Cebu’s northernmost town of Daanbantayan — a four-hour drive north of Cebu City — may be best known for the thresher shark diving destination of Malapascua Island, but one need not head offshore to enjoy an all-out beach holiday. Just a few kilometers north of Daanbantayan town proper on the mainland is Kandaya Resort, a newly reopened sprawling 46-room beach resort that not only offers luxurious rooms and private villas next to a white-sand beach but all the facilities you need to stay fit, have fun, and celebrate with your partner, friends or family.
The boutique resort consists of deluxe rooms and ocean-view suites housed at a main hotel building fronting a beachside swimming pool, next to the restaurant. The best accommodations, however, are the private beach and garden villas (55 to 65 sqm) each with their own dipping pools and gardens. Larger groups would be more comfortable staying at the three-bedroom Adelfa family guesthouses (73 sqm), which can accommodate four to six persons. The former spa treatment rooms have been converted to entry-level Daya deluxe (20 sqm) and premier (30 sqm) rooms.
The main beach consists of sandy shallows that doesn’t suddenly get deep, making it safe for small children to swim in. The north-facing coastline affords views of sunrises and sunsets on either end of the property, as well as panoramas of the nearby islands of Kinatarcan, Gato, Paji and Malapascua islands to as far away as the volcanic peaks of Biliran province in Eastern Visayas.
There’s a lot of things to do across the 14-hectare beachside property for adults and children alike. In the morning, one can warm up by jogging, working out at the beachfront fitness center, or renting a bike (PHP 200 per hour) to cycle around the resort. All rooms come with complimentary use of kayaks and stand-up paddle boards (30 minutes each), which were excellent ways to see the main beach and nearby coastline.
A more relaxing way to tour the resort would be on horseback. The resort has Kuwadra, its own horseback riding facility, with a stable of nine horses and a small petting zoo with farm animals and a few exotic pets like iguanas and monitor lizards. They offer guided horseback rides (PHP 600/900 for 15/30 minutes), private riding lessons (PHP 900 for 30 minutes), and a “Pony Club” experience (PHP 600) where children can ride a pony, learn about their care, and create pony-inspired art.
The resort also features a children’s playground, children’s playroom, basketball court, tennis court, and a game room with billiards, foosball, air hockey and table tennis, located next to the gym. Unfortunately, spa services have been suspended for COVID-19 health protocol reasons.
The beachfront restaurant and bar, Kusina, serves Filipino and Western comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner with options for either indoor and outdoor seating. (Food may be served in your rooms with additional charges.) The open-air, well-ventilated indoor space is bright and airy with glass walls and a high ceiling. Elegant wooden latticework dividers resembling oversized bubo (traditional fishing traps) reflect the local livelihood of the town — it’s one of my favorite parts of the resort.
Our stay came with complimentary plated breakfast for two. While you can order a standard American-style breakfast or French Toast, I’d recommend the generous Filipino breakfast for local flavor. It included chorizo (pork sausages) and danggit (dried rabbitfish), both Cebuano specialties.
For lunch and dinner, we ordered from their a la carte menu, which had appetizers, soups, salads, pizza, pasta, grilled plates, native dishes and Hong Kong specialties. Though their selection seems pretty extensive, a lot of the menu items were unavailable during our visit due to the unavailability of some vegetables. Bestsellers are lechon kawali (deep-fried pork belly, PHP 350 for single order) and Bicol Express (spicy pork in coconut milk, PHP 290). Our favorite dishes from the menu were the calamari (PHP 290), fish ’n’ chips (PHP 400), and quattro formaggi pizza (PHP 550).
Accommodation at the resort starts at PHP 5,000 for the 20 sqm Daya Deluxe Room for two adults. The more luxurious Garden Pool Villa and Beach Pool Villa are PHP 13,721 and PHP 17,101.53 per night, respectively, for two adults and two children. Room rates are inclusive of complimentary breakfast for two at Kusina restaurant. Find discounted room rates here!
HOW TO GET THERE
From Metro Cebu, one can reach Daanbantayan by bus (PHP 190) or van (PHP 300) in at least four hours from the new North Bus Terminal, located in SM City Cebu (since late 2020). Look for vehicles bound for Maya Port (jump-off point to Malapascua island) and inform the driver beforehand to drop you off at Daanbantayan town proper. From the town center, take a tricycle (PHP 20 per person).
The resort also offers van rentals at PHP 500 per way for pick-ups and drop-offs within Daanbantayan, and PHP 5,000 per way or PHP 8,000 roundtrip for Metro Cebu, maximum of six guests plus luggage.
Address: Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu
Contact Numbers: +63 32 2603150, +63 9176507752 or +63 9176507805