PEARL Farm Beach Resort has been rated triple A by the tourism department. That's an equivalent to a five-star hotel. Managed by the Fuego Hotels, it is the only resort in Mindanao, which has that kind of recognition.

"People come from all over the world," says Rex Velesrubio, the resort's press relation officer, who guided us. "Eminent government officials, or celebrities, can come here safe and direct," he adds, pointing out the resort's two service helipads.

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Pearl Farm was opened to public in 1982. Today, it is one of the country's most up market beach resorts. "It is understandable why," says Roxan Obregon, the resort's sales manager. "It is nestled on the quiet side of the island and is located by a hillside covered with lush vegetation. More importantly, it is free from typhoons all year round although it does have its share of rain showers and windy seasons."

Not only that. "Pearl Farm is set among inviting swaying coconut palms and fringed by a glittering white sand beach. But what's so striking about the resort are its cottages on stilts perched above the sea."

"Accommodations are built around the contour of the island," Velesrubio explains. "They are patterned after the stilt houses of seafaring Samal tribes of the Sulu archipelago."

All in all, there are 70 guestrooms, suites, cottages, and villas which have panoramic view of the sea.

Malipano Island, a secluded place located a few hundred meters from the resort, is where seven exclusive villas are nestled. If you're a golf enthusiast, the island offers three holes. The island's west side faces a pristine white sand beach.

A few meters away from the exclusive villas is the Malipano Pavilion. Here, corporate meetings and parties may be done. In some instances, the pavilion is used as the venue for concerts.

In whatever deluxe accommodation you stay, a jar of water and a coconut shell dipper are placed near the entrance to each house so that guests may wash away the sand after a day of walking barefoot on the beach. In local custom, this gesture symbolizes the cleansing of the spirit.

If good life can be summarized into a resort, then the Pearl Farm experience is it! Come and stay at one of their cottages. At night, as you hit your pillow, you only hear the sound of waves, a soothing aid to slumber.

In the morning, you feel refresh after waking up from a deep sleep. Going outside, you can take a deep breath, smell the fresh air, and experience the warmth of sunshine as it touches your skin.

Pearl Farm's attractions go much deeper than surface delights. Just 60 meters away from the resort are two sunken World War II Japanese vessels that await discovery for scuba divers. The vast unexplored depths offer ample opportunities for underwater photography. Just recently, this part of the resort has been declared a marine sanctuary.

In addition, the resort also offers a wide array of audacious water sports activities that include wind surfing, water polo, jet skiing, water skiing, and banana boat rides. Sea kayaks, hobie cat and wave runners are also available.

If those are not your thing, you can go swimming at the white-sand beach, sunbathe at two outdoor swimming pools, or relax in the rejuvenating Jacuzzi. For drier pursuits, two tennis courts set amidst lush tropical foliage are available during the day and at night. Or, you can play basketball with some of your friends.

For exhilarating days, you may follow the wooden footbridges and walkways while meandering through the exotic gardens of the resort. Island structures are made of natural materials such as bamboo, wood, rope, stone and coral which blend in with the surrounding landscape.

Located within a garden of vegetation amidst a man-made flowing waterfall is the Ylang Ylang Spa. This sanctuary offers a wide range of beauty and health treatments such as wraps, facials, body massage and foot spas. Indulge your senses into soothing treatments using natural ingredients known for their healing and wellness effect for the mind, body and spirit.

At night, you can walk off to the three-tiered Parola Bar (named after the local term for lighthouse), which was once a lookout post for strangers who were not welcome on the island, back in the days when it was still a pearl farm. Amid the relaxing ambiance, you can unwind with a night of music, drink and have exhilarating conversation with friends, or try a game of chess at the giant chessboard.

"The Pearl Farm Island Resort is a precious gateway where our guests can revel in tropical pleasures, relish life's flavors and feast on nature's bounties," says Alfredo Roca, the chief executive officer.

Pearl Farm Beach Resort, managed by Fuego Hotels, is about one-hour and thirty-minute flight from Manila and approximately 50 minutes from Cebu. From the airport, guests are transported to Pearl Farm Marina wharf. From the wharf to the resort, travel time is 45 minutes.

For inquiries and reservation, call (082) 221.9979 or 300.1914. Its fax number is (082) 221.9979 or 300.1914. You can visit its website: www.pearlfarmresort.com