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Wonderluxe Destination: Dedon Island – Siargao

Hot on the heels of a group of New York journalists who came quietly to Dedon Island for an exclusive preview last April, Zee Lifestyle is the first local magazine to feature this latest addition to the list of luxury destinations. Eva Gullas reports on her visit to the island.

Hot on the heels of a group of New York journalists who came quietly to Dedon Island for an exclusive preview last April, Zee Lifestyle is the first local magazine to feature this latest addition to the list of luxury destinations. Eva Gullas reports on her visit to the island.

With several thousand islands in this country to choose from, what makes Siargao Island special? Most surfers have known Cloud 9 for some time, and at best that’s what the island is known for—world-class competitions held regularly on the white sand beaches that front a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. adding to this surfers’ paradise myth is its inaccessibility; as of press time, there are only three flights a week from Cebu to Siargao, although it is reachable daily through the more rigorous route of Surigao City. A decade or so ago, a brave Frenchman named Nicolas Rambeau made Siargao his home, creating an idyll that was soon followed by other europeans looking for Alex Garland’s beach paradise. this small foreign community is still around, and visitors would be surprised to find life’s little comforts, such as espresso and crisp linen sheets, in such a remote place. taking it a notch higher is the newly opened Dedon Island. after firmly establishing its manufacturing presence in Cebu, the company that made outdoor furniture eponymous with plastic weaves, at the urging of its jet- setting founder Bobby Dekeyser, took a plunge by setting up its first hospitality business through a beach resort that proudly proclaims its provenance. Dedon Island rose on the site of Rambeau’s Pansukian tropical Beach resort, and in true company fashion, the former tropical luxe resort was transformed with Dedon vibes. thatched roofs paired with sheer curtains meet glass walls and Philippe starck-designed chairs. Furniture and furnishings carry the trademark weave, while indigenous hardwood is spread out extensively.

There are only four detached family villas with lofts and five regular suites, making this one of the most intimate resorts around. “this is an all-inclusive destination,” the company’s CEO Herve Lampert explains. “Dedon created a travel agency just to service this requirement, and our ideal clients are those looking for a holiday without the fuss of credit cards. all bookings and payments are done thru the website or the travel office in Geneva, Switzerland.” the lucky guest may start his journey in Paris, and is jetted through several destinations including, if desired, a lunch stop at the Maldives, then dinner at Abaca on Mactan island before totally losing touch with civilization and cell phone coverage on their way to Siargao Island. initial rates are set at Us$1,200, which includes everything your heart desires within the confines of the four-hectare resort. have five- hour massages, or dine on champagne and lobster prepared by an on-site private chef that checks the day’s catch from nearby fishing villages early in the morning. Add to the itinerary an outrigger ride to nearby uninhabited islands and sandbars, deep-sea fishing, or a jaunt to nearby Cloud 9 or the local market in a Dedon-outfitted jeepney.

The clubhouse, if you can call it that, is a beachfront bar custom- wrapped in a cocoon-like weave, where fresh coconut water or a martini can be had any time in the day. It is a short hop to the sparkling pool or a dash to the soft waves. Dedon lounge chairs and the iconic Nestrest, hanging loungers shaped like Hershey’s Kisses, are placed in strategic areas, and with the right book, it’s easy to disappear in this tree-filled resort by the sea. Working with the designers at the company headquarters in Germany which included French designers Jean-Marie Massaud and Daniel Puozet, the Philippine team headed by Herve’s wife Tess Lampert and Vince Lampert, Dedon’s General Manager in Cebu, collaborated to come up with a resort not quite an Aman or Bulgari in Bali, but not Club Med either. The result is uniquely theirs, capturing the barefoot philosophy and nature sanctuary (the nearby mangroves have been adopted and local farmers are encouraged to go organic), which is what they set out to do from the very start. Or as Armand Limnander wrote about the resort in W magazine’s July 2012 travel pages, it’s “like visiting a magnanimous uncle’s fabulous tropical getaway.”

  • photography by Olivier Yoan

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Travel

Get Lost in this Not-so-distant Island Safari Paradise

LOST IN PARADISE

Tao Philippines Crusoe-style deserted island camp paradise is perfect for those who understand the luxury of simplicity and disconnection.

by Melo E. Esguerra photography by Scott Sporleder

Just when you think Palawan is fast becoming a second Boracay, where congestion of concrete buildings and human bodies have begun to define the island experience more than the pristine beaches of white powdery sand, the Lostboys of Tao Philippines came up with a new island project that guarantees an escape to paradise. They call the island Camp Ngey Ngey.

The Lostboys have taken over the abandoned resort of Manguengey in Busuanga, a remote island in Palawan. They have kept the ruins from the typhoon and built their signature bamboo Tuka huts around the main beach of the island, which serves as the camp area. Just a short walk away you’ll find jungle trails that lead to three other wild beaches, preserved reefs and windswept cliffs encompassed by crystal blue waters. And on certain days, when the winds are strong, one side of the island becomes a good site for surfing.

 


Eddie Brock, one of the founders of Tao Philippines, explains how this concept of an island safari came about. “When we took over Manguengey Resort, we were stuck with the idea of how to run it. We do not know how to cater to resort guests, the individual choices and needs, and menus,” he admits. “Tao’s expertise is to show travelers something new, something more raw and adventurous. We decided that we will not worry about things we don’t understand, and stick to what we do best. One of the best aspects of a Tao trip is creating an atmosphere of connecting with other travelers, disconnected from digital clot—without the worry of planning, wallets and keeping a status. Five days out in the remoteness with the islanders in control leads to a positive attitude: guards down, inhibition is off and open to meet new friends.”

The camp is accessible through the three day/two night boat safari from Coron, with beach and reef stops en route the camp and back. Guests will be joining other travelers, staying in individual Tuka huts dotted along the beach. There are lounges, a dining and kitchen area, and open hang-out places. Currently, the big mansion from the old resort is being restored into a villa that can accommodate a family or group of friends.

The island can be reserved for big events like weddings, parties and other meaningful gatherings.

In the island, there is no room service, no menus, no WiFi. You will arrive as strangers, you will eat together, swim together, laugh together, drink together, and get to know each other offline. Become part of the magic of Tao, and see what happens!

For more information on how the trip to Camp Ngey Ngey works, log on to www.taophilippines.com

 

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s June 2017 Men’s Issue, “Lost in Paradise” on pages 110-113.)

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Travel

THROWBACK THURSDAY. Our Stylish Voyage on a Boat with Loida and Richard

FOR SAIL

With hosts Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau, we take entertaining to the high seas.

by Shari Quimbo photography Steffen Billhardt

The sky was decidedly gloomy on the Sunday afternoon Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau invited a small group of us for a sail, the clouds getting darker as I make my way to Porter’s Marina, where the Blue Planet was docked.

“Richard built the boat himself in Cebu,” Loida explains, going on to share that he was the former honorary French consul in Cebu. “It was built here, and I designed the interiors.”

All that work certainly paid off—Loida and Richard would often sail the boat out to different Philippine destinations such as El Nido, Siargao, Boracay and the Gigantes Islands in Iloilo. These could mean days-long journeys that sometimes meant dealing with some rough seas. Quick day trips, much like the one we were about to embark on, were also a regular past time.

Loida gives me a quick tour of the boat then shows off her tropical spread. With its bright blue and white floral seating, the cabin’s dining area is already a pretty festive site. “I wanted to keep it simple,” she tells me, arranging her fresh fruits around on the banana leaf-covered wooden slabs she was using as serving trays. “And I wanted it to look more local, more tropical. We are on the water, after all.”

The bamboo slats of the dining table were the perfect backdrop to Loida’s spread, which featured tropical fruits alongside an entire roll of lechon belly, fresh lumpia, empanada and steamed shrimp.

The highlight of the table, though, was the chicken liver pate, a dish that Richard makes himself. “Luckily, the French love to cook,” Loida jokes conspiratorially.

Finally, it was time to take the vessel out onto the high seas, and the group makes its way above deck to enjoy the view. The cool sea breeze was a bit stronger than usual, something that had to do with the dark rain clouds looming above us—something that would have deterred any other group, but not this adventurous bunch. Armed with a glass of champagne in one hand and a biscuit smeared with pate on the other, many stand against the railing, admiring the sight of the sky turning orange above the Mactan Channel.

And then it starts to pour. No matter, though—as the rain pounds against the deck, the party finds its way down below. A bottle of wine is opened, and then another, while a second pot of pate is transferred on a plate. Our captain waits until the waves calm before he brings us back ashore.

(This story has already been published in the printed edition of Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s November 2016 issue as one of the Entertaining Features on pages 82-85.)

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Culture

Experience authentic Korean Barbeque at Da-In Restaurant

Filipinos are crazy for Korean barbecue. As such, there are a lot of places that are offering Korean barbecue. But Da-In restaurant isn’t just one of those restaurants.

Located in Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu, Da-in restaurant is a joint project between the Creative Cuisine Group and Da-Won restaurant. With state-of-the-art grilling stations in each table and various Korean cuisines ready to be served, Da-In would surely sate your Korean barbecue cravings without any hassle.

Visit Da-In restaurant today!

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