Culion is a fascinating destination for those who enjoy off-beat natural tourist attractions and rich heritage. This former leper colony in Calamianes island is usually explored by those who go for an extended stay in Coron. But it doesn’t have to be another option. Sunlight Ecotourism island Resort offers a luxury nature getaway in the region while still keeping close to the heritage now in the running as an internationally recognized documentary heritage for UNESCO.
Sunlight Ecotourism Island Resort
The Sunlight Ecotourism island Resort (SETIR) is a resort development on Naglayan island. This 18-hectare island is one of the 41 islands around the main island of Culion. SETIR is sandwiched between two larger islands of Marily island northwest and Chindonan island southeast.
From the Sunlight Guest Hotel in Coron, Palawan, travel time via speedboat took roughly an hour. We were supposed to stay on the island for a couple of days but Typhoon Odette had other plans so it was shortened to a night. We’re still fortunate enough to enjoy the island for a night.
We were excited to see the white sand beach, the low verdant hills and water villas extending over the seas. After a refreshing iced lemongrass tea welcome drink, we were briefly toured on the island on their buggy.
The resort has a paved road circumnavigating the whole island. Sunlight Ecotourism Island Resort has three main beaches. The one near the port where we docked is the sunset beach. The beach was white and fine. The area is also their designated snorkeling area. The other side is also a white beach for the moonrise and sunrise. It has the scenic Luna bar. Names as such because the moon (lunar) rises behind it. The other smaller beach is not ideal for swimming and is used for events and has the KidStation playground for kids.
At the center of the island and between both beaches is the infinity pool. Heading south we passed by a cluster of water villas on the east leading to the posh villas of Sirakan. Just circling the island leading to the villas on the west.
Near the port is the Blue Bay Dive Shop where a lot of the island activities can be booked aside from diving. Bikes, kayaks and snorkeling gears can be rented here. Atop the shop is the Adlaw Cafe. A nice place to watch the sunset while sipping coffee or any drink.
Aside from the pool, there’s a gym area with a view, Ocean Wave KTV, a bit far off north from the villas so one can belt out as much as he/she likes. The Sanctuary Spa for some pampering. The Sun Cafe is located on top.
I was assigned at one of the rooms at the Duplex Villa. A villa adjoining another room on a set of stilts with a shared veranda. It has two single beds. Nice wooden floors and furnishing. I like the minibar with single-shot spirits. There’s a coffee maker too. The room has a high ceiling. There’s a nice slab of marble at the shower area to avoid slipping. Humidity can slightly dampen/moisten the surfaces though since it’s on seawater so better keep the room closed and airconditioner running.
Biking Around the Island and more
Since we really have a limited time on the island, why not spending it with one of the things I enjoyed most. Biking! I rented a bike at the Blue Bay Dive Shop. It was a Japanese bike. Not fancy but works. It was a great way to explore the island. It even yielded a lifer for me! Spotted a Common GreenShank near the Sirakan villas. Going around the island was more or less 4.9km. Jumped into the pool after the ride and enjoyed the sunset from there.
The next morning I wanted to do a little birding and decided to spend a little time at the Butterfly Garden before leaving. It was a nice manicured garden. Saw some endemic Ashy-fronted bulbuls there.
Food and Ambiance
Food generally was good! Enjoyed the shrimp, pata and squid dishes. But more than the food, the ambiance was a winner. I enjoyed Luna bar. Breezy and enjoyed looking at the corals through the clear ocean waters. The sun views at Adlaw and Sun Cafe. And that dinner by the moonlight at the beach.
The experience was a bit rushed due the the circumstances but understandable. We’re lucky enough to have a “taste” of the Sunlight Ecotourism Island Resort Experience. I think it’s enough to yearn for the full course meal though next time. Culion is no longer just an extended option. It’s a destination!
Sunlight Ecotourism Island Resort
Barangay Baldat, Culion, Palawan, Philippines 5316
email: [email protected]
mobile: 0917 5214260
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.