If you are in the market for your own private island, look to the cluster of islands in northern Palawan. From what I have heard, one can buy or lease an island in the Busuanga-Coron area and create a private paradise here on earth.
Coron is the hot destination of the moment. It already has a few resorts, ranging from the backpacker variety to the more upscale, barefoot-luxury type. It’s the destination of choice for travelers who prefer more secluded holidays, away from the crowds of Bora.
Two Seasons Island Resort & Spa (twoseasonsresorts.com) is set on a tropical peninsula in Malaroyroy, about a 40-minute speedboat ride away from the town of Coron. The first eco-friendly, luxury-island resort in the area, Two Seasons is a turtle-and-giant clam sanctuary. It also has a beach with mangroves, a sandbar connecting to an inlet, lush tropical gardens, and a vibrant house reef.
This secluded paradise, 22 kilometers south of Coron town, creates its own power and water. As an island resort, it needs to be 100-percent self-sustaining. It has its own desalination plant to convert seawater to nonpotable water using reverse osmosis. There are generators, rain catchers and a sewage treatment plant. Two Seasons also enforces a zero-waste management program.
The private island villas are spacious and have breathtaking views of the clear water and nearby islands. The master villa has an outdoor Jacuzzi facing the beach.
The resort’s Sulu Restaurant serves world-class, continental cuisine amid a modern tropical ambiance. Fresh seafood highlights a feast of culinary sensations from around the world, enhanced by a magnificent view of the sea and the surrounding islands.
The Bahura Bar has a unique reef-inspired atmosphere, an ideal setting that fuses great music, design and flavor. Situated at the center of the peninsula with views of the east and west beaches, Bahura Bar is adjacent to the pool, making it a prime location for enjoying sunsets with a cocktail in hand.
Another resort, even more private and secluded than Two Seasons, is Mangenguey Island (www.mangenguey.com). From the website alone, it is a stunning, unspoiled island, completely devoid of crowds. And with good reason, as it is a two-hour banca ride from Coron.
Mangenguey is a boutique resort, with only four bungalows and two elegant rooms in the main house. It’s only slightly bigger than a European bed and breakfast, but the service is just as personalized.
The owner, Helena Carratala Mander, is a true cosmopolitan traveler, with Spanish roots and the creativity of a real artist. Helena lives on the island and the entire resort reflects her brand of hospitality.
Mangenguey is truly like no other place in the world. It is intimate yet cultured, untouched yet worldly, luxurious yet rustic. The meals at the resort are all served al fresco, again reflecting Helena’s world travels, Spanish roots and of course, her knack for using local ingredients.
I would write about more of the islands and the resorts, but there are truly too many to even list down. It’s all great to hear about and one day, I would wish to be able to visit them all.
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