(SPOT.ph) Aside from Islas de Gigantes in Carles and Bulubadiangan Sandbar in Concepcion, Iloilo province has yet another white-sand beach to boast: Sicogon Island off the coast of Estancia town. The place was pretty popular in the '80s as an exclusive getaway for the elite; but in 2013, it was acquired by Ayala Land and is being slowly transformed in an eco-tourism estate. They opened Balay Kogon in December 2016, and four years on, we're still dreaming about its hilltop villas and beachfront huts.
It's just a matter of weeks or months before Balay Kogon reopens following months of closure amid the pandemic. They secured their Certificate of Authority to Operate from the Department of Tourism - Region VI on October 16, which is a requirement for accommodation establishments when they reopen amid the modified general community quarantine.
Balay Kogon takes inspiration from cogon grass (thus the name), which grows abundantly on the island and is commonly used as roofing by the locals. Accommodation options include the Garden Room, which is surrounded by pocket gardens; Hilltop Superior Room and Hilltop Deluxe Room, which both offer views of Mt. Opao andTumaquin Island from their high location; and the Beachfront Room, where you can wake up to an amazing view of Buaya Beach.
Aside from taking a dip in Sicogon's crystal-clear waters, tourists can also go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, or island hopping. The more adventurous types can go hiking in nearby trails, gear up for some trekking along the rocky beach, or try cliff jumping. A private dinner by the beach can also be arranged for a perfect romantic getaway.
AirSwift started offering direct flights from Manila to Sicogon Island in October 2018.
Balay Kogon is on Sicogon Island, Carles, Iloilo. Rates start at P5,200. For updates on Balay Kogon's reopening, follow Balay Kogon on Facebook.