“It breaks my heart that I have to leave so soon. In such a short time, you have given me countless reasons why it’s hard not to fall in love with you, but I promise to be back.”
It was half past midnight when I sat alone in my villa’s veranda overlooking the blue waters of Coron, Palawan. Dark and heavy clouds formed over the island and the subtle moon glow served as my only light. I wanted to stay awake longer for in less than twelve hours, I was about to leave the Two Seasons Coron resort and head back to Manila.
No bad weather can spoil my fun
The news of a coming storm up north didn’t stop me from going on my trip to Coron, Palawan. I had a suitcase with three bathing suits, a few sundresses, two different brands of sunblock, and my photographer’s hat. I was ready for sunshiny days at the beach. An overcast afternoon and the Habagat (southwest monsoon) wind may have welcomed me but my plan to have a good time could not be dampened. I was excited to meet one of the newest resorts and the most romantic island in Palawan. However, I didn’t know that I would have a great time and that I would fall in love all over again.
It was a 45-minute boat ride from the port of Busuanga to Malaroyroy, Bulalacao Island where Two Seasons Resort and Spa waited for our arrival. In a raincoat, I braced myself for a boat ride adventure while “Kapitan,” the Schumacher of the Coron waters, accelerated as if no monstrous wave could stop him. It was time to defeat my fear of these freaky and giant waves and put my trust in Kapitan as he drove me safely to shore.
At the stunning lobby, I was received with warm smiles, a serving of churros with rich chocolate and caramel dip, and a flavorsome welcome drink made of fresh kiwi, calamansi, and honey. For a moment, I felt a bit embarrassed that my windblown hair from the boat ride won’t make such a good first impression since I was about to meet Edwin Bautista, Resident Manager of the resort. But his warm reception together with his front office staff made me feel at ease in a heartbeat. And despite the raging Habagat wind, I felt a glow of happiness seeing that I was, all of a sudden, in the middle of many beautiful things—a very charming island, amazing architecture and interior design, and gracious people. It was love at first sight.
Class, Style and Comfort
Every detail of Two Seasons in Coron is all about class, style, and comfort. I must admit, for a person like me who lives and breathes interior design, there’s no way I can resist the charm of every corner, furniture, and accessory carefully chosen for this resort. It showcases my favorite theme, Contemporary Filipino; this is evident in the materials used like dark solid wood, piedra stones from Ilocos, wooden ceilings accentuated with natural fibers, Filipino inspired, custom-made furniture pieces and accessories. Jonathan Peñaloza, owner and general manager, conceptualized and tastefully designed practically the whole resort, which opened in January 27, 2013.
I recall uttering only “oohs” and “aahs” as I entered the six different bungalows, the Narra Spa, fitness gym, Bahura Bar, and the Sulu Restaurant. The most exciting part of my trips was entering the room that will be my temporary haven for the next few days. First thing I checked was the welcome letter from the Resident Manager sitting on the vanity table in my very beautiful and cozy island tip bungalow. “We will do our very best to make your stay truly memorable,” one line embedded in my mind.
I was given a villa that has one of the best locations in the island. With a plush, kingsized bed surrounded by the finest contemporary furniture and the most romantic background of the ocean, it looked so sophisticated. Adding a little more drama to the interior are the streaks of light peeking from the outside through the wooden blinds of my wide glass doors and windows when all lights are off.
My spacious bathroom was done in good taste, walled with Italian tiles and high-class fixtures. My favorite part of it was the shower area accented with a big rain shower head with only glass doors in between me and the blue waters of Coron.
A Dreamy but Blissful Glow
A few minutes before dusk, when the heavy clouds gave out only a drizzle of rain, I felt that it was the perfect time to take a short walk out to the beach. Only a few steps from my bungalow, I found myself listening only to the whispers of the splashing waves. A part of me felt like a child saddened; I hoped that the next day will be brighter. However, the other part of me was in full bliss for being in the most beautiful and humble paradise. I wanted to savor that ‘nonstormy weather” moment.
The resort has a long list of water sporting activities I wanted to try but the Habagat wind and the lazy sun weren’t too generous. I personally wanted to get into the Molokini transparent kayak made of polycarbonate but this is only recommended on calm sea conditions. The HydroBob submersible scooters seemed so much fun. It was enjoyed most by those who don’t dive and would like to experience the amazing beauty underwater. Well, just to make myself feel better, I told myself that I should come back to try these sports on sunnier days. Coron is a famous wreck diving destination. Two Seasons has a team of experienced and well-trained dive instructors to accompany guests who would like to experience the vibrant reefs, beautiful marine life, and Japanese World War II wrecks. The resort has dive courses and packages to satisfy both beginners and professional divers who visit Two Seasons.
One of the many things the resort offers is the Kayangan Lake Tour. This tour will give one an experience of the cleanest lake in the Philippines, Blue Lagoon. Scenes from this amazing tour are all breathtaking and the underwater experience for those who would like to snorkel can also be very memorable.
Surrendering my Body to Her Magical Hands
As my quiet and gloomy afternoon turned into a relaxing evening, I visited the Narra Spa to revitalize my mind and body. After being shaken up during my speedboat ride, carrying my heavy camera for hours, and a few minutes running at the gym, it was time to pamper my aching body. My therapist, Rica, with her soft smile promised an evening of total relaxation and she recommended the Narra Spa’s signature massage.
It is a bit of a test to describe Rica’s hands. They were baby soft and her touch was soft as silk, but her soothing, kneading, and tapping strokes were just perfect. They loosened my sore joints and relieved every tensed muscle in my body. Amazing how a massage can be a very powerful healer. My spa affair ended with a warm tangy ginger tea with honey. Just perfect!
Some Serious Eats on my Table
With every fabulous resort comes some scrumptious and serious eats. So from the spa I headed to the Sulu Restaurant to try their international specialties. The delicious meal served started with the Tuna Tataki (seared tuna) Sashimi served with Wasabi Mayo and flavorful Gochujang (fermented Korean chili), and for a Thai taste, the very tasty Crispy Fish with Sweet and Spicy Glaze served with khao pad sapparot rice and som tham salad. Then one dish that was very new to me was creatively presented on a stone, the delectable Crocodile Barbecue; it is marinated in Asian spices, grilled and glazed with barbecue sauce. The last serving came and it was the Nori Wrapped US Medallion glazed with Teriyaki sauce with Foie Gras. For the fi nale, I was given the chef’s signature dessert. Ice Cream Cheesecake served with Caramel Sand. I washed these all down with a glass of their signature kiwi juice that was also served when I arrived. Everything that landed on the table was defi nitely delicious and they looked very appealing.
I headed to Bahura Bar before calling it a night for my couple of glasses of margarita made by Cliff, the bartender and my chat buddy during my stay. Cliff made me his wonderful creations, Mojito and Vodka Jello Shots. I was truly spoiled and as much as I wanted another drink I had to go back to my villa to catch some Z’s.
Pardon my cliché, but time does fly when you’re having fun. Now, as I recall my short stay at Two Seasons in Coron, I realize how protected and safe I felt despite the furious storm. Waving to the staff that became my friends and looking back for a last glimpse of the alluring island broke my heart. As we speeded our way to port, all I thought about was going back. Two Seasons is everything a paradise should be. They promised me a memorable stay, and indeed, I had one magical and unforgettable getaway.
The Man Behind Two Seasons – Coron Jonathan Peñaloza, Owner and General Manager
What inspired you to conceptualize and create the resort?
“Most of the resorts in Coron are located in only serve as gateways to the lakes, and shipwreck diving sites. They are far from the beautiful islands with white sand beaches. I wanted to share the beauty of Coron to travelers who are seeking a more upscale accommodation on a private tropical island with a beach and a rich marine life, while coming complete with all the comforts and basic amenities of a five star resort that is adjacent to all the tour activities Coron has to offer.”
Who was responsible for the theme and design of the resort? What did you have in mind when you did the design of Two Seasons-Coron?
“I conceptualized the resort layout and created a modern tropical Filipino design similar to that of our resort in Boracay. It was a slow but fulfilling process. I didn’t draw and put into perspective ideas circling in my mind so I had to wait for each structure to be built before I can actually form a concept. Focusing on the beauty of Coron helped since I used the limestone formations as a back wall design of the reception, the diving experiences to create the reef theme and school of fish at the Bahura Bar wall, the giant bird’s nest made of aluminum in the garden, etc. However, these ideas were only made possible by working with the right team who understood my perceptions.”
What do you love most about Coron and what do you personally like about your resort?
“I love the serenity and unspoiled islands of Calamianes. Being in a peninsula, surrounded by reefs and our resorts thrust to protect the marine life are what I admire about the resort.”
What is the one thing you want your guests to bring with them after experiencing Two Seasons?
“I want them to return home with a recharged mind, body and spirit, eager to face life’s reality after a vacation at Two Seasons.”