While some girls would gush over a luxurious bag or a pricey piece of jewelry for their birthdays, I would be the happiest person on the planet if I get an all-expense-paid vacation. In Siargao, where else? Be careful what you wish for, according to a popular song.. and you know the rest.
Angels apparently exist. And their timing couldn’t be more perfect. A day after my birthday, I flew to Siargao and spent a weekend in the most beautiful, serene, and unforgettable sanctuary, at Nicolas Rambeau’s private residence. He’s the venerable founder of the company where Neil works as a Product Manager (now, as Co-Founder). You could say that this was an incentive trip for Neil’s years of dedication and hard work.
And the best part? I got to tag along! Instant birthday gift! Yehey!
Even after working in Dubai for more than three years, I doubt I could ever afford this kind of vacation. Every detail of this trip was polished to perfection. I couldn’t bring myself to travel to another beach destination after this. (I literally didn’t visit any other island after.)
Why? It made me question many of my long-held beliefs about traveling.
Best Vacation Spot in Siargao
First, you visit Guyam Island and take tons of pictures. Stunning shores. Awesome tiny tidal pools. But don’t linger here. Hop to Dako Island if you want to sink your feet in its pure white sand beach or swim in clear blue waters. Afterwards, stop at the vanishing island of Pansukian and soak up awesome sunset views before you head back to the resort.
These are among the instructions Benny (the guy in white long sleeve shirt and the rest house’s manager) received from the owner, Nicolas.
You can surmise they took care of our tours and all our meals. We didn’t have to think about what we were going to have for dinner, breakfast, or lunch. The menu was meticulously planned days before we arrived at the resort. Splendid, indeed!
The next day was surfing in the morning (in time for the high tide) and swimming in Magpupungko from noon to 3pm (the area’s high tide). We were visiting in September (2016) days before the International Siargao Surfing Cup.
While these itineraries should electrify any first-time visitor to Siargao, I was more fascinated by the rest house. The seclusion, design, and every single statue in Rambeau’s house evokes admiration. When you see something this beautiful, you can’t help but dream. And I caught myself daydreaming (a couple of times), hoping I could extend my stay.
I’ve never seen a house that reflects so much of the owner’s personality. It’s not ostentatious but it’s rich. Ask about the door, and you’d hear a great story. Ask how the huge elephant statue was transported, and you’d get an awesome tale.
Walk around the hobby room and you’ll see so many objects from various regions in the world. I particularly enjoyed the tours inside the owner’s office and his girlfriend’s habitat. The reading chair made of patches looked vintage, rare and absolutely inviting.
A Backpacker’s Perspective
I understand what it’s like to ‘rough it out’. That’s the type of travel I’ve been used to for some time. Getting on a bus, boarding a boat, finding cheap food, choosing low-cost lodges, (heck) sleeping in airports are a normal part of it. (See Offline to Carnaza by Neil and you’ll get my drift.)
While the backpacking type of travel suits us just fine, we also crave some pampering once in a while. This one was a spectacular surprise. It’s almost magical.
It’s hard to say I prefer one way of traveling over another. Isn’t it weird to think backpacking is the best way to travel when you haven’t tried the luxurious, super convenient type? Creature comforts are treasured by most travelers I know.
I’d like to believe that vacations are godsend, whatever form they take. And so far, I can say I’ve enjoyed both extremes. Of course, if it’s a birthday vacation, opt for the most special that you can pull off with the resources you have.
Happy traveling, everyone!
P.S. So far, most conversations here are just one-way. If you’ve managed to read until this part, say something. Leave a comment. Yes, it’s my blog and I’m allowed to express my opinion about everything but you’re the reader, you have the power to crush my spirits or make me blush. Use it or lose it, so they say.
P.P.S. Now you’re really typing a comment. Hoorah! Been waiting for that! I look forward to reading it. 🙂
P.P.P.S. Happy New Year! I know, I know. That’s one of my resolutions, improve my etiquette in 2017. Give me some slack, it’s still the first month. #WorkingOnIt
Don’t underestimate your capacity to wonder. Take a stress-free and luxurious vacation, whenever you can. Travel well. 😉