The Chapel of All Blessed inside the sprawling seven-hectare Auhana resort
Infinite, indelible moments
RENDEZVOUs - Christine S. Dayrit (The Philippine Star) - December 1, 2019 - 12:00am

There is new breeze blowing in Boracay. At Station 3 of the island, Auhana resort is waiting, ready to pamper the body and soul with mesmerizing moments.

A little over a year since the tropical paradise was reopened following a six-month rehabilitation period, there is a lot less clutter and a lot more island. The famed White Beach appears as expansive as ever, its sand glistening brighter, and the waves crashing against it are more blue than green.

Some say Boracay has never looked healthier and more peaceful since tourists first docked on its shores in the ‘70s. Back then, it was a challenge to reach the island  almost like a reward earned only by those backpackers who braved the barest of accommodations and the harshest of travels to bask in its wonders.

Over the years, the legend of Boracay’s fine, sandy beaches; deep blue skies and waters; and rows of coconut palms have outgrown its barely 10.5-sqm. space and spread out into the world. More and more people flocked to the island, access was made easier, word circulated, awards were won.

But like any celebrity, there were downsides to its popularity. Boracay turned from a secluded island getaway destination to an overpopulated beach party hotspot. Undisciplined tourists and uncontrolled urban development tarnished Boracay’s pristine status and turned it into a “cesspool,” according to a statement last year by President Duterte. In a decision that rocked the world, he ordered closure of the acclaimed island from April to October 2018.

Different government agencies and the private sector teamed up to clean the island and its surrounding waters. Meanwhile, permits for the reopening of the different establishments were contingent on their adherence to a checklist of items provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The defiant ones stayed closed, and those who agreed to follow promised to behave and keep the island clean.

The stringent regulations bore evident changes. The streets and the shorelines are now neater. Natural sounds of waves and birds are more audible than the noise from blaring speakers. People seem more relaxed. The vibe is different. The island has changed.

What remains the same is Boracay’s distinction as the world’s foremost tropical paradise. Boracay reclaimed its crown in October as the “Best Island in the World,” according to the 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards of Conde Nast Traveler, where a record 600,000 voters voiced their opinion for the 32nd edition of the annual survey.

“This itty-bitty island (just under four square miles) in the Western Philippines is as close to a tropical idyll as you’ll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and made-for-Instagram sunsets,” Conde Nast Traveler wrote of Boracay in an article published last Oct. 7.

The rehabilitated image and feel of Boracay have made it as appealing a destination as ever for what was relegated as a secondary, or even tertiary, market of the island in recent years: families. Established to reflect the new spirit of the tropical paradise is one of its newest and biggest gems, The Auhana Boracay.

As the famous line from the movie Lilo and Stich goes, “Ohana means family.” The Auhana is inspired by and pronounced as the Polynesian term “ohana,” signifying its mission to welcome families and other guests while delivering warm and familial service to anyone looking for a memorable stay in Boracay.

The topnotch accommodation treatment is complemented by the palatial aesthetic of the resort, which sits on a seven-hectare expanse at the more serene side of Station 3. The Auhana is located just four minutes away from Cagban Jetty Port, and around three kilometers away from D’Mall and most of the island’s crowd for some peace and quiet, along with privacy and luxury.

The Auhana Boracay exudes colonial opulence in terms of design. Guests enter through stately wrought-iron gates, leading to a marbled, high-ceilinged lobby lined with golden chandeliers. The dominant color of white around the space allows for such accents to pop out in full splendor.

The look extends to the thoughtfully curated 500 rooms of the resort. There’s no shortage of options for travelers with 14 iterations to choose from. Selections include Deluxe, Premier and Premier Panoramic, Junior Suite, Family Suite or lavish Presidential Suite.

Luxury is carried over even to the basic accommodations, the Premier rooms. Each Premier room measures a spacious 50 square meters. Perfect for families at a whopping 186 sqm. is the Family Suite, complete with a living area, kitchenette and two bedrooms. Meanwhile, the high life can be experienced at the 332-sqm. Presidential Suite.

Each room is designed for ritzy R&R and comes with a scenic view of greens and blues, whether facing one of Auhana’s sprawling gardens or Boracay’s cerulean waters. All accommodations come complete with the essentials of a quality vacation. There are plush beds and duvets, flat-screen TV, and complimentary Wi-Fi access. For those particular to restrooms, take pleasure in knowing that the modern toilets are fitted with top-of-the-line-bathtubs, heated toilet seats, and more, which all meet your informed standards.

One of the treasures of The Auhana Boracay is its 330-meter beachfront. It stands as the widest for any resort on the island paradise, offering guests all the coveted Boracay-sand-and-sea they desire.

On the one hand, families can create memories along the sprawling coastline by building sand castles together or playing catch or Frisbee. On the other hand, couples can lounge around and catch the sunrise, or take a romantic stroll during sunset. Truly, the long, private stretch of world-famous Boracay sand affords infinite, indelible moments.

The property also prides itself on the distinction of having its very own chapel. The Chapel of All Blessed is a 51-sqm. dreamy venue that seats 80 guests for weddings and such. The structure is perched on a hilltop, where its floor-to-ceiling windows peep over a panoramic view of the majestic Boracay seascape and cloudscape.

When one feels spent from Auhana’s extensive offerings, there are exceptional food choices served at the buffet service of All Day Dining. The resort’s superb F&B staff whips up meals as tasty as the resort’s visual treats, including scrumptious seafood dishes. Besides, what is a trip to Boracay without a taste of fresh fish, baked oysters, king prawns, or barbequed squid?

Those looking to wind down with a few drinks and a view of the Boracay sunset can explore the Bar and Lobby Lounge. Another option for relaxation is a movie date at the resort’s mini-theater, or a soothing massage simply called the Auhana Signature Massage. It is the perfect combination of Swedish, shiatsu, hot stone and Thai massage that is exclusively available at The Auhana Spa. The spa also takes pride in its wide collection of essential oils and rich selection of treatments.

True to its name, The Auhana ensures that fun is not only enjoyed by adults but is shared among the whole family, including the kids. The resort features a number of kiddie pools, top of which is the shell-shaped main pool that is nestled at the center of the property’s nine, five-storey buildings. There is also a Tiki Hut Kids’ pool and some private lap pools facing the beach. Moreover, there is an entire lobby dedicated to children that doubles as an indoor play area.

Aside from its own offerings, The Auhana is open to assisting guests who want to explore Boracay beyond the confines of the resort. Guests are granted access to The Auhana’s own speedboat in their travels to neighboring islands and destinations. A van is also available for those who want to go around Boracay.

All of these from services to amenities are offered by The Auhana while meeting the island’s environmental guidelines. The resort also employs its own sustainability efforts to contribute in ensuring that Boracay never reverts to a state that requires it to be shut down again.

Among the many green initiatives of The Auhana is its advanced rainwater catchment system; its tank size equals the length of one accommodation building in the property. The stored water in the reservoir is used to water the plants in the resort. The property has also installed solar panels on every rooftop to power the water heaters in the rooms.

With all the sweeping changes in the island and a new top-class resort in The Auhana, I’m sure that there’s new breeze blowing into Boracay— one that feels like family.

 

 

* * *

The Auhana Boracay is located at Sitio Cagban, Brgy. Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan. For more information, call 036-286-3900, e-mail reservations@auhana.com, or visit www.auhana.com.

E-mail me at miladay.star@gmail.com.

AUHANA RESORT
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