February 5, 2020
photos Pauline de Mesa and Sunlight Eco-Tourism Island Resort
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The luxury resort brings an unforgettable experience of life by the sea

The Philippines may be home to a number of stunning island resorts yet only a few can truly live up to its claim as a luxury private island getaway. Surrounded by the clear waters of Culion in Palawan, the Sunlight Eco- Tourism Island Resort (SETIR) is the epitome of a relaxing, tropical sanctuary. Spanning over 18 hectares of lush greenery and a picturesque ocean view, SETIR offers an unforgettable experience that anyone would wish to revisit all over again.

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The veranda of the Honeymoon Suite, Amihan villa.
Glass floors of the Honeymoon Suite.

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Life by the Sea

The entire island has 54 luxurious villas, some of which are built meters away from the mainland for further privacy and more tranquil experience. These are divided into the even-numbered Amihan and odd-numbered Habagat villas. I was thrilled upon learning I would stay at one of the Amihan villas as these villas give breathtaking views of the sunrise. The Habagat villas, on the other hand, face the west—a choice for those who prefer sunset views. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows soften the hardwood structures of the villa and allow an exhilarating panoramic view of the ocean. The see-through floors supported by smooth wood finishes are even more captivating. I watched how life under the sea unfolds with the well-preserved coral and multicolored fish that swim from where the villa stands.

Upon stepping into the terrace, I find myself dreamily sighing at the landscape before me: pristine blue waters shimmer across the horizon under the muted rays of the afternoon sun. We were truly blessed to have clear skies and generally good weather during our visit as I even had the chance to star-gaze, something I am unable to do in the light-polluted city.

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The Habagat villas facing west.
The Mangrove Grill & Bar of the Ricardo’s Island, exclusive for dinner.

The Golden Hour

The next day, we explored and tried the different activities of SETIR. From kayaking, snorkeling, to swimming at the resort’s three beaches and infinity pool, each moment was simply unforgettable. Among SETIR’s pride is its Beach 2 that boasts of fine, white sand and an extensive seaside. It is an exceptional area to rest and indulge in SETIR’s house pizza while enjoying the serenity of the place.

In the afternoon, we had sunset cocktails by a yacht, previously owned by Arab royalty from Monaco. We docked a few kilometers from the mainland and witnessed the sunset. The still waters made the experience phenomenal as we watched the sun crawl off the horizon and the skies bleed into orange and pink hues. As evening came, a multitude of stars gradually became visible to us. With the cool evening breeze, the gentle rocking of the yacht, and cocktails in hand, it was truly an outstanding experience. Once in the privacy of our rooms, we were treated to ultimate relaxation with a full-body massage. Easing the tension from our minds and bodies, we drifted off to a soothing state, the perfect way to end our last night in Sunlight Eco-Tourism Island Resort.

Read the full travel story by Katherine Alamares in Lifestyle Asia’s February 2020 edition titled, “Exploring Our Island Paradise.”

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