fbpx
Connect with us

Travel

Off the Grid

A short trip to Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Princesa becomes a lesson in going offline and enjoying the beautiful views of a tropical holiday, without the Instagram filter.

A short trip to Sheridan Beach Resort Spa in Puerto Princesa becomes a lesson in going offline and enjoying the beautiful views of a tropical holiday, without the Instagram filter.

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit– traveling somewhere with barely any internet and no LTW(not even Edge!) access was a little daunting at first. We spent the few minutes after our arrival at Sheridan Beach Resort Spa in Puerto Princesa, Palawan walking around the property, trying to find the suddenly elusive signal that would bring our Instagram-ready snapshots to our followers back home.

The fact that the resort was extremely picturesque wasn’t helping the social network withdrawal systems either. The resort sits between the beautiful rolling hills that dot the entire island, its gentle slopes that seemed to rise up into the blue sky and the wide expanse of the sandy beach that stretched around the island’s edges. From the crashing waves on one side to the cloud-covered peaks on the other, there were so many photo-worthy vistas that it was almost impossible not to immediately want to share the view with the world. But eventually, we took it as our chance to live in the moment, and as hard as that may initially seem, we were determined to try.

We’d finally given up and put our phones away, enjoying the cold towels and fruit juices that were served as refreshments after the two-hour drive from the airport. The staff was friendly and accomodating, checking us into our rooms in a matter of minutes and arranging our airport transfers for the end of the trip. Afterwards, someone offered to escort us to our rooms.

The walk to the rooms allowed us to admire the resort in its entirety. Large pools take up the center of the property, flowing into each other and flanked by buildings that housed the guest rooms on each side. The structures themselves lent to the tropical vibe, with open hallways and an atrium that was filled with lush greenery. Our rooms were cozy, with soft lighting and wooden accents that keep it homey. The expansive bathroom was also a welcome luxury, with stone walls and floors and a glass-enclosed shower that was perfect for cooling off after a day in the sun.

Speaking of the sun, we decided to take advantage of the remaining hours of the afternoon to lounge by the pool—and maybe in it, with one end dedicated to a row of half-submerged lounge chairs. The beach, too, turned out to be a great place to while away the time, and the water was clear and cool—what you’d expect in an isolated island paradise.

Of course, if you’re the kind of vacationer who enjoys packing your itinerary with activities, you can go on any of the tours that the resort would be happy to assist you in arranging. Sheridan is the only luxury resort in close proximity to the Underground River, a world heritage site that brings visitors on a serene waterway under interesting rock formations. There’s also a jungle trail, a paddleboat tour by the mangroves, and a number of other stunning natural sites. Anyone looking for more of an adrenaline rush can take the ATVs out for a ride around the area.

At the end of the day, the South Sea Restaurant features the finest gourmet cuisine, with a buffet of local and international dishes made from organic ingredients from the resort’s farm. Creating our own personalized bowl at the Mongolian section was one of our favorites, though the offering are kept fresh with different specials for every meal—while we were there, we also tried out the barbecue and pasta specials. Pizzas are also made on site, with a special brick oven to give the dishes a perfect crisp. As the night deepens, the restaurant starts playing more upbeat music, encouraging their guests to enjoy the collection of cocktails and the cool ocean breeze.

On our last night, as we enjoyed our bottles of Corona on the open-air dining area, it became an interesting observation that we were no longer checking our phones mid-conversation. Something in the Palawan air did more than just block our internet connection—it actually managed to block out the desire to be constantly online. Armed with the kind of buzz that only happens when you’re having drinks in close proximity to the ocean, we were doing nothing but living the moment. I know that’s not something you can post online, but it’s definitely something I was surprised to find I was thankful for.

  • by Shari Quimbo
  • photography Dan Douglas Ong

9 Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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.)

Continue Reading

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.)

Continue Reading

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!

Continue Reading

Trending