Days before the country was placed on quarantine, my wife and I had this wonderful opportunity to travel to Busuanga Island on an invitation from my high school classmate, Boots Garalde, and her amiable husband, Tony. Indeed, we were lucky to have been afforded one last travel foray before the COVID crisis snatched away all our dreams for an adventure-filled summer.
Boots and Tony are proud owners of La Estancia, a plush boutique resort in northern Busuanga, far from the maddening crowds of the capital city of Manila, or bustling Boracay, or even equally tourist-teeming Coron, which is located on the southern tip of the island of Busuanga. La Estancia is a quiet, unassuming paradise that gives us a world-class Mediteranean look while maintaining the world-renowned Filipino brand of hospitality. I kid you not, if you’ve watched the musical ‘Mamma Mia’, that’s the kind of setting I’m talking about here, except better. Much, much better. Which is precisely why so many foreigners have come to know and continue coming back to this heaven-of-a-haven. Thanks to the passion, patience and great determination of Boots and Tony, La Estancia was born. And continues to grow.
I can just imagine the difficulties they must have had in developing the area from an uninhabited, isolated place years ago. Minus the road network, the power and water supply, building it up from scratch must have been pretty tough. From the fruits of their toil, however, this masterpiece magically blossomed.
Wifey and I were truly lucky to be given this rare opportunity to spend an nth decade honeymoon party here. Our gracious hosts, Boots and Tony, invited other classmates as well. But due to some circumstances, only Jobart, with wife Tin, could come. But Tony also invited his raucous best buddies from school. These guys, Frankie with wife Lorna; and Mulong with wife Lulu, were truly such fun company to be with. We were a jolly big bunch making like young teenagers. Boots busied herself making sure our stomachs were full, Tony treated us to the sights nearby. Food was good, the company even better!
Among the tourist attractions right near the resort are: Calauit National Park, a wildlife sanctuary featuring large African animals such as giraffes and zebras; the sunken Japanese supply fleet of the big war, destroyed in a surprise air strike by American planes during the Battle of Leyte Gulf; and Black Island with its gorgeous unsullied beach. A little farther south, you’ll find Barracuda Lake, Kayangan Lake, the Siete Pecados and the frontier island of Culion.
They say that pictures paint a thousand words. So I guess it’s time for me to stop right here and just let these pics do the talking. If you’re planning an adventure trip to explore pristine beaches, enchanting islands, or spooky sunken ships, go to Busuanga and stay in La Estancia. And be prepared to be charmed. Indeed, heaven has found its place on earth.
Here are some other wonderful pics of La Estancia as well as other surrounding wonder spots:
Cover photo courtesy of Agoda. Other pics courtesy of laestanciabusuanga.com, Travel Advisor, Palawan News, Best Diving in the Philippines, Xray Magazine, Island Hopping in the Philippines, Kevin’s Dim Summary, and the Unofficial Guide to the Philippines.
For more on the tour sites of Coron, here’s: Shipwreck Dive in Coron.
For more on neighboring Culion: please read: Curing Culion: The Island of the Living Dead.