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Why Siargao Bleu is Our New Favorite Spot on the Island

With its tranquil atmosphere and exceptional design, Siargao Bleu Resort & Spa is the place to be for a quieter sojourn on the island.

Much like everyone else I know who’s set foot on the island, I’ve developed an affinity with Siargao since I first discovered it two years ago—an affinity that I barely developed with any other place in the country, though other destinations have been just as beautiful. Maybe it’s the afterglow of riding a wave for the first time, the laidback island vibe that permeates through the community, or the incredible range of cuisines on the island as a result of the melting pot of people that have chosen to settle there. Whatever it is, there’s something about Siargao that makes you fall in love at first sight, and never truly get over it.

What I did get over, though, was the constant pursuit of the thrill. Although it was a pastime I still held in high regard, surfing wasn’t on my mind during my last visit to the island. After the frenzy of approaching deadlines and the constant drone that is city life, I was looking forward to truly quiet days—the kind of days that stretch out its hours, spent in secret corners where it’s just you and the sea.

There seemed to be no better place to do that than in Siargao Bleu Resort & Spa. Some friends had already previously visited the quiet property, many of whom shared that it was a tranquil spot to enjoy your island sojourn. “Plus, the pool is just beautiful,” one adds.

After the 30-minute drive from the airport, we were led to the open-air lobby, where the staff escort you to a seat and hand you a fresh coconut to enjoy. While waiting for the front desk to get everything in order, I wander off onto the deck to see that the pool was, indeed, beautiful.

The sight that greets you once you set foot on Siargao Bleu’s main property is truly breathtaking—the large swimming pool stretches out to the sea, while Balinese-style villas dot its edges. Lush greenery seem to envelop the structures, while in the distance, a daybed is positioned by the seawall, its sheer canopy billowing in the wind.

“The interior and outdoor designs really compliment the crystal clear ocean just outside the resort,” shares Christian Pontoppidan, the resort’s marketing head. He adds that the concept was created by Bong Deiparine of Primitivo Deiparine Design in San Francisco, who is currently based in Cebu.“It is Balinese-inspired, but incorporating elements of Siargao and local artistry.”

The homage to Filipino creativity is most evident in the murals featured in the different rooms—painted by local artists, they depict various scenes on the island such as the Cloud 9 Boardwalk or the Magpupungko Tidal Pools.

Incorporating local elements was important, as it represents the resort’s identity. “The owner of the resort was born in Siargao—most other resorts are being built by foreign expats or people from Cebu and Manila,” Chris explains. “So Siargao Bleu is a true Siarganon resort.”

Of course, one of the main features in Siargao Bleu is the pool, which Chris describes as the “grandest pool on the island,” and the Floating Villas. Each villa enjoys a private veranda that leads straight into the water, and a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi tub (during our visit, the team was slowly converting the traditional porcelain jacuzzis to large stone tubs, each carved from a single piece of solid rock). There are also the Garden de Luxe rooms, in the midst of the resort’s thriving tropical foliage. The rooms in The Terraces are on the second floor, with a long hallway that look out to the neighborhood’s abundance of natural beauty.

“We also have personalized butler service,” Chris continues. “Our butlers, other than tending to every request, will also accompany you on any activity you go on, be it either surfing or island hopping.”

The resort’s staff is eager to help arrange any excursion on the island, but sometimes the best experiences can be had in the resort itself. “Our Spa is the biggest on the island, with the most diverse treatments available and the most highly trained therapists,” Chris shares. Siargao Bleu also has film viewings by the beach on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “The movie nights are something we arrange for our guests who would like to do something other than visit our spa or swim in the pool. It’s also open to paying public guests.”

The hotel’s in-house restaurant Karatagan serves some of the best seafood dishes, and a beach-side bar is currently in the works. “We strive to provide the best possible facilities and service to our guests,” says Chris. “The Sunset Beach Bar will give our guests the best view of the sunset in Siargao, to be enjoyed while sipping on a delicious fruit shake or a refreshing cocktail.”

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect way to spend afternoons on the island? As the day winds down, I find myself settling onto the daybed that I had first eyed when I arrived at Siargao Bleu (and thankfully, you could order a drink from Karagatan for now). With the comforting sound of crashing water, the sky slowly dipping into an orange gradient and the Pacific Ocean bringing a cool breeze to share, it was truly the quiet escape I had envisioned, with an addendum. Here, it was me, the sea and a cocktail.


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Find Your Summer Spirit in Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu

Breathe in the tropical atmosphere, as you find summer joys through sight, sound and taste at Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu. Poolside fun during the day, spent serenely and luxuriantly—a refreshment in hand. While the evenings are for outdoor family movie nights, with the ocean waves rippling in the background.

Summer is all of that, and more! Plan an extraordinary weekend with an array of exciting activities that await your arrival. Discover your #ShangriLaSummerSpirit from 15 July to 30 August.

Tiki Bar at Buko Bar

Epicurean Delights by the Pool

Keep yourself fueled up as you splish and splash with the whole crew. Take a quick break from all that summer jazz with Mediterranean and Polynesian-inspired bites exquisitely crafted for your palate. From rice balls and pastas, ice creams to sliders—indulge in tastes and aromas that transport you to a world of endless, golden summers.

Mediterranean Selections at Acqua

A Whimsical Touch

Make it a colourful summer for the kids! Let them explore their own version of paradise with whimsical floaties, sure to keep them happily afloat. Your little ones can now freely kick and play in the water with fun and fascinating, animal-shaped inflatables.

Pleasant Sundowner Tunes

Bid the sun adieu and embrace the sunset hues with live acoustics at the Main Pool from 4pm to 6:30pm.

Tiki Cocktails at Buko Bar

Champagne Bar at Acqua

A Toast to an Endless Summer!

Unwind and savour the tropical vibe as our expert mixologists craft refreshing Tiki cocktails and serve chilled bottles of exquisite champagne by the pool! With a backdrop of swaying palm trees and stunning ocean views, sip on delightful beverages and toast to unforgettable summer moments in paradise.

Family Outdoor Movie Night

Gather your nearest and dearest for an enchanting evening as we set up a large outdoor screen by the pool under the starry night sky. Cozy up as you enjoy a family-friendly movie that will delight both those who are young and young-at-heart at Treasure Island from 7pm to 9pm.

Surrounded by lush greens, let the experience bring you to a world of joy and laughter, creating cherished memories for you and the family. For more information on Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu, you may contact (032) 2310288. You may also follow them on Facebook and Instagram or visit #FindYourSummerSpirit #FindYourShangriLa

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LONDON IN FULL BLOOM: An Exclusive Look at the recent Chelsea Flower Show

Dame Judy Dench (center in white) with gallery owner, Jerry Sibal, Edwin Josue, writer Eva Gullas and artist James Doran-Webb.

The Chelsea Flower Show in London, one of the most prestigious horticultural events in the world, returned in full glory in May 2023, captivating visitors with its stunning displays and landscape designs. Held annually on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, this year’s show proved to be a true feast for the senses, showcasing an array of breathtaking gardens, vibrant floral arrangements, and innovative landscaping. The 3-day event showcased 36 outdoor gardens, including four balcony gardens for small spaces. Inside the giant pavilion, blooms compete with each other, exotic flowers, roses, and many more.

Princess Kate Middleton walking the booths at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Dame Judy Dench, who owns several of Webb’s pieces in her garden, with James Doran-Webb and Jerry Sibal discussing the works of James.

One of the flower arrangements competing at the show.

The 2023 Chelsea Flower Show embraced a Nature’s Harmony theme, with a strong focus on sustainability and mental health. The show’s organizers emphasized the importance of sustainable gardening practices and biodiversity conservation, inspiring attendees to create beautiful outdoor spaces while preserving and protecting the environment.

One of the floral gazebo displays recycled chairs and salvaged materials.

Shops at the Chelsea Flower Show are mostly from sustainable materials.

What’s Cebu got to do with the Chelsea Flower Show in London? One person. James Doran Webb (, an Englishman working with driftwood, has been displaying his artworks for several years. James collects cast-off driftwood and shapes them into beautiful animal shapes that find places in some of the most iconic gardens. Leaping horses, owls, reindeer, and the occasional dragon, James Webb’s creations are avidly collected by landscapers to add accent to gardens in all sizes, using cast-off wood, fitting perfectly with the sustainable element—something Mr. Webb has done quite well for the last decade.

The impressive dragon of James Doran-Webb


The Philippine International Flower Festival will be held at the PICC in Manila from January 14 to 18, 2024. Watch out for more info from our website!

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Club Serena: A ‘Serene Luxury’ Experience in the Heart of Cebu’s Diving Mecca

photography by GPA Art and Photography

A three-hour drive, or more, depending on traffic, the fishing town of Moalboal in the southwest of Cebu Island is an extremely popular destination for divers and weekenders who love the white sand and pink sunsets. It is also a favorite place to stay for expats looking for a laid-back life of endless coffees or cocktails.

Thankfully, the big chain resorts haven’t discovered it and places to stay are mostly small family-run resorts. But if pampering is what you are looking for, there is only one hotel to book in Moalboal. Club Serena Resort is a 1.7-hectare beachfront property perched above coral rocks, presenting a unique union of luxurious accommodations and a host of activities to be enjoyed. This hidden gem is reached through a dirt road away from the main highway. Fronting a wide swath of white sand beach, it is an easy walk past several smaller resorts to reach the main town.

Recently renovated by noted architect James Jao, the new Club Serena has 17 rooms, three swimming pools, a restaurant, and a beachfront event space, all designed with modern Filipino aesthetic. On the drawing board are more rooms to be added, an expansion of their modern dive shop, and their popular Kids’ Club program. Their food outlet, Mira, offers all-day dining, favorite among visitors and locals, as well as the growing expat community that has settled in Moalboal. 

Club Serena offers diving courses for adults and kids by their resident operator, Seven Seas Aquanauts Phil. Corp, a PADI 5 accredited diving facility operating since 1988. For a complete list of the courses and their rates, please call (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307.

The resort encourages above-water activities as well, and they have several paddle boards and kayaks available for guests to use.

For rates and more information, visit or email or (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307. You can also visit their Facebook page for updates.

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