Even the most tropical of places aren’t spared from the occasional storms, but what’s a little rain to take away the fun of discovering an island destination? The beauty of Sumilon Island proves that it can stand the test of weather.
It won’t be easy but it will be worth it, I thought, staring apprehensively at the furious waves crashing on the mainland’s shore, Sumilon Island barely visible against the horizon.
An understatement—the weather was uncooperative. Any notion that the Philippines was a tropical country disappeared along with the sun. Dark clouds loomed over the skies, bringing down rain that never stopped, not even for a minute, on the two-and-a half hour trip to Oslob.
Reaching the docking point for Sumilon Island only led to the discovery that there was another force of nature to be reckoned with—the strong winds responsible for the waves that were sure to make the 15-minute boat ride to the island a rough journey.
Still, the ominous conditions did not deter this writer. The rain dwindled to a light drizzle during the boat ride, finally ceasing for the moment upon arriving at Sumilon’s famous shifting sandbar—a temporary docking point that was safer in this weather, as opposed to the usual port that leads straight to the resort.
In this case, it took a ten-minute walk along a path before finally reaching the charming Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort, the only establishment in Sumilon Island. Bluewater Resorts opted to develop only 20% of this 24-hectare coral island. The natural beauty of the island, complimented with the world-class amenities and distinct Filipino touch standard to the Bluewater Resorts brand, make Bluewater Sumilon the ideal island getaway.
The island’s pavilion was a welcome sight after the brief trek. In better weather conditions, it offers a stunning view of the sea and of mainland Cebu, but at that point, the view was obscured by native blinds that still went well with the pavilion’s look, while keeping guests warm and dry. Besides serving as the reception area for the resort, it also houses a library where one can borrow and read books, and a small gift shop.
More importantly, the pavilion doubles as the hotel restaurant, serving a small yet impressive array of local and international dishes. The sojourn to Sumilon was arduous, and finally reaching the destination called for some food. Lunch was Nasi Goreng—Indonesian fried rice topped with fried egg, served with pork and chicken satay, barbecue chicken wings, bean sprouts and prawn crackers. It was bursting with flavor, creating a great first impression about the food served at Bluewater Sumilon.
Past the pavilion is Bluewater Sumilon’s lagoon shaped infinity pool, almost as iconic as the island’s shifting sandbar. The pool’s still waters create an interesting contrast against the choppy waves of the sea—a tempting alternative for those who want to swim and are willing to brave the cold. The resort also has a Jacuzzi, located a few steps down the pool.
Bluewater Sumilon offers several types of accommodations. Just beyond the pool are 14 deluxe rooms and 10 premiere deluxe rooms, each with its own private veranda with a view of the sea. The rooms are decked in neutrals, complimented with warm lighting and wooden furniture. Splashes of blue on the linens give the place just the right hint of color. the overal effect is understatedly luxurious, yet comfortably homey.
On the opposite side of the pavilion lie the more exclusive villas. At the moment, Bluewater Sumilon has two honeymoon villas and one family villa. Although their décor is consistent with the other rooms, the villas hold the distinction of each having their own private dipping pool. The villas are also in the perfect position to witness the sun rise in the mornings.
For the more adventurous guests, Bluewater Sumilon offers the experience of enjoying the great outdoors in style with glamping— glamorous camping. Apart from tent accommodations, glamping packages include full-board meals, in-tent mini bar, island camp activities, and a camp assistant to cater to every need.
Yet with everything that Sumilon has to offer, it’s impossible to just stay in the rooms, no matter how comfortable Bluewater’s accommodations are.
Explore the island on foot by following the trails that lead to Sumilon’s landmarks, including the natural lagoon, the lighthouse, the historic watchtower or baluarte, and the Yamashita caves. The path also showcases some spectacular views of the sea, especially from the highest points of the island.
Sumilon Island is home to the first marine sanctuary established in the Philippines. Discover the vibrant underwater life through snorkeling, or get up close and personal with the tropical fish with a scuba diving adventure. The island’s natural lagoon is also something worth exploring. Steer a kayak through the high mangrove trees, or have a hand at fishing. For a truly one of a kind adventure, Sumilon’s proximity to the town of Oslob means guests can try the famed whale shark watching.
After so many adventures, it’s all but fitting to relax, and Bluewater Sumilon offers several options to do so. There’s afternoon tea, beach picnics, lounging at the payag-payag, and romantic private dinners. Bluewater also brings their trademark Amuma Spa to Sumilon. The spa’s offerings, combined with the serenity of the location, make for a truly blissful experience.
The beauty of Sumilon is something that can’t be defined by anything, not even the weather. While the iconic image of Sumilon is sparkling turquoise waters blending with clear skies, it’s stunning to see how the steel grey skies make the waters bluer than ever, living up to the resort’s name. Sumilon has a lot of things to offer, and rain or shine bring different experiences to explore and enjoy all of them.
- by Patty Taboada
- photography Mike Jo