Last weekend, Person A and I stole a quick getaway to Cebu. Stole because we only spent a night in the Queen City of the South but it was a getaway because in the 40 hours we were in town, 70% was spent on the beach while the remaining 30% was spent with family. It was one of the most efficient vacations we've had mainly because we availed of extra cheap airfare, value-for-money hotel stay, we were able to recharge and we get to meet family.
Let me share with you how we managed to be that efficient.
The Carrier: Tiger Airways
Cebu can easily have the most number of flights from Manila, with the 5 well-known carriers flying the route 5 times a day. Tiger Airways , the budget airline from Thailand, started operating in the country and we were able to avail of their initial offer. The airline flies in partnership with Seair.
All-in, roundtrip flight cost to Cebu with 20kg baggage allowance: PhP 700/person. Tiger Airways operates from NAIA Terminal 4: that's the old domestic airport. They had it renovated but not quite there. There's Seattle's Best though.
We were in Cebu at 6 in the morning.
Left our bags in the hotel and by 7:30 we've traversed the city and found ourselves in Talisay to meet my Aunt. Then we started our way back to Mactan with a brunch stop at an Austrian-themed restaurant.
By 10AM, I received a call from the front desk that our room is ready. We can't contain our excitement.
The Hotel Stay: Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa
We looked for the resort map and decided to explore the place. Boy, it was a good mid-day walk. Guaranteed sunog! One of the numerous reasons why you want to pay for a stay in Shangri-la is they got it all for you.
There's the grand hotel entrance and excellent hotel rooms and amenities if you want the all-out, luxury experience. There's a lush garden with generous walkways if you want a relaxed and family activity filled stay. You can bird watch.
The center piece of the humongous garden is a pool for babies, toddlers, kids and adults! There's a water slide, playground for the kids, miniature world-renowned tourist sites and a giant chess set.
Yes, I have the King wrapped around my fingers and let me point out that the minions are surrounding the queen-wanna-be. The photo shoot is Person A's idea. He doesn't want to join.
There's a secondary adult pool by the Ocean Wing and since it has an "infinity" view of the sea and lesser number of swimmers (with no kids because it's at least 4ft deep), we prefer to tread and swim in the Ocean Wing pool. It's really relaxing. The photo below is a view of the ocean wing coming from the beach.
There's also the award-winning Chi Spa at the far, right corner of the resort. And there's an expansive golf course.
Here's a lone tree we fancy taking a picture with. Sariling sikap yan!
As you head out nearer to the sea you will be treated by this view.
So nice, breath taking. For the most part of our stay, we were in this part of the resort.
We lounged by the cabanas. Notice the hearts carved on the path. We sat there for a good time and took photos. That night, the 2 cabanas were set-up for a private, candle-lit dinner by some guests. Sweet.
Strolled and dug our toes in the sand
Lounged by the beach. That's my 2 boys right there.
Had milk shake
and pizza by the beach.
That's what we call "Living the Life".
Service is exceptional. Staff appears discreetly to cater for your needs. May it be a glass of cold water, setting up your lounge chair with those pretty cave-like shades, or fresh towels.
To my surprise, snorkeling is also a good thing to do in Shangri-La. I have low expectations having snorkeled in Puerto Princesa and El Nido but on Saturday morning when the tide was low, we were able wade, dip our heads and manage to snorkel in thigh-deep water to be greeted by a cacophony of fishes. Like hundreds of them in different species and sizes!
1-ft length parrot fish is not rare!
I was even sad because before we headed back to Manila, we dropped by Tabo-an and I saw these dried parrot fishes. I was just chasing their kin a few hours earlier.
The only downside is the corals look battered. The hotel can use some rehabilitation program. It's really awesome. There are even clown fishes-anemone patches. The clown fishes are territorial that day and loved to pick a fight with my aqua shoes. You don't need flippers that shallow.
Another thing we love about the hotel is the lounge. Every night, there's a piano player and a band
that plays 45-minute sets so it's nice to have coffee,
surf the internet and engage in a conversation.
And before we forget, the food is also awesome. There at least 4 restaurants: Tides (main buffet), Aqua, the one by the pool, another one by the beach and Cowrie Cove. This is dinner we had from Cowrie Cove, the best seafood chowder we've tried and delicately grilled seafood.
Then this is what's left of our fare from the breakfast buffet before I thought of taking a picture. Wide selection of Japanese, Chinese, American and Filipino breakfast. It's one of the better Shangri-la selections I've tried.
While we were dipping in the pool some minutes before check out, Person A and I seriously contemplated on extending our stay.
Good thing our rational selves kicked in and we were contented on saving up for another trip, hopefully sooner than later.