|The swimming pool at Isla Cabana. On both sides of the pool are jacuzzis.|
In the Philippines, where summer is eternal, the gods even play favorites by giving this side of the archipelago not just sunshine but long stretches of talcum-fine beaches with palm leaves swaying and reaching for the sky and above all--a stunning swell perfect for surfing from September to December.
Siargao, many years before, conjured an image of a backwater island with nipa huts that dot its coastline. In less than a decade, locals have seen the transformation of the island--from the first wave of arguably unknown surfers who flocked in and lived in surfer's shack to the present heavyweights billeted in the plethora of beach bungalows. The Tourism Road to Cloud 9 in General Luna town today is home to a wide range of accommodations and has been hosting year after year big names in the international surfing circuit. The international surfing competitions run the gamut from Billabong to Roxy to Quicksilver. Add to that a thumbs up by CNN naming Siargao Island as one of the world's top surfing spots! Shaka to that!
A wide selection of accommodations are easily available--from budget to mid-range to five star. Celebrity sightings include Bradd Pitt and Angelina Jolie though the resort where they stayed in wouldn't deny nor confirm.
One jewel that truly stands out in the choices of mid-range accommodation is Isla Cabana. Isla Cabana's well-thought out tropical design begins to enthrall me as soon as I set foot on the lobby. Dark ironwood from floor to beam, beige cushions on seats and a dash of white on walls dominate the color motif of the resort--minimalist without looking bare.
The use of nipa in its roofing reflects indigenous sensibilities. The Business Center has iMac for guests to use. The furnishings are topnotch. The landscaping complements the overall vibe of the resort--classy tropical zen. It's like ugly is banned here.
After a warm welcome smile by Jackie behind the front desk and the refreshing welcome drink at the reception area, the friends and I are ushered by Chela and Ryan, the friendly staff, toward the restaurant with views that empty into the landscaped inner courtyard.
Then, a few heartbeats later, to our well-appointed and tastefully-designed room. After a few nights of roughing it, it's a delight to smell crisp linens and jump into a five-star bed!
Notwithstanding the utterly missed long hot shower in a five-star bathroom. The fixtures are high-end!
The room is fully-airconditioned. There's a fridge, a flat screen TV and a writing desk that I like! Did I mention that wi-fi (and yes breakfast) is complimentary? And in case of power interruption (which happened 5 times), Isla Cabana has a standby generator. The good life!
At sundown, we head out to the ocean--The Pacific Ocean no less (well, just at the edge. haha)! Fine white sand. Clear water. What more can we ask for? A drink perhaps. La concocts a glass of Tanduay with soda. What follows is a fun shoot!
Earlier at the back of the pick-up truck on the way to the resort:
Meanwhile, Isla Cabana offers complimentary drop-off in Cloud 9 (or to any location in town 1 kilometer away). Charges apply beyond the said limit. There's a bicycle for guests to use, too. Shuttle to and from the pier and airport is also available.Thank you Roger for the swift ride to and from Dapa pier.
The wave at Cloud 9 is known to be unforgiving for the beginning surfer. Three to eight carabaos high are standards during peak season. But here I am, one who is forever afraid of big waves, standing on the terrace of my cabana with my chin up and my arms in a Dragonball Z position ready to pounce those waves. Just because it is still the tail-end of the lean season! Ha!
Amid the international vibe with the first-class amenities at Isla Cabana, the laid-back rhythm of the island awaits outside the resort's main door. Just across the street, in a sari-sari store, the locals imbibe the hang loose attitude of Siargao Island-- a good laugh and easy conversation over rounds of tuba (local wine from coconut). And these locals can easily wear their surfing instructor's hat for those who would like to learn how to surf.
Tomorrow, I will be surfing. The first time in a very long time!
It begins like a song in my head, snaking through an eternal summer when waves, the intensity of its pounding, do not sting anymore like beads of rain.
next: things to do in Siargao Island during peak and off-peak seasons!
Isla Cabana Tropical Island Resort
General Luna, Siargao Island
8416 General Luna, Surigao Del Norte,
Contact: Mr. Dupz Escatron-Ravelo and/or Al Solloso
09285595244 / 09175230300 / 09209099777
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram: #islacabanaTwitter: @islacabana
rates begin at Php3,400.00 during off-peak season. Good for 3 people na. Includes breakfast.
*Special thanks to the cousins:
Dupz Escatron Ravelo for arranging my complimentary stay. Cheers!
To the owner Mildred Escatron-Pabillore, thank you and hope to meet you soon!