At the northern tip of Bulalacao Island in Coron, Palawan, sits every beach lover’s haven—where the sun, sky and sea are inescapable.
The ocean’s bright blue hues surround the peninsula, which has a stretch of beach on either side glowing with golden sand. On the east is a panoramic view of neighboring Banana and Malcapuya islands; on the west is a cluster of mangroves. A nearby islet is accessible through a winding sandbar.
One’s hair is tousled by the sea breeze that blows across the island. Tall trees provide natural shade from the noonday sun. At night, the sounds of the wind and waves blend into a soothing lullaby.
Such is the paradise that is home to Coron’s newest luxury getaway: Two Seasons Coron Island Resort and Spa.
Owned by John Peñalosa, who also put up Two Seasons Boracay, the resort complements the island’s lush environment with its top-notch accommodations, amenities and service.
Each of its 42 bungalows is never without a view of the sea. Some sit atop the resort’s hilly areas, while others are located just a few feet from the beach and pool area. Five are located near the very end of the island, and each comes with its own private deck and Jacuzzi—perfect for a romantic rendezvous while watching the sunset.
In the rooms, decorative details such as circular vases, bricks on the bed’s headboard and cabinet doors, and pawikan “drawings” on the bathroom wall are like artwork.
Taking a shower is a treat as each bathroom has a huge rain shower. The toiletries, all L’Occitane (even the shaving cream), keep one fresh and fragrant. The resort doesn’t scrimp on linens, either: everything is 100-percent cotton with a 250 or 300 thread count.
The crème de la crème of accommodations is the lone Sandbar Bungalow, which sits at the very edge of the island, where the sandbar begins. It’s a two-level bungalow with its own patio and a Jacuzzi built right into a rock formation. By raising the remote-controlled curtain, one instantly gets a 180-degree view of the island.
The resort has a Pawikan Aqua Sports Center which offers watersports: wakeboarding, waterskiing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kite boarding, banana boat riding. If the wind and waters are calm enough, one can go kayaking using the Molokini transparent kayak, which gives a clear view of the corals and underwater marine life (it’s not advisable to do this on a windy day, though, as the kayak might tip over).
Tours to popular Coron attractions such as Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon and shipwreck sites can be arranged.
One activity is unique to Two Seasons Coron: the HydroBob. It’s like helmet diving, only this time one rides a submersible scooter that can descend up to 10 feet underwater. No diving or swimming experience needed, just an adventurous spirit! Guides will be with you the whole time, anyway, so there’s no reason to panic.
Two Seasons Coron is the first to offer such an activity in the country.
After a day at sea or a dip in the Jacuzzi, you can make your way up Two Seasons Coron’s Narra Spa for some pampering (it’s a short enough walk, but golf carts are ready to take you to and from the spa, or anywhere in the resort). Choosing one’s treatment is an experience in itself, as the spa offers a selection of massages, facials, wraps, baths and scrubs.
It’s best to book early, as some treatments last as long as four hours. There are four treatment rooms separated by wooden bridges, save for the topmost, the Angsana Room, which sits atop a small hill. It has the Vichy shower (a rain shower with five to seven heads that’s mounted over a spa bed, used for body treatments) and a cooling pool.
There’s a fully equipped gym—also with a fantastic view of the sea!—for those who keep a strict workout regimen, even while on vacation.
The resort is an hour’s boat ride away from the town of Coron, but that doesn’t mean food choices are limited. The Sulu Restaurant has a complete menu—created by chef Gene Gonzalez of Café Ysabel and Center for Asian Culinary Studies—of appetizers, soups, salads, pasta and desserts, as well as seafood, chicken, beef and pork dishes. The creative plating is surely worth a few Instagram posts.
Resort manager Dennis P. Riego says supplies are air-shipped twice a week, but they also buy what’s available locally.
No beach vacation is complete without booze, and the resort’s Bahura Bar goes the whole nine yards. If drinking while swimming is your thing, take a “seat” in the Jacuzzi that sits adjacent to the bar.
Peñalosa, who designed the resort’s layout and interiors, spared no expense in acquiring the best building materials and furnishings. Hardwood such as narra, ipil and molave were used for the different structures. Acacia furniture was made by Bernie Sason of Sason Shop Inc. in Bacolod.
Cebu-based Allan Murillo designed the pieces found in the lobby, restaurant and bar, as well as the outdoor tables, lounge chairs, and huge lighting fixtures in the restaurant and lobby. He also created décor inspired by sights in Coron: “limestone cliffs” at the reception area, fish that seems to float on the wall of Bahura Bar, and a giant bird’s nest at the center of the resort.
Riego also describes Two Seasons as “self-sustaining.” Electricity runs 24/7, with four generators, and one solar panel for every two bungalows supplies power to the water heaters.
The resort has its own desalination and sewage treatment plants. The desalination plant converts seawater to nonpotable water that’s used for showers. In the sewage treatment plant, wastewater is cleaned and recycled for flushing. Solid waste is dried and used for fertilizer. This process ensures that no waste is dispensed into the sea.
Two Seasons Coron’s beautiful location has an interesting history: it used to be the site of a town.
“John (Peñalosa) bought the land from the local government on condition that displaced locals would be given employment,” says Riego. There is one “remnant” of that town: a chapel built on the exact spot where the town’s church was.
This May it will see its first wedding (the resort arranges weddings, too).
Anywhere in the sprawling 16 hectares—six of which have been developed, the remaining 10 are untouched forest areas—guests can always find their own cozy nook.
The best spot on the island, however, can be found in the afternoon when the tide is low, on the sandbar at the very end. Just a few minutes here—to take photos or just to take in the beautiful view—is enough to complete one’s stay at Two Seasons.