THE idea of owning an island even just for a day is something most tourists would want to experience.
Making this dream possible for almost 20 years now is Island Buenavista in Barangay Balet, Island Garden City of Samal.
This high-end island resort caters to tourists, foreign and local, who is looking for exclusive island living experience.
“We give a new dimension to the words privacy and exclusivity. It is really about owning an island for your booking period, an exclusive use of the island. Our regular customers for overnight stay are Chinese tourists, who are mostly from Beijing and Xiamen, some of them stay for two nights,” Brenda Ocampo Director of Sales and Marketing of Island Buenavista said.
An overnight stay in the island costs P115,000 for 10 persons (additional P6,000 per person in excess). For bigger groups, the island resort can accommodate up to 30 persons at a time.
“We accept one booking at a time. We are not strict in terms of check in time and check out time. They can come in as early as 8:00 a.m. and check out by 3:00 p.m.,” she said.
Ocampo assured guests that they have well-trained and friendly butlers who will serve their guests tailored fit to their needs. Most of the island-resort staffs are the locals of Samal, some are with the company for 20 years.
The island resort has one family villa, two island suites, six cabanas and an executive suite.
To experience more of the island, Ocampo said they can set up dinner by the beach with bonfire, breakfast by the pool, merienda by the sea, fire dancing, videoke, crab catching, snorkelling in between small and big Ligid Island, kayaking and scuba diving.
The eight-hectare island (during low tide, four-hectare on high tide) is a remarkable diving destination because it is a marine sanctuary.
On the island-resort occupancy, Ocampo said there is really a market for exclusive island living. For instance, she said, they always have guests monthly even on lean season. She added that they get more overnight stay bookings than day tour bookings at P44,000 good for ten persons.
Since summer has officially started, the island resort offers anew its summer promo at P2,800 per person every Saturdays of April and May this year.
For a shared island use, guests can enjoy a lunch buffet prepared by the executive chef of Eden Nature Park, use of Island Buenavista’s amenities and facilities like pool and the Pavilion.
Guests can also explore the island through kayaking and witness the spot’s rich marine diversity by snorkeling.
For those who avail the summer day tour, jump off area is at Pirata Bar, Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao for the boat transfer at around 7:30 a.m. The travel time from Davao City to the island is approximately one hour.
Guests will be leaving the island around 3:00 p.m.
“We have Singaporean visitors who will arrive on Friday in Davao City, then they will be going to the Island Buenavista on Saturday and back home the day after. Basically, they just come here in the Philippines for the island, it is kind of overwhelming to know that,” Ocampo shared.
On safety and security
To ensure safety of the island visitors, lifeguards are strategically positioned around the island for the guests’ safe swimming.
Also, police and security forces will be safeguarding the area during the guests’ stay.
“Safety and security for our guests and employees is our paramount concern that is why we beef up our security. Aside from our internal security inside the resort, we also tap Task Force Samal for the security especially for overnight stay. They will be roving for 24 hours,” she said.
On power supply, the island is solar and generator set–powered.
Zaldy Magnaye president and CEO of the Island Buenavista shared that they plan to add air-conditioned beach huts after summer. The management is also looking into other amenities they can add for guests to enjoy more their stay in the island.
“But other than that, not much, as we want to maintain the pristine nature and privacy of the island,” he emphasized.
This island, described by many as the Amanpulo version of Davao Region, is a must visit destination when in Davao Region and worthy of everyone’s travel bucket list.
With the island resort’s promise of exclusive island living, there is no question why celebrities like Lorna Tolentino, Piolo Pascual, Charo Santos, and Derek Ramsay chose Island Buenavista as their abode in one of their vacations.