A World Unto Its Own, Banwa Private Island
May 20, 2019 by Hidden Doorways
Set within the Philippines’ unspoiled Mid-Palawan region lies Banwa Private Island. A hidden gem surrounded by the crystalline Sulu Sea, dazzling marine life and otherworldly coral reefs reminiscent of the Maldives. If you’ve been to Laucala or Kokomo Private Island in the Fiji or fallen in love with Nihiwatu, you will feel right at home. Considered as the Philippines’ last frontier for its secluded location and untouched wildlife, it is a true paradise for those seeking to go off the grid with a touch of luxury.
Spanning 13.5 acres, this serene paradise blends contemporary world-class design with the raw beauty of the Palawan’s diverse and dramatic landscape overlooking the mysterious verdant green mountains.
Exclusive-use boasting just six beachfront villa residences for up to 22 guests with additional 12 garden rooms for up to 26 guests plus a one-bedroom Axis 360˚ residential suite located at the highest point of the island. Designed by Manosa & Co, one of Asia’s most renowned architectural and interior design consultancies, in collaboration with MAP HK and Aquos Group. No expense was spared for its custom-designed and built furniture by Manutti, a Belgian designer and manufacturer. The villas span around the perimeter of the island each surrendering itself to uninterrupted turquoise sea views. Each villa has a Jacuzzi deck and private infinity pool. While the décor is simple and understated with floor-to-ceiling windows designed to bring in natural light and its lush tropical surroundings and stunning panoramic vistas.
Banwa Private Island is a passion project that was 10 years in the making its début in April 2019. A perfect place to gather your favorite people for a celebration or even a business incentive trip. The rate is $100,000 a night for a three-night minimum stay for an idyllic castaway experience of a lifetime.
An all-inclusive experience, except for exclusive wine list, includes a full staff of chefs, private concierges known as rock stars, back of the house known as superheroes, and adventure and marine specialists to customize guest’s stay from unlimited spa treatments to excursions on its world-class boat fleet and water sports equipment at your disposal.
The island offers an array of activities including unlimited spa treatments, gym, tennis court, 9-hole short game golf course, soccer pitch and helipad as well as scuba diving to world renowned diving spots, various thrilling water-sports, smooth sailing on its world-class Wajer 38, or overnight excursions on the Lagoon 630 and immersive local experiences.
Diving locations abound in this region. Follow a secret channel to an underground river near Puerto Princesa, considered one of UNESCO’s new seven Wonders of Nature, wander the undiscovered reefs of Araceli, glide through the mangrove-lined shores of the Barbacan River, or float through the colorful canyons of Tubbataha Reef. For adventurous travelers, helicopter expeditions to El Nido and beyond can be scheduled at any time as can trekking, bird watching, sailing, snorkeling, jet-skiing and intimate wildlife viewing along the winding trails.
For young travelers, the island is not only a playground but a classroom. Children can partake in an array of educational activities to learn about the ecology, marine biology and diverse wildlife of Banwa. Activities include guided nature walk through its trails, snorkeling and searching for turtle nests of the endangered Hawksbill Turtle.
A sanctuary of tranquility in a stunning setting, Banwa’s Spa is a place to discover your inner harmony. Guests enjoy unlimited spa treatments in the massage suite or al fresco underneath the Bantique Canopy listening to the soundtrack of crashing waves.
For those who don’t want to steer away from their fitness routine, the resort is decked out with a sophisticated fitness area, including tennis courts, paddleboard yoga and an fully-equipped Technogym TechnoGym: a Treadmill Recline Exercise Bike, Unica Multigym and Pilates studio with Merrithew V2Max Reformer, Platform Extender, Reformer Box, Maple PoleLife Fitness G7 Home Gym Cable Motion System with GADJ Bench and juice bar to refresh after a intensive work-out.
Healthy eating is an integral to Banwa. Much of the produce is grown locally on the Banwa’s own organic farm to fuel its seasonal menus. Honeycombs are harvested to make its famous Banwa honey while the hives grown on the island support natural pollination to its natural flora and fauna. A leader in sustainability, Banwa bottles its own water for guests-Banwater is drawn from their very own Artesian well that is just over 500 feet below the island’s powdery sand surface where it provides a naturally replenishing reservoir of fresh spring water flowing the gravity of the ocean tide.
Latitude is the social hub of Banwa, the place to dine and relax all together with your friends and family. It has seating for 30 and 20 around its pool deck area. An open kitchen adds theatre to guests’ dining experience while The Terrace Bar provides the perfect spot to savor your sundowner cocktails overlooking the spectacular Palawan sunset and stargazing. Guests can also dine al fresco around the island at popular places such as Coconut Grove, Heliotrope Haven or Sunrise Sanctuary or underneath the Bantigue Canopy.
Drawing inspiration from the soil, Algerian born Chef Nadedja Bouacha and her culinary team design a wonderful array of dining experiences and create locally sourced menu. Bouacha, formally trained in nutrition and wellness, is a former private chef and nutritionist to the Qatar Royal Family. Nadedja has been recognized by the likes of Gordon Ramsay and has cooked for Paris Hilton, Leonardo Di Caprio, David and Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne.
Banwa is committed to preserving and protecting the natural splendor and precious biodiversity of the Philippines and Palawan region. In partnership with the Aquos Foundation, the team has set an ambitious long-term project to nurture the acres of natural surroundings, unique marine life, flora and fauna for years to come. Supporting with research, education and special projects such as reef regeneration initiatives and the implementation of controlled fishing zones to protect fish stocks. Banwa’s rich diversity of species are also being protected; the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle, the indigenous Tabon Bird, the rare island dwelling Mantanani Scops Owl and other wildlife that is suited to Banwa’s unique environment and climate.
Banwa Private Island feels like a world unto its own. It is the epitome of tranquility and a place so remote that it was only on the radar for skippers and nautical trailblazers. Here you’re not only immersed in the delight of discovery and exploring the world’s natural wonders but helping out the local community and its efforts for conservation and preserving its land for future generations.
- $100,000.00 per night inclusive of local taxes and service charge.
- All-inclusive meals, except for exclusive wine list
- Restaurant and bar
- Spa, unlimited spa treatments, gym, tennis court, short-game golf, soccer, pitch, and helipad
- Dive Centre and Water Sports
Arriving to Banwa Private Island is an air only event that can be managed by helicopter, private plane or chartered plane from Manila or Puerto Princesa. A private jet from Manila to San Vicente on Palawan takes less than an hour and is followed by a 10-minute heli flight to the island. A seaplane can be arranged from Manila directly to Banwa, taking just under two hours. Similarly, guests can take a helicopter from Manila takes over two hours or take a more cost-effective, hour-long scheduled jet from Manila to Puerto Princesa, followed by a 25-minute helicopter transfer. And while the resort can arrange all transfers, they come as add-ons and are not included in the nightly rate. However, once on the island, with few exceptions, guests will not be reaching for their wallets.
When to Go
Due to its location, November to May is the best time to visit while November through February is graced by the cool summer Amihan winds. May through October brings the Habagat winds from the west and southwest where the weather is hotter, more humid and can frequently rain.