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

plunge pool

inset The wo­ven dome

par­ti­tions add a Filipino twist and a sense of pri­vacy to

the restau­rant

Pre­vi­ous PAGE A Swingrest by Daniel Pouzet for De­don and

a dwarfed palm tree sit side by side on the

pris­tine beach­front

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

out­door area

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