By Deedee Siytangco
‘The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of the rain, the sound of wind in primeval wood, and the sound of ocean on a beach.’—Benry Benson
Two weeks ago, upon the gentle prodding of our good friend Pete Dacuycuy, we packed our bags for several days for the beach of Sumilon Island in Oslob, Cebu. It is included in the list of the “best beaches “ of Cebu and we had a sampling why.
I really am glad I went along with the “get-away-from-Metro-Manila” trip. We were with Rina Jimenez David of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and her husband Pie, Andrew Masigan of BusinessWorld and his wife, my only daughter Sandee, and my apo Amanda Julia, home for summer break from Spain. Pete brought his son JP, so it was really family outing! My additional excuse, if I needed any, from my “apo-stolic duties” to Disney was to soak up sun and bond! It is a “senior-friendly” resort, as everything was within walking distance from one another—even our little “villa” up the hill, which entailed, when the electric golf cart broke down, a little huffing and puffing in the cool evening. That was very good exercise and, besides, I had my daughter to guide me along the sandy path.
Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort is relatively new, having opened only in December 2005 with its initial twelve cottages. It now has 31 rooms, including two “villas,” located on a hill overlooking the beach, each with their own small pools—with bathtubs to soak ourselves in, too!
You could also have a soothing massage in their beach cottages and, at night, the new rage among the millenials and adventurous, “glamping” on the sandy white beach under the stars—air-conditioned tents to sleep in! All the other water activities were available to the adventurous and agile. I chose to swim in the pool and watch the sunset.
Banca-loads of “day tourists” arrived in the mornings to swim, snorkle, roam the sandbar, scuba-dive—and eat! They left late afternoon, tanned, well-fed, and happy!
Anyway, for those who stayed at the resort, the “afternoon tea” was something to look forward to after a swim or a walk along the beach. It was served in the rooms, in very creative containers that reflect the culture of Cebu. The tea came with special mini kakanins—which were delicious!—that we easily finished, of course. The tea sets were really so lovely to look at, particularly because of the way it was laid out.
There I go… daydreaming again!
How to get to Sumilon island? We flew Philippine Airlines to Dumaguete, and from there we took a big motorized banca to Sumilon island, almost an hour away. The ride was a bit rough with big waves as it was nearing noon already, but we were so excited to reach the resort we just enjoyed the bumpy ride.
We took the trip before the Xiamen Airlines fiasco, so we were thankful we went and arrived without any untoward incident from Terminal 3. We had delicious gyoza and ramen for lunch at Raku on the third floor and flew out with only a short delay. And yes, the rest rooms on the third floor of the Terminal 3 were clean and dry.
On our second day in Sumilon, we made a day trip to Oslob on the other side of the sea. It was a short boat ride, pleasant and relaxing, in the mid-morning. The management of Bluewater always makes sure that their guests also enjoy other sights, so they brought us to Oslob town and some of us went butanding- or dolphin-watching.
Oslob is now swarming with tourists, majority of them Korean and Chinese. There are some locals too, of course. Before it goes the way of Boracay with trash, unplanned sewages, dirty shower rooms and toilets, and vendors on the beach, we suggest the DOT and the local government to step in already. They earn good money from the thousand or so tourists who go to the small port to take the banca rides until after noontime.
The butanding watchers pay to go out in bancas rowed by two boatmen after listening to a short “briefing” on how to behave in the banca and about not touching or feeding the dolphins. Tourists were outfitted with life vests and spent some 30 minutes near the mammals playing in the water, which could be fed tiny shrimps or alamang by the boatmen so they come closer to the bancas. For an additional fee, you can dive in and swim with the friendly dolphins. For a few minutes only, please. Then back on the shore!
My granddaughter Amanda and her dad Andrew loved the experience! The two also went to the sandbar at Sumilon island and Amanda rated that adventure as “awesome.”
The days we were at Bluewater Sumilon were so relaxing and we felt really pampered, true to the resort’s mantra “amuma with excellence.” Amuma in Visayan means to “pamper with great care,“ which I already had a taste of in the first Bluewater resort at Maribago, Cebu. The staff were all so friendly and anxious to please! So I had a grand time being pampered by the fabulous “boodle fights” served to us by the F&B manager Desiry Ollica and the Executive chef Jasper Kong. Out the door went whatever diets we were on.
The last dinner was a torch-lit buffet featuring “The Best of Cebu” on the romantic beahfront. From its chicharon, lechon, kinilaw, and the resort’s own adobo rice in bamboos, grilled items, and the sinful desserts, it was truly a fiesta for us! The resort’s young and genial general manager Edward Jose (or EJ) fussed over us—and, yes, some of us tried their spa offerings, too.
Sumilon Bluewater is under the umbrella of owner Alenter Resorts Hotels Corp. and managed by Bluewater Hospitality. We reserve our day trip to Dumaguete on another day. Now that is another “must” when you go back to Sumilon! To discover “liitle Spain” and get your share of yummy silvanas and tour Siliman University and enjoy their bay walk.