Travel Diary: Vitalis Villas, The Santorini of Ilocos Sur

Vitalis Villas
A view of the villas from the Vitalis White Sands

About two and a half years ago, I wrote down a list of 5 countries I was going to visit for the next five years. I am on schedule so far and have visited two out of the five. I’ve been to Australia and South Korea in the last two years, this year would be Japan and/or US, and within the two years after that, Greece to visit Santorini. While that hasn’t happened yet, I have been lucky to have had the chance to visit a resort in Ilocos Sur that resembles the place and it’s called Vitalis Villas.

Santorini of Ilocos Sur

Vitalis Villas is a luxury resort overlooking the beautiful Santiago Cove, its architecture inspired by the Greeks. It stands out in the middle of lush greens and blues of nature. It’s not hard to fall in love with the place. I was jealous of the other guests who were flying their drones at sunset capturing the beauty of the place in its entirety, while I was there just holding a regular camera. Oh well, I did enjoy the view though, hopefully next time I visit, I’d have my own drone to fly.

Getting There

My friend and I took the Partas bus going from Cubao to Laoag. We paid for tickets going to Santiago, which was about 129km away from Laoag. The fare going to Sabangan was P585. We took the 5am trip, and we arrived at Santiago at about 4pm. I slept the entire time and only got off the bus on one of the stopovers to pee and another time when we reached our stop at Santiago. It would’ve been a shorter trip if we had driven a car going there. The travel time was certainly one of the major cons to visiting the place. It was just way too far from Manila.

What I Liked

POOLS

Our pool! XD

The resort has many rooms that can accommodate anywhere from 2-20 people (or more). Some of the villas have their own pools or jacuzzis, some do not. There are swimming pools situated in different areas too.

We were lucky to have had one near our room where almost nobody used. So during the two times we went for a swim, we had the pool all to ourselves!

FRIENDLY STAFF

We did not experience anything bad from the staff. Everyone was accommodating, and some would even go beyond what was asked or what their job entailed. It wasn’t hard to look for help either, even though the place was huge, you could see staff in every corner ready to give you what you need, sometimes, even without you asking!

THE BUFFET

OH.MY.GOD. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner were buffet. I forgot all about my diet while I was there. It was just impossible to not try all the food! While there where hits and misses on the dishes, I would say, I was still pretty impressed. I kinda missed it when I got back to Manila and back to my normal boring everyday food.

OUR ROOM

I liked how clean the white and blue looked and how minimal everything was. It just added to the feel of luxury and elegance of the place. Our room was considerably large, with a balcony, two double beds, and a spacious bathroom (no bathtub though).

VITALIS WHITE SANDS

Just about a 5-minute drive away was the Vitalis White Sands. It is in the heart of the Santiago Cove. You could do a lot of things there aside from swimming. There were kayaks and jetskis for rent, or you could have fun in their inflatable island.

The Bakery

They had their own bakery! One of the things we noticed was how the place smelled of newly-baked bread. Their pandesal was yummy and they had amazing pastries and cakes too!

What I didn’t like

As perfect as it all looked and sounded, there were a few things that kind of bombed. First off, there was the issue of the long travel. I don’t know how many times I wished I could teleport myself especially during the trip back home. I survived going from Manila to Ilocos Sur because I was asleep most of the time. But going home, the driver was going kinda wild with the brakes and the overtaking. It was really hard to get some shuteye while holding on for dear life.

Flies everywhere

I don’t know why, but they had some serious fly problems and I do hope they take care of it soon.

It’s not as bad when you’re in your room because there are no flies there. But in the public areas, especially the restaurant, you can definitely feel their presence.

Water problem

Our bathroom had a really nice modern toilet. It would’ve been great if it worked. The water pressure, especially during the day, is not that strong, it’s hard to go number 2 without stressing about flushing (TMI, I know. I’m sorry). The water pressure is alright though at night, when all the guests are asleep.

Worth another trip?

Yes. I am willing to overlook all the things I didn’t like because the ones I liked are more than enough to make up for it. The place is a bit pricey though. I was lucky enough to have been invited by one of my best friends who had reservations and didn’t have to spend much. The place, despite how romantic it looks, is more of a family place than a couple’s. At least that was the vibe I got from all the guests we saw there. But it is not to say you can’t take a loved one there! It still is a great place for a weekend date.

For my other posts on my Philippine travels, click here.