The last time I was in Club Paradise was about 10 years ago, when the resort was under different management. It was bought by the Discovery Group sometime in 2013, and it has gone through a major retroﬁt and facelift. When Discovery Group’s Cathy Nepomuceno invited me to check the new place out, I didn’t hesitate. Club Paradise Palawan is an exclusive 19-hectare island resort in a UNESCO biosphere reserve. This exclusive luxury island resort is situated on Dimakya Island, in the northern part of Coron. Approximate travel time from the Busuanga Airport is around 15 to 20 minutes by land transfer and 30 to 45 minutes by boat, depending on weather conditions.
It is a tropical paradise strategically located amid Coron’s magniﬁcent landscapes and seascapes, natural tourist attractions, and exhilarating dive sites. Standing on azure waters with an expansive 700-meter pristine beach, the hotels offer plenty of lounging options and a myriad of activities including kayaking, paraw sailing, diving, hiking, and island hopping.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed by general manager Joegil Escobar, whom I knew from Boracay when he used to work for San Miguel. I was brought immediately to my premier sunset villa. The sunset villa is available in three categories: deluxe, standard and premier. The standard villa is 20 square meters in size; a perfect haven for couples. The deluxe villa is 34 square meters in size and can accommodate a maximum of four persons—an ideal hideaway for families or group of friends. The premier villa is a spacious 60-square-meter “home away from home,” perfect for a romantic getaway for two or a fun island adventure for friends and family. Located on a private beach and backed by the island’s nature reserve, this private enclave has simple pleasures in abundance. The best seats for witnessing Coron’s majestic sunsets are at the sunset villas.
First order of the afternoon was lunch at the Fireﬁsh Restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised to ﬁnd out that the executive chef of the resort was Thai chef Phaitoon (Alex) Atthusarn, former executive chef of Spices at the Peninsula Manila, and an old friend of mine. He whipped up a superb and spicy Thai lunch for us. While walking back to my villa, I noticed several monitor lizards roaming freely on the pathways. By the pool there were a couple of trees ﬁlled with sleeping fruit bats on the top branches. We were told they would ﬂy to the mainland at sunset. That would be a sight to look forward to at dusk. Late afternoon, I took a walk on an outstanding hiking trail to Eagle’s Point (the highest point on the is-land), which provides the guest with a front seat to Coron’s marvelous sunset and awe-inspiring islets. The Eagle’s Point overlooks Club Paradise and Coron’s stellar islets cradled by shades of blue. Best viewed from this vantage point are Isla Walang Lang-Aw (“island without trees”) and Coron’s glorious sunsets. The day ended with a beautiful Filipino dinner set up under the stars and on the beach.
The next day, we started off early. We went to Diatoy Island, also owned by the Discovery Group. It took about half an hour by boat to get there, passing by the Jewelmer pearl farms and some islands owned by famous people who will remain nameless for this article. We had the island all to ourselves. The awe-inspiring Diatoy Island is a vibrant snorkeling destination necklaced with a long stretch of white sandy beach and lush scenery. I got to explore the amazing diversity of marine life by snorkeling just a short distance from the shoreline, and delighted in a boodle ﬁght lunch, and enjoyed an exciting banana boat ride with the other guests. After returning to the resort, I had a massage treatment at The Glow Spa. An oasis of serenity, the spa offers a divine menu of heavenly treatments guaranteed to achieve harmony between the mind, body, and spirit. I decided to try the signature “Four Hands” treatment with two massage therapists featuring choreographed techniques to revitalize your tired body. That evening, Chef Alex prepared a Mediterranean degustacion meal under a beautiful decked-out trellis by Fireﬁsh Restaurant.
The next morning, I headed to the gym to run my regular 10 kilometers. The whole day was spent exploring the island, both above and under water. You will be in awe at the resort’s colorful house reef, which is home to around 550 underwater species. It was an incomparable snorkeling experience. This private island resort is also a turtle sanctuary, where endangered sea turtles such as the Hawksbill turtle, visit the shore and lay eggs. Lunch saw us at the Hidden Beach, where Chef Alex prepared a picnic lunch. There was a medley of grilled fresh seafood and tender meats served with the goodness of fruits and vegetables, with organically grown herbs and spices from the resort’s own garden. After lunch, I spent the afternoon by the pool. Blue skies, azure seas, and lush greenery formed the postcard-perfect scenery of Club Paradise’s outdoor pool. Designed with a shallow beach entry with depths of four to six feet, the freshwater pool is surrounded by parasols, cocktail tables, and sun loungers, making it the perfect place to soak in the splendor of Coron. Conveniently located next to the resort pool, the Shack Bar is a mecca for shade seekers and sun worshippers alike. Beat the heat with mouthwatering shakes and healthy refreshments made from the freshest tropical fruits in season.
In the late afternoon, we set sail on a sunset cruise and landed in Malpagalen Island for an early dinner. The island is actually a majestic sandbar next to Club Paradise. It sits resplendently on Coron’s immaculate blue waters and features a precious cove within its gorgeous limestone cliffs. It’s an excellent spot for swimming, snorkeling, and island picnics. After dinner, we headed to Dugong Bar to spend our last night drinking and singing. We toasted to a well-deserved vacation with refreshing cocktails and ice-cold beers. Sitting across Coron’s lovely landscapes and turquoise waters, the Dugong Bar oﬀers a selection of wines, cocktails, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages. Lounging options abound for those who want to bask in the sun while a number of indoor entertainment, including billiards, table tennis, darts, and foosball await guests.
It was perfect for a four-day getaway, and Club Paradise indeed has turned around and delivered.
Here are other Palawan resorts you might want to check out:
This piece original came out in No. 1 Volume 16 of Metro Society. For more information, visit ClubParadisePalawan.com.
Photographs by Christian Valdes, and courtesy of Club Paradise