Palawan has long been known for its crystal blue waters, powdery sand beaches, and unspoiled landscapes—the setting of the new Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa outside Puerto Princesa City.
After a short flight to Puerto Princesa City, guests are shuttled to the resort, some 70-80 km north of Puerto Princesa City.
The drive gives the passengers the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Palawan’s outback. Limestone cliffs, jungle-covered mountains, and untouched coastlines are just some of the sites along the way.
Opened only last July, Sheridan is built near the end of a 1.5 km beach near the fishing village of Sabang. The property, a former coconut plantation, is spread over 4.3 hectares, with the resort hotel and facilities occupying about two hectares.
Looking out toward the beach from the main lobby, one can see two parallel buildings which house a total of 94 rooms, ranging from deluxe to suite accommodations, all fully furnished with a modern Asian feel.
A four-foot-deep pool, complete with Jacuzzi, splits the hotel in the middle. The lobby building and guest rooms surround the main pool, with no building higher than the tree line. Trees and vegetation surround the resort on three sides, with the beach serving as the only opening.
“We wanted to build a world-class resort as part of the natural environment,” said managing director Jacqueline Tan. “The pool in the middle creates an oasis-like feel.”
The resort has two dining outlets, the Lobby Lounge, which serves snacks and refreshments, and the South Sea Restaurant.
Being situated within a nationally-protected site requires most of the produce to be shipped from Manila or Cebu, especially seafood. Vegetables, on the other hand, are supplied by the resort’s own organic farm. In the evening, weather permitting, dinner is sometimes served in the veranda or beach side.
If you get thirsty, the Sip n’ Dip Bar offers guests drinks and snacks at poolside, while the Blue Bar is a great place to unwind with friends after a long day under the sun.
Sheridan also has a convention hall that can cater to between 300 and 500 people, depending on the setup.
To round off the amenities, Sheridan also has an outdoor gym and small spa. Their signature Sheridan Hilot is worth trying out.
While Sabang is devoid of any real tourist infrastructure, guests in Sheridan can enjoy a variety of activities, ranging from tours to water sports, all just a short distance from the resort.
For the more adventurous, Sheridan’s beachfront is just a step away. Don’t be surprised to see people jogging in the morning or taking a nice stroll at sunset. The 1.5 km stretch of fine sand reminded me a lot of China Beach in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Like in Da Nang, the water also is not that calm with strong waves, so bathers beware, but signs and flags are found all over the beachfront.
For land lovers, two ATV tours are available, a technical one through a jungle trail and a more leisurely one to the resort’s organic farm. In either case, prepare to get dirty, especially on wet days.
Several caves in the area, which are easily reached, can be explored with a local guide.
One can take a paddleboat tour through a mangrove forest, a 45-minute boat ride with a well-informed local guide who will not only tell you about the different types of mangroves and creatures who live in and around them, but will also entertain you with his unique singing talent.
One thing not to miss on this tour is the tamilok, a local delicacy. More commonly known as woodworm, you find it inside the trunks of fallen trees. Boatmen will harvest these and serve them at the end of the tour. Those who are as adventurous as Anthony Bourdain can dip it in vinegar, chili, and kalamansi. It actually tastes similar to oysters, but with a milkier texture.
Finally, just 20 minutes away by pumpboat is the world-famous Underground River. Visitors can hop on a pumpboat at the Sabang jetty (a five-minute walk along the beach). A finalist in Unesco’s Search for the New 7 Wonders of the World, it is a source of pride, both locally and nationally. Prior scheduling is required, as they limit the number of visitors per day.
“Sheridan’s true attraction lies in its location, and giving our guests access to Palawan’s amazing natural environment,” says Tan.
Contact Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa at tel. nos. 376-6960 or 921-6963, or e-mail [email protected]