A JEWEL IN the south
Nestled on the tropical beaches of Daanbantayan, Cebu, Kandaya Resort is a luxe hideaway that showcases Filipino design with a modern twist, writes Maritess Garcia-reyes
Kandaya Resort is a luxury property in Cebu that was born out of the vestiges of the original beach home of the Salimbangon family. The family chose its name, which translates as “home of Daya,” in honour of Datu Daya, a local chieftain and hero of the ancestral community of Daanbantayan in Cebu.
Datu Daya was a great leader and protector of the local community during the pre-spanish era. He embraced the development of arts, heritage, culture, and protection of marine life.
Inspired by his advocacy, the resort features home pieces mostly from Cebu— the furniture capital of the Philippines— and implements initiatives for sustainable community development. “Kandaya Resort’s design inspiration is derived from the traditional Filipino heritage and culture infused with a modern, minimalistic twist and contemporary flair,” says Martin Yeung, president and founder of Kandaya Resort and son of Cebuana philanthropist Mariquita Salimbangon-yeung. The architect Arlen De Guzman was behind the resort’s interior design in close collaboration with Martin and his wife Claudia.
Stepping into the spacious lobby, you will instantly feel the warm Filipino atmosphere the resort aims to bring about—a homey sanctuary to recharge from all the hustle-bustle of the metropolis. Here, three giant pendant lamps made of abaca and fibreglass by Murillo hang above a space using a neutral palette of browns and whites. The element of wood reinforces the Filipino vibe and the high ceiling gives an illusion of larger space. “Most of the furniture in the main lobby come from various furniture companies located in Cebu. It is a mixture of designers with different workmanship, design, and styles,” Yeung adds. Around the resort are several paintings by Martin’s younger sister, Jewelle. Her paintings, often inspired by the space between reality and the surreal, use vivid strokes and soft blends through oil.
Kandaya Resort’s 22 luxurious villas and 18 contemporary rooms and suites all radiate a modern take on Filipino interior design. “The design of the suites and villas still follows our rule of thumb, and that is to capture the traditional Filipino heritage feel,
but with a twist of modernism and simplicity,” says Yeung. All the furniture in the villas and guest rooms are sourced from Dedon.
Providing a more serene and private setting, its seven ocean villas command a priceless view of the Visayan Sea from its floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Its open plan layout combines a roomy bedroom and a spacious bathroom with a lavish glass-enclosed tub that looks out to a pocket garden. These villas, which are the most luxurious in the resort, have private infinity pools and direct access to the beach. Equally enticing are the six beach pool villas, which also feature a plunge pool and an outdoor garden. Tucked into the lush tropical landscape are three wellappointed garden pool villas and six garden villas, all with verandas that are a perfect vantage point to view the sunset. The resort’s four suites are exquisitely designed for a supreme vacation experience with ocean and garden views. The premier rooms, on the other hand, offer modern furnishings and amenities, as well as a private balcony overlooking the cerulean waters of the Visayan Sea.
Besides luxe accommodations, the resort also puts attention to spaces dedicated for health and fitness. Kandaya Resort’s signature restaurant, Kusina, which means “kitchen,” provides guests with healthy sustenance throughout the day. Also positioned with a panoramic view overlooking the sea, the Kusina restaurant’s design concept is based on the traditional Filipino fishing nets known as “pukot” in the local dialect. “I personally love our trademark restaurant, Kusina. The atmosphere in the restaurant is absolutely amazing with our huge fishing net domes that
“Ceramic is one of the most important crafts in Thailand, so we used it on many surfaces”
Kandaya Resort’s design inspiration is derived from the traditional Filipino heritage and culture infused with a modern, minimalistic twist and contemporary flair
encompass the entire dining area,” he shares. Enclosed within these domes are Seashell chairs and Satellite dining tables by Jean-marie Massaud, also from Dedon.
Created with the intention to provide a place for an overall balancing of the body, mind, and spirit, the resort has several spots centred on wellness. Topmost is the Daya Spa, a tranquil haven that sets a fine backdrop to a relaxing escape. The deceptively modest spa reception leads to a dimly lit hallway that instantly embraces guests with a soothing aroma wafting in the air. Streaks of light go through the linear lines of the wooden walls. Still in warm shades of wood, the spa rooms exude luxe modern Filipino ambiance, where guests can enjoy traditional massages using premium essential oils to rejuvenate the senses. “De Guzman’s direction was to establish the connection between the concept of tranquillity and minimalistic harmony meshed together as one,” says Yeung.
Situated between the resort’s main building, the restaurant, and the beach is the swimming pool that appears to blend seamlessly into the pristine beachfront and the vast seascape. The shaded areas and Dedon lounge chairs make it ideal for reading a book or just gazing out over the turquoise waters, with the islands of Gato and Chocolate, a haven for divers, in the distance.
For fitness, guests can meditate in the quiet yoga hall or jog in the verdant gardens by the local landscape artist Jaime Chua. Inspired by an Asian tropical theme, the resort’s landscape design combines leaves of different sizes, and plays with colours to make it look lively. It features different
kinds of bamboo—from pole, black, and variegated, to Thai, Shiroshima, and Benguet—as well as a variety of palms. At the entrance that leads to the reception area are red creepers, zebra plants, Fukian tea plants, and bright yellow iris blooms. White lotus are used in the koi ponds and at the central roundabout that surrounds the villas. Around the resort are native dita trees that are known hosts to fireflies.
When asked what people can expect from the newly opened Kandaya Resort in the coming months, Yeung shares, “We are actually adding quite a few interesting things. One of which is a second restaurant with a completely different cuisine and dining experience. We are also in the middle of constructing a fully equipped horse-riding stables and arena, as well as dramatically increasing the amount of land and sea recreations with many more exciting things yet to come.” More than the resort’s striking design, its beauty lies deeper than the surface. Its initiatives to preserve Filipino heritage and culture, as well as to protect the surrounding marine environment, just like what Datu Daya had advocated during his time, are its true crowning jewel.
FROM TOP The resort’s signature
restaurant Kusina, features giant fishing
baskets locally known as “pukot”; the spacious beach pool villa has its own
inset The woven dome
partitions add a Filipino twist and a sense of privacy to
Previous PAGE A Swingrest by Daniel Pouzet for Dedon and
a dwarfed palm tree sit side by side on the
FROM TOP The resort’s main building features clean lines and a stark contrast
between white and brown; watch the sunset while
lounging on Dedon’s Swingrest
by the beach
OPPOSITE PAGE MU sofa and coffee table, and Babylon side table— all by Dedon—take centre stage in the