Lounging about from any part of Sumilon Island and taking in the seascape, it’s impossible to miss the distinct warmth and serenity that surrounds – one that exudes a sense of exclusivity, whilst also allowing for absolute accessibility.
The 24-hectare coral island is home to Bluewater Sumilon – an unassuming, yet naturally blessed tropical haven some 10 minutes from the southeastern tip of Cebu.
Its proximity to the Cebuano mainland has made it a requisite pit stop when touring southern Cebu and the neighboring resort towns and provinces.
The Bluewater brand – with properties in Maribago in Cebu and Panglao in Bohol – has long prided itself on being able to provide the best in Filipino hospitality, set in their distinct rendering of organic elegance.
And with Bluewater Sumilon sprawling both in its expanse and charm, falling in love with their island vibe is but a certainty. Add to that the fact that when the resort’s staff says “your welcome,” you feel it in your heart that they truly mean it.
Ace of space
Elegant spaces are a staple at all Bluewater resorts, but Sumilon perhaps takes the proverbial
cake in this regard. Their Deluxe rooms (which start at around US$300 a night) all have their own private verandas – allowing you an utterly soothing view of the sea with the Cebu mainland as the backdrop, upon whim as long as the sun has yet to set.
Take away the island’s pristine shifting sandbar (changes form depending on the season), its white sands and tranquil lagoon – and it would still be difficult to feel shortchanged. When all you need is a bit of music, libation of the ice-cold ilk, and (if you’re lucky) lovely company, then you’d much prefer that life stand still as you thank the universe for the peace in your soul that has you feeling #blessed.
But of course, that isn’t the case, as all of the fore mentioned – along with an island trail, glamping area and marine sanctuary – all come together for a tropical cocktail of soothing island views, tranquil seas, lush tropical forests, generous space and utter peace of mind.
For all its natural gifts, complemented by Bluewater’s brilliant organic design, vital in Sumilon’s elevation into a can’t-miss destination for anyone in the region is how accessible it is from virtually all of its island brethren.
Apart from having the southeastern tip of Cebu in plain sight, the university city that is Dumaguete is just a bit farther away (about 15 minutes by boat), while famed tourist destinations Siquijor, Panglao and Apo Island, among others, are what surrounds.
So while a couple to a few days stay may be ample rejuvenation from the daily grind, should you have the luxury, Sumilon is an excellent base/stepping stone for all the holiday adventures to be had in this region of Visayas.
But of course, for all the innate beauty to be soaked in, there is no doubting that the area would not enjoy the explosion in popularity that it has if not for a part of the Oslob waters being a migratory highway for whale sharks. Since 2012, swimming with these amazing gentle giants have placed Oslob and its surrounding area’s tourism economy on steroids, with the income stemming from the “butandings” reportedly amounting to PhP200 million (about US$4 million) in 2015. And that’s not counting the restaurants, resorts, transportation and other related revenue streams.
And while the jury is still out on how the high-impact tourism will ultimately affect the whale sharks, there is no question what an incredible experience it is to be extremely up close to those majestic beings.
A couple of waterfalls make up other notable attractions just a short drive from Tan-awan, Oslob. One is Tumalog Falls (also in Oslob), perfect for cooling down from the whale shark mingling high. And for the more adventurous, there’s Aguinid Falls in Samboan Cebu, where a bit of canyoneering is required to get up to the fifth level (and should you dare, there are a few more levels you can try to scale). And of course, you can always take the southern Cebu loop on your way back to Mactan (if that’s where your flight back is) and experience other popular sites like Moal Boal and Kawasan Falls.
That’s another part of the beauty of Sumilon, it could be at the start, end or anywhere in between your Visayan travel itinerary, and it wouldn’t feel anything less than a welcome, gorgeous stop.
There are two ways to get to Sumilon Island. If you’re staying at the resort, the easiest way is to take a one-hour flight to Dumaguete. From there, make your way to Sibulan Port (shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes), then a boat going straight to Sumilon Island should be arranged for you by the resort. You can also book your own boat going straight to Bluewater Sumilon. Otherwise, from Sibulan, catch a boat going to Liloan, Santander in Cebu before catching
another boat that brings you to Sumilon.
You can also fly to Mactan Airport in Cebu. It will take three to four hours by land going all the way to the southeastern tip of Cebu. From there, take a boat going to Sumilon Island.
For more information, visit www.bluewatersumilon.com.ph or call (0917) 790-6260
By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY
Photos By KLARA FERNANDEZ and Bluewater Sumilon