Fan­tasy Lodge Cebu Re­sort & Spa: a nat­u­ral haven down South

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Travel -

IF you hap­pen to find your­self in the south­ern­most parts of Cebu and de­cide to stay longer, chances are the lo­cals will point you to Sam­boan’s famed Fan­tasy Lodge Cebu Re­sort & Spa for ac­com­mo­da­tions.

And why not? Fan­tasy Lodge is just a short drive away from the south’s beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral at­trac­tions. The re­sort spa makes for the per­fect place to re­juvinate af­ter a long drive and do­ing hours of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

“This place is good for fam­i­lies and cou­ples who want to re­lax. It’s peace­ful, quiet, and we have very good food in our restau­rant. We can pro­vide dif­fer­ent kinds of ac­tiv­i­ties from dol­phin watch­ing to canyoneer­ing,” said Fench­man Pa­trice Ger­ard, who runs Fan­tasy Lodge with his Filipino wife Nee­lam, owner of the place.

Com­mu­nity and na­ture

Pa­trice has been in the country for 20 years, although he trav­els of­ten to France for his trad­ing busi­ness. He de­cided to open Fan­tasy Lodge in 2004 af­ter find­ing much po­ten­tial in this nat­u­ral haven in Da­ha­likan, Sam­boan.

“We no­ticed that since the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Sam­boan re­ally de­vel­oped all th­ese tourist spots, we have more Filipino tourists com­ing. Be­fore the guests com­ing here were for­eign­ers, mostly French,” says Pa­trice. He added that the re­sort can be booked on­line through sites like Agoda and Ex­pe­dia, as well as through their web­site.

Af­ter more than a decade of oper­a­tions, the re­sort has be­come an in­te­gral part of the com­mu­nity. Aside from hir­ing staff from the lo­cals, the re­sort also sources food from lo­cal farm­ers for fresh pro­duce. “We get some sup­ply from Ale­gria and we go ev­ery week to the mar­kets in Gi­nati­lan and Sam­boan,” Pa­trice says, adding that they also tap the com­mu­nity for the var­i­ous out­door ac­tiv­i­ties for their guests.

Haven of peace

De­scribed as a “haven of peace be­tween beach and moun­tain,” Fan­tasy Lodge of­fers plenty of rea­sons to spend a se­cluded night or two here. One can laze in the wood ter­race, wait­ing for the sun to set in the pro­tected seascape of Tañon Strait, if not en­joy a cou­ple of hours at the spa in an open-air hut. A kawa hot bath, a cool dip in the pool or a quick nap in the ham­mocks be­side the resto­bar can be tempt­ing. The gen­tle lap­ping of waves from the beach down be­low and bird­songs from the lush sur­round­ing trees com­plete an un­for­get­table re­lax­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with na­ture.

And in this homey place with a laid back trop­i­cal vibe, one can re­treat to any of the seven stylish ar­ti­san-in­spired rooms for fam­i­lies and cou­ples. The re­sort’s cen­ter­piece room, though, is the new Ge­o­desic Dome, which is made of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als: nipa and bam­boo for the roof struc­ture, hard­wood for the floors and col­umns, and wooden doors with capiz shells to al­low nat­u­ral light. Soft mesh net­tings let the sea breeze cir­cu­late freely and give an ethe­real feel to the room.

“This kind of ar­chi­tec­ture is prob­a­bly the first one here. Made of lo­cal ma­te­ri­als like bam­boo and nipa, it’s one of our more beau­ti­ful rooms with a pri­vate ter­race fac­ing the sea,” Pa­trice said.

Nat­u­ral land­scape

For now, Fan­tasy Lodge can re­ceive a max­i­mum of 20 per­sons for the seven rooms. How­ever, Pa­trice said they are de­vel­op­ing three more apart­ment-type rooms that can ac­com­mo­date six per­sons per room. Apart from the spa, the re­sort will build a sauna fac­ing the sea, which will be ready in a month’s time. De­spite the de­vel­op­ments, Pa­trice in­tends to keep the place homey and make im­prove­ments based on the nat­u­ral land­scape, which is home to var­i­ous flora and fauna, es­pe­cially birds.

“It’s very im­por­tant for us to limit our im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, so from the land­scap­ing to man­ag­ing trash, we take good care of every­thing,” Pa­trice said. (Text & Photos by Noel S. Vil­laflor)

*For in­quiries, con­tact Fan­tasy Lodge Re­sort & Spa at fan­ta­sy­lodge­, (+63)9177006027 or (+63)9278833932. Check out their web­site at fan­ta­sy­lodge­

Made of indige­nous ma­te­ri­als such as bam­boo and nipa, the Geodesic Dome is per­fect for cou­ples seek­ing some­thing stylishly nat­u­ral.

Spa­cious, clean air-con­di­tioned fam­ily room.

Stone steps lead to a hut for some open-air spa, and fur­ther down past lush greener­ies to the beach.

The homey feel be­gins at the re­cep­tion area. Re­lax­ing ter­race fac­ing the pro­tected seascape of Tañon Strait and Ne­gros Is­land.

The resto­bar makes for a ro­man­tic dimly lit set­ting at night.

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