We found in the Philippines the perfect private island for Kite Surfing and also for a relaxed holiday on the beach – far away from the touristic crowd.
The sun had yet to rise when our taxi driver dropped us off at the airport in Manila. Being the silly, curious and explorers people that we are, of course, we had a late night at Philippine’s capital the evening before. We wanted to see at least a little bit of Manila’s nightlife while doing a stop over on our way to Coron, Palawan. We had dinner in the Black Bird restaurant and then, headed to 71 Gramercy Kitchen rooftop where we ended up having a few drinks with good music before we passed out in our hotel room.
Bamboo Private Island
We made our way to Busuanga and from there we drove 45 min to Coron town, a small fishing village but not too appealing in its charms. Then we took a boat ride by bangka and 2 hours later we got to our final destination: Bamboo Private Island.
Palawan, the region where Bamboo Island is located in the southwestern Philippines, is a hidden piece of heaven on earth. It was named “The Top Island in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards a few years back. And now I understand why. There, beautiful blue water mixes with emerald green, mountains and rocky escarpments that appear to rise from the ocean, and small fishing villages along the islands. It is hard to believe that a few years back, the typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in history, tore through this region, leaving 8,000 people dead or missing. The most famous destination in Palawan is El Nido. It has carved out a niche on the backpacker circuit and turned into a popular touristic destination. Bamboo Island, on the other hand, is a hidden paradise, and, for this reason, our choice for this Chinese New Year holidays.
We were in the middle of nowhere, paradise-style: a sea of high-definition azure stretching to the horizon. Happy to share this undiscovered treasure destination with our friends Tonio, who flew from Dresden, Germany; Quinoa, from Jakarta, Indonesia and other five kite surfers we met at the Island. Bamboo Private Island can either be entirely rented (14 people max) or managed under 250k Kite camp during the windy season from November to March. And that was exactly the purpose of our trip: We were hoping for a lot of wind to come in the following days.
Bamboo is indeed a dream tropical heaven and they are not kidding when they say “Private Island.” There has been nearly no boat traffic and so much room to kitesurf safely. Unfortunately, the wind was not very consistent. But it gave us the chance to enjoy different activities such as snorkelling, paddle boarding, wake boarding and kayaking over to one of the nearby islands.
We could also have gone diving at Coron Bay as it is considered the best spot in the world for shipwrecks diving. The wrecks are from the second world war as the Japanese moved a fleet to the Coron Bay area during the war, which the Americans later sank. However, we never left the private island. After a few days in this beach paradise, life had become a lazy routine: eat (food was pretty good), kite surf (or other activities), chill out. Repeat.
The accommodation at the Bamboo Island is basic, but also charming. Small-space designed bamboo huts with a breathtaking view to turquoise-blue waters. It’s a zero carbon emission island, and operations are 100% solar-powered.
The life on the island revolves around the open-air central pavilion, located right on the beach and featuring a sunset lounge, a bar and dining areas, all with great views of the surrounding waters, islands, and mountainscapes. The main pavilion is where all the guests hang out and dine. Nearly everyone staying at the Private Island during the wind season is there for the same reason: Kite Surfing, which adds a sense of shared purpose and after one or two days on the island we have the feeling that we are all part of a big family.
We spent three fantastic days at this lost paradise in the Philippines. On our way back home, we stopped by Lake Kayangan and Lake Barracuda, Coron’s primary attractions. We hiked up the limestone and then went swimming in the unique waters of Lake Barracuda. Bamboo is a deserted island for someone who is in search of a kite surfing hidden paradise or just a relaxed holiday. It’s beautiful and far away from the touristic drag so prevalent in other beach destinations in the Philippines such as El Nido and Boracay.
We travelled from February 4th to February 8th, 2016 (4-day trip) to Bamboo Private Island. There is only one hotel on the Island, and it offers accommodation, meals, kite surfing assistance and transportation to Coron. We flew to Manilla with Tiger, returned to Singapore with Jetstar and took Skyjet and Cebu to go to Coron.
In the bag: Swimwear and light clothes; Leave your shoes at home. I was barefoot the entire time I was on the Island and I loved it.