Tucked within the beautiful island of Panglao in Bohol is a spa resort that blends well with its natural surroundings of green tropical plants, pristine clear waters and endless blue skies.
This is Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa, a 16-hectare paradise that is home to only 15 villas. Accommodating a maximum of 24 persons for its daily operations, Eskaya provides exclusivity to guests, on top of its relaxing and pampering spa services.
“At Eskaya, we aim to provide our guests with a unique, luxurious, and exclusive resort-spa experience,” said the resort’s managing director Richard Lim Jr. as he opened the doors of Eskaya to The Manila Times and several other publications based in the capital.
“With all its natural wonders, it is a world unto itself, giving you that sense of remoteness and serenity. And yet, it’s just a quick flight to and from Manila,” he added invitingly.
One with nature
At first glance, Eskaya immediately conveys an ambiance that is traditionally Filipino yet elegant at the same time.
To achieve this, management tapped the genius of world-renowned Filipino architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa, whose works have always been inspired by the bahay kubo (nipa hut).
At Eskaya, he did an excellent job of depicting the authentic Filipino home through the villas and landscape.
Besides highlighting the Philippines in its architecture, Eskaya also contributes to the preservation of its natural surroundings as evident in the construction and style of their villas, called balai in the local dialect.
All the 15 balai are made of indigenous materials namely bamboo, cogon, and wood, which are all abundant in Bohol.
The interiors further mirror the identity of Eskaya, for amid the generous space and high ceiling, each balai also features antique furniture and a canopy bed, covered with a thin, white mosquito net bringing guests closer to nature.
Yet despite the rustic vibe, all villas are equipped with modern amenities like air conditioners, Wi-Fi, Jacuzzis, and personal bars, ensuring every guest a comfortable and luxurious stay.
Even the resort staff is dressed in traditional garb to complement the place. The women wear baro’t saya while the men pair their camisa de chino with native trousers.
The name Eskaya is derived from one of Bohol’s indigenous tribes that goes by the same name. Thus, the resort makes every effort to make the indigenous peoples proud, and showcase the best of the province’s culture and customs.
This is felt the moment one enters Eskaya where they will immediately be greeted by the warmth of an ever-smiling staff. As for authentic local flavors, guests are always surprised with treats in forms of various local snacks brought in by barefoot staffers, which is said to be another Boholano custom.
Even at the Handuraw Spa, the massages and treatments each carry a Boholano stamp.
Eskaya also encourages its guests to discover Bohol by offering activities like the Loboc River cruise, visiting the Chocolate Hills, exploring caves, getting up close and personal with the gentle tarsiers, and a sightseeing of centuries-old churches, some of which are being undergoing restoration after the devastation of the 2013 earthquake. Through these experiences, tourists will further understand the culture, history and people of the province.
In fact, even without going far, visitors can easily go island hopping and experience exciting adventures via Eskaya’s very own speedboat. Taking off from Panglao, thrill seekers can enjoy scuba diving, spelunking, dolphin-watching, and snorkeling in nearby islands.
If guests are not inclined to leave the resort, they may simply enjoy the villa’s private pools with breathtaking views of the garden or the sea.
Because it sits on an undisturbed and quiet location in Panglao, Eskaya mainly appeals to couples on honeymoon, anniversary celebrations or extended getaways. The resort is also a choice of celebrities and diplomats whenever they are in Bohol.
The resort also upholds it exclusivity by refusing to accept walk-in guests. Yet unlike the rates of “membership only” resorts, Eskaya offers its brand of exclusivity at $500 to $3,200 per night depending on the type of villa a guest prefers.
As proof of the resort’s first-rate accommodation and service, Eskaya is proudly included in the 2015 Yearbook of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club, an international organization of owners and admirers of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, which compiles the best and the most exclusive destinations and products in the world that are coveted by the rich and famous.