Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday, November 04, 2014



L U X U R Y 

Love is often the result of a beautiful union of two things that originally were estranged to each other. Morning and night to make a fateful day. Sunrise and sunset to complete the cycle. Man and woman that forge meaningful moments. In a province where coconut trees are aplenty, a secluded clearing was bound to unfold. Sorsogon soon became a witness to the birth of Siama Hotel, the gorgeous contradiction that sets the pace in luxurious and eco-friendly accommodation.

Milo Naval, the forward-thinking University of Santo Tomas graduate behind the hotel design of Siama, became a son of Sorsogon when he met his fellow Tomasian wife Katherine Rodrigazo whose roots are from the rapidly urbanizing coastal province of Bicol. Aptly named after her grandfather, the hotel serves as a testament to the loving chain of generations.

Milo and Katherine Naval at work

A Tale of Contrasts

An accomplished architect and tourism advocate, Naval was clearly inspired by several things delicate and firm to introduce to the discriminating public a hotel-resort that engages the senses and nurtures it every moment of one’s stay.

My three-day crib for my exposure to Sorsogon’s annual Kasanggayahan Festival, Siama Hotel appeared aloof at first to me. From the moment of my check-in, I struggled with the nagging notion that it needed to be discovered despite the overcast sky that normally cocoons the sprawling coconut plantation where it sits.

More Than A Beguiling Beloved

Like a soulmate, it was more than beguiling. I knew there was more to the sleek lines, palatial ceilings, and intimate spaces. The highly vegetated surrounding was random decoration enough to complement the calculated and contemporary design of its mad-made structures. The sublime offset is an exotic oasis that seduced me for three days.

Just when I thought that the center-piece of the secluded getaway was the 25-meter lap pool, I tackled the long corridors of the hotel with its rough cement finish on my first hour of stay to identify subtle details that enhanced my adoration of the venue even more.

Fortified By Luktob, Dotted With Acacia

One of which were the durable wooden slots called luktob that fortify the buildings. Besides rendering enough rustic charm to them, they’re also rainwater-resistant and a solid barrier to decay. The sunscreen mats made of rattan also appealed to my modern comfort sensibility. They could be seen mostly at the lobby where majestic acacia tables dot the long and narrow space. The idea was genius in that guests would be lured to commune with each other over home-cooked quality, buffet-style meals and forget the norm of escape that’s in the form of the usual, sad four-seating tables. Even Wi-Fi is only available at the lobby to ensure that technology will be secondary to meaningful conversations.  

Karagumoy For Slip-ons
Next to attract my attention was the pair of nifty in-room woven slippers made from locally sourced karagumoy or leaves of the unusual Pandanus simplex that’s numerous in the Bicol Peninsula. Wearing it inside my spacious Superior Room felt down-home and reminded me of my grandmother’s native sandals.

T’nalak For Holders

I also found the use of the t’nalak from Mindanao for tissue and keycard holders a brilliant idea to complement the overall aesthetic of the resort. The traditional tapestry is normally confused for sinamay (like a travel magazine had it incorrectly) but it is distinctively more tight in weave than the latter.

Nifty Nito Bins

Not to be outdone in local material patronage, even the trash bin was actually a nito basket. The sturdy grass that’s famous in Oriental Mindoro among the Iraya-Mangyan is also a popular design material in Sorsogon. The wooden lid of the basket itself was adorable, a fitting contrast of dark brown shade to the pristine white-minimalist design of the door-less bathroom. The peek-a-boo moment created by the slatted wooden panels was enough concealment for things private even if I was alone in my room.

No Room Is The Same

I would later on learn from Mr. Naval himself that no room is exactly the same at Siama. The full set of 40 rooms – Family, Superior, and Deluxe – was designed to imbibe the unique elegance of the estate. Family and friends can book two rooms next to each other and experience the resort in different ways as far as interiors are concerned. Room views were also expertly crafted to be a distinct perspective per accommodation. What a guest by the modern forest pool will view is a tad different from what someone in the upstairs veranda will see.

Floating Bed

The highlight of my stay was experiencing my snooze fest on my booked room’s opium bed. Made of rattan, the four-pole island bed rejects the conventional layout and keeps everything gravitated at the center with a couple of lampshades adorning their respective corners. My veranda, an open space from an indoor console that’s separated by ceiling to floor glass panels, was where I enjoyed viewing downloads of my favorite Tintin Adventure series episodes as rooms at the estate have no amusement facilities for a good reason.

With Spirit No Less

With Siama Hotel as my base also for other destinations in the area, I experienced a redefined sense of comfort. It's amazingly accessible to various numerous points in the province. Over pre-cooked meals while beach bumming in Matnog’s pristine Subic Beach, Naval described the hotel as modern Asian in design. Having been toured by him to other spots nearby during my immersion, I knew that it was more than just a design and concept. It’s a living and breathing spirit… one that’s bereft of complexity as only in laid-back Sorsogon can be had.

Guests can request Siama Hotel for a shuttle pick-up and drop-off from the Sorsogon City Grand Terminal which is just 15-minutes away from the estate.

My Opium Bed

Siama Hotel

Official website of Siama Hotel

Address: Sitio San Lorenzo, Bibincahan, Sorsogon City, Sorsogon, Philippines
Email: siama.hotel@gmail.com
Phone: (Globe) 0917-881-6497 or (Smart) 099-898-28101

More Photos Below:


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