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This Luxury Island Resort in Palawan Is Also One Of The Ecotourism Havens In The Philippines

It was a clear case of serendipity that Earth Hour weekend found me at Club Paradise Palawan on Dimakya Island, Coron. Managed by The Discovery Leisure Company, and owned by Discovery World Corporation, this luxury beach resort doesn’t just play lip service to sustainability and conservation, nor see it as a short term goal; but rather, it’s a major part of how they operate and conduct day-to-day business. And this has been going on for years now, way before sustainability became a buzzword on the public radar, and bandied about by every socially responsible enterprise, or budding social entrepreneur.

 

Club Paradise’s pristine white beach, 700 meters of it!

 

The Welcome package laid out on the bed which greets the guests.

 

That Club Paradise is also an ideal retreat for genuine and peaceful rest and recreation, with pristine white-sand beaches, delicious food, comfortable accommodations, great personalized service, and a wonderful opportunity to ‘commune’ with Nature and wildlife—are just so many things to add on it’s plus side, when deciding where to head this summer. Whether with the family, with a group of friends, or for an idyllic, romantic getaway; Club Paradise Palawan will provide you with that Happy Summer (#CPHappySummer).

 

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The interior of a Sunrise Villa.

 

A view from the Sunrise Villas, and the inviting hammock.

 

The seawater pool, nestled between the clubhouse and the Firefly Lounge.

 

It’s a marine sanctuary, with the 700 meter beach found within a Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO, a nesting site for Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles—and just last February, hatchlings from the fenced off site where the turtles laid their eggs were released into the ocean.

Hotel guests that evening were allowed to participate in the release, a once in a lifetime thing to experience and enjoy! When you spy the grown Sea Turtles feeding on the sea bottom, just be patient, as they’ll eventually rise to the surface and take a couple of breaths before plunging back down.

 

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Green Sea Turtles, in the reef that’s just a few meters swim from the island’s shore. | Photo from Club Paradise Palawan

 

Fishes don’t dart away at Club Paradise; that’s how serene, secure, and protected they feel. As long as you don’t make sudden movements, thrash around, or threaten them; they seem to consider you, snorkeling or scuba diving, as part of their environment. The manta rays, reef sharks, hammerheads, and other forms of sea life share that attitude, and it makes for a swim/dive of perpetual discovery and wonder. And it’s great to find that this reef teeming with life is just a few meters off the island. You literally swim for less than a minute, and the coral formations commence, with the parrotfish, and schools of tiny fish, all around you. It’s that easy and exciting.

It’s not just aquatic life forms that call the island home. When on terra firma, look up and see the trees teeming with sleeping fruit bats. And daily, on the dot, around 6PM, the cacophony rises as they awaken and flock to the mainland for their nightly foraging.

 

If Bruce Wayne retired, would he end up here at Bat Haven? Fruit bats asleep during the daytime, before their daily evening flight to the mainland.

 

This 19-hectare island is also home to a variety of birds of diversified sizes and habits. One early morning had a night heron visiting us right by our breakfast table, looking for hand out or just curious. When it would extend its neck, it resembled a true miniature heron—but in the photo I shot, it resembled what an undertaker would look like if it was a bird. And note it’s bill, and the talons on its hind legs. Be forewarned when walking to the villa, that the branch you see lying on the road may suddenly move, and slither away—the monitor lizards (Bayawak) are part of the island’s fauna, and act like they own it—and you’ll spy a number of them if you hike to the island’s highest spot, Eagle Point.

 

The Night Heron that comes right to your breakfast table.

 

CP’s ECOCONSERVE program is a multi-faceted approach to making Sustainability part of the resort’s everyday life. When the F&B outlets require herbs and vegetables, a number of them come straight from Taranuman, the resort’s private farm—a fine example of Farm to Table. The resort does regular beach clean-ups and practices waste segregation. And of course, protecting marine life and the ecosystem comes with the territory.

 

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Sunset Villas in a row, in glorious sunshine.

 

A Discovery Scouts program was initiated, and it consists of different activities held daily in the afternoon at the Treehouse, the kids center of the resort. Whether planting Mint, Zinnia, or in the case of last Saturday, Sunflower seeds; the idea was to encourage children at the resort to be conscious of the environment and the role they can play a part in nurturing and protecting it in fun ways.

 

The lush forest cover, and pond, that’s found as you walk to the villas.

 

ECOCONSERVE at work, as sunflower seeds are prepared to line the villas.

 

The Sunflower seeding activity will eventually lead to rows of the flower lining the Sunset villas; and for the children who participated, it may be exciting to return in a year’s time and see the ‘fruits’ of their afternoon as they walk to their villas.

To nurture Nature; to rebuild, protect and conserve as the island’s ‘guardians’ is the mission vision of the resort. That it does so within the context of a luxury resort destination is something to recognize, applaud, and totally support. It’s one face of local eco-tourism we can proudly show to foreign visitors. I know I for one, will be returning to the island, and love the time I spend there.

 

The view from Eagle Point, highest part of the 19-hectare island.

 

 

Photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng