Staying at Caluwayan is like being let in on a very good secret...definitely one of the gems of the southern Philippines!
Words & Photos By Nathan Allen
It was a long ride on the motorbike. I had come all the way from Bangon Falls in northern Samar, and being the start of the rainy season, it took longer than expected. Samar is huge, too. I had severely underestimated its size.
When I finally entered the municipality of Marabut, I could hardly believe my eyes. I was greeted by fascinating limestone cliffs and lush tropical trees along the coast. It felt every bit like the exotic landscapes of northern Palawan...only without all the development and crowds. I pulled into the resort just before the sun started going down.
The staff showed me to my room, and I passed out. I was exhausted. After a good night's rest, I awoke to some much needed morning sunshine. The resort was beautiful. I loved the rustic, cabana huts along the beach.
Above are some of the aforementioned limestone cliffs, jutting out from the sea between the cabanas. Such beautiful scenery!
The sea and the beach definitely have a different feel than El Nido, though. The water is less turquoise, and it's not really a white sand beach. To me it feels more like an exotic tropical lagoon. As a landscape photographer (and adventurer), I absolutely loved this lush, rugged-looking coastline.
On the way back to my room I took some photos of the swimming pool. It's an infinity pool right up against the sea, so you have a pretty incredible view.
The pool was kept very clean, and I would later enjoy a San Miguel Pilsen here as the sun set.
Photos of my Room
Conveniently, the rooms overlook the water, and also face the sunset.
Overall, my room was nice...you can tell that the property is kept up well. Wifi can be challenging when you get a bit off the beaten path like this, but I was able to use my Globe Tattoo (pocket wifi) on the balcony of my room.
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Everything was quite clean and in perfect working order. Aircon was cool. I particularly liked the view of the pool and island landscapes from my balcony.
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Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner in the Restaurant
My meals were definitely a highlight...first of all, the view while you eat could not be better!
Second of all, I was quite surprised by the freshness of the ingredients, especially considering the remote location. Decent vegetables can be hard to come by on the Philippine islands, so hats off to Caluwayan for this!
Third, they have somehow managed to keep the meal prices very reasonable, especially for this quality. I was definitely impressed. Every single meal I had seemed well thought-out and prepared. I was super happy to have a real pancake breakfast - made me feel right at home!
My compliments to the chef. Keep in mind you can also sit at "Bistro Bar" for drinks with a sea view, or check out the occasional music, dancing, and cultural performances @ the Clubhouse.
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While the building exterior may be showing a few signs of wear, the interiors, pool, and restaurant grounds have been kept very well. I found the staff to be extremely warm and helpful. The resort somehow walks a line between charming, rustic, and upscale. In fact, it does this quite well.
For this level of service and accommodation, I think it's well worth the price. Many other resorts of this caliber would come with a much higher price tag, and perhaps a level of pretentiousness that I don't really care for. For me, Caluwayan is everything a rustic island getaway should be, and I do hope to come back and visit again someday.
TIP: I believe there may be a free boat tour included in the room rate, so ask about it! On a nice day, I imagine it could be beautiful to explore those rock formations out in the water:) You can also visit the resort just to swim (for a fee) or eat at the restaurant.
How To Get To Caluwayan Beach Resort
The resort is located in the barangay (neighborhood) of Caluwayan, in Marabut, Samar. It can be reached via a 45 minute van ride (or direct boat) from the city of Tacloban. Flights to Tacloban from Cebu or Manila can be quite affordable if you check out some of the Cebu Pacific promos.
You also have the option of renting your own car or motorbike...I can most confidently recommend Haven's in Tacloban for this.
Booking a Room
You can browse more information about Caluwayan Palm Island Resort on their website HERE
Enjoy this beautiful place, and please tell the friendly staff I said hello!
- Nathan Allen
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