An enchanting island beckons

I first heard the words “banwa” and “banwa-anon” during my childhood years, when my siblings and I would spend our summer vacations in my father’s hometown in Dumanjug, Cebu. 

After dinner, our grandmother would tell us fascinating stories about these mythical beings who would cast an enchanting spell on people and bring them to a place where they see and experience everything beautiful.  

Because of those stories from Lola Magna, I grew up always feeling some kind of mesmerizing enchantment every time I come face-to-face with a beautiful tourist destination or any of nature’s breathtaking scenery. In fact, I found myself sitting for hours on end on the windy patio of a hotel I stayed at, bedazzled by the panoramic view of the caldera in Santorini; on the balcony of my favorite corner room at Taal Vista Hotel, directly facing the volcano and lake; and on that solitary bench located at the farthest end of the garden at The Manor at Camp John Hay because it provides a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and pine trees. 

POSH AND PRIVATE. Dubbed the most expensive resort in the world, Banwa Private Island in Palawan sits within a marine protected area and offers guests world-class amenities and exquisite personalized service. 
Somehow, any visually awesome experience takes me back to those enchanting banwas and banwa-anons of my grandmother’s engrossing fairy tales, bewitched, but definitely not bothered nor bewildered, recalling the late Ella Fitzgerald’s signature song. 

The other day, a friend and I were talking about exciting new places because I plan to fly off to a much-deserved getaway once these quarantine restrictions ease up. She told me about this luxury destination in Palawan which recently reopened. Its name alone made me want to fly there immediately because it flashed in my mind attractive images of a magical world. 

Each of the six luxurious villas has its own infinity pool.
I pored over some information on the island to share them with you in case you also want to jump into a relaxing holiday once domestic travel has less requirements. 

Banwa Private Island is a 6.5-hectare property located in northeastern Palawan and nestled in Sulu Sea.  This glistening island of lush, verdant landscaping and pristine white sand is the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity. This all-villa holiday destination for sophisticated guests is within a marine protected area and has an abundance of rare flora and fauna.

It has six magnificent beachfront villas, each with its own infinity pool and world-class amenities. Its facilities include a well-structured open-kitchen restaurant, a terrace bar, and a spa pavilion which has a tennis court, gym, massage suite, Pilates/yoga studio, and juice bar. The island property also has a dive center and a golf course.

The powdery white sand beach of Banwa Private Island beckons.
This new luxurious destination was recently voted “Private Island of the Year” in the popular Destination Deluxe Awards because its sought-after exclusivity is timely and very important in these days of the pandemic. Guests can choose any of the six luxuriously equipped villas, or if they belong to a large group or clan, they may rent the entire island on an “exclusively yours” basis.

How does one get to the island? It is conveniently accessible directly from Manila on a one-hour-forty-five-minute scenic flight on board an 8-seater seaplane of Ascent Flights Global. This airline company also provides direct helicopter service from The Peninsula Manila’s helipad and larger capacity fixed-wing aircraft directly from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). 

Leisurely communing with nature in the front yard of one of the villas.
Those who prefer to take commercial flights can fly to Puerto Princesa, then take a short helicopter ride over the beautiful Sulu Sea and land on the island’s own heli-lawn. Or they can drive from Puerto Princesa and take a short boat ride to the island.

Peter Nilsson, chief executive officer of Banwa Private Island, declares his team’s commitment to deliver exceptional, personalized, and pleasantly memorable experiences to their guests. He is aware that personal safety and hand-crafted travel experiences have become very important in the luxury travel landscape these days. 

Outdoor dining by design can easily be arranged for guests.
More information on this enchanting new domestic destination is available at You may select your mode of transportation to the island at or by emailing [email protected]

The enticing pictures of the island’s facilities and offerings, shown on this page, remind me of the very first enchanting island I came across in my lifetime. That one beckoned through a song:  

“Bali Ha’i will whisper on the wind of the sea

Here am I, your special island

Come to me, come to me…”


HUSBAND: I want to divorce my wife!

LAWYER: On what grounds?

HUSBAND: She’s out all night, every night, going from bar to bar.

LAWYER: Do you mean she’s an alcoholic or she’s cheating on you?

HUSBAND: No, she’s looking for me.

For feedback, I’m at [email protected]

Topics: Dumanjug , Cebu , Banwa , Island , Banwa Private Island , Peter Nilsson
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