The reopening of our many sunny spots is too late for summer, but the sun always shines in the Philippines
Photos by the author.
An ocean breeze puts the mind at ease. According to research, spending time by the sea is highly beneficial for the wellbeing. Vitamin sea, as they call it, and sunshine can be considered essentials nowadays, considering how we’ve been cooped up at home for over a year. For two consecutive summers, our beaches have been empty. Due to the health crisis, tourism and travel have seen drastic changes. A trip to the beach will never be the same again.
Technically, June marks the start of the rainy season in the Philippines. But for most of us, summer has only just begun with the current reopening of prominent vacation destinations. Tourists coming from the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus bubble are once again welcome to visit the Boracay. The Malay Tourism Office (MTO) posted online that residents of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, or places that are at present under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions, can now go to the famous resort island in Western Visayas.
As restrictions on leisure travel have eased up, Boracay has received a massive influx of tourists. From June 1 to 3 alone, over 2,000 visitors flocked to the white sand paradise. Of course, these travelers are subjected to health protocols such as the mandatory COVID-19 swab test, and are regularly advised to follow social distancing.
If you have plans to visit Boracay, how do you make your vacation worthwhile? Aside from the countless exciting beach activities like swimming, island-hopping, diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and kayaking, finding the right lodging is important for an enjoyable stay. Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay is currently one of hottest, must-go-to places on the island. The 127-room resort is the perfect retreat nestled within bustling Station 2. It is an excellent lodging for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and for those in “work-cation.”
What sets Hue apart from other accommodations is its contemporary, circular architecture that features wide open spaces—about 60 percent of the structure—a preferable configuration given the pandemic, its Instagrammable spots, and the dining experience. The design, done by CAZA Architects, artfully reinvents the concept of a boutique hotel with tropical modernism, which as the name suggests is an architectural style fitted for tropical regions such as Latin America and Southeast Asia.
There are three types of rooms: the suite, deluxe, and family, at approximately 25, 30, and 56 square meters respectively. The first two rooms are good for two guests while the family room can accommodate up to six persons. All of these are equipped with international-standard amenities, including a 40-inch LED television set, a safety deposit box, vanity kits and bath essentials, as well as strong air-conditioning. The management guarantees that they are following stringent disinfection protocols under their Safe Haven program. All rooms, food outlets, and contact points are thoroughly sanitized.
To those with remote work, the unlimited wifi access is a treat. The internet has decent enough speed for you not to miss out any video meeting or deadline. Other amenities include a spa, which is unfortunately still closed because of COVID-19 restrictions, and a gym that is already available for guests to use.
At first glance, the picturesque pool is the center of attraction. But what really makes Hue special is the food establishments and its swim-up bar Prisma, which is easily one of the best bars on the island. The pub features a ripe assortment of spirits, wines, and signature cocktails, all of which showcase a variety of refreshing flavors, textures, and techniques. Thoughtfully crafted cocktails like the Dark and Tan, Desert Flower, and Cataleya’s Dream, to name a few, are mixed by highly qualified bartenders. Prisma is headed by the same group from Manila’s speakeasy ABV (Alcohol by Volume) bar that has been voted as one of the top bars in Asia in 2016. The booze is reason enough to fly to Boracay.
Station X, inspired by the point of references used to indicate boat docks (Station 1, 2, and 3), is a landmark on its own, a food oasis that offers the most interesting and delicious on the island. Found here are culinary gems exclusive to Boracay. Most of the establishments by the Sunny Side Café Group are located here, from the Supermagic burgers and ice cream with its sinful fast-food indulgence to Coco Mama with the most refreshing lactose-free coconut dessert, from the Sunny Side Café for an all-day breakfast fix to Little Wave, a coffee-specialty shop with selections that can rival any international coffee brands.
There is also Hue’s in-house restaurant La-ud,which specializes in Filipino and Visayan cuisines. La-ud is a Cuyunon term meaning “far sea,” laot in Tagalog. The restaurant first opened at Hue’s Palawan resort, and boasts of local seafood harvested from the surrounding islands.
Beyond its top-of-the line food establishments, facilities, and service, Hue is all about “gathering, growing, and openness” as explained by the Lee brothers Dexter and Dennis, the managing directors of the hotel brand. “Personally, for me, Dexter, and our family, we believe that fulfillment comes from empowering people,” says Dennis. “We grow as we gather. That’s the core of everything. This is why we develop unique spaces that promote gathering.”
Also at Station X are restaurants by couples Patrick and Shria Florencio, particularly Nonie’s, a Filipino-inspired place with guilt-free and IG-friendly comfort dishes, and Little Taj, which serves traditional Indian curry and chaats. The husband-wife duo were also tapped to handle an upcoming project by Hue. The former food hall called Streetmarket will be turned into a sort of incubation hub for locals to present their products and dining concepts.
For souvenirs, the gift shop Local Colors is right next to Little Wave. The store has carefully-curated artisanal pieces from celebrated Pinoy brands like Abra Linea, WVN Home Textiles, Gouache Bags, Beyond Borders, Theo & Philo, Adarna House, Amami, Munimuni Studio, Fine Line, and Risa Chocolates.
‘We grow as we gather. That’s the core of everything.’
Interested guests may get the We Got Hue room package at ₱10,600 nett inclusive of service charge and applicable government taxes. This promo includes a three-day/two-night stay at the hotel for two people, inclusive of RT-PCR test, set breakfast, land and boat transfers. Discounts at La-ud, Nonie’s, and Prisma are also included. Unlimited rebooking is allowed until at least seven days prior to arrival. The deal is available until the end of June.
Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay is at Station 2, Main Road, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan. [email protected] | boracay.thehuehotel.com | 63 2 8896-9999 | + 63 917 632-7457 | + 63 947 428-9027