July 13, 2016 by Crescentine
Members of a cultural minority, a tribe called the Eskaya, in Bohol, one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines known for the tarsiers and sprawling chocolate hills. Eskaya is also the name of one of the most luxurious resorts on the island of Panglao, Bohol. Designed by architect Francisco “Bobby” Manosa famous for his nipa hut or ‘bahay kubo’ inspired designs. Check out their website at: www.eskayaresort.com
We were invited by our gracious host and one of our best friends, Red, to explore what Eskaya has to offer! It was amazing and I loved every minute of it. We stayed for a few days at the resort and here is what I saw.
Upon arrival at the airport, we were efficiently picked up by our own private car service complete with king sized seats, water bottles and cold towels to beat the heat. The driver and his companion were employees at the resort and they were very courteous!
When we entered the Eskaya estate, we were greeted by the staff lined up in front of the administration office wherein they hung flower garlands around our necks and swiftly took our bags. They led us to the restaurant where we had our lunch as we arrived near noon.
At the Lantawan restaurant right beside an infinity pool that overlooks the sea, we were served fresh food from the island. What I loved the most was this Tuna Tartare, excellent! The service was impeccable and our food arrived within a reasonable amount of time.
Afterwards, we took a little walk around the area to go to our ‘Balai’ (house) and we loved how laid back and relaxing it was there. 16 hectares of nature, traditionally designed huts using indigenous materials, open sea views and beaches!
As we turned a corner, we could finally see our ‘Balai’ which is named ‘Balai Banai’ or ‘Family House’, it was the second biggest balai of the resort. There are no rooms in Eskaya, only villas and they provide much needed privacy, security and relaxation. Each villa has its own pool and amenities which makes it almost unnecessary to go out of it!
Upon entering Balai Banai, there was a little bridge with a small pond underneath it and a view of the indoor pool on the side. The interior was modern yet traditional and the balai was well-equipped with its own fridge, playstation, TV, aircon, sound system, WiFi and so on.
The pool is connected directly to the bathroom via those bamboo doors on the side.
The spacious bathroom was also a treat, particularly for me. It felt so open! Equipped with a Jacuzzi, his & hers sink complete with branded shampoos, soaps, etc. and two showers, one inside and one outside made out of bamboo.
The bedrooms were also very nicely prepared with fresh flowers strewn all over the sheets. The pillows were to-die-for soft, the bed was amazing complete with princess drapes and a direct view of the sea from the window. Lovely!
Although watch out as since they stuck to traditional designs, you may sometimes find lizard poop dropping from the ceiling which is considered good luck by the locals if it lands on you! Which unfortunately, or fortunately, happened to mon amour…
The balcony was the best yet, directly facing the sea and a private beach right below. I just lounged there the entire day, sipping a cold glass of mango juice, listening to relaxing beach music, enjoying the warm weather while reading a nice book. Perfection!
Eskaya is definitely a perfect, relaxing and romantic get-away for couples with Alona beach, the main touristic beach of Bohol, just a short drive away which you can request from the resort staff. You can also order room service if you don’t want to go to the restaurant, but if you do, you can just call for a pick-up directly from your villa.
For breakfast the next day, I remember ordering teriyaki salmon fillet with crabmeat omelette, a side salad, rice, mango juice, hot chocolate and coffee along with all other kinds of treats. That was a really good Filipino breakfast! Mon amour had blueberry pancakes, if I remember correctly. There were many other choices to choose from.
For dinner, we chose to eat by the sea where the staff had set up a nice table for us! You can actually request to have dinner anywhere you want within the resort and they will set it up for you.
Our package included a complimentary massage from the amazing Handuraw spa, we fell asleep from the incredibly relaxing massage while they sometimes played an instrument called a ‘rain maker’ which obviously, makes the sound of rain. There were many other services available at the spa but we didn’t get to try them all.
The next day, we were given a tour of all the other villas. There were smaller villas which were called Deluxe villas perfect for couples. They had either a garden view, a sea view or an infinity pool. You take your pick as they were all equally magnificent!
We also visited ‘Balai Datu’ or the presidential villa, the biggest villa of the resort. The facade was very well-designed with a little pond on the side filled with fishes.
The presidential villa boasted of its own bridge inside leading to a more secluded place for either sun bathing or having a cup of coffee. There was also a work table inside with a tranquil view.
Now, maybe you’re wondering why the presidential villa doesn’t have a Jacuzzi inside the bathroom. Well, they have one outdoors connected to the huge infinity pool!
Eskaya also offers island hopping tours, kayak, pedal boats, scuba diving, badminton, beach volleyball, board games and many more! It’s a perfect venue for weddings as well with several celebrities having their weddings and receptions there. When we left the resort, the staff warmly bid us goodbye the same way they welcomed us while they played the guitar and sang ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’. I’ll definitely be back!
If you’re planning your next vacation in Asia and you want a perfect, romantic stay with your significant other at a world-class resort. Why don’t you give Eskaya a try? It’s not cheap but there will be no regrets!