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Pearl Farm Beach Resort: Spelling luxury in Mindanao

Paying a visit to – arguably – the most high-end venue in southern Philippines, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, where bliss can be had for the taking.

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Pearl Farm

Davao CityYou may not be the most fervent believer of traditional healing practices – for instance, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that special points in the body (usually at the extremities) correspond to other (usually more vital) parts of the body, so that (as an example) applying pressure at the space between the thumb and the pointer finger could relieve pail (headache, stomachache, and so on).

But after an activity-filled day (island-hopping, snorkeling, road-tripping and the likes) at the Island Garden City of Samal, no matter your way of believing (or seeing), every pressure given by the deft hands of the masseuse/s on the body delivers… relief. While lying on a cushioned white mat, facing Davao’s sea slowly get swallowed by darkness, such is the pleasure derived at the Pearl Farm Ylang Ylang Spa – Pearl Farm Beach Resort’s health and wellness center.

Not that any less ought to be expected, considering that the place’s offerings are (in a word) pricey. Heck, just about everything in this place is pricey.

But in this way, Davao’s Pearl Farm Beach Resort spells luxury in these parts of southern Philippines…

STAYING THE NIGHT

If your concept of “tropical paradise” is Station 1 of Boracay, NOT Stations 2 and 3, then Pearl Farm Beach Resort should satisfy.

Note that – even if it is being sold as in Davao – the resort is actually not in Davao City proper. Instead, it is located in a small island cum province across the strait, poetically called the Island Garden City of Samal. Going to the resort, therefore, takes from 30 minutes (of ferry ride) from the Sasa Wharf on Davao City’s ferry terminal at the Davao Waterfront Insular Hotel.

By the way, don’t expect to see gardens – there aren’t any; but the name is supposed to encapsulate the beauty that can be found in the island.

The Pearl Farm Beach Resort actually housed a farm for the south sea pearls (thus the name). In the 1990s, however, the owners converted it into the luxury resort that it is now.

It is popular to day guests who head to it to swim at its (somewhat small) swimming pools, or take a stroll around the vegetation in the 11-hectare complex, or take a dip at the white sand beach. This day trip is affordable – only costing approximately P2,500 per person (including a meal a boot).

It is when staying over for the night that the resort’s luxe image is highlighted.

There are actually various room types available, ranging from hilltop rooms to those in houses on stilts. If sleeping lulled by the sounds of singing crickets is what’s desired, the former is a must-consider. But for those who want to be pacified by the sound of the waves gently crushing against the rocks, then the latter is recommended.

Davao2As for the room rates? The Balay (a.k.a. hilltop) rooms cost from P8,550 per person (single occupancy); the same price charged for the beach-side (yet located far from the main receiving area) Samal House and Mandaya House. Prices fall (a little) from P6,700 per person for those considering sharing. The prices of the rooms in the houses on stilts start from approximately P9,700 per person per night (minimum of two persons).

These prices come with welcome drinks; one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner; complimentary use of swimming pool, beach area, mini gym, basketball court, badminton court, tennis court and game room; and roundtrip boat transfers.

AMENITIES GALORE

As befits its luxury tag, Pearl Farm Beach Resort has various offerings that will suit various demands. There’s an Aqua Sports Center, where guests can rent out speed boats and outrigger boats for cruising; jet-skis; banana boat rides; kayaks, hobie cats; and snorkeling gear. It also has certified instructors for wind-surfing, water-skiing and scuba diving (the place has two sunken World War II Japanese vessels awaiting discovery). There are the aforementioned (not too big) outdoor swimming pools. There is a tennis/basketball/badminton court. There is a game room. There is a conference room for up to 70 pax. There is a souvenir shop (called Butik). And there is even the Mandaya Weaving Center, where Mandaya tribeswomen skillfully weave their traditional fabrics (called dagmay) and other ornamentation.

But if you’re just looking at spending the days lazy, sipping drinks while enjoying the breeze and getting lost while looking at the distance may be had at Parola Bar (that offers views of the distant Mt. Apo), Maranao Restaurant (offering Filipino and international cuisines, with seafood specialties), or Malipano Gazebo (in a nearby, yet separate island).

JUST TAKING IT SLOW

And it is actually taking it slowly that is what’s best done in Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

So that the stress-busting treatments at Pearl Farm’s Ylang Ylang Spa are worth considering.

The men’s “stress buster”, priced at P1,000, is a combo of Chinese, Swedish and deep tissue techniques. Hilot, priced at P1,250, gives the traditional Filipino massage a twist with the use of heated banana leaves and your choice of VCO, tanglad oil, or Ylang-ylang essential oil. The “Pearl Farm Royal Massage”, priced at P2,500, is a two-our session that makes use of special oil blends as mood therapy. And then there’s the warm stone massage, priced at P1,500, that makes use of (this should be quite obvious) hot stones as tools for the massaging.

For the not-that-adventurous, you can go “common”, by availing of the Swedish oil massage (P1,000), Shiatsu (P1,000), or the Ventosa (P1,625).

Other treatments include: body scrubs (from P1,250), foot treatment (from P875), facials (from P1,000), and hair treatments (from P1,000).

It was, in fact, while getting my feet massaged by the pool that I got to appreciate this place’s (let’s say enduring) appeal. Getting pampered, while taking in the sights and sounds – of the vast blue sea that seem to connect with the infinity pool; and of the insect sounds from the thick foliage enveloping the resort – is how I imagine being blissful to be. And this, truly, may be one of the best ways to achieve that while in these parts of the Philippines.

Pearl Farm Beach Resort is located at Kaputian, Island Garden City of Samal, Philippines. For more information, contact: (+6382) 2351234, (+6382) 2351235, or (+6382) 2351236.

Its Davao sales office is located at 3/F Abreeza Ayala Mall, J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City. For more information, call (+6382) 2850601 or (+6382) 2850876; or email kadizon@anflocor.com.

Its Manila office is located at Ground Floor ANFLOCOR Building, 411 Quirino Avenue corner NAIA Road, Tambo Parañaque City 1700. For more information, call (+632) 8552741 local 207 and 208, or (+632) 8547892; or email: fslebris@anflocor.com, gbdichosa@anflocor.com, or eftuanio@anflocor.com.

A registered nurse, “Ching” – as many fondly call Rachelle Grace – believes that a holistic approach to health and wellness is what everyone should aim for. She is, therefore, always on the lookout for what could help achieve this. And yes, she shares them openly, believing “knowledge about what works won’t be much use if it’s not known by as many as possible”.

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The Bellevue Resort spearheads trash free seas in Bohol

Things may be different due to the ongoing pandemic, but now that we are getting accustomed to the new norm, we can still make an impact when we work together or even apart to clean up and protect our oceans.

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Two-time ASEAN Green Hotel awardee, The Bellevue Resort – Bohol, forefronts Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup in Bohol for the fourth year in a row. Despite the pandemic, the resort has not lost sight of its underlying commitment to protect the environment. This year, they expanded its participation province-wide with 2-day hybrid activities in partnership with the Department of Tourism and Provincial Government of Bohol through the Provincial Tourism Office.

The five-star resort kicked off the worldwide campaign by hosting a webinar entitled “Connect and Collect: Trash Free Seas Start at Home” with 128 virtual attendees with speakers – Miss Universe PH ‘20 – 3rd Runner Up and Ambassador for Tourism, Ms. Pauline Amelinckx, Bb. Pilipinas International 2021, Ms. Hannah Arnold, and Coastal Resource Division Head of Bohol Environment Management Office, Ms. Villa Pelindingue, who shared their insights and talked about interesting waste management methods and possible solutions starting at home. 

On September 18, 2021, a total of 772 volunteers all over Bohol joined the socially distant cleanup drive with 22 LGUs in their respective communities with small-scale groups, including organizations and private sectors, who all formed special bubble groups to ensure everyone’s safety while following health protocols. Among the volunteers were 63 licensed divers for underwater cleanup at Doljo Seas, Panglao Island.  

Volunteers were able to remove a total of 2,159 kilos of non-biodegradable trash from coastline and underwater – successfully collected and segregated. While following strict safety protocols, this year’s ICC would have not been possible without the support of its dedicated volunteers and partners namely, the Department of Tourism, Provincial Government of Bohol led by Governor Art Yap, Municipality of Panglao, Globe Telecom, Club Aquasports, Clean Code, Sea & Land, Blue Freedom Apnea, Plastic Free Bohol, and Mister Bohol Organization.

Things may be different due to the ongoing pandemic, but now that we are getting accustomed to the new norm, we can still make an impact when we work together or even apart to clean up and protect our oceans.

Since its opening in 2013, the luxurious and eco-friendly resort has been consistently spearheading meaningful initiatives – leading responsible tourism in Bohol, in its efforts to highlight the importance of playing an active role in promoting sustainability and helping the community.

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Travel

68% of all new Filipino hosts in H1 2021 are Gen Zs and millennials aged 18-40

Despite hosting during small windows of opportunities due to the start-stop order of travel restrictions between January to June, new Filipino Hosts have collectively earned over PHP 21 million welcoming guests on Airbnb. Metro Manila, Tagaytay, and Metro Cebu also emerged as the top cities where new Airbnb Hosts are hosting.

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As the Philippines begins to relax domestic travel restrictions, Airbnb continues to steadily navigate the Covid-19 pandemic with hundreds of new local Hosts joining the platform in the first six months of 2021.

The company announced today that Filipino Gen Zs and millennials are the driving force behind Airbnb’s growing community of Hosts in the Philippines, with over 68% of new Airbnb Hosts in H1 2021 comprising Gen Zs and millennials aged between 18 and 40.

Despite hosting during small windows of opportunities due to the start-stop order of travel restrictions between January to June, new Filipino Hosts have collectively earned over PHP 21 million welcoming guests on Airbnb. Metro Manila, Tagaytay, and Metro Cebu also emerged as the top cities where new Airbnb Hosts are hosting.

Tourism is a significant contributor to the Philippine economy and employment. In 2019, research from Oxford Economics revealed that Filipino Airbnb Hosts contributed USD 1 billion to the country’s GDP and supported over 160,000 jobs. Guests on Airbnb spent over USD 930 million, representing 1.2% of the country’s total tourism spending in the same year.

Through the pandemic, hosting has emerged as an important economic lifeline for many Filipinos to make ends meet and support their families. A Q1 2021 survey by Airbnb reveals that 57% of Filipino Hosts polled said the income they’ve earned through hosting has helped them to stay in their homes, and over half said they want to find more ways to host with Airbnb. Over a third of Filipino Hosts also said they share recommendations with guests on their favourite local restaurants and businesses within their community.

“This year’s World Tourism Day calls for more inclusive growth that advances prosperity for more communities and drives more sustainable development. It’s a call for our tourism industry to reset and rebuild tourism in a way that benefits more people and communities than ever before. As more Filipinos turn to hosting with Airbnb to support themselves and their families during this time of need, we remain fully committed to empowering our Hosts to provide unique, family-friendly, and clean, responsible travel,” shares Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Earlier this year, Airbnb introduced more than 100 upgrades across its platform, including a new simplified 10-step process for anyone to become a Host. It also launched seven Host clubs this year across the Philippines to empower Hosts to connect, collaborate and support each other as well as their local communities, by sharing advice and best practices on hosting. During the pandemic, Airbnb launched its Airbnb Enhanced Clean protocol, an industry-first set of cleaning and sanitisation standards designed with guidance from the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  to ensure peace of mind for the community.

The company continues to support and strengthen the communities its Hosts call home, amidst the unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic. In June, Mercy in Action, Childhope Philippines Foundation, Inc., Haligi ng Bata, Inc. and Reach Out and Feed Philippines were amongst the first 150 grant recipients of the inaugural Airbnb Community Fund, which will distribute US$100 million over 10 years to organizations around the world.

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Destinations

Airbnb’s Siargao Superhosts will ply you with tips and tricks on how to live like a local

Once an undiscovered hideaway for surfing enthusiasts, Siargao is now a growing tourist destination that has retained its quintessential island charm. The unique community fostered between locals, business owners, and tourists is what makes the Siargao experience so appealing — its one-of-a-kind energy draws guests back time and time again.

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The Philippines is home to more than 7,000 islands and it’s no surprise that some of the world’s most beautiful beach destinations can be found in the archipelago. While Boracay, Palawan and Cebu are well known amongst beach lovers and island hoppers, Siargao has been quietly making a name for itself. This year, Time Magazine hailed the surfing paradise as one of the World’s Greatest Places in 2021, alongside 99 other extraordinary destinations to explore.

Once an undiscovered hideaway for surfing enthusiasts, Siargao is now a growing tourist destination that has retained its quintessential island charm. The unique community fostered between locals, business owners, and tourists is what makes the Siargao experience so appealing — its one-of-a-kind energy draws guests back time and time again.

First-time visitors may be overwhelmed by the wide variety of activities to explore, restaurants to try and breathtaking scenery to capture. But fret not! Siargao is home to amazing Airbnb Hosts who go the extra mile to provide you with tips and tricks on how to live like a local, whether you’re planning to stay for the weekend or for a couple of months.

Tarzan’s Treehouse hosted by Julio and Cyd

Tarzan’s Treehouse is a passion-driven eco-friendly project by Hosts Julio and Clyd. Built mainly with natural materials including wood, bamboo and nipa, the treehouse offers floor-to-ceiling windows providing breathtaking views of the sea and lush palm trees all around. From the cosy hammock to attic bedroom and outdoor patio, guests will truly enjoy exploring every nook and cranny. What’s more, Julio and Clyd have jotted down a list of  their favourite local suggestions including top restaurants, motor bike rentals and airport transfers in a small notebook awaiting you in the treehouse.

Modern Tropical Home hosted by Cecile and Mark

Nestled halfway between General Luna and Cloud 9, this beautiful two-storey  residence hosted by Hosts Cecile and Mark is both comfortable and stylish, and comes furnished with a lounge, fully-equipped kitchen and dining room, and a gallery style loft bedroom with a spacious work desk on the second floor.  Cecile and Mark live just next door, and are quick to attend to any guest requests and provide you with freshly picked coconuts daily. On top of it all, the stay comes with two of the friendliest dogs  — Mowgli and Baloo — who can accompany you on long walks along the beach!

Native Beachfront Cabana hosted by Grace

Surrounded by palm trees and beautiful scenery, this rustic cabana is the perfect spot for family get-togethers. Enjoy private access to a secluded beach away from the hustle and bustle of Siargao, and gorgeous sea views at dawn and dusk. Host Grace and her family cook delicious local meals for their guests too, leaving you with a unique experience you’ll never forget.

Triangle Palms Native Villa hosted by Edward

Designed to resemble a traditional Filipino home, Triangle Palms’ villas will provide guests with a memorable experience filled with lush greens and birds chirping, and leave the place feeling rejuvenated. Host Edward will also provide you with a list of the best restaurants and attractions around the island, and arrange personalized island tours for a truly unforgettable island experience!

Mao Mao Surf hosted by Marco & Chara

Mao Mao Surf’s eco-friendly jungle huts come equipped with modern tropical interiors and surfboards for beach-loving guests. Situated just five minutes away from popular surf spots and restaurants but still far enough from the noise, guests can enjoy a cozy bonfire under the stars. Hosts Marco and Chara will serve up delicious breakfast every morning, and hook you up with awesome surf trainers for some serious wave lessons!

Airbnb hosts like Julio and Cyd, Cecil and Mark, Grace, Edward and Marco and Chara are sharing their places, stories and love for Siargao with the world through hosting. These Siargao Hosts, together with Airbnb’s community of passionate Hosts, are dedicated to creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere, providing healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable.

These Hosts have also all committed to Airbnb’s 5-step Enhanced Clean process, a set of standards developed in partnership with experts to ensure safety and peace of mind for guests.

For anyone interested in hosting with Airbnb and opening their homes to the world, Airbnb’s new platform upgrades have made it easier for anyone who wants to host. To explore more about hosting with Airbnb, get started at http://www.airbnb.com/host.

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