The island resort is in the municipality of Oslob in Cebu, but to get there, we took an hourlong flight from Manila to Dumaguete, plus a 30-minute boat ride from the port to the resort. It’s the more favored route over flying from Manila to Cebu, and traveling three hours by land.
Bluewater Sumilon is the only development in the vast 24-hectare Sumilon Island that gives guests tropical exclusivity. There are several types of accommodations: two-bedroom villa, one-bedroom pool villa, premier deluxe and deluxe rooms.
The two-bedroom villa is a luxury beach house, with two rooms connected by a veranda decked with wicker furniture. The plunge pool and lounge chairs invite families to chill; they’re also conducive to island-style house parties.
Nestled on the cliff is the one-bedroom pool villa—the “honeymoon villa” preferred by couples who want extra privacy. The king-size bed and private veranda set the mood for romance and fantasy.
Both the premier deluxe and deluxe rooms have two queen beds and a couch; the difference is the floor area, and proximity to the Pavilion restaurant where buffet breakfast is served (deluxe is nearer).
Pavilion is the thatched-roof heart of the resort. It is where guests are welcomed with drinks, and where al fresco dining—and stable WiFi—can be enjoyed. The menu has Filipino comfort food: grilled meat and seafood, lechon kawali, and chicken-pork adobo rice served on a split bamboo, plus fusion extras such as steak and pizza.
For random cravings, coffee and desserts such as guinomis, brazo de mercedes and chocolate mousse can be ordered all day, as well as smoothies and spirits.
The villas are not exactly beach-front, they’re “beach surrounded.” Take a leisurely walk and you’ll end up on the shore.
There are several coves around the island, but there’s one special beach ideal for swimming—and picture taking. It requires a bit of a trek, but trust us, the white sand and soothing saltwater make it all rewarding. On a good day, visitors can also marvel at its “shifting sandbar,” which assumes different shapes, depending on the tide and current.
This “secret beach” also offers a picturesque sunset, which enticed us to take a moment and go for a swim—until something gray plopped on the water.
“Baby sharks, ma’am,” a staffer setting up the barbecue dinner said. Our eyes shot open as he assured us that “they don’t bite.” The baby sharks, after all, are barely the size of our thighs.
These baby sharks—and their black-tip mothers—are part of the rich marine life sanctuary surrounding Sumilon Island, which has been known for its diverse dive spots. Guests may also do the beach standards—fish feeding and snorkeling, or kayaking in the lagoon (after slathering mosquito repellent).
Bluewater Sumilon can also set up a fancy tent for “glamping,” which promises to be fun especially for families with kids, resident manager EJ Barretto said.
They can also accommodate reservations for romantic beach weddings, he added, but admitted that their major draw for tourists has always been the accessibility to the popular but controversial whaleshark interaction site.
“Sumilon Island is surrounded by natural resources,” he explained. “Other adventure spots nearby are Tumalog Falls, which has cool, fresh water, and Aguinid Falls in Samboan town—a multitier waterfall that can be reached by hiking through limestone cliffs.”
Aside from the whale shark and waterfall adventure, the resort can also arrange for an Oslob heritage tour, which covers the historical Cuartel coral-stone fortress, Baluarte watchtower, Immaculate Conception Church and Museo Oslob.
A vacation in isolation is best capped with traditional Filipino therapy at Amuma Spa.
Hilot is done by a local manghihilot with herbal smoke. For a less mystical stress-reliever, there’s always the basic hot stone massage.
Or just skip the spa and binge-watch movies and series on Netflix. The resort can lend its account if you don’t have one.