By Mayen Jaymalin
The Philippine Star
July 17, 2012
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) believes more international tourists, including those from the United Kingdom, will be coming to visit the Philippines with Palawan having been cited as one of the top holiday destinations around the world.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said Philippine tourism is expected to benefit from the recognition of Ariara Island in Calamian, Palawan as the number one holiday destination in the Vogue-UK magazine to be released next month.
Aside from Vogue, Ariara was also featured in various magazines in the United Kingdom like Times Magazine, which hailed it as the “Best Private Island Resort.”
It further described Ariara as “a Philippine island of such prettiness that you almost expect Johnny Depp to pop out with a parrot on his shoulder.”
Other magazines, The Independent’s and the Evening Standard, tagged Ariara as one of the best islands/places to visit this year.
Other UK magazines which featured the private island destination were Angels and Urchins, Harrods Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, The Spectator, Wine and Dine, Urbanollogy, and Tatler.
The luxurious and spacious private getaway has attracted and welcomed a number of high-profile groups with its all-inclusive package of exclusivity, relaxation, 24-hour service, excellent cuisine, and a host of amenities both for the laidback and the adventurous.
Various magazines said Ariara is the ultimate “off the beaten track” destination where the structures are contemporary in style and have been designed with sensitivity to the environment.
The resort’s website says it has eight spacious villas and beach cottages situated along Ariara’s 600-meter white sand beach with uninterrupted views of the sea and neighboring islands.
All bedrooms have private terraces and gardens, dotted with hanging chairs and hammocks. Many have vaulted ceilings, four poster-style beds, walk-in wardrobes, enormous bathrooms, and open-air showers.
Every item of furniture in Ariara has been designed, made, and upholstered in-house by local carpenters and craftsmen in the island’s own workshops or outsourced to Filipino artisans. Materials were sourced locally and all furnishings were created using traditional methods: marble bath hand-carved from single blocks of Romblon marble, wooden bath made using traditional boat-building techniques, local wood and rattan cushions made from tribal fabrics in Mindanao, and intricate wooden chests by indigenous Palawan woodcarvers.
Ariara’s decorative flair is said to be accentuated by striking wall hangings, heliographs and ceramics made by talented Filipino artist Ugu Bigyan.
“What is remarkable is that the entire resort is a testament to the unique artistry and skills of Filipino designers and artisans. The use of local materials and traditional techniques serves as good advertising for Filipino craftsmanship and world-class products. Tourism is not just about counting tourist arrivals. More importantly, it is about building opportunities on the ground and improving lives in communities in very real places,” Jimenez said.
According to Jimenez, the resort’s properly planned development and low density show the owners’ respect for the environment.
“We want to see more of this type of investment which supports the principles of responsible, ethical, and sustainable tourism,” he said.
The website also related that one British guest to the island said she had to pinch herself to be sure that the unique mixture of stunning beauty, cosseting luxury, and peace from anyone’s agenda other than our own wrapped in the friendliest of support teams were all real.
UK remains to be a key generator of tourist arrivals to the Philippines with the market posting 104,466 visitors last year.