Rough waters turn gentle and the cerulean deep gives way to aquamarine shallows as a speck in the distant horizon transforms into Sicogon Island.
Our destination slowly appears as a towering mass of green bordered by a strip of white that glistens under the noonday sun.
Nearer still, we can make out a gently sloping mountain with a curious peak that tapers down to an expanse of coastline with creamy sand.
The tide was high enough to allow our motorized outrigger boat to dock on the beach right where the makings of a modern and upscale resort have taken shape.
Huni Sicogon, our home for three activity-filled days, sits right before the coastline and where in the far distance a grouping of islands called Islas de Gigantes forms the shape of a sleeping giant.
From our spot on the beach, we can make out a huge pool with bar, open-air restaurant, and sprawling two-level building with rooms that look out either to the sea or the green foliage of Sicogon’s iconic Mt. Opao. Parched from the journey, we gladly downed the drinks offered by a resort welcoming party led by resident manager Bayon Abescola.
Huni currently testing out amenities, facilities, and services with half of the total of 52 rooms open in preparation for grand opening day sometime in the last quarter of 2018, according to Abescola. MyCebu.ph was among those invited to the resort’s soft opening.
We were billeted in spacious deluxe rooms that can accommodate a maximum of three and offer varying bed sizes. Family rooms are good for four and come even bigger at 53 square meters.
Named for the humming sound of the sea, Huni is a central figure in the Sicogon Island Tourism Estate in Carles, Iloilo. The tourism estate is a development born out of a partnership between Ayala Land and the Sicogon Development Corp., said Jonah Villena, Marketing and PR supervisor of the Ayala Land subsidiary Ten Knots Development Corporation.
Soon enough, a fully completed airport on the 1,100-hectare Sicogon Island will welcome the first commercial flight from the capital while a jetty port will make it more accessible to seaborne visitors. Bayon said he expects two motorized outrigger boats for island transfers and e-jeeps for travel within Sicogon.
Ayala Land will also bring in a four-storey Seda hotel as well as a 77-bed hostel called Dayon to be conveniently located right beside the Sicogon airport within the next three years. A resort town center with retail shops surrounding a 4.3-hectare lagoon is also in the pipeline.
For now, though, there is Huni Sicogon with its easy access to warm sea and unspoiled mountain.
Imagine afternoon walks by the coast, a cool dip in the freshwater spring pool, cocktails and karaoke. There are also such activities as kayaking, stand up paddle, and snorkeling to satisfy a craving for more energetic sport.
A trek through the dense undergrowth up Mt. Opao is a must-try but be warned that it does require a certain fitness level. The nearby islet of Tumaquin offers the more challenging cliff jumping activity.
Off site, there are the popular islands that make up the Gigantes group: the selfie island Cabugao Gamay, Bantigue Sandbar, and Antonia Island. Sicogon’s location makes it the perfect jump off point for hopping from one island to another.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the seafood in the islands. Whether you order it as part of resort fare or from a local community in a Gigantes island, you are always assured it is the freshest it can be.
More photos of our Huni Sicogon weekend