WHEN I was still living abroad, I’d always dream of going to a beach resort in the Philippines. Yes, with its powdery white sand and a majestic view of a vast span of the ocean’s crystal blue seawater, beaches have that soothing and relaxing ambience that nothing can beat even if only in my dream. Not to fail to mention the natural beauty of the island on its periphery. There’s no better place to go to to let go of stress than on the beach.
So fortunate I was to have been invited to the JVA Management Corporation of Miguel “Mike” Misa Ayala’s private island resort, The Island Buenavista, last March 11, 2023, in the midst of the hectic Araw ng Davao festivities. The Island Buenavista is one tropical getaway right here in the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte. It is about a 45-minute ferry boat ride from the pier of the Waterfront Insular Hotel. Which would make one wonder why Davaoenos would want still to go to other places when Davao has its own island paradise in the Davao Gulf right at their doorstep. Yes, Island Buenavista is an idyllic four hectare paradise island surrounded by glistening blue seawater of the Davao Gulf teaming with the bounty of the sea plus exotic coral reefs.
It was an awesome sight landing on the shoreline itself of the Island Buenavista which is free of any man-made structure like a pier, dock or jetty. The charming Jeline Mariz Gison-Galagar, the Marketing Manager of JVA Management Corporation’s Eden Nature Park & Resort was our hospitable host for a day of relaxation and recreation. “Here at the Island Buenavista, we give a new dimension to the words ‘privacy and exclusivity.’
When we say that the island is private and exclusive, we mean you own the island for the period that you booked it. There’s nobody else on the island except you and the resort’s staff,” Jeline informed as she added, “You don’t have to worry about cooking or fixing your bed.
Sumptuous meals are served at the dining lounge based on your desired schedule. Our well-oriented and trained staff are ever ready to cater to your needs and requests for the best in customer service.” Upon arrival, guests will receive their welcome drink of natural healthy coconut juice served from the drupe itself which is sweeter as it is of the Nam Hom or Aromatic variety. The coconut meat content is much thinner though compared to our Cocos nucifera variety. This in-demand coconut variety is originally from Thailand and is well known for its exceptionally fragrant juice.
After a quick reinvigoration from the Aromatic coconut juice packed with vitamins and minerals, Jeline immediately toured us around the facilities of the island resort. She showed us the modern-inspired rustic structures of the island consisting of the Family Villa usually used by the Ayala family, the Executive Suite nestled on the beachfront, the tranquil Island Suites used by special guests like papa Piolo P., and the Balinese-inspired Beach Huts which Jeline said are favored by foreign guests. Each structure has its own modern toilet and bath for the guests’ convenience. Except for the Beach Huts, the villa and suites are provided with cool air conditioning units and electric fans. Another structure for the guests to enjoy is the gazebo where they can gather to watch the dramatic sunset or sunrise on the island.
The Island Buenavista lunch buffet we enjoyed consisted of talong, okra, and green mango salad; chicken tinola with sili leaves; Iberian chicken; inihaw na pusit; grilled tuna belly; and various fresh fruits for dessert. Refreshing cucumber juice was served for our much needed hydration although you can order soft drinks.
Before we knew it, it was time to leave the Island Buenavista with a heavy heart. How we had wanted to stay overnight for that holistic experience of the beautiful paradise resort. My gratitude to JVA Management Corp., Mike M. Ayala, Jeline Gison-Galagar, and the staff of Island Buenavista for the memorable paradise escapade.
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