The Bluewater Beach Resort, with homes in Maribago and Sumilon Island in Cebu City finds a third home in Panglao, Bohol province. Bluewater Panglao aims to be a luxury resort that highlights Bohol’s inherent warmth and charm without stripping it off its natural, rustic beauty. As of press time, the resort will officially open in July 2011.
Openness and intimacy
Even while on its soft opening, the resort does not fall short of being impressive. Guests are welcomed with a refreshing pitcher of Bluewater Panglao’s signature lemongrass tea and sumptuous kalamay macaroons especially made by Bluewater Executive Chef Gilbert Alan Mathay. As soon as you walk into the reception area, your attention is captured by the big lagoon-styled pool, which, according to General Manager Marty Jastillana, is the biggest pool in Panglao, perhaps even in Bohol. This pool is the center of two rows of deluxe rooms and a bar on the far end. With a big clear pool below and a great big sky above, you can already tell that, here, you are in for a relaxing time.
The pool-view deluxe room will instantly appeal to the city-dweller who wants to escape the chaos of the asphalt jungle, without completely abandoning its conveniences. Each room is equipped with a bathtub, cable TV, an iHome rotating dock, and free Wi-Fi. The resort is designed by Filipino artist Benji Reyes, who was quoted as saying that, here, “There is a feel of luxurious sophistication but not ‘stuffy.’ The atmosphere is kept friendly, comfortable, and warm.” True to his vision, the rooms, while modern, are far from intimidating. What separates your room and the pool is a glass wall. You may draw the red curtains open to relish the view outside and invoke a sense of continuity from where you are to where the water and fresh air are. As Marty notes, “There is no shower area in the pool; the idea is for you to take a shower in your room, then you jump straight into the pool.” The floating beds (suspended beds without legs) add to the cosmopolitan and spacious quality of the entire resort. What is fascinating here is that even though the rooms feel open, they still afford a sensation of privacy and intimacy. Draw the curtains close and you are back into your own cozy haven.
The enormous lagoon-styled pool, chic rooms, and bar only make a small part of this entrancing place. A few meters’ walk from these and you will reach the villas that share the same qualities of the deluxe rooms. The Family Villa, the only one of its kind in the resort, has two separate rooms and a pool in between. It is the most booked villa in the resort and guests find it hard to get out of it. There are also three Honeymoon Villas and farther into the resort are two more pools—a kids’ pool and an infinity pool. Beside them is the restaurant, Aplaya. Ahead of all that is the beach.
In and out of Panglao’s blue waters
Before the beach are fine-looking huts and cushioned rattan seats that entice you to rest with the help of the calm waters and the steady breeze. Once you’re ready to enjoy Panglao’s cool blue waters, you may indulge yourself in some kayaking and snorkelling, or try your hand at fishing. When you visit at the right season, never pass up the chance to go dolphin- and whale-watching.
If the activities in the resort are not enough for you, Bluewater Panglao offers a variety of full-day and half-day tour packages that allow you to explore Bohol with a professional tour guide. Among other things, you can visit historical places like the Blood Compact Monument and the Panglao Spanish Watchtower; set foot on the Chocolate Hills, one the greatest wonders of the world; and get acquainted with the Tarsiers in their natural habitat.
If you ask Marty what his favouite favorite part of the resort is, he will say that it has to be the restaurant, and it is not difficult to understand why. The Aplaya (by the sea) is a wide dining area overlooking the pools and the beach. Consistent with the resort’s aesthetics, it has been designed with subtle elegance–wooden chandeliers line in the middle of the ceiling and the tables and chairs are from premier furniture company, Dedon. All these, though, are but half of what makes the Aplaya a time-stopper. The star of the place is the cuisine. The food is delectable and—as with anything in the resort—visually appealing. You can stay in the Aplaya for hours gourmandizing on the largest crabs, oysters, and prawns; going back and forth the buffet trays; licking the tablea chocolate off your fingers; and enjoying the company of friends and family.
After a day’s activities, there is no better way than capping the night off with a massage. The resort’s spa is aptly called Amuma, which means “to take care of”. They offer different types of massage, but they are almost always called on to give the local hilot. You can choose to have the massage in your room or in one of their gazebos. Going for the latter is the better option. While spas commonly play recordings of sounds of nature, you will get the real thing here. Let your muscle pains and worries melt away with the most caring of hands while being soothed by the sound of the wind and of nature’s night companions.
General Manager Marty Jastillana shares that one of the things he likes best about the resort is the peace and quiet that can be found here. Those who have stayed for a night or two in Bluewater Panglao can attest to this tranquility. There is an immense space to breathe here. For those whom it is just sensible to get out of the city and into the beach to find peace, this is the perfect spot, and among Bohol’s many other wonders, too.
And Bluewater is only getting started. In a year or two, they will open the second phase of Bluewater Panglao where a spa, a banqueting hall, a hundred more rooms, and another restaurant will be built. In the meantime, guests can take pleasure in the serenity of Panglao. From being a lonesome place, it has become a place to be alone with yourself, your loved ones, and the natural world.
Imagine the gentle waters kissing your toes as you and your loved one dine at the edge of the shore in what the resort calls its Surf Dinner. A popular choice among couples, it isn’t difficult to see why. With only the placid waters and dancing candle light accompanying your meal specially prepared by the resort’s chef, “romantic” would be an understatement.