Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort Day Tour Review

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Sumilon is a captivating island in the south of Cebu that draws the attention of passerby whenever they are around the area of Oslob. It used to be a refuge by the fishermen whenever there is typhoon back in the days and that is where it got its name 'sumilong' meaning to take cover. In World War II some filipinos escape to this island to avoid the invading Japanese troops. It has quite a history as sanctuary for the people needing protection and now that peace prevails in the land it shifted its role to provide luxurious service for those weary of the demands in everyday life. It is one of Cebu's top island that is vying for your attention and unlike the other islands it has interesting features like the island's lagoon, cave, shifting white sandbar and a beautiful cliff cape that provides panoramic view of Bohol sea. I have waited for quite long to try their day tour and when friends from distant land gave me a visit I knew that this is the perfect timing to experience the island of Sumilon. Let us see how it fare in my in depth review.



LOCATION: Bancogon, Oslob Cebu 6025 Philippines
CONTACT: (63 32) 516 7236 / 0917-6317512, 14 & 08

CLEANLINESS: Need to be garbage free in the snorkeling / diving spots around the Western Dock where the shifting white sandbar is. Sometimes garbage even appears in the sandbar itself. The resort seems to have a problem in proper waste disposal.

LOCATION: Quite far from the city takes a minimum of 3 hours drive. Advisable to depart from the city as early as 4am to catch the first boat trip to the island around 7:30am. It's seclusion is one its major strength and the view is simply astonishing.

VALUE: Since I'm reviewing the day tour for the fee of P1500 *weekdays (P2000 *weekends & holidays) you'll get the most out of your money because the island has jam packed with activities to do and you won't cover all if you get stuck in enjoying one activity so much. Advisable to bring trekking shoes for trek to the lighthouse & baluarte.

FOOD: Day Tour offers three course meal. Not quite sufficient to be called as a feast but enough to suffice your hunger. The food is okay not something that will blow your taste buds away. Appetizer includes fish fillet with squash soup, 5 options for the main meal and has only a mango flan for the dessert *very disappointing* and when I look at their menu there's not a lot of variety and options.

AMENITY: Boat ride on and off the island (7:30am as the earliest and 5:30pm as the last one every hour departs in between) , necessities given: towel, snorkeling gears, life vest, map of activities in the island and free access of all activities in the island

FACILITY: Swimming (infinity) pool / Jacuzzi, Pavilion Restaurant with Wifi, Massage & Spa, 14 Deluxe rooms, 2 Glamping (Glamorous Camping) tents, Picnic area, kayaking in the lagoon, spelunking in Yamashita cave, snorkeling / diving in 5 spots, trekking to historic watchtower & lighthouse, bird watching and whaleshark & dolphin watching can be arranged too.


Random Trip Advisor user reviews.

I am really happy that they really exceeded my expectation when it comes to the extent of ervice they give to their guests. I have pre-arranged a honeymoon set-up since it is our first anniversary of me and my hubby and when we entered the room it is filled with flowers,candles and a complimentary cake on the bed side. it really made my day. The island is full of things to do, whether you just wush to relax or to do the trekking adventure. One day is not enough since you can do activities like snorkeling, trekiking or kayaking on their lagoon. The only thing i wish is that there are more variety and option in their menu. I mean, knowing that you can only have meals in the island then there should be more options to choose from. by timmyrosefrom Cebu

Hope the dive shop people could give a better orientation to snorkelers and maybe have a first aid kit at the dive shop as well. We weren't informed of which spots in the water to avoid. The strong current slammed me into a shallow coral and I got gashes on my leg. When I went to the dive shop for help, they told me I had to go all the way upstairs to get treated. I'm really not a diva and I don't mind walking, but considering the rates of the place, you would expect that they'd radio front desk for the first aid kit to be brought down. They weren't very helpful at the dive shop. Fluffier pillows please! The ones you have are super flat already. by darthkulot from Cebu

However don't expect good food and nice rooms. Everything is pretty basic and the room have no charm and are dark. I still totally recommend the experience is unique. by adgmoa from China

Staff were very helpful and friendly in all aspects. I wouldn't mind heading there again provided the weather was conducive. Not a place for non-nature lovers and food critics. A good place to be lazing around and soaking up nature at its best. by MagBernTan from SG

The trip was a disaster for me, but for some people who is not too freaked about bugs, the island could be charming. The beaches are absolutely nice. And it is secluded, so could be quite romantic or a couple. But for me it was like being locked in a bug prison. My worst nightmare. by agimama from Seoul

This is the perfect place for a romantic getaway, there are lots of spots where you can just sit and feel the cool breeze while enjoying the view of the ocean. If there is one thing you should do while staying in Sumilon is keep your life vest on when you are swimming - no matter how good a swimmer you are. And only swim when there are lifeguards watching, which is for most of the day. Our family friend went snorkeling with his daughter without any life jackets one early morning (before the lifeguards went on-duty). One minute they were near the shore, and the next time they look up, they're so far away from it already. And the tide was against them. Luckily some fishermen were nearby to rescue them. by Verne A. from Mandaluyong

We did an all nighter of bar hoping, drinking and partying before heading to the island. My guests satyed in Crown Regency so its just less than 15 minutes ride to the South Bus Terminal. We were still a little intoxicated and got no sleep when we arrive in the terminal and decided to just buy finger foods in711 to stuff our tummy on the way to Sumilon. The fully airconditioned bus departs at 6am in Cebu.

The bus drop us off in Bancogon in around 9am for a fare of P160. This is the drop off point to the island of Sumilon. You have to walk down a well paved steep slope to get to the waiting area for the boat. A short orientation for the day tour i s conducted here after paying the required fees but we were a bit late so we were not able to make it. While waiting the staff is good enough to give us a glass of lemon grass flavored water to rehydrate us a bit from the long trip.


BOAT SCHEDULE: 7:30am (earliest to the island) -- One hour boat ride hereafter --- 5:30pm (last back to the mainland)



The waiting area is conditioned really well with comfortable seats to give guests the comfort of waiting and the scenery is already rewarding. Anticipation and excitement rises with the island already on sight. 

The boat arrives as scheduled and leaves when all guests are escorted in. Sky is filled with clouds with the sun nowhere in sight and the strong current rocks the boat which makes the girls really scared. Good thing there's a life vest that alleviates their fear a little.



Weather report says there's a low pressure building around the area so I guess we could say that this is a bad time to go to an island but we have no choice and just hope & pray for the best. It was only in the docking arae that the boat was swayed by the waves but when we are in the middle of the sea it was already steady so as that I was standing mostly in the 20 minute boat ride crossing the island. The sight of the white sand on a distance has its ways of fueling the excitement in us. God's creations never fail to amaze wherever it takes me.



The boat docks in the shifting white sandbar *western dock and from what I heard the shape of the sandbar here renews its shape each time the tide washes it away. Memories of White Island in Camiguin comes in when we got off the boat and when the powdery white sand touches my feet. It is so much like it with some mountains as backdrop only smaller. On that instant that I just want to take off my clothers and jump into the aquamarine water but just not possible to do so with our current state of barely sober & tired and not to mention the baggages. We need rest for awhile and probably do all of that in the afternoon.

Western Dock – Shifting White Sandbar



The powdery texture of the sand here makes it my favorite spot in the whole island but don't let the looks fool you. This part of the island is the most ridiculed by the guests because plastic trash is most visible here. In the surface it looks clean but when go snorkeling there on the afternoon you will not find fish in the shallow water but instead some junkfood wrappers and the likes swimming in the bottom of the sea. This is a serious matter that they need to find solution with because it can turn off every guests that see it.


After climbing the wooden staircase a four by four vehicle is waiting for us to transfer us to the Pavilion restaurant where guests usually lounge in. It is convenient especially for those carrying huge bags because yu will be save from the 15 minutes trek to the resort.


The moment we arrive in the resort I hurriedly look for the infamous infinity pool. It is known to be the most beautiful man-made structure in the whole resort and as expected it did not disappoint at all. It remains so captivating after all these years and the first I did is dip my feet on its cerulean water.

The policy for day tour guests is to find our own spot and place our belongings there and will own it for the rest of the day. This kind of setting has its own pros and cons. If you got there real early you can own the best spot to lounge for the day and you get there late or if there's a surge of guests then it's going to be hard. And the safety of your belongings too is not guaranteed and the staff really tells you that they will not be liable for belongings left out in the open. The only secured option you have is the safety deposit boxes which costs an extra P100 and can only fit small objects like your phone and wallet. They really need to build cottages for guests on day tours that has its lock for our peace of mind sake. They don't even have charging stations for phones and the socket they have is o limited.

Our group got a quick orientation on the island and sad to say the staff is having a hrad time speaking in english and apologizes if she could just speak in tagalog instead but it just won't do because I have an english-speaking guest that cannot understand the native pinoy language. They gave us a map of the island afterwards and some coupons for the lunch, snorkeling gear and life vest.


The beauty of stillness and symmetry.

Our first stop is kayaking on the island's pristine lagoon. I could not believe my eyes that the island contain such a beautiful lagoon that is quite close to the sea. The still water is perfect for beginners in kayaking andf they have an instructor to guide the inexperienced. I must warn that the water in the lagoon looks realy filthy who knows what's underneath those slimy water so you will most likely kayaking for your life.


It will never be complete without white shores.


When my companions are having a really goodtime in kayaking I tried exploring the long stretch of white shoreline on my own barefoot. It was a great workout for the soles of my feet. I find walking on beaches shoreline barefoot very therapeutic and I definitely do it most of the time on any beaches that captivates me. The shoreline is not as clean looking as Boracay but it is still a long strech of white beach and that is all that matters.

APPETIZER: Fish Fillet with Squash Soup

MAIN MEAL : Tanguigue

MAIN MEAL : Prawns

We took our lunch after the tiring kayaking activity. We were made to choose from their five available main meals. I suggest you'd pick a seafood to complete the tropical isalnd getway experience. It is a three course meal and don't expect much for the food, it was not that good. I'm disappointed with the dessert.

DESSERT : Mango Flan

The group is quite obesessed with snorkeling so that's the next obvious choice. The most accessible snorkeling spot is the one near the western dock. So we did a 15 minute trek going back to that area of shifting white sandbar.

The island has four major dive spotsGarden Eel Plaza, Nikki’s Wall, Coral Landscape and Julie’s Rock. The island’s diving sites are famous for their superb visibility, stunning reefs and abundance of varied tropical marine species that provide an ideal and memorable dive. We happen to choose Nikki's Wall which is near the Shifting Sandbar as our snorkeling spot.

Nikki's Wall

Marine Sanctuary is teeming with fish.

The coral reef is quite far from the sandbar and as much as I'm not a fan of snorkeling I was force to accompany them just to keep watch of the ladies who can't swim very well because there are no freaking lifeguards. Now that I am reminded for safety purposes Sumilon fails for me because all guests are left to keep an eye on their own and companions and not an expert on safety on sight. And there's not even an orientation on the dangerous spots.  In the shallow water when you use your snorkeling mask plastic trash are very visible in the bottom and it was quite a displeasing sight to see in such a beautiful island. We have to do a 10 minutes swim to reach the spot and we weren't diappointed. The marine sanctuary is teeming with fish i.e. parrot fish, clown fish, lion fish to name a few. I wish I could go diving here someday to get really up close with them.

Snorkeling took a lot of time in our itinerary and since we lack the proper gear to trek we omit it out. Instead we decided to enjoy the remaining time we had in the infinity pool.

Infinity Pool


The most inviting pool I have ever seen.
Make a splash!
The inifinity pool is no doubt the most distinguished feature of the resort. It was conveniently placed in the edge of a coral cliff overlooking Oslob mainland with a tree placed in the middle conjuring a dramatic sight that will truly linger in your head for the days to come. The pool's water calms our nerves and that's the time we really feel the luxury that the island resort offers. After a good swim it's perfect to lie down on ratan made benches and take a quick nap with the songs of birds and waves that serenades your ears.

This hammock spells vacation.
If seclusion and relaxation with the bareness of nature that you're looking for then this island got a lot to offer on that and the many activities will not bore you but if you're the type who expects a really luxurious stay with elegance and posh toned in mind then I doubt this resort can offer you that. Most of what that they offer is on the basic level. One thing that really makes this place stand out is its location. Everything you could ever wanted on a tropical island getaway the island has it. I'm a simple man who has needs so I enjoyed my day tour experience a lot.

+ Beautiful location - serene beaches, tranquil lagoon, breath taking view.
+ Serenity, isolation and privacy. 
+ Warm, hospitable staff.

- Trash management in the Shifting Sandbar.
- Safety is not properly ensured with the lack of lifeguard and safety orientation.
- Overprice menu with lacking in variety.

     

Christian Vincent Literatus

Travel Blogger

Chris just loves to travel, and for a long time now has been drifting from place to place around the Philippines. With his combined passion for travel and photography, he’s managed to find himself in the middle of some magical moments and mind blowing scenery. The Bisdak Explorer is Chris’s way of sharing his experiences with you, and showcasing not just his travel photography, but the moments and stories behind those photos.

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