A peek into SkyJet Dash editor in chief Monica De Leon’s travel kit—contents of which include her trusty oils and balms, and all-time favorite cheek tint
Body Basics Spa In a Bottle
Stress, dizziness and minor headache buster when on the go. Php170, Echostore.ph
MOXIE Relax Balm
A 30g balm in a can made of lavender, peppermint, camphor, orange and almond oil that’s oh so soothing on the skin and when inhaled after a long tiring day. Php200, Tel: +63915 221 8028, +632 508 7607
Young Living Essential Oils
Power oils that I mix in tiny containers to soothe all sorts or minor aches. For instance, I mix a few drops of lavender and peppermint in an aloe base for homemade after-sun care. From Php470, Youngliving.com/en_PH
Benefit Cosmetics LoveTint Lip tint
All-in-one bottle to make you look gorg. I apply a little on my cheeks and lips for a naturally-flushed look, and simply make it a bit thicker if I’m to hit some beach party. The best part is it stays and it’s smudge-proof. Php1,190, Benefitcosmetics.com/ph/en
I love that it does not cost the environment, made by a small-scale entrepreneur, and it’s got unusual scents like Bubblegum Pop. Php350, Dash Store, GF Solar Century Tower, 100 Tordesillas corner HV Dela Costa Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City
L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil
Cleanses and moisturizes. All you need is a reusable bottle for packing enough for your trip. Php250 for the 250ml, available at Rustan’s, Ayala Center, Makati City
That resort with a green heart located on the longest beach in the country.
San Vicente, about an hour’s flight from Manila onboard SkyJet Airlines, is that new destination we are all excited about and the reason is simple: it’s where you can experience Palawan in its glorious pristine state, devoid of crowds, commercial structures, noise pollution and all the nuisances you’d want out of your holiday.
But there’s an even better way to enjoy the sleepy Palawan town best—it’s through a stay at Club Agutaya, a sprawling resort themed local, with heavenly beds, a grand hallway that immediately defines that the place is everything and anything but cheap, and its most alluring feature—a seat on Long Beach’s throne. Long Beach is San Vicente’s over 14km-long shoreline spanning three barangays, and possibly more—the longest in the country.
Club Agutaya is the only one of its kind in town. It’s the only top-end property with five-star comforts, and does exceptionally well in keeping up with their green and sustainable thrust.
Check-in in here is a walk in the park. With it, you are given lemongrass drink, homemade insect repellant, and WiFi access that puts to shame your data connectivity.
In and around are things eco and local—plants, local weavings, watermelon-infused water so you can hydrate without hurting the environment. The hall-like reception made use of tree trunks in lieu of cement clad posts. Love the sense of airiness too, with the outside melding with the inside.
The main structure where the hotel rooms are connects to Solihiya Bar, which has a drink menu centered around a tropical vibe. There are your usual standard liquors and beer, but you come here for the concoctions whipped by the vice president for operations Dixie Marinas made using local ingredients. Best in the bunch is the Palawan Mule, Solihiyas’ take on the classic Moscow mule using ginger syrup, calamansi, lemongrass, vodka and soda. It’s light, sweet, very aromatic. The San Vicente Gin Tonic, a fruity twist to the classic gin and tonic, is another favorite.
Further out on to a pathway is a gazebo, then the pool, and then breathtaking Long Beach—a sandy shoreline with islets in the distance, no crowds except for the hotel guests, and no neighboring resorts to share it with. Its length’s so immense it looks like it won’t end. There are huts and beach beds but my most memorable time here was when I lounged at the hammock under the Talisay tree, watching a golden sunset.
Cafe Lilly deserves a toast. It’s Club Agutaya’s beautiful native-designed restaurant with wooden furniture, glass top tables, folding chairs, and paintings of flowers hung on the wall, run by Ms. Chona, the resort’s owner and resident chef. I can’t help but feel the strong feminine touch reflected in the restaurant.
Equally beautiful is the menu, a mix of local and international favorites. The dishes are whipped using local produce and ingredients grown at the resort’s own garden.
We rave about the San Vicente Chicken, chicken barbecue made from local herbs and spices; and the beef wagyu curry—melt-in-your-mouth beef in a mildly spicy savory sauce. But you’re in seafood country so it’s rightful you get the Fresh catch of the day, a choice between lapu lapu (grouper), red snapper, or tanigue, which you can have steamed, pan-grilled, or cooked sinigang style. Mind that their sinigang is among the best you’d ever taste. For something different, a romantic dinner for two by the beach, or a boodle-fight style meal if you’re a group, can be arranged.
The resort’s hard-to-beat eco features and ways, the hammock by Long Beach, the glorious Cafe Lilly, my villa. Another memorable feat is Kubo Spa located close to the beach where you can get a good combination massage and forget about how the world exists for a while.
I stayed in the King villa, which looks out to the garden and into the sea and it’s as romantic as it can be. Lots of local touches, as expected. Its star attraction is its four-poster bed with mosquito netting dramatically draped on it. Lighting is warm; there’s a mini sala, a coffee and tea making facility, and a huge bathroom with everything you need in it. I remember enjoying a shower after a long day out in the sea, and using all-natural toiletries including a piece of loofa and coconut soap in a coconut husk.
The basics From Php5,000 (about USD96) per room per night Long Beach, Brgy. San Isidro, San Vicente, Palawan Tel: +63917 898 6566 Clubagutaya.net
From great all-in holidays, overly affordable hotel nights, to cute local buys, this year’s travel fair, from October 11 to 13, will pave the way for your travel shopping spree. Be ready to spend!
Dash Holidays packages + SkyJet Airlines seats
Dash Holidays’ irresistible travel deals will allow you to not worry about a single thing when you travel, for what’s on the table are all-in, hassle-free, three-day holidays in Batanes, Camiguin, and Busuanga. The official tour packages arm of SkyJet Airlines can also book you SkyJet tickets to and from the mentioned destinations if seats is what you’re after only. Plus: buy items from Batanes, crafted by local artists Creative Hub, and get a free copy of Dash magazine, as you wait for your transaction to complete.
A full tour of Korea, covering its capital Seoul, hotspot Nami Island, plus activities like kimchi making on specific travel dates is sold for as low as P25,888.
Get blown away by value-for-money tours of the northernmost Philippine province, Batanes, offered by Wakay Tours.
Gigantes Islands tours
Tours to Iloilo’s marvel of an island, are at a steal, for day tours priced at P799 per person, to three-day, two-night tours at P2,799 per person.
A unifying booth dedicated to Region 5, also known as the Bicol region, takes center stage, marketing to the traveling public offerings from the six provinces covered by southernmost Philippine region.
Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar
This one of the many resorts and hotels who have set up a booth, offering special rates at their properties.
Dragonfruit wine, coffee brews from the region, and locally-made peanut butter are some of the great finds in the Cagayan Valley booth. Cagayan Valley is a region up North.
Elegante’s gold-plated accessories
Earrings, necklaces, rings, and rosaries made from surgical steel and plated in gold is something interesting to shop for. Earrings are for as low as P50 a pair.
Quirky lights and dreamcatchers by Creative Cruff
These items are great gifts. On top of these, sold too are knick knacks like stationaries, notebooks, stickers, and stainless steel utensils and reusable straw sets.
Woven earrings by Koffee
The basics The Traval Sale Fair 2019 held at the World Trade Center is open daily from 11am to 9pm from October 11 to October 13, 2019.
See the quaint town in Palawan, two hours south of its famous big sister El Nido, while the crowds haven’t arrived.
San Vicente, Palawan is still relatively unknown—or at least compared to the big towns and cities that have helped put Palawan on the map. It’s tucked in between El Nido in Northern Palawan, and Puerto Princesa City, world-famous because of its Subterranean River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So if you’re looking for that spot in Palawan where you want an idyllic seaside experience—pretty much how Palawan was before its heyday—then it’s the place to be.
Getting to San Vicente is less than an hour’s flight direct from Manila onboard SkyJet Airlines. So yes, it’s off track. But no; it’s not at all difficult to get to—thanks to SkyJet’s five-times-a- week flights to the sleepy town.
From the airport, resorts within the area are minutes away,
and getting to each one is a breeze. Island traffic is something still
unfamiliar here. Best to have a pre-arranged pick up from the resort you’re
staying at because while there are multicabs around, they’re scarce.
It’s not beach weather when we visited but I’ve gotten a
feel of the island vibe, luxe style—thanks to Club Agutaya, the only five-star hotel and one of the most
established properties in town.
Club Agutaya checks all the things a responsible and conscientious traveler would look for. You’d be welcomed into a grand hall, themed Filipino, along with staff who’d offer you cold towels and blue flower-infused lemongrass refreshment. Check-in is fast—and organized. You’d be given a bag tag so you can leave your luggage behind for the resort staff to take to your room. Once you’re settled in your room, somebody comes knocking at the door to offer you WiFi access codes and homemade insect repellent, which you could replenish at any time. Talk about service deluxe. Plus they’re big on sustainable practices.
My seaview hotel room at the third floor is bright and airy, with two queen size bed, large bath room with hot and cold rainshower. Loved the Filipino accents all around. The closet door is finished in native weaving.
The club has a pool and its own patch of beach. The dining
hall is like a museum at night, while the bar at the center is a place you can
get lost in chit chatting with your friend, favorite cocktail on hand.
A 15-minute drive will take you to the aptly named Long Beach and I’d tell you why. Long Beach is indeed the longest uninterrupted beach in the Philippines at over 14km. It’s like Boracay’s White Beach three times in length. It’s easy to fall in love with Long Beach and these are the reasons: creamy beige sand that are nice to walk on to; clean waters lapping its shores; almost zero crowd most of the time; and the absence of modern structures, enabling it to flaunt its unadulterated beauty.
The Department of Tourism along with the local government
and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) hosted our
seaside lunch, and it was heaven on earth: fresh steamed crabs, grilled fish
and squid, mussels bigger than your hand, locally made rice cakes puto and biko. And we devoured everything while taking turns in the karaoke.
Will I go back? In a heartbeat.
Book your Dash Holiday now!
DashHolidays will be offering all-in, hassle-free provider of travel packages that include roundtrip airfare, roundtrip airport transfers, tours, and room nights soon.
Tel: +63917 840 6853, +63917 627 6179 Email: [email protected] GF Solar Century Tower, 100 Tordesillas corner HV Dela Costa Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Open from Mondays to Saturdays from 9am to 5pm