Off the Grid

A short trip to Sheridan Beach Resort Spa in Puerto Princesa becomes a lesson in going offline and enjoying the beautiful views of a tropical holiday, without the Instagram filter.

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit– traveling somewhere with barely any internet and no LTW(not even Edge!) access was a little daunting at first. We spent the few minutes after our arrival at Sheridan Beach Resort Spa in Puerto Princesa, Palawan walking around the property, trying to find the suddenly elusive signal that would bring our Instagram-ready snapshots to our followers back home.

The fact that the resort was extremely picturesque wasn’t helping the social network withdrawal systems either. The resort sits between the beautiful rolling hills that dot the entire island, its gentle slopes that seemed to rise up into the blue sky and the wide expanse of the sandy beach that stretched around the island’s edges. From the crashing waves on one side to the cloud-covered peaks on the other, there were so many photo-worthy vistas that it was almost impossible not to immediately want to share the view with the world. But eventually, we took it as our chance to live in the moment, and as hard as that may initially seem, we were determined to try.

We’d finally given up and put our phones away, enjoying the cold towels and fruit juices that were served as refreshments after the two-hour drive from the airport. The staff was friendly and accomodating, checking us into our rooms in a matter of minutes and arranging our airport transfers for the end of the trip. Afterwards, someone offered to escort us to our rooms.

The walk to the rooms allowed us to admire the resort in its entirety. Large pools take up the center of the property, flowing into each other and flanked by buildings that housed the guest rooms on each side. The structures themselves lent to the tropical vibe, with open hallways and an atrium that was filled with lush greenery. Our rooms were cozy, with soft lighting and wooden accents that keep it homey. The expansive bathroom was also a welcome luxury, with stone walls and floors and a glass-enclosed shower that was perfect for cooling off after a day in the sun.

Speaking of the sun, we decided to take advantage of the remaining hours of the afternoon to lounge by the pool—and maybe in it, with one end dedicated to a row of half-submerged lounge chairs. The beach, too, turned out to be a great place to while away the time, and the water was clear and cool—what you’d expect in an isolated island paradise.

Of course, if you’re the kind of vacationer who enjoys packing your itinerary with activities, you can go on any of the tours that the resort would be happy to assist you in arranging. Sheridan is the only luxury resort in close proximity to the Underground River, a world heritage site that brings visitors on a serene waterway under interesting rock formations. There’s also a jungle trail, a paddleboat tour by the mangroves, and a number of other stunning natural sites. Anyone looking for more of an adrenaline rush can take the ATVs out for a ride around the area.

At the end of the day, the South Sea Restaurant features the finest gourmet cuisine, with a buffet of local and international dishes made from organic ingredients from the resort’s farm. Creating our own personalized bowl at the Mongolian section was one of our favorites, though the offering are kept fresh with different specials for every meal—while we were there, we also tried out the barbecue and pasta specials. Pizzas are also made on site, with a special brick oven to give the dishes a perfect crisp. As the night deepens, the restaurant starts playing more upbeat music, encouraging their guests to enjoy the collection of cocktails and the cool ocean breeze.

On our last night, as we enjoyed our bottles of Corona on the open-air dining area, it became an interesting observation that we were no longer checking our phones mid-conversation. Something in the Palawan air did more than just block our internet connection—it actually managed to block out the desire to be constantly online. Armed with the kind of buzz that only happens when you’re having drinks in close proximity to the ocean, we were doing nothing but living the moment. I know that’s not something you can post online, but it’s definitely something I was surprised to find I was thankful for.

  • by Shari Quimbo
  • photography Dan Douglas Ong
Shari Quimbo
Shari Quimbo

Shari Quimbo is the managing editor of Zee Lifestyle. In her spare time, she likes cooking for family and friends, and escaping to the beach on weekends. Follow Shari’s adventures on Instagram at @sharinuh.

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