Thanks in part to collaborations with designers like Pouzet, Massaud, Philippe Starck, and Richard Frinier, Dedon’s original concept of barefoot glamour has caught on. According to Dekeyser, the company has grown from 16 employees in 2000 to 2,800 today and is showing no signs of slowing down. Dekeyser’s autobiography, Not for Sale, just published in Germany, will be translated into English by the end of the year, and he recently set up an educational foundation and weaving school in Cebu. A Dedon fragrance is in development, a clothing collection may follow in the not-so-distant future, and Dekeyser is already considering opening other ecofriendly resorts.
Despite his success, what Dekeyser genuinely seems to enjoy most—aside from hopscotching around the globe two weeks out of every month—is a kind of hyperactive hanging out amid nature. At Dedon Island he is in constant motion—swimming laps in the pool, jumping on a trampoline, kicking around a ball, or riding a motorbike to the resort’s organic farm to check on the long beans. One of his favorite spots in the world is Sohoton, a glorious maze of seawater lagoons, pools, and caves about an hour by boat from Siargao. The area is uninhabited, pristine, and protected—visitors are allowed to experience it only via kayaks or small canoes called bancas, though Dekeyser prefers to glide from inlet to inlet standing atop a large Dedon paddleboard, creating a suitably messianic effect.
Only when Dekeyser and I were on the way back from Sohoton to Dedon Island, after a day of exploring underwater caves and jumping into the ocean from cliffs populated by monkeys and rainbow-colored birds, did it occur to me that my favorite travel theory would require some reworking. Three planes, a hubble-hubble, a yacht, a canoe, and a paddleboard? Now we’re getting somewhere.