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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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Leisure

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 www.clubserenaresort.com or email sayhello@clubserenaresort.com or (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307. You can also visit their Facebook page for updates.

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Travel

This is How the M.I.C.E. Alliance Initiative will Lift Boracay to New Heights

Leveling up Boracay in more ways than one

by Ryan Daniel R. Dablo

Saying the name “Boracay” instantly casts a spell, taking the listener to a daydream of immaculate, pale beaches, swaying palm trees, the music of breaking waves, and the vacation of a lifetime. The tropical island Eden is storied and renowned – a difficult enchantment to lift from any wayward tourist’s mind. But what if we were to tell you that Boracay is so much more? Can you build upon perfection? Yes, and this, ladies and gentlemen, is how. 

One is never too far away from the beach! BNCC is only a stone’s throw away from the Boracay Newcoast Beach front.

Boracay Newcoast Convention Center (BNCC), located at the heart of Boracay Newcoast will soon host the biggest conventions, exhibitions and other large-scale events in the island starting second quarter of 2022.

After the difficulties of the past few years, the stage is finally set for a massive Boracay reboot. The creative gears turn once more, and this time they will catapult our favorite beach capital to new heights. The cornerstone of this renaissance is the M.I.C.E. Alliance initiative, short for meetings, incentives, conferences and conventions, and events and exhibitions. The establishment of the Boracay M.I.C.E. Alliance will allow focused efforts in creating sustainable and eco-sensitive tourism development projects while synergizing with stakeholders to create long-term solutions and opportunities for all partners. The alliance is set to drive awareness, readiness, and expansion of product offerings that will be crucial in making the island competitive with other M.I.C.E. destinations. Working closely with the Department of Tourism Region VI and the Tourism Promotions Board, the alliance is primed to provide support to the areas that are involved in this major undertaking.

Cleofe Albiso, Boracay M.I.C.E Alliance Chairperson

BNCC enjoys state-of-the-art facilities and can accommodate about a thousand guests depending on set-up and conduct multiple events at a time.

No one is more emphatic than M.I.C.E. Alliance chairperson Cleofe Albiso in describing how the different sectors of Boracay are pivoting from tourism to tourism plus. In brief, Boracay is challenging its own boundaries to become not just the pre-eminent tourist destination but also a corporate and business mecca. Turns out, if a venue is grand enough to host a wedding, wouldn’t it be just as grand to host a white-collar conference? Sky’s the limit for possibilities like this. At this moment, the island is abuzz with networking and making connections, training and empowering the hospitality services, polishing the infrastructure, revving up the transportation facilities, and all-around gearing up to go toe-to-toe with other M.I.C.E. hubs and be worthy of the tagline, “the best place for M.I.C.E. in a tropical paradise.” All hands are on deck and – after the extended global hiatus thanks to the pandemic – everyone is ready, nay, eager to meet and greet the guests. And, of course, we would be remiss not to point out that Boracay is more than halfway through completing such a tall order. The island is as well-oiled a machine as it could be, boasting 294 DOT-accredited hotels and resort, a staggering 4,500 seating capacity for meetings and conventions, and 12,400 room keys available in the island. Talk about volume! Plus, Boracay is already postcard-perfect, the very stuff that vacation dreams are made of. Why not turn the dial up to eleven and let it become a compass point for more than a summer getaway? This is the logical next step in realizing its vision of being not just a place to be, but the place to be.

Savoy Hotel Boracay like Belmont Hotel, and the soon to open Chancellor Hotel is also walking distance away from BNCC making it an ideal spot for both business and leisure trips.

So, yes, by all means think of the idyllic strolls on the beach, the luxurious caress of the ocean as you free-dive, the sheer delight of sand and surf while island-hopping, the adrenaline rush of aquasports, parasailing, cycling, or driving an ATV up Boracay’s foothills, the psychedelic glow of fire-dancing and party lights at night, the breathtaking sunsets, the larger-than-life adventures, or the hundred other ways it can lavish or reinvigorate your soul. Think of all of that, and then some. Because Boracay has its eyes on something greater: it is poised to become the premier starting point and last stop for tourism, entertainment, corporate gatherings, exhibits, and any other event the imagination can dream of. 

Paradise Garden’s Mabuhay Convention Center can fit 850 guests at a time.

For corporate set-ups, a 60 person function room is also available at the Isla Function Room of Paradise Garden.

Think of your company meeting. Now, think of your company meeting and the fun that’ll ensue right after. Picture that in the most scenic of vacation spots. Tempted already? Who wouldn’t be? You’re already in paradise. With business here and leisure literally just a stone’s throw away – heaven on earth, wouldn’t you say? 

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Travel

For Our Next Travel Destination, We Dream About Koh Samui in Thailand

Impressive views of the Gulf of Thailand welcome you at the Arrival Sala

Silent Sanctuaries

Mayenne Carmona discovers the Four Seasons Resort in Koh Samui is a quiet oasis to recharge and rejuvenate…

What does one expect from a Four Seasons Resort? Everything! Firstly, it will definitely be ranked no less than a five-star hotel or resort. Most importantly, it would not fall short of all your expectations: excellent cuisine, topnotch comfort at your fingertips in a well-appointed villa, courteous staff who offer impeccable service, and every other detail you could possibly need—down to the last cotton bud. After all, a Four Seasons Resort is always designed by a top-rated architectural team and interior designers.

The moment I stepped into the Four Seasons Resort at Koh Samui, I felt all my cares washed away by the soft waves of the bluest sea. The fresh air cleared my sinuses in no time, and the gentle breeze was a much needed caress to a tired mind and body. It was truly paradise regained for me and my friends. We were a motley group of career-oriented people who needed a much-awaited break from work, and this was the perfect choice for us.

Each Villa has a butler to cater to the guests’ every whim. The afternoon we arrived, we requested a sunset dinner by the beach, and much like a genie, our butler whipped up a romantically set candlelit dinner for six. A five-course delicious Thai dinner was prepared by their well-trained chef.

Our days were spent languishing by the beach, having daily massages, attending yoga classes, doing water sports and enjoying every bite of Thai cuisine. Golf carts transported us wherever we wanted to go within the resort. This vacation brought all my senses to another realm, and restored a weary soul to perfection. 

Four Seasons Koh Samui, I look forward to seeing you again!

Koh Samui is the third largest island of Thailand in the scenic Gulf of Siam. It is a 45 minute flight from Bangkok. Sandy beaches, coral reefs, coconut trees and abundant tourist resources make it a popular holiday destination.

For more information on Four Seasons Resort, visit their website at https://www.fourseasons.com/kohsamui/

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s March 2016 Travel Issue, “Silent Sanctuaries” written by our columnist Mayenne Carmona for La Vie En Rose on pages 32-33.)

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