Sanctuaria Treehouses is a resort for adults who enjoy fantasy. The location is a bit remote – some 44 km from Coron on Busuanga Island at the northern end of the Palawan archipelago in the western Philippines.
The allure of the place is the architecture of the Hobbit House and the treehouses. Everything – and I do mean EVERYTHING – is built from rock and stone. When I say everything, I’m including the stairs, the paths, the comfort rooms (bathrooms in the rest of the world), the bar, the terrace, the kitchen, and even the boat pier. All of the stonework was put in place with meticulous attention to detail. There is nothing shoddy about the workmanship.
Two things became clear to me the moment I saw the place: the man who built it was a master craftsman in stonework, and he built the resort with love. The overall layout of the place and the design of each of the buildings is creative, even artful. The site did not lend itself to using heavy equipment. All the stone and other building materials had to be brought in on the backs of hod carriers.
The designer is by no means addicted to straight lines. Nearly all of the building constructions were curved. Even the facings on the bar were curved. The designer’s propensity to use curves rather than straight lines made every part of the resort far more appealing – far more human – than it would have been otherwise.
The view from the terrace was befitting for the style of the resort: vast vistas of low-slung mountains intermingling with the ocean and peppered with sailboats here and there.
Interestingly, the resort has no clear boundaries. Rather, the path just comes to an end and the overgrowth of the surrounding forest serves as a forbidding barrier to carry on. But the barrier is not impenetrable; the stout could push on if they chose to. This loose layout also suggests that the owner may elect to add more treehouses and stone hobbit houses at some point in the future. I would encourage him to do so.
Having said all of this, I must admit that there are some limits to the desirability of this resort. For one thing, all of the chairs are falling apart! You are better off sitting on the benches. Second, the WiFi is terrible! The resort uses a small modem the size of a pack of cigarettes that is tied into the cell phone system. It is completely inadequate but probably the best the resort could do, given the availability of the internet in the area. And lastly, there is not much to do in the area. But that doesn’t have to be a problem. I met interesting people at the Sanctuaria I would not have met had the internet service been better or had there been activities to distract me! There was actually a benefit to having poor internet!
Is it worth a visit? Well, if you enjoy a fantasy getaway for a few days, then I would definitely go. You can hire a tricycle in Coron to take you out there for 1,200 pesos or you can join up with some others who are making the journey, hire a van and enjoy a ride that is both more comfortable and lower priced.
Here are a few more photographs from my visit to Sanctuaria Treehouses:
Photos by Jan Wall – all rights reserved