Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin
IT IS quiet. It is beautiful. And you can have it all to yourself when you make your way to Balay Kogon in Sicogon Island of Carles, Iloilo.
Balay Kogon, which is nestled in Barangay Buaya, Sicogon Island, is a hidden gem. It is another picture perfect description of the northern pearls of Iloilo where the emerald seas contrast magnificently with the striking stretch of glistening, creamy-white sand and blue skies. It is easy to lose track of time as you explore its intimate lodging experience.
Balay Kogon is a family, couple, and water sports enthusiast “got-it-all” resort under the management of Ayala Land Hotels and Resorts, Inc.
The resort is a top quality family-friendly beachfront resort currently still being developed. Presently, it has three Casas, each with two air-conditioned rooms perfect for couples to a maximum of four persons. It has a hot and cold bath, a twin bed and a king-sized bed.
Enjoy convivial moments in their dining area that can cater to 24 persons and connects itself the resort’s centrepiece, its viewing deck surrounded by panoramic views. It has full views of Tomaguin Island and Molopolo. Along the coast are numerous other island beaches well worth visiting, including Gigantes Islands. It is also the best site to see sunrise in the island.
Activities around the island can be arranged and includes picnic by the beach, inter-island hop, kayaking, and a trek to Mt. Opao. Board games, yoga mats and beach toys are also available upon request.
For those who crave for a remote island beach accommodation where visitors can take a walk around and discover some empty dreamlike space and add a couple of hammocks strung between trees where your cares will drift away, have a swim or just sit and admire the sunset, Balay Kogon is a perfect choice.
Named after Cogon, a type of grass found to be abundant in the area, Sicogon Island is a 1,160-hectare island which is politically subdivided into three barangays – Alipata, San Fernando and Buaya.
Mt. Opao serves as its backdrop, towering 702 feet and accessible on foot. Its summit offers a stunning view of its coastline surrounding the island.
Long before the island of Boracay in Malay, Aklan became a household name, Sicogon Island was already a hub for local and foreign tourists. It was one of Asia’s top tourist destinations prior to its closure in the 1980s.
In the mid-70s, the island was declared a tourist destination zone by former President Ferdinand Marcos. During its prime, it became home to celebrities and the rich and famous. It had 150 cogon cottages then, a clubhouse, swimming pools, sports facilities, a wharf and an airstrip.
After more than 30 years, Ayala Land Inc. along with Sicogon Development Corp. is confident in developing the island and making it as the focal point of local and foreign tourists for Western Visayas. By doing so, it can bring economic prosperity not only among the Ilonggos but the people of this region. Sicogon Island Tourism Estate Development was formed.
Balay Kogon in Sicogon Island is accessible by plane from Manila via Roxas City airport or Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan. By land from Roxas City Airport it is 1.5 hours, from Iloilo International Airport it is 2.45 hours from Estancia, Iloilo. It can be reached the nearest though, around 45 minutes by motorized pumpboat from the Feeder Port of the municipality of Estancia.
For more information, please contact +63 (2) 9595673/ +63 `(917) 8270445 or visit www.sicogonisland.com.ph/balaykogon. Or contact Mr. Ryan Ybanez, Project Development Manager, at 09175975040.