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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Casa Kalaw: Your Latest Home in El Nido

I just had to get this aerial shot of the Big Lagoon

(At one point during these challenging past months, I almost led myself into believing that "Adulting" would briefly halt my life's halcyon days. My old self, however, could not let that happen. I can never give up my one true love - Traveling. There should be room for it in my life one way or another).

A few days ago, I found myself back in my ultimate happy place - El Nido. This time, I was playing host and tour guide for good friends visiting from Hong Kong. After touring the world famous Puerto Princesa Underground River, we hired a private van and proceeded to the glorious Bacuit Bay. Timing was excellent since the 325-hectare Lio Tourism Estate opened its first resort called Casa Kalaw - a Filipino-inspired property located around 15 minutes from El Nido town proper and 5 minutes from Lio Airport. Kalye Artisano, Balai Adlao and Hotel Covo (for backpackers) will be launched soon, too. The whole Lio Tourism estate is a testament to Ayala Land's commitment to eco-tourism and sustainable development.

Welcome to Casa Kalaw. (FYI, The Kalaw is a local bird known as Rofous hornbill or Philippine hornbill.). The resort complex has a swimming pool, restaurant, activity center (for billiards, table tennis, etc) and al fresco dining area. They made sure the building is only two stories high to preserve the sunset and horizon views.

Refreshing Poolside.

Second-floor lounge area overlooking the pool.

Al fresco dining area.

Casa Kalaw has 42 well-appointed modern and spacious rooms. We stayed in the Kalaw Suite, which can actually fit 3 people comfortably. My other friends stayed in a Deluxe Suite with a balcony (but I was not able to take a photo of it any more). The resort has the potential to be the best in El Nido when it comes to comfort, location and value for money but changes still need to be made.

First, I hope they would have telephones in the rooms. Calling housekeeping or the front desk would be much easier.  As for the bathroom, it would be nice if all the amenities are there already (I still had to request for a toothbrush when we arrived). It would also be practical to put the shampoo and body wash in a pump dispenser rather than a ceramic container. And the most important thing, please have WIFI in the room. All the guests need to go to the lobby for internet access. I would like to stress though that these all seemed MINOR because the views in El Nido make me forget about everything! The resort, after all, is still on it soft opening.

Activity Center.

If you are looking for drinks and dining options, all of these bars and restaurants are right outside the resort. They usually have a band playing at the Pukka Resto Bar at night. Some retails shops will also open here in the the coming months.

You'll notice that everything is set over 40 meters from the shoreline as a protection during storm surges.

For other activities in Casa Kalaw, you can rent a bamboo bike, kayak, and frisbee, volleyball and football. 

My friends and I had an incredible sunset and photoshoot session in Lio Beach. You can have a quiet time here while waiting for the day to end. Lio's private jetty port (below) will soon be the jump-off point to explore all the islands of El Nido. 

At last, Casa Kalaw has filled the missing gap in El Nido when it comes to accommodations. I was always looking for a more boutique type of resort that would appeal to my taste. With the grand scale of Lio Tourism Estate, I am sure more tourists will be flocking to El Nido soon. It's good to know that the people behind it will put the needs of environment first before anything else. 

See you again, El Nido my love.

For Bookings,  Click Casa Kalaw.

Air Swift now flies daily to El Nido from Manila and 3 x a week from Caticlan. 


Kerry Schultz said...

Beautiful collection Grandeur!... Your choices are just as ravishing as is your own skills of photography! You put up a number out there... Keep giving us your best!!

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