South Palms Resort: One Of Many Philippine Island Jewels

28 April 2016

South Palms Resort Panglao is one of those places you'll stay at and remember for long to come. It's by no means ostentatious, nor are its facilities overly lavish, but it doesn't promise to be. The resort exudes a unique brand of Boholano hospitality that can't be replicated elsewhere - down-to-earth luxury at its finest. Oh, and then there's its location, activity offerings, rooms, facilities, dining … well, you get the idea.

The Grounds

A cocktail sitting by the pool Ahh, the serenity

Tropical bliss is pretty easy to come by in the Philippines, but nowhere more so than Bohol, a languid alternative to hard-partying Boracay. This Visayas island sprawl may be renowned for its jungle-clad interior - home to the those tiny tarsiers - but its beachfront is equally impressive.

The resort commands a great stretch of sand on Bohol’s Panglao Island. The South Palms Panglao is a green oasis of tropical gardens dotted with soaring palm trees. The best thing is that you don’t need to walk miles across its grounds; it’s a relatively small resort, yet its size is deceiving as you’ll never once feel crowded.

The Rooms

There are seven categories spread across 90 rooms and suites, including the Deluxe Pool View, Premium Beachfront, Beach Villa and the palatial Panglao Villa. Each relaxed, tropical room features all the mod-cons you’d expect, including Wi-Fi and international TV stations, with the villas amping up the luxury with deep bathtubs, separate living areas and direct access to the sand. The Panglao Villa also features an outdoor Jacuzzi tub.

Boholano hospitality is legendary and staff at South Palms will do anything they can to ensure your stay is as comfortable and memorable as possible - including delivering packets of Peanut Kisses, a Bohol biscuit speciality, as part of their turn-down service. Who needs chocolate on your pillow when you can get cookies?


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The Activities

A cocktail sitting by the pool The impressive and inviting South Palms' infinity pool overlooking the beach (Image: Casa Natalia)

While the rooms provide a relaxing escape from the Philippines’ humidity, the outdoors is where the South Palms really shines, so to speak. Its beachfront setting means aquatic activities come thick and fast, including scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. When it comes to diving, you’ve got excursion options to nearby marine sanctuaries, including the revered Balicasag Island, while the latter activities can be easily enjoyed at the resort. Don some swim shoes though; sea urchins are ever-present in that clear aqua sea.

If your focus is on sun-worshipping, you can lap up those rays on a spread of beach chairs, lounges, beds and hammocks on the sand and throughout the grounds. That is, if you can bring yourself to hop out of the cool, deep-blue waters of the infinity pool, South Palm's inviting centrepiece. Pleasure seekers won't have to venture too far to slip away into heavenly bliss. Palm, The Spa offers an indulgent array of treatments and services, which can be enjoyed in your suite, within a tranquil treatment room or beneath a thatched gazebo mere steps from the beach.

The Dining

Too many dining options can be overwhelming and fortunately, you won’t have too many difficult decisions to make at the South Palms. Oceanica is the resort’s signature restaurant, an open-air space serving breakfast, lunch and dinner alongside sea views.

The breakfast buffet is extensive, with both Filipino favourites and western specialities, while lunch and dinner feature an a la carte/buffet dining hybrid experience. Produce is shuttled in from local Bohol farms straight to the kitchen and seafood is plucked straight from the sea and prepared to order.

As for liquid libations, the Coast Pool Bar stands adjacent to the beach and infinity pool and will immediately draw you in with the promise of fruity, pastel-coloured cocktails. Pull up a stool, chill out with a round of drinks and simply relax and soak up the sea breeze. 

The writer travelled as a guest of Philippine Airlines and TPBGOVPH


Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals to the Philippines. 


Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.