Kansilad Beach Resort
A straightforward review of Lianga’s most commendable resort.
I'm not going to start out by likening Kansilad Beach Resort to 5-star hotels or cramming this article with superlatives and highfaluting words like "haven" or "indulgence," because that's just going to be unfair (and downright condescending) to the readers, and especially to the resort. And I will certainly not belittle it, nor throw complaints like a brat because, honestly, I've checked in at this resort a hundred times, and it has always been the first choice in terms of accommodations for me and my guests whenever we're in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. A resort like Kansilad deserves an honest review.
Proximity is the best reason for choosing Kansilad Beach Resort. One thing that the owner, Mr. Lala, has done right about this resort is the choice of location. Kansilad Beach Resort is located in Sitio Cansilad, Brgy. Ganayon in Lianga, Surigao Del Sur, facing the Pacific Ocean. It is situated in a quiet beach cove about four kilometers from Lianga town center--conveniently near, yet perfectly secluded! The resort's front gates and façade are nothing special and do not accomplish its purpose of welcoming guests, but they conveniently open up onto the main highway, making it easy to spot. Finding other resorts in Lianga is a challenge.
Kansilad is also a ten minute drive away from San Agustin, from where pump boats can take you island-hopping around the Britania Islands. This group of islets, I should say, is the main reason tourists go to Lianga and San Agustin. The main islands are made of limestone rock formations that look like giant broccoli flowers sprouting from the sea, offering good shade while you bathe in their white sand beaches. There are also sandbar islets with sand as white and powdery as that of the best beaches in the world. I am not exaggerating.
Kansilad Beach Resort is the only accommodation near Britania Islands that does not offer sub-standard service and amenities. Again, I don't mean for this to sound like a bad review, but I think Kansilad is very decent. And considering that it is located in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, it exceeds all my expectations. It may not be the best in the world, but I'm highly satisfied. Allow me to objectively explain.
The highlight of my Kansilad stay is always staying in the Mangrove Suites. The rooms are made of concrete, wood, and vinyl tiles. They have a local feel because they are simply furnished and decorated---nothing fancy, nothing spectacular. The rooms are seemingly suspended over the ocean like stilt houses in local fishing villages. Each has a front balcony that looks over the sea, and a back window that opens up to a view of thick mangroves. The front porch is where I park myself, stoked after an afternoon of surfing, gazing at the starry evening sky and listening to the sounds of the seashore. Early in the morning, the same porch offers me a great view of calm, glassy waters reflecting blue hues of the morning sky. I don't know of any 5-star hotel that offers this kind of experience. For a nightly rate of 1500 pesos, these rooms offer good value for money. They are spacious, clean, and complete with WIFI connection, air conditioning, cable TV, refrigerator, and a clean bathroom with hot and cold showers.
Kansilad also offers other room types inland for all kinds of budget travelers. A standard room that is good for two is around 1000 pesos. A villa that is good for 4 is around 1500 pesos. Dormitory-style accommodations good for 16 persons is only 3200 pesos.
The beach at Kansilad is white and made of corals. It's a cove that is margined by rocky formations. It is narrow but not crowded. Talisayan and coconut trees offer bathers some shade. It pales in comparison with the nearby white sandy beaches of Britania Islands, but it is clean and serene, and so I find no reason to complain.
The Resort Grounds
The resort grounds are clean and green, with lots of shade from trees and rock formations. Bermuda grass covers the lawn and there is good effort at beautification with vignettes of potted plants, driftwood and what-nots. In the center of the resort is a swimming pool.
Monkeys inhabit the trees and bring out the child in delighted guests when they come down to scavenge for leftover food. They can be quite annoying actually, but I just try to co-exist with the, because I feel like they are the rightful owners of this patch of nature.
In the evening, occasional fireflies flicker by, and the soothing sounds of crickets and cicadas remind you that you are one with nature. Again, big props to Kansilad for not totally disrupting the ecosystem.
Service needs improvement, to say the least. I'm just going to advise a few caveats that hopefully make up for the rustic experience:
1. When calling for reservations expect lines to be busy, but just keep calling until someone answers.
2. Stock up. Buy beer, bottled water, and snack foods at the restaurant before the service crew disappears, starting 10 PM.
3. Order meals ahead of time. Allow the kitchen crew to serve you better food by ordering your meals at least 8 hours before. You can request for fresh crabs and fresh fish of your choice as long as you order ahead of time.
4. Don't expect breakfast before 7 AM. To increase your chances of an early morning meal, order ahead of time. See #3.
5. Bring candles. During certain times of the year, black bugs tend to swarm towards the light in your room. Turn them off and use candles instead.
There are resorts that urge you to be objectively critical just by being overly expensive. And then there are those that, despite being imperfect, you are just thankful for. Kansilad Beach Resort is one of the latter. As a businessman, I know that one's business is judged based on the value for money that it offers, and its rightness for the market. And I can say for sure that Kansilad Beach Resort is right on the money. The completeness of its amenities is an unexpected luxury in a sleepy town like Lianga, and the refreshing break--from a mind-numbing city existence--that it offers is priceless.
Basta Pinas, Rock and Roll!
Macky Calo is a local restaurateur from Butuan City. He owns a coffee shop, a restaurant, and a beer and wine lounge bar. He travels around the CARAGA region in search of secret surfing spots and local delicacies.