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10:45 PM May 22nd, 2017

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By: Jude Bacalso, May 22nd, 2017 10:45 PM
EVEN ON A WINDY night, Kandaya enchants with water and light.

EVEN ON A WINDY night, Kandaya enchants with water and light.

The first time I saw Kandaya was on paper, an architect’s rendition that—even on a one dimensional page—felt grandiose. Jewelle Yeung was discussing the details of the dining hall with her mother Dame Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung, pondering over the indoor structures inspired by fishermen’s wooden traps that were to encase the tables, turning them into private coves.

“These will cost an arm and a leg,”

Jewelle whispers. “But they will make all the difference.” The nitty gritty of building a resort to rival those that the family have enjoyed in their travels has become all too real, and quite the herculean task. Just months earlier, Haiyan had blown her way through the northern part of Cebu, and the path of destruction included Kandaya, then set to open in a few months. The storm had virtually wiped out all of the landscaping, and left some buildings damaged.

ONE OF MANY Instagrammable  spots in Kandaya, these floating  hammocks are built for both  style and function.

ONE OF MANY Instagrammable
spots in Kandaya, these floating
hammocks are built for both
style and function.

But not unlike Jewelles’ beautiful rendition of the resort’s logo: a lone watchtower and the name of the warrior for which it was christened after in a simple, stark font, Kandaya continued to watch over and persevered.

So the first time I set foot on her, you can imagine the sense of elation. Kandaya is less warrior-like and more a champion of understated elegance that is the manner by which her mistress lives. The service is quiet and unobtrusive, almost invisible…the hallmark of truly world class service.

Until the welcome drink arrives, a glass of chilled tuba, a signature Bisaya drink of fermented coconut. The plebeian favorite, made fresh from the coconut trees dotting the property, becomes the great equalizer. It is unfussy, delicious, completely homegrown, and starts a
conversation. Exactly like Kandaya.

THE VILLAS  feature a work table behind a bed that looks straight out into a private pool and the beach beyond. What’s the point of  pretending, eh?

THE VILLAS
feature a work table behind a bed that looks straight out into a private pool and the beach beyond. What’s the point of
pretending, eh?

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