It’s been almost 6 hours in a van ride. I’m dizzy, my neck is sore, and I’m beginning to feel nauseous. The ride from El Nido has always been a dreadful one to me, and the fact that I’m definitely getting older doesn’t make it any easier. We were the last ones in the van and the traffic in Puerto Princesa was more than just a nuisance. I just really couldn’t wait to reach my hotel, check in, shut the lights off, and sprawl myself on the bed and call it a night.
The van finally makes a turn to this dark dirt road and in no time, I see it. Like a light shining through at the end of a tunnel, I see the whitewashed building glistening, and just like that, I knew I was home. Home for the next three days, at least. Maybe it was the relief of getting out of a moving vehicle, but I swear as I stepped inside the lobby, I felt better. There’s no way I’m going to bed right now. The night is young, I was really hungry, and hey, my vacation continues.
It was late and it was dark when we finally got there, but one step inside and I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be. Even in the dark, I didn’t expect it to be this beautiful. Panja Resort is a newly built boutique hotel. Having only been opened in 2016, it’s novelty is one of the first things you wouldn’t fail to notice. We decided to go for dinner at the restaurant before they close at 10pm, and with the pool water glistening in the dark, I stare at it as I eat my Pad Thai, anticipating the view that awaits me comes sunrise.
Panja Resort (often misunderstood as Panya due to the logo) is situated atop a hill overlooking Honda Bay. That said, this isn’t a resort made for outgoing social butterflies that craves to be in the middle of the action. Panja, like my title says, is a hidden jewel. Away from Puerto Princesa’s busy life, the resort is like an oasis. Isolated enough but not to far from the city center, Panja offers scheduled shuttles that can take you and pick you up right in the middle of the city (and airport too). It’s like getting the best of both worlds, having the option to easily leave the resort when I want to. But that’s the thing about peaceful places like that this– you might choose not to leave.
My room, situated on the second floor, was every vacationer’s wish. I had a balcony which not only gives me a pool view, but also gives me a vista of Honda Bay. For early risers, a magical sunrise awaits you every morning. Because of its strategic location, I was always caught in a dilemma of staying in, or actually stepping outside to enjoy the facilities. Lucky to say that I was able to keep it balanced during my entire stay.
It’s quite a roomy place for my cousin and I. The beds were made for absolute comfort and I had uninterrupted sleep throughout the nights. The sheets and comforter are of great quality, just enough to keep us in the right temperature. Mornings are never a struggle because they have drapes thick enough to shield us from the harsh ray of the sun. I’m a little sensitive to light especially in the morning so this is a major concern for me when I stay at hotels.
The bathroom, another huge concern when I book hotels, is spotless and roomy. You know when you come home after a trip and you look forward to use your own bathroom? It pretty much felt like it was my own bathroom. The shower head is huge and just how I like it, and the water pressure is always strong. Hot water is always ready instantaneously and toiletries are laid out in the sink for your convenience. They also provide bidets if you request for it, which is always a plus in my very Asian book. Every material used in the rooms offered nothing but comfort. This is exactly how a vacation should be like, I thought, as I effortlessly burn some time watching tv on my bed.
When I was planning my trip to Puerto Princesa, I had a couple of restaurants I wanted to try for dinner. But like I said just a few paragraphs ago, beautiful places like this makes you just a little bit too comfortable that you’d rather just stay put. I spent most of the day time doing my tours, but come later afternoon, it was impossible to drag me out of Panja. And that’s because I had everything else I needed, including a noteworthy restaurant.
The breakfast is buffet style that serves just enough variety for their guests. It doesn’t lack the staple Filipino meals and of course there are continental and vegetarian choices. Located on top of the pool, my mornings were spent overlooking the line where the ocean meets the sky while eating the most important meal of the day. The food is good, but what made my breakfasts even better is the ambiance. Feeling like I was in my own bubble, I knew I found Puerto Princesa’s true paradise.
The restaurant has an extensive menu, serving everything from Filipino favorites, pasta, and other Asian recipes that are tasty and delicious. They serve cocktails too and every afternoon, I sipped mango shakes and Piñacoladas as I lounged by the pool. We decided to order room service on our final night which made it even more convenient and relaxing– just exactly how I like to end my last days of vacation.
Many people are still under the misconception that Palawan is one of the high risk places to visit in the Philippines. Contrary to that belief, Panja Resort highlights safety as one of their most essential concern when it comes to their service. Situated away from the rest of Puerto Princesa, plus armed with 24 hour security, you’ll never feel safer elsewhere in the city. Each room has personalized key cards that are top notch and up to date. The vicinity is also well kept and constantly cleaned so there are no unnecessary mosquito bites that you’ll be coming home with. If there’s one thing I didn’t had to worry about during my stay, it was my safety.
Everything at Panja was the epitome of leaving reality behind. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to feel like luxury. Panja Resort aims to give you a satisfying vacation by spoiling you with its high quality service and amenities without having to use your entire savings.
The infinity pool is one of the highlights of the the resort as it gives you spectacular views of Honda Bay. There are shaded areas to keep you cool enough as you lounge around, and there are plenty of sunshine opportunity for those looking to sun bathe instead. The restaurant/bar is right above the pool to give you the convenience of easy access to drinks and snacks at your command.
One of the issue that continues to haunt the entirety of Palawan is the slow internet. Especially with Panja being located in a more isolated area, internet isn’t the fastest you’ll be getting. Do keep in mind that this issue persists all over Palawan though. Panja has wifi available in the lobby, restaurant, and pool area. But because our room is by the pool, we were able to get some signal at our balcony. It’s not the fastest, but it’s good enough to check emails and to send messages.
Everything about their customer service, from check in to check out, was top notch. Everyone was friendly, professional, and very well trained. They speak fluent English so communication will never be an issue. You’ll instantly feel at home, and then wish it was your actual home once you come back to reality.
All I could think about was how I couldn’t wait to recommend Panja Resort to my family, friends, and most especially my readers. It’s such a wonderful newly built hotel that absolutely gave me the vacation I was yearning for. If you’re looking for action, this may not be the place for you. But if you’re looking for a quiet time all the while being spoiled with great views and being treated like royalty, this is the one. Perfect for family, honeymooners, and soul searchers, I recommend Panja Resort fully and completely. If I ever do come back to Puerto Princesa, I already know where I’m staying.
For bookings and inquiries, visit the Panja Resort Palawan website here.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Panja Resort Palawan for hosting my stay. All opinions, thoughts, and photos are my own. As always, I only recommend things that I know would be good for my readers.
Hey, you! If you loved this post, why not connect with me on Instagram too? I’m all about spreading travel inspiration one photo at a time so, see ya there? I’m also on Facebook and Twitter— come say hi!