Jafe Surf and Sail Camp Resort in Pacifico, Siargao

January 04, 2014

In order for your building to become interesting, it has to exude a certain kind of personality. If you collect and display what represents your experience, character, interests, and individuality, you create an ambiance that extends the depth and beauty of your soul.

The Design


This realization from the book, Creating a Beautiful Home by Alexandra Stoddard, is apparently portrayed by JaFe Surf and Sail Camp Resort, our abode for four days in Pacifico, Siargao Island in December 2013. Before getting to the place, our friends Jen and Shal assured us we will find the displays uniquely pleasant, but we couldn't exactly figure out what they meant until we got off the habal-habal and saw what most people would consider 'trash' all over the open pavilion.

Look up!
We usually conclude that garbage should be segregated and thrown into the bin, but not the amiable owners of the resort. Jack and Ferelyn, in which JaFe was derived, thought they could create something extraordinary out of the junk. So as we walk passed the enormous pointing hand sculpture at the entrance, we saw plate numbers, signs, posters, shoes, and maps hung or nailed on the left side and surf boards, masks, treasure chest, photos of random people on the right.

Stones, photos, masks and surfboards
"The architect said we can get all the materials to decorate this building on this island," Jack eagerly explained to me. This explains why most of the ornaments are locally sourced: bamboo chandeliers, stone stage wall, drift wood furniture, timbao (a type of bamboo) frames and moldings, shell or recycled plastic curtains, water bottles crafted into flowers, coconut shells turned into garden mushrooms, winnowing baskets serving as canvas, etc. The creative list just goes on and on; every nook and cranny (and their mini-van too) is embellished with anything that tickles your curiosity, opens up your senses, and prompts your ingenuity.

Coconut mushrooms
During our stay in the northern part of Siargao, we got stuck in this resort for a day due to the rainy weather. I felt relieved we checked in at Jafe Resort because it gave me time to look around and check the details, helped the staff paint some Japanese fans for their Christmas party, and took a book from their pile and read it on a native hammock with the sea breeze swinging it. I was on a vacation indeed!

Art session!

The Owners


"What made you pick a butterfly?" I asked Jack about his tattoo.

"I was going around Costa Rica when a blue morpho rested on me. Our guide said I must be a lucky guy because this type of insect is naturally shy," he recalled.

That was just one of the stories I heard from Jack, a New Yorker who decided to settle in the Philippines with Ferelyn. He used to be a fifth grade teacher, the most probable reason why his childlike, spontaneous, and worry-free disposition is so evident every time he entertains guests. His humor brought in the thrill in his tales on how he preserved a sea snake, dealt with a bully student, or shared any episode in his life. This open-minded man serves as the art director and uniform designer of the resort. In some instances, he works as the chef, too.


Ferelyn, on the other hand, is one of the most supportive wives I've ever met. Her experience as a RAFI (Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.) museum staff in Cebu helped her appreciate her husband's ideas and become an outstanding host. To complement with Jack's skills, she takes charge of the accounting, marketing, and other technical sides of running a business. Having lived in Siargao for about seven years, she could also answer questions about the island, and its major tourist spots.

Ferelyn (behind the yellow table) packing goods for the Christmas party with the resort staff
Putting up JaFe resort wasn't part of their plan. Jack and Ferelyn just used to visit the latter's sister, a resident of Siargao, for a short break from time to time. They decided to purchase the beach side lot only when its owner got sick and needed financial assistance. Since then, they fell in love with the sea breeze from the east and mountain breeze from the west. They described the area as exhilarating, refreshing, and free from the noise and air pollution of a metropolis.

Ferelyn and Jack, the power couple
I would admit that I fell in love with the place even more because I fell in love with the couple. Their tandem evokes inspiration; that feeling you experience once but lasts a lifetime. One night at the resort, Ferelyn taught Jack how to use the DVD player. When Jack could finally play some music, he danced as if there was a disco ball above him. When Ferelyn saw it, she did the same thing in front of me. I couldn't help but smile at their cute performance and silliness. On my way back to the room, I wondered how many couples crazily danced that night.

The Rooms


There are four types of accommodations to choose from in the resort, namely: 

1. Air conditioned rooms. These are located on the second floor of the pavilion. The elegant design combines modern elements with traditional Filipino materials. 


2. Hotel California fan or budget rooms. This used to be the residence of the couple, and therefore has a sentimental value for both of them. It was named by Jack's friend, after the popular song of Eagles. Lyrics of the song are written in chunks and posted anywhere. Guests share the same sink and toilet. 


3. Loft accommodation. This building is still under construction when we visited last December, but it can accommodate a family or group of 4 to 8 people. Please see the hut behind Hotel California in the picture below. 


4. Tents. You can sleep in a tent on their wide yard or you can also bring your own. 

Here are the room rates as of December 2013 (in Philippine peso currency): 

Aircon rooms * 2 pax = P650.00 per night
* 1 pax = P500.00 per night
Hotel California fan rooms * 2 pax = P380.00 per night
* 1 pax = P180.00 per night
Loft  * 4 to 8 pax = P750 per night (not official yet)
Tent * (Jafe's Tent) 1 pax = P150.00 per night
* (Own Tent) 1 pax = P50.00 per night

What to Eat


JaFe burger
Gastronomic adventurers may think the restaurant's menu doesn't have long list of food choices, but it doesn't necessarily mean the resort lacks specialty food. When you pay it a visit, try their gigantic, mouthwatering JaFe burger. The patty was concocted by the owners themselves. For rice lovers, they also have JaFe fried rice topped with cheese and egg.

JaFe rice

What to Do


JaFe Resort is ideal for simply bumming around: the kind of break we need to be reconnected with nature and our own self. You can get up early and watch the sun rise from the line that separates the Pacific ocean and sky. You can dance, exercise, do yoga or shibashi on their well-trimmed, green yard. You can run along the beach. You can indulge yourself in art, limitless imagination, and random conversations. You can read your favorite book, write letters to friends, or just stay happily idle. At night, you can lie on the beach and gaze at the moon and stars. Another option is taking a walk along the road and watch fireflies amid coconut trees.

Huge waves during sunrise
JaFe Resort in Pacifico, Siargao (No. 1, yellow square in the map) is also a strategic location for travelers who want to explore the northern part of Siargao. Most visitors, especially foreigners, stay in the touristy General Luna, where the famous boardwalk, pricey hotels, and excellent restaurants are located. I would, however, highly recommend you explore the northern part of the island for the following:

  • Surfing spots in Pacifico, Baybay, Burgos, etc. (Red rectangles in the map)
  • Sugba Lagoon in del Carmen (No. 2, light blue square)
  • Magpupungko rock pool in Pilar (No. 3, orange square)
  • Caves in Burgos (No. 4, green square)
  • White beach in Algeria (No 5. purple square)
  • Taktak falls in Sta. Monica (No. 6, pink square)

Map source: Ocean 101 Beach Resort
The labels I added in the map are not 100% accurate, but I know that the aforementioned spots are somewhere around the colored squares. I just wanted to point out their locations for you to get an idea of what I was talking about. If you opt to stay in General Luna, you can still go on day trips to these spots. It will probably take you about 2 hours from General Luna to Sta Monica by habal-habal.

Other Things You Ought to Know


  1. Internet connection in the resort is unreliable as there are no network towers nearby. This may be advantageous for those who are taking a complete break from work, but not for those who work remotely. 
  2. The resort doesn't accept credit cards, and the nearest ATM machine is in del Carmen. Unfortunately, at times, this machine is offline for days. Thus make sure you consider your budget accordingly. 
  3. The peak season for this resort is in April and May, Philippine summer months. In September when the waves are glassy, a lot of surfers visit the resort, too. Book your room ahead of time when visiting in these months. 
  4. Well is the source of water. Distilled drinking water is provided for guests. 

The resort's well

Contact Information


Contact person: Ferelyn
Mobile number: 09199912685 / 09173215622
Landline number (Cebu): +63 32 5117824
Email: jafesurfandsailcampresort@yahoo.com.ph

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2 comments

  1. Great post! Thanks for the useful info. This will surely help in our planning for our Siargao trip this year. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. I'm sure adventurous people like you will LOVE Siargao.

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