What is your dream life? Mine is swinging on a hammock as I scribbled poetry and plot lines, falling asleep watching the stars dotting a black sky, then waking up to the faint sound of crashing waves, eating fresh organic produce from my garden, and contemplating life as I sipped juice from a coconut shell.
This dream came true on Thursday, when Papa and Mama took us on our family’s summer retreat. The paradise was Pannzian Resort at the farther edge of Ilocos region – a good twelve-hour drive from San Jose City (including stops at two churches, and breakfast, snack, and lunch) that was worth every single second of it.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed with leis and complimentary drinks. On our visit it was buko (coconut) shake with mint. We were very fortunate for the chance to be personally greeted by the owner’s son, Ken Alonso, who gave us a brief history of Pannzian and what it stands for. We were in awe at the lush, rustic greenery that covered the entirety of the resort. I imagine Eat, Pray, Love’s Bali: my dream destination. We stayed at Ka-Yo 1 and yes, the room is exactly like in the pictures.
As it advocates simple and sustainable living, unlike its popular contemporaries, Pannzian does not boast of water activities or extreme adventures that invite large, loud crowds. In fact it is exactly the opposite. From the start, Pannzian was meant to be peaceful and serene where you can be one with self, one with nature, and one with the community, as their motto states. As it encourages its visitors to have real, face-to-face encounters, Pannzian doesn’t have Wi-Fi and there is no Globe signal. (I didn’t have a problem with Sun, though.)
In lieu of regular activities and adventures, Pannzian offers swimming in the sea or river (depending on whether the beach is safe for swimming or not), taking a trek to the spring, relaxing by the hammock area, making the tour of their nursery of higher-end produce (such as kale, curry pepper, arugula, and tarragon), playing beach volleyball, reading books from their bookshelf, getting a massage, playing music, and making bonfire and watching a movie by the beach at night. If it has yogis teaching by the beach at daybreak and a wide array of vegan food, everything would have been perfect.
The friendly staff said one night was not enough to experience the place and they were right. The five of us – Papa, Mama, Angel, Joey and me – regretted our early booking at Vigan for we wanted to extend our Pannzian retreat for at least one more night.
Truth is, I think I could stay here for a week, or for a month, or forever.