EST. 2009

November 1, 2010

That Call of Mangenguey

IT LITERALLY MEANS "THE LOUD SOUND OF THE WAVES." Helena Mander kept the island's original name Mangenguey since obtaining it five years ago. Containing only one main house, three or four huts and one more modestly-sized house that serves as her permanent residence, the thirteen or so hectares of pristine island is nothing like anything I've ever seen in the country.

And while nature abounds in every possible way, life in Mangenguey, as hosted by the fabulous matriarch, is as bon vivant as she, infusing into the tropical surroundings a European flair in decor, dining and entertaining. Scheduled mealtimes comprise of Catalan fare, enjoyed with a glass of wine or two and ending with the thickest, strongest coffee I've ever had in my life -believe me, I wasn't the only one jolted- and while getting ready for dinner, a bit of jazz accompanies champagne or a cocktail, I had to remind myself I was still in the Philippines.

And in Mangenguey, it's not about barking orders to an army of servers at your beck and call. Here, you get from the very lean yet enthusiastic staff only the service you need, and the hostess more than makes up for the rest with her intelligence and charm.

It's a very different world. One that looks like it will start to make a loud sound very soon.

Mangenguey Island, Palawan. For info and contact regarding booking, visit or the Facebook page at