When we speak of Bali, we always equate the name with luxury or anything postcard-worthy. How could we not be when we get to book villas in Bali and majority of the accommodations being offered boast of a perfect landscape deserving of anyone’s IG space.
Unfortunately, villas are not a thing here in my country. While there are villas in Palawan, Panglao and Boracay, more often than not, they are considered as luxuries for the elites and not intended for the budget backpackers. But while we kept ourselves in awe by looking at the other side of the fence literally, who would have thought that somewhere here at home, we’d find almost the same brand of luxury coupled with world-renowned Filipino hospitality and is somehow budget-friendly.
Camiguin wasn’t really in our radar just yet until we were given no reason to refuse a time off. Camiguin is a small island located in between Visayas and Mindanao but wholly considered as part of the latter region. While it is mostly accessible by plane from Cebu, there are other options to reach the island from different parts of the country. So before getting too caught up with the busy world after the long holidays, we flew to Camiguin, to the “island born of fire”.
There are a number of charming accommodations in Camiguin at a great bargain price, but we knew we had to try Balai sa Baibai. Their Agoda ad and pictures are so enticing that we had to book in Sagay Villa for the entire duration of the trip.
2pm was supposed to be our mandated check in time yet despite arriving 2 hours earlier from the standard, we highly appreciate the thoughtfulness extended for our early arrival. We actually thought that we will be wasting a couple of hours waiting for our villa’s availability, but to our surprise, we were ushered immediately after it was cleaned and prepped for our 2-nights occupancy. That’s a plus for customer service we must say.
But what was truly a shocker for us both was our personal hesitation to leave the villa despite our inability to stay stiIl. It was so aesthetically pleasing and customer service was top-notch that we agreed on cutting our 2-day island tour short just to spend more time in our villa, well aside from the fact that the weather was uncooperative. The tour is worth another blog entry but the point is, having a nice accommodation is truly a game-changer eh?
Then again, there was not much argument necessary on whether to stay put or roam around since we had everything vital for our entire stay. We had a lounge area and a dining table just beside our private dipping pool, there’s a mini kitchen installed complete with appliances and utensils, an open shower with provisioned toiletries, cabled tv, air-conditioning and generator sets and a queen-sized bed.
If we got too lazy to cook even a simple meal, we could simply dial the bar’s digits and food will be served and delivered.
And if all of these areeen’t that much of a steal just yet, it comes with free breakfasts and complimentary afternoon snacks.
We did stroll around the premises and spent time by the sea shore and we were taken aback by the fact that we got to enjoy these activities minus the crowd. Balai sa BaiBai does not offer day tour promos, hence, you are assured of exclusivity and safety, away from the prying eyes of the public. Amazing yet?
But what I love about Balai sa Baibai the most was our sunset dinner date by the beach. It was so intimate, romantic and exclusive. The most kilig we had in years. Char.
While Balai sa Baibai is a tad pricier than most accommodations in the island, at more or less 5k Php at night, yet it is also relatively cheaper among its contemporaries. But for someone who values privacy, a cozy atmosphere and a home away from home, we knew all along we really got our money’s worth.
Leaving Camiguin so soon was both depressing and heartbreaking. Yet, our only consolation was our unique and memorable stay which cannot be bought by any amount of money. True enough, Bali will always be on top of our bucketlist for setting the bar so high for an ideal vacation spot but we are more than happy to experience Balai sa Baibai once more. It exceeded our expectations when it comes to experiencing affordable luxury.
Any suggestions on where to next?