards watching the whole time and there was even a rope crossing the pool in case someone needed something to hold on to. There was this incredible guy who did a butterfly every time a wave came rushing towards us and he would just ride the wave and "fly" above it. He did this several times until he got to the far end of the pool. There were some guys who also took out their water guns and shot at their friends. There were even some adults who took their kids into the middle of the pool where the waves are at their biggest.

The fun did not last long though because the Ocean Waves machine had to stop running again after a few minutes. Whatever the problem was, I hope that the CME management would provide a permanent solution or a backup so that the patrons would not be turned off at the buzz kills. Overall I recommend the CME wave pools (when they are properly working). I wanted to try the surfing lessons but as stated before the Ocean Waves machines were acting up. :(

A few words of caution though:
Make sure to adhere to the CME guidelines and safety precautions.
Ignore the food in Donya Nelia unless you are absolutely sick of fast food.
The public CRs/Shower Rooms could use some maintenance and thorough cleaning. Not for the faint of heart!

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