Christmas reflections at Crimson

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. - The Philippine Star
Christmas reflections at Crimson
A paradise called Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay.
STAR/ File

Fantasy and reality have a thin dividing line as you watch the world go by while you are soaked in the cascading infinity pool of Crimson Resort and Spa in Boracay. It’s Christmas, all right, in every corner of the resort and Frank Sinatra is singing “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” from the piped-in music as the morning sun is up, cavorting in the azure sky with rolling clouds.

The contrast is clear, calming, consoling. The chill of snow — or the concept of it — as the voice of Ol’ Blue Eyes continues to waft in the air is thawed by the summery scene at the resort with its own private beach. Submerged in the shoulder-deep water of the pool, you continue to be mesmerized as your sight combs what’s in front of you: No snow. No worries. The cove of Crimson Boracay is perpetually a site of White Christmas. What with the white, powdery sand. What with the promise of an enjoyable vacation. What with the peace it creates in your soul. Peace is the quiet, joyful journey of the soul.

View of the island cove from the Cobalt pool of the resort

Crimson is blue, white and green — always — for 365 days. The blue waters of the island paradise are always a conduit of happiness and tranquility, equally matched by the white sand that’s so talc-like you can sprinkle it over your body as you worship the sand. The green part is courtesy of the vegetation of Crimson’s own version of the Naked Rock at the beachfront. You can add black to Crimson if you count the number of long-legged, long-necked black birds that nest in the rocks. But they are elusive if not snobbish. The sight of them in flight, however, is a welcome thrill to the soul that constantly searches for a calm surrender. Christmas is a calm surrender. Faith is heightened all the more during the season.

The author and his best friend of 27 years, Christine Dayrit, enjoy the famous island sunset on the private beach of Crimson Borac

You surrender everything to the wind when you are at the resort. Whether you are in a well-appointed beachfront villa or ensconced in a dreamy suite with a marvelous view of the whole cove, you are in for a communion with yourself, a communion with nature, a communion with the divine. (In my stay at the villa last year with my best friend of 27 years Christine Dayrit, who was also my companion to the resort last week, I was in constant communion with Ringo, a little guppy fish in the room. Ringo swam aimlessly in a small transparent bowl and regaled me with its pale yellow body, blue tail and orange fins. I fed it five pellets for breakfast, four pellets for lunch and three pellets for dinner—for four days. When you care for someone’s life, you follow the manual that comes with it. It was one of the most intimate relationships I have had — with a fish. I knew it was a relationship because it was bittersweet when I bid Ringo goodbye.)

This paradise-within-a-paradise resort has 192 rooms; that means Chroma Hospitality, the company that owns Crimson, has 192 ways of creating happiness among its guests. Local tourists, mostly families with young kids and honeymooners, are all-smiles as they wait for their buggy ride from the reception to the Azure restaurant by the beach. Revenge travel among foreigners is coming in steadily as Crimson Boracay, which started operating in March 2018, now welcomes many international guests.

Chroma Hospitality VP for sales and marketing Carmela Bocanegra says Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay has recently been selected as one of Time’s 2022 World’s Greatest Places in Boracay.

Quoting the report, Crimson director of marketing and communications Ronie Reyes says, “Crimson is honored to be recognized by Time for its commitment to providing guests with the most memorable vacation experiences possible, its unrivaled attention to detail, and its dedication to delivering service with unparalleled luxury.”

Memorable experiences, indeed, are part of the package when one stays at the resort. The gustatory membrane has its own way of remembering how glorious the food is in this part of the island. For example, the Filipino lunch prepared by Russian-American executive chef Nickolai Stoyanov served to us at the Presidential Villa (whose spic-and-span bathroom is so huge it looks like another villa) was never second best. The grilled diwal and baked mussels had the tang and saltiness of the sea. The crunchy lechon kawali with sweet-sour liver sauce and kare-kare with yummy shrimp paste were divine. The kakanins (Pinoy delicacies made of glutinous rice or cassava) are the sweet ending to an unforgettable lunch. So full, happy and pampered were we that to our suite we retreated for a siesta.

We woke up to a merrymaking of the Holy Rosary Parish Music Ministry Choir singing Christmas carols from outside our suite. Their angelic voices wafted upwards, joined with the quick setting of the sun, which also set the blue waters of Boracay on fire. In the sun’s adieu is a kaleidoscope of hope, of triumph, of life.

The choir was ready and competent with their soothing and energetic renditions of Christmas carols. Guests swayed their arms and hips to their Kumukutikutitap number as they partook of bibingka and puto bumbong, with a glass of white or red sangria in their hands. Happiness enveloped the whole resort when they sang Joy to the World. In their every song was a promise, a dream, a fantasy, a reality.

Shortly after dusk dropped its cloak, the Christmas tree lighting ensued. The joyous spirit of Christmas was written all over the faces of Carmela Bocanegra, Crimson Boracay GM Patrick Manthe and executive assistant manager PJ Pongon and Malay Mayor Floribar Bautista, as they led the tree lighting. Christmas was in the air. It was a joyful moment to be alive, to experience another holiday season, to revel in its promise or kindness and abundance.

The lights on the tree sparkled in blue, yellow, green, opal, lilac, red. The glitter and glistening of the lights compensated for a not-so-silent night that was devoid of stars.

That night, and in the many days and nights to come, Crimson Boracay was — and will remain — a star.

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