For one week in Lagen Island Resort, all my worries were taken away as I woke up to the smiling faces of the staff and the big, blue breath-taking ocean. I started each morning with the all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast, a brisk walk on the shining white-sand beach and planned my day with the activity coordinators.
Located in Northern Palawan, Philippines, Lagen Island Resort is one of the four resorts in the El Nido collection. Lagen is a small, secluded island consisting of four types of spacious rooms for you to choose from; water cottages, beachfront cottages, forest rooms and forest suites. I stayed in a forest room on the ground floor. I did have to close curtains for privacy, but I loved being able to open the door to our porch and walk straight through to the middle of the resort. Unlike many hotels and resorts, toothbrush toothpaste aren’t included amenities, so make sure to bring your own along with lots of sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Lagen also offers a swimming pool steps away from the rooms, air-conditioned all-you-can-eat dining and numerous activities for you and your children to do.
Looking for a comprehensive guide to the El Nido area of Palawan? Here’s a great guide for El Nido!
There are plenty of cuisine options with the ingredients taken straight from local organic farmers. The mouth-watering mangos and watermelons were my personal favorite and will most definitely quench your child’s sweet thirst in the healthiest way possible. For lunch and dinner, if you’d like a change of environment, you can take the complimentary ferry rides—definitely a kid-friendly travel option—and head over to Miniloc Island, Dibuluan beach club or the Entalula beach club; the other resorts within El Nido resort.
After indulging in a lazy morning, the best way to spend the afternoon is to take part in a myriad of island activities. You and your family can snorkel to learn about the marine life that is unique to Palawan, including barracudas, pigmy seahorses and dugongs (sea cows). Kayaking alongside the limestone cliffs is one of the most magnificent feelings, secluded and floating along in the water, there is not a care in the world aside from the unspoiled natural wonders surrounding you and your family. From windsurfing and Hobie cat sailing to private beach lagoons- there’s plenty to choose from. If your child is feeling a little burnt out from being out in the sun, there is always the kid’s activity center on Lagen with arts and crafts fun, coconut hat making and a collection of children movies.
I ended each day out by the pier stargazing at the Milky Way. From all the places in the world I’ve been to, there is no comparison with the Lagen Island Resort when it comes to stargazing. It’s the most beautiful natural painting and the ideal place to teach your child about the wonders of the formations in the sky. Don’t forget to put on mosquito repellent and perhaps even grab yourself a drink as you pass by the bar!
The only downfall of Lagen resort is the process of getting there. Make sure you give yourself enough time from the Manila International Airport to the Island Transvoyager Inc. where you will take the a short 55 min plane ride to El Nido, Palawan; leaving Manila at 7:30am and 3:00pm daily. From there, they will transport you to Lagen Island by ferry.
Lagen resort’s impeccable service is what will bring me back time and time again. The intimacy of the resort and personable staff made me feel like I was the only person on the island. Not only did I have a blast at every activity with the coordinators, but I also built invaluable friendships by spending time to learn more about their lives. I learned to windsurf, snorkeled to a secret secluded beach, relaxed on the Hobie cat, played volleyball, basketball and ping pong with the staff on a daily basis, and had a few private dinners with friends on various islands.
Ever since the first exposure to Lagen Island, I can’t help but daydream about the next time I’ll be back. I promise this resort will be worth every single penny and more! Get ready for your family vacation of a lifetime!
Joanne Lam was born and raised in Hong Kong and has been traveling with her family for as long as she can remember. She worked as a teacher assistant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a year before completing her undergraduate degree at Emerson College with a focus on communication and business studies. You can follow Jo on Twitter at @jo_lam