There’s this distinctive charm I find in Cocoon Boutique Hotel that I can’t really put into words clearly. This small boutique hotel by the corner of Scout Tobias near Timog in Quezon City looks unpretentious from the outside with only about six floors (including the rooftop) and stretching wider on the Scout Rallos side. It was a different story once I got into the lobby. Like going through a rabbit hole, the high-ceiling lobby, the gorgeous vintage grand piano, the excellent woodwork on the walls, touch of color and life from the indoor plants and then there’s the genuine smile as the staff welcomed us.
I had no intention to wake up early. But hearing the aircon shut down after its rationed 5-6 hour run at night nudged me out of my sleep. I couldn’t get back the zzzs, so I looked out the window to see what’s outside and saw the sun in a good mood, painting the clouds with warm colors. I grabbed my camera and went to the patio of Hotel Maya to see the day unfolding in this little town of Culion.
I’ve always wondered how it’s like to live in a small island. Of course I imagined there would be palm trees, a nice beach, hammocks, refreshing drinks, native huts and endless view of the ocean. But when I took a project for one of the private islands in Taytay Palawan named Noa Noa Island, I never expected to be staying about 11-days in this luxurious island where I was the only guest while working on a project. It was one of my memorable escapes to a not-so-known island surrounded by one of the most astounding marine sanctuary I’ve ever swam on.
The exclusive Lagen Island managed by El Nido Resorts is the largest of their resort islands boasting more nature cover than their resort facilities. It’s also home to an important archeological site, the Leta-leta Cave, a Stone Age era burial site where Robert Fox discovered the “Yawning Jar” in 1965. More famous for its luxury accommodation amidst its stunning karst formation and scenic shallow lagoon in an enclosed cove, Lagen Island recently added a few amenities and facilities to keep itself in-step with its recently opened sister resort, Pangulasian Island.
I must say, the idea of El Nido being expensive come from the popularity of the El Nido Resort Islands of Miniloc and Lagen in Bacuit Bay. While a lot of people lately know that there are cheaper alternative to the destination already, there is a good reason why their resorts cost either an arm or a leg (or both). El Nido Resorts have set a good standard in terms of quality resorts hand in hand with good eco-tourism initiatives on their managed islands. They have upped the game again when they opened their new resort, Pangulasian Island late last year. Their most expensive resort yet.
After a full day of exploring Jumog Waterfalls, Sukuh and Cetho Temple outside Solo, I decided to take it easy that morning at Istana Griya Hotel. Dabbing my wounds with ointment the night before I can still feel the sting and the soreness underneath the skin. It’s a good thing today is about transit, going from Solo to Magelang for Manohara Hotel Borobudur.
There was a time back in mid 2000 where there are only about 40 rooms available for visitors in El Nido. These days, development is growing at a steady pace that even from the last time I visited (2010) there are already marked changes in town since I stayed in Hadefe Cottage in Calaan. Now that I have more time to explore this side of El Nido, I was able to comb through this north side beach. Check out my Caalan Beach, Eats and Resorts compilation.