“Guest front liners are extremely helpful from the moment we stepped into the resort till the time we checked out. I really had a great relaxing experience.”
We would assume that anyone inclined to beautiful scenery and relaxing surroundings has Greece as a dream destination. The iconic Greek town of Santorini, with its blue domes and whitewashed walls, is something most of us only dream of seeing in person. But right here in Asia, the Philippines’ San Fernando in La Union has recreated Santorini and localised it in a way none of us imagined possible, through Thunderbird Resorts & Casinos – Poro Point. La Union also offers us the paradise of Thunderbird Resorts that brings us closer to the Mediterranean. It's where quality time with loved ones is prioritised through the resort's multitude of facilities and services such as sports courts, pools, spas, and fancy dining.
This upscale destination earned our stamp of approval when we saw the breathtaking view of the sunset and the West Philippine Sea. With Thunderbird Resorts sitting on a cliff, you’re one step closer to the infinite blue sky, but not without the access to its pristine beach and clear water. A luxurious resort, inside and outside its walls, we couldn’t ask for a more indulgent out-of-town escape. Indeed, this 65-hectare destination is not only beautiful in its Santorini-inspired architecture. It is a tranquil paradise for pleasure-seekers like us. Read our full Thunderbird Resorts & Casinos – Poro Point review to explore more of this stunning property.
The resort has two kinds of Deluxe Rooms, the Santorini Deluxe Room and Premiere Deluxe Room. When we went to see the Santorini Deluxe Room, we were surprised to find a balcony there. Although this room is small and located in a separate unit from the main building, it is spacious enough with a king-sized bed to accommodate couples on a quick getaway. We were also assured of the safety of our belongings since the room already had an electronic safety box. The Premiere Deluxe Room, on the other hand, is 47 sqm and includes two king-sized beds to accommodate bigger groups. Not only spacious but beautiful with its white sheets and orange walls, not to mention the view of the West Philippine Sea from the veranda.
The resort also has two kinds of Deluxe Suites namely, the Junior Suite and the Master Suite. Like the Santorini Deluxe Room, the Junior Suite is located in the south wing. What made this different was the 88 sqm space which included a furnished living room and dining area. We found the Master Suite in the same wing, but with an even bigger space of over 100 sqm. It was tempting to just lounge in the living room and watch anything on the HD television. But there was a number of outdoor activities that we couldn’t wait to try. We were also relieved to know that these rooms had complete WiFi access despite the fact that they were a short walking distance from the main establishment.
These series of accommodations, we couldn’t wait to see. Stepping into Thunderbird Resort’s 2 Bedroom Villa was like being welcomed into a new house. It doesn’t just have a separate living room and dining room. This villa can accommodate four adults and one child, or whatever way guests want to share the space. From outside the villa, the blue and white exteriors made us feel as if we were truly in Santorini while seeing a fully furnished house inside made us feel like we owned the place. The furniture had a beige and teal colour scheme which we found so relaxing to the eyes. Top that with the villa’s complete bathroom amenities, coffee and tea making facilities, and DVD player, we knew we found ourselves a home away from home.
This villa took our vacation to the next level. Fully furnished and equipped with all the amenities found in the previous accommodations, you’ll truly get your money’s worth when you come back to this luxurious abode after an action-packed day outside. It’s a two-storey villa with rustic coloured interiors of orange, beige, yellow and brown hues. The villa can accommodate a maximum of eight people, so it’s perfect for family bondings or for the ultimate holiday with close friends. We would definitely book this villa if we were to return with an even bigger group!
Guess what? Thunderbird Resorts is giving couples an even more luxurious accommodation with their Presidential Suite. If you’re looking for the best accommodation for a romantic getaway, look no further because this suite exudes romance and lavishness. It has a lounge, bedroom, and a private balcony with an infinity pool. Unwind at night by taking a swim in the pool while gazing out into the sea. When you’re done, you can relax by the poolside, stargaze, and savour the intimate and private moments with your special someone. If you ask us, this is an experience of a lifetime you shouldn’t miss. After all, you don’t get an infinity pool all to yourselves often.
The resort had activities that catered to all kinds of inclinations within our travelling group. Those who preferred to stay indoors proceeded to the resort’s gym or requested for an in-room massage. For parents who are bringing along their children, you can conveniently leave your kids at the Kid’s Club Playground or the Teenager’s Club where they’ll be safe and be able to interact with new friends. The Kid’s club is a fully air-conditioned playhouse that has slides and tunnels for your children’s entertainment, while the Teenager’s Club has the latest video games, billiard table and football table.
Our other travel buddies who love the outdoors went on to try more physical activities like volleyball, tennis, and basketball which had respective courts in the resort. But all of us, of course, had to try their Clubhouse which had a 9-hole golf course, lap pool, and sports bar. It was a good way to bond, but no greater than going down to their private beach and spending the rest of the day enjoying the clear water and waiting for the sun to go down.
In case you’re still restless, you can always proceed to Thunderbird’s 4,000 sqm Fiesta Casino. It hosts a lot of events throughout the year and welcomes guests from all around the world. Try your luck in winning a fortune here or proceed to the Ivy Lounge for a night of drinks, food, and even music. You can also watch concerts or organise fun corporate events when the need calls for it.
Thunderbird’s Clubhouse is home to their acclaimed Zaphira Spa. This is where the magical relaxation happens. From massages, facials, to other beauty treatments, the Zaphira Spa made us feel beautiful, calm, and de-stressed. We loved their Aromatherapy massage where they used fragrant essential oils to massage our skin and soothe our senses. They also have the Filipino Hilot which is the ancient and traditional way of massaging through slow deliberate strokes. They recommend this massage for those with upper back pains and anxiety. If you’re looking to pamper your skin, try their Salt Body Glow, it will stimulate skin circulation and cleanse your pores. There are many more options to choose from. In fact, it’ll do you good to avail of their Indulgence Packages for the ultimate spa experience!
The resort has at least seven dining options at your disposal. We were so excited to try them because we knew they would give us a taste of what real Mediterranean food was like! Their three main restaurants are Olives Restaurant, Pianosa Deli Cafe, and Ouzo Restaurant. Olives Restaurant offers authentic Mediterranean cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while the Pianosa Deli Cafe lets you enjoy freshly baked pastries and world-class wine. Now, if you want localised or “Asianised” Greek food, head to Ouzo Restaurant. They’ll feed you with delicious and healthy “MediterrAsian” cuisine you won’t find anywhere else!
For booze and shots on your late nights, Thunderbird Resort has an array of bars. Take your pick from the Fira Bar, Ivy Lounge, Patio Santorini Bar, Helios Pool Bar, and Mian Bar. Perhaps it’s best to choose based on what your current activity is, whether you’re lounging at the poolside or if you just want to chill inside a classy bar. They have bars for all sorts of occasions.
You can also witness a beautiful sunset while enjoying your beverages since the resort sits at the highest point of Poro Point Peninsula. It overlooks San Fernando Bay and the West Philippine Sea -- truly a breathtaking view to end a day of vacation and celebration.
Thunderbird Resorts chose its name in tribute to the mythical Thunderbird. This bird was believed to summon lightning and thunder by flapping its wings. Like the Thunderbird, Thunderbird Resorts isn’t daunted by the elements and is storming its way to different parts of the world. As the resort rises to the top, it also embodies the values that the Thunderbird symbolises: change, power and good fortune.
When you travel, you also take a gamble – sometimes literally. Also known for its gaming facilities, Thunderbird Resorts is also a famous casino and gaming facility. The casino frequently offers promo packages and deals to make your play and stay worthwhile. If you’re already staying in Thunderbird Resorts for a few days, why not take a leap of faith and try your luck in this world-class casino?
Did you know that some significant scenes of the Filipino romantic drama movie “No Other Woman”, starring Cristine Reyes, Anne Curtis and Derek Ramsay, were shot in this La Union resort? Re-enacting the exact scenes and dialogues while you’re here is surely a fun and memorable way to bond with your loved ones or friends.
Coming from Manila, exit Balintawak to NLEX and proceed to SCTEX. Exit SCTEX and take TPLEX. You may exit to Urdaneta City, Binalonan or Rosario Exit.
Head north and through the following La Union towns: Rosario, Sto. Tomas. Agoo, Aringay, Caba and Bauang. Enter San Fernando and turn left at Soldier’s Monument, which is about 15 - 200 metres after Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center.
After this, go straight to the main gate of Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC), which is about 2-3 km from Soldier’s Monument. Enter the main gate of PPMC and turn right. The gate of Thunderbird Resorts & Casinos – Poro Point should be on your left.
We found so many things to do in San Fernando, La Union. The town has a rich historical and cultural background consisting of its religious structures, historic landmarks, and beaches. We recommend that you see the Pindangan Ruins. You’ll find what remains of the oldest church in La Union that was built in 1786. Then continue your historical and religious route by dropping by the Shrine of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Namacpacan. It’s a century old church that houses the statue of its namesake who is the patroness of Ilocano travellers. Also, consider visiting St. William the Hermit Cathedral, this is a big landmark of San Fernando City, having been around since 1764.
We also visited the Ma-Cho Temple which made us feel like we were in a totally different land. Being a Taoist Temple, its exterior reflects Chinese architecture. The colour motif consists of red, orange and green hues that gave the temple a very earthy and nature-centred aura. Visitors can also see Chinese artistry in the decorations and objects inside. The temple is dedicated to the ancient Chinese sea goddess, Mazu, whose icon you can find at the centre of the temple’s main altar. It’s open to everyone, whether you’re a Taoist or non-Taoist, from 7am to 5pm every day.
On a free day, we wanted to immerse in more interactive activities outside the resort. We asked Thunderbird Resorts’ staff what we could do in the city. We found out that tourists can try a lot of activities such as grape-picking in La Union Grape Farm, blanket-weaving in Brgy. Rayon, and basi-making in Lioac, Naguilian. But of course, nothing could beat visits to the beach. Our next stop was Luna’s Leaning Baluarte and Pebble Beach, found in Brgy. Victoria and only a 10-minute walk from the San Fernando Plaza. Here, you’ll find ruins of an old Spanish watchtower that locals called Buluarte. Aside from this, there's a shore filled with pebbles as its name suggests. This beach is also ideal for watersports and swimming since it has clean and clear waters as well.
Speaking of watersports, you can’t go to La Union without surfing. The best months to surf in San Juan, La Union, is from October until March because the waves become consistent at this time. If you’re a beginner, you can always pay for an instructor, rented surfboard included, for ₱200. So no sweat at all!
Finally, don’t forget to visit La Union Botanical and Zoological Garden in Sitio, Japan, Cadaclan, San Fernando. You’ll find beautiful tropical plants, many of which are indigenous to the Philippines.
La Union didn’t use to be a typical beach destination. But with classy and top-notch accommodations like what Thunderbird Resorts can offer, tourism is booming. Travellers are discovering more and more wonderful things about the locale. Now that you know where to stay in La Union, it’s your turn to experience the thrill.