Looking for a tropical getaway in the Philippines is relatively easy. The hard part is choosing which local destination to travel to, whether you're searching for a remote island with an off-the-beaten-path vibe or an island resort with luxurious amenities. But if you're on the lookout for a spot where you can conquer the great outdoors while still enjoying a massage or a private dinner, you can check out Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort in Oslob, Cebu. The price point is a bit steep at almost P10,000 per night, but with the range of activities you can do on the island, a little splurging is worth it.
Here's everything you need to know about Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort:
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort is located in southern Cebu, just off the coast of Oslob. It has everything you need for a weekend vacation: overnight accommodations, activities for both beach lovers and trekkers, spa services, and an in-house restaurant. Most of the island resort's facilities are for the exclusive use of overnight guests and day-trippers.
Probably the first thing you notice as soon as you arrive on the private Eastern Dock of the 24-hectare coral island is the vast amount of space: whether it's the distance between the front desk and your room, the room itself with the smallest option at 58.35 square meters (including an en suite toilet and bath that can count as a whole separate bedroom), the beach strip (on all sides of the island), and the pathways for trekking.
Overnight guests have five room options to choose from: Deluxe Room, which has a private veranda with views of the sea and two queen-sized beds; Premier Deluxe Room, which is a bit bigger at 77 square meters; One Bedroom Villa, which is located in a secluded area amid the cliffs of the resort and boasts a private dipping pool; Family Villa, which has a king-sized bed and two queen-sized beds; and an air-conditioned glamping tent located in a designated beachfront area.
What to Do
For starters, an overnight stay at Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort may not be enough to enjoy all the activities. We recommend booking at least three days, one for relaxing, one for snorkeling around the sandbar and enjoying other water activities, and another day for following the island resort's trail for trekking and/or biking. Speaking of maps, the whole thing will be explained to you during a briefing at Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort's private port in Bancogon before you hop on a boat to the island.
Sumilon is most famous for its white sandbar, which regularly changes its shape depending on the tide, current, and season. It is surrounded by coral reefs, which are teeming with schools of fish. To better protect the reef, visitors are required to avail the services of a guide so that they don't accidentally stand on the corals. All you have to do is wear a snorkel and a life jacket, hold on to the guide's floater, look down, and just enjoy the view of the underworld.
Managed by the local government of Oslob, this spot is open to the public through the Western Dock. This means local boats can go to and from the mainland, whether or not they're checked in at the resort. It's closed every third Wednesday of the month as directed by the mayor's office.
You can also go snorkeling in front of the Deluxe and Premier Deluxe Rooms, which are accessible only by guests. The area is shallow enough that you don't need a life vest, but you also have to be very careful not to touch or step on the corals. Snorkeling and diving spots are located around the island. Just drop by one of the several dive shops to rent your gear, or better yet, you can bring your own. Life vest racks are also available in various spots, so you don't have to do a lot of walking to and from the front desk.
For those who wish to complete their steps, you may choose to follow the 770-meter Easy Trail (yellow flags), 953-meter Moderate Trail (blue flags), and 1.7-kilometer Advanced Trail (red flags). Bikers have their own 800-meter trail marked with orange flags. All trails start along the Public Access Road behind the villas. Just take note of the color of the flag, and you're good to go on your own. For safety purposes, inform the staff that you're wandering off on one of the nature trails.
While the Easy Trail is fairly easy (obviously), you still have to be prepared to navigate the uphill and downhill paths, walk on mud and sharp limestones, and hold your phone in one hand while holding on to the rails (or a walking stick) with the other. Some of the best views of the island are on the other end, so it's better not to skip the trekking activity.
Kayaking is also another option when on the island. You can build on your arm strength while paddling in the lagoon surrounded by towering limestone formations, the same karst you walk through during the trekking.
You also have access to the infinity pool; although, this is usually crowded with guests on a day tour, especially since rates are only at P1,500. There's another swimming pool near the restaurant.
After a day or two of adventure, you can pamper yourself by setting an appointment at the Amuma Spa. You can have this in one of the beachfront payag-payag, the bamboo gazebo near the lagoon, or your villa. Rates start at P800 for a 30-minute head-and-shoulder massage.
Where to Eat
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort's in-house restaurant is called Pulo, which is a Filipino word for "island." It serves local and international cuisine, and is located by the pool area. The breakfast buffet also includes local delicacies like budbud and puto maya. Room service is also an option, so you can eat your lunch or dinner on your beachfront veranda.
If you're on the island with your special someone, you can also book an exclusive four-course dinner in advance. The private set-up may either be in the beach area or the lagoon (P7,000 nett per couple), or the sandbar (P8,000). The latter, however, depends on the tide; but the staff can advise you ahead if they have to move to another private beachfront. Rates come with one bottle of house wine and your own personal waiter.
How to Get There
Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia have direct flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Mactan-Cebu International Airport. From Cebu City, you can travel by bus or by van from Ceres South Bus Terminal to Oslob, Cebu; or hire private transportation (P3,500) through tour agencies like RNL Cebu Travel and Tours. Travel time from Cebu City to Oslob is about three hours. Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort has a private port in Barangay Bancogon.
Alternatively, you can fly from Manila City to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental. Then, take a cab to the municipality of Sibulan. From Sibulan port, you can take a fast craft to Liloan in Cebu; then take a bus or a van to Bancogon in Oslob. Total travel time through this route is one hour.
The boat to Sumilon Island departs from Mainland Bancogon at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. The schedule from Sumilon Island to Mainland Bancogon is at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
Bluwater Sumilon Island Resort is on Sumilon Island, Oslob, Cebu. Rates start at P9,500. For more information, visit Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort's website.
This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.
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