There are hotels you stay in just to pass the night. Then there are places that have so much character that they stand out from the crowd and make you want to spend more time there. Two places in the coastal town of Currimao in Ilocos Norte, which was our last stop during the Lakbay Norte 2 Media tour earlier this year, showcase great character and style.
Playa Tropical Resort Hotel
The Balinese inspired Playa Tropical, where we spent our last night, is a relaxing retreat that evokes exotic beauty and pure relaxation.
Even though we arrived close to midnight after our socials at Balay da Blas, we saw a taste of things to come, with the carved wooden details, chandeliers in the hallways, and the tastefully decorated rooms.
The next morning, we got to fully appreciate the resort when we saw the beautiful grounds, manicured gardens, private villas, and other amenities around the resort, like a cool Game Room.
I noticed a lot of spirals around the resort, including the front of the four beautifully decorated private casitas and the floor inside. Resort manager Kemji later explained that spirals signify both an inward journey (self-discovery) and an outward journey, where one discovers the world.
If Playa Tropical were a person, I think she would be an Asian beauty with flowers in her hair serving you cocktails as you lounged on the beach. Everything is neat and perfectly in place. Exquisite interiors, classy furniture, and romantic details make Playa Tropical a blissful and relaxing getaway.
Aside from the usual hotel amenities, the resort also has an infinity pool overlooking the beach, where red fishing boats line the shore. In the middle of the resort are several garden and floating huts with thatched nipa roofs where you can choose to dine in privately.
The calm waves on the beach are said to be ideal for water sports like kayaking, pedal boating, paddle boarding and skim boarding. From here, one can even arrange to camp out overnight at the nearby Badoc island. That morning, several fishermen and kids were out near the boats with some fresh catch, which is served in the the resort’s in-house restaurant.
Sitio Remedios Heritage Village
A short walk down the shores o f Currimao took some of us in the group to Sitio Remedios, a heritage resort that recreates an Ilocano village typical of the mid-fifties. Instead of hotel rooms, Sitio Remedios is composed of several vintage houses converted into guesthouses surrounding a quaint chapel made of stone and wood. As we approached the resort, the rain suddenly poured and I ran towards the chapel to take shelter.
There was something oddly unsettling about walking around the place in the rain and taking photos of the empty church and old wooden saints. I loved the almost eerie vibe of the wooden statues with their fading paint, dried flowers at the altar, and rustic chapel chairs tied with straw.
The Sitio is dedicated to the patron saint of Currimao, St. Michael, the Archangel, and to the Lady of Good Voyage, o Nuestra Señora de los Remedios.
The houses in Sitio Remedios are constructed out of vintage bricks and wood salvaged from mid-century structures. The rooms are said to be decorated in vintage Ilocano furniture, with old beds, dining tables and heavy wooden sala sets. By choice, there are no television sets in the houses.
If Sitio Remedios were a person, I think she would be a mysterious older woman siting in an ancient rocking chair, face etched with wrinkles, but with a great story to tell. I only wish I could learn her story and stay longer next time.
Sitio Remedios seems like an ideal place for artists or groups to take a retreat. The feeling of isolation, old-world charm, and its location beside the sea inspires self-reflection and meditation.
PLAYA TROPICAL RESORT HOTEL
SITIO REMEDIOS HERITAGE VILLAGE