Glamping is the Next Big Thing

Glamping—glamourous camping—is just the thing for travelers who want to experience Mother Nature’s beauty without having to rough it.

By Maritess Garcia-Reyes
January 23, 2012

Glamping, or "glamorous camping," marries outdoor adventure and comfortable accommodation in an innovative hotel-like setup. How can camping be like this? Well, gone are the days when camping equates to uncomfortable mattresses and questionable food. Today, glamping offers luxury accommodation while giving travelers enough opportunity to commune with nature. Glamping is the next big thing.

Glamping has been around the globe for years now. In the 1900's, glamping emerged in Africa, catering to the needs of the wealthy American and European travelers who sought adventure in the wild. Glamping back then housed guests in an upscale safari camps equipped with comfortable beds, antique furniture, a butler, and an onsite chef on-call.

Photo by Maritess Garcia-Reyes

Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort is one of the early proponents of glamping in the Philippines. A glamping tent in Sumilon is a pre-pitched heavy duty waterproof tent equipped with two comfortable beds, carpeted flooring, a fan, built-in mosquito net, a lounge chair, and a mini bar. An on-call camp assistant helps make a bonfire and assists with other camping activities like kayaking, fish feeding at the lagoon, and can even set up breakfast at the beachfront. Stargazing can be done by unzipping the opaque layer of the tent's roof.

Meanwhile, Lee Goldman of Asia Kayak Tours offers a different glamping experience in the breathtaking El Nido, Palawan. Asia Kayak Tours' luxury campsite welcomes guests into a spacious walk-in tent large enough to accommodate a queen-sized mattress fitted with cotton sheets and standard-sized pillows, with plenty of space to spare. Each tent has a large poly-vinyl skylight for an unlimited view of the stars. The tents are pitched facing the magnificent view of the Bacuit Bay.  There is also a "comfort tent," a glamping version of the common washroom. It has a full-sized sturdy toilet that is equipped with a biodegradable odor and organic waste neutralizer that converts waste into a gel in seven seconds. The campsite also has a shower tent with 4-gallon solar showers, a floor mat, complete bath amenities like soap and shampoo, and oversized towels. To complete the "luxurious" camping experience, a camp manager, chef, boat captain, together with their assistants, as well as a certified masseuse are also onboard. The chef prepares five star meals served in a large dining tent.

Glamping is fast becoming a trend in the country, so much so that even the Department of Tourism is eyeing Cordillera and Mt. Apo as emerging glamping sites. A glamping facility is also being developed in Pamilacan Island, Bohol.

So don't let the fear of roughing it get in the way of enjoying the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. Now, you can camp, but in style.