MANILA, February 25, 2004 (STAR) RENDEZVOUS By Christine S. Dayrit - Slowly, we are beginning to feel the heat. The season of sea, sand, and sun will soon be here and people will be aching to spend their summer in the beach. Talk about beaches and, the island paradise of Boracay will soon teem with a sea of humanity.

My friends and I recently hied off to Boracay to get the first taste of summer on the island. Though the island was from time to time enveloped in cool and crisp air, the cordial reception by the islanders was enough to warm our nights. On that particular journey we were privy to the hospitality and camaraderie of the islanders who compose the northern consortium of the island.

The northern part of Boracay, also known as Station 1, is the most serene place on the island. In this idyllic sanctuary, one can find the whitest sand as well as exquisite resorts and hotels that offer the best one can have in Boracay. Meet the finest: Fridays Boracay, Nami Resort, Sea Wind, and Boracay Terraces Resort.

Fridays Boracay

Fridays Boracay is one of the pioneer hotels on the island. Going to Fridays is like stepping into the pages of Robinson Crusoe’s 1719 literary classic where he had a loyal servant while shipwrecked on an isolated island. Here, you have your loyal Guy Friday from the time you disembark from the plane to the moment you ride the outrigger en route to the hotel. Getting off the motorized banca becomes all the more festive because the hotel staff led by their general manager Philippe Bartholomi are waiting by the shore, ready to welcome guests with puka shell necklaces, cold towel, and yes, welcome drinks.

"We take pride in giving the best possible service to our clients. We know exactly how to pamper them," Bartholomi shares.

Pampering, indeed, is the rule at the resort. Epicurean delights await those who want to gorge on pasta, pizza, and risotto. You can also try Asian cuisine – pancit canton, nasi goreng, sushi and sashimi, or chicken pork adobo. Be it American or French cuisine, Fridays has it all. They have a great selection of fine wines and cigars, too. You can even request the resident chef to whip up something for you which is not on the menu.

Fridays also takes pride in its well-appointed accommodations. Each room is walled by banig and, of course, the centerpiece is the soft bed with ultra soft pillows. Every night, before you go to sleep, a personal touch is left by friendly and attentive staff on the bed: a dendrobium leaf where your name is painstakingly written in style, a stalk of orchids in bloom, and a truffle.

Nami Private Villas

Nami Private Villas is Boracay’s newest object of desire. Perched on a hill, the villas of Nami are a sight to behold. In the morning, they look like little castles waiting to be filled by monarchs. In the evening, they gleam like stars in the middle of the night, soaring several meters above the white sands and turquoise waters of the island.

Visitors to Nami are brought up to the villas via a styled, scenic lift. Then they are ushered to one of the 12 luxurious rooms of the resort. Everything here is first class – soft bed, plump pillows, supple comforters, top of the line toiletries, among other things. One feels privileged to have a 360-degree view of the island paradise while sipping champagne in the jacuzzi at the balcony of each room. Pampering continues as one desires to avail of either Shiatsu or Thai massage in separate quarters filled with the scent of aromatherapy.

"Nami is the Ilonggo word for ‘nice’, ‘good’ or ‘pleasant’," says managing director Cheese Ledesma a certified public accountant with an MBA from Stanford University. Ledesma said the resort has meticulous consideration for finer nuances that give Nami such charm and flair. Every nook and cranny of Nami is a photographer’s delight. No wonder our friend, Raymond Saldaña, a banker and an ace lensman, enjoyed clicking endlessly.

Sea Wind

Nature also meets comfort at SeaWind, another resort belonging to the Northern Consortium. The slogan of the resort says it all: "Surrender to the sun and sea. Cast your cares to the wind."

The resort offers one of the widest beachfronts on the island. It has a spacious play area and an unobstructed view of the sea. Its well-appointed rooms are big and carry Filipiniana and Balinese designs.

Apart from the innate beauty of the resort, Joebert Cocjin, owner of SeaWind, said it’s the personalized service that probably sets them apart from others. "Here, we don’t treat our customers as clients. We treat them as friends. And like real friends, we go out of our way to satisfy their needs," he said.

At SeaWind just when you think you have had enough sun, it’s time to seek refuge in one of the cabanas by the poolside. There you can sip the best pina colada while gazing across the sugary sand of Boracay, watching the waves gently lap the shore, and hearing a cacophony of birds lulling you to sleep.

Boracay Terraces Resort

Boracay Terraces Resort, more popularly known as the BTR, has 21 rooms so spacious, each can accommodate a family of six. Happy colors of summer await the visitors at BTR.

One plus factor of BTR is its cheaper rates compared to neighboring resorts without sacrificing service. Truth is, service here is impeccable what with the charming managing director, Stevie Tajanlangit, personally attending to your whims and needs. The 23-year-old Tajanlangit welcomes guests with his arresting smile. Soft-spoken like a real Ilonggo, he makes sure everybody in the resort is well taken care of. He warmly talks with his guests like they were old-time friends who have just been reunited.

"I guess every resort on the island has the best to offer when it comes to accommodations but they differ in service," the young charmer said.

BTR serves one of the best intercontinental fare on the island. For walk in customers of the resort’s Taj restaurant, dinnertime is the best time to be here. Why not when diners and lovers are treated to a romantic concert of sorts led by a classical pianist and a saxophonist on the weekend. Once at BTR, it’s a must to experience the damgo, a resting place made of bamboo slats just beside the restaurant. Sit here and relax as you enjoy a cup of cappuccino or earl grey tea or sip a glass of wine while watching the setting sun kiss the ocean good bye. Before heading off to your room, it is best to treat your body to a full massage at the resorts spa.

A stone’s throw away from BTR is its sister apartelle called Balay Apartelle, which has 30 rooms equipped with a living room and a kitchen replete with oven, microwave, refrigerator, gas range, TV with cable, among other things. Tajanlangit also said his family is developing an 80-hectare Boracay Eco-Tourism Village which will be composed of a boardwalk hotel, convention centers, campsite, sea cabana resort. Word has it that architect Bobby Mañosa will design the master plan for this project dubbed as Boracay’s last frontier.

The mercury is rising so fast you don’t realize everything is sizzling up! When you feel the heat and the desire to cool off rushes in, check out the northern consortium of Boracay. Get up north and personal. You won’t regret it.

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For more information call Fridays Boracay at 892-9283 or e-mail to reservations@fridaysboracay.com; SeaWind Boracay Island, 924-0995 or seawind @pacific.net.ph; Nami Private Villas, 812-1484, www.namiboracay.com; and Boracay Terraces resort, (036) 288-4000 and 288-3596 or boracayterraces@yahoo.com.

Asian Spirit flies to Caticlan, the gateway to Boracay, every day. For more information, call 895-3004 and 897-1333.

Post me a note at miladay@pacific.net.ph

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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