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Monday, June 27, 2011

Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu, Philippines

My memories of Cebu City zero in to Sinulog, the shopping Malls (both in upper and lower towns they call it) souvenir shops and the sutukil stores.  Little did I know (before) that this city also boosts magnificent resorts. I come from San Carlos City, Negros Occidental and Cebu is just a 2-hour travel by boat but it never became accessible to me because I preferred Bacolod City which is a 3-hour travel by land.

Fast forward to working in Makati, Cebu City became my focused target market in the Visayas, occupying some parts of Mindanao because of its international airport. The accessibility Cebu City offers is so convenient that it almost became my second home.  But checking the resorts was not always part of my itinerary.  The nightlife had a good share of the pie. Cebuanos are party people. They are eloquent and gentle. They are good with etiquette and good manners.

When I joined the academe two years ago, my life took a total turn.  I became less of a travel person but my travel experiences were so useful in my lectures.  And two years after I decided to quit teaching (as full time professor) for soul searching – travel and writing are two of the things I decided to focus on.

Just before the fathers’ day celebration, I got an invitation from my best friend for a short trip to Mactan, Cebu.  Although my initial reaction was a bit excited because I just came from a 3-day visit in Ibajay, Aklan and felt restless because of the demise of my uncle, I packed my things again for Mactan trip.  We arrived in Cebu with the wholesome smiles of the Cebuanos.  Their distinct twang when they speak tagalog makes them more endearing.  We were met by the hospitable staff of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa and took a 15-minute drive from the airport to the resort. And with ease and comfort, excitement suddenly slithered in my spine.  

Words are insufficient to describe the beauty of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa.  Although I know the resort is pricey, but money becomes immaterial with its amenities, service and splendour.

I knew it was fathers’ day celebration and so I took my private spot in the beach, grabbed a bottle of beer and whispered a prayer for him…wishing one day we will swim together with the fish and spend a lazy afternoon at the beach of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa. But that calls for a big saving.

Truly, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa is a Shangri-la. 

A SHORT TRIP AND A FUNERAL. Daet, the gateway to bountiful Camarines Norte.

Right after I submitted my resignation letter, I only had three things in my mind – travel, write… and do my own version of Eat – Pray- Love, just before I’ll start scavenging for work…again.  And two weeks after that, I had only done the first one – travel and the writing part only lingered in my mind. But I never thought of travelling because I would be joining a funeral or visiting a dead relative. 

What happened was, three days after my resignation, I received a text message that my former officemate Cris died because of complications due to wrong diet regimen. Think of Karen Carpenter – coincidentally, Karen was his favourite singer.  And attending a funeral meant taking a 10-hour travel to Daet, Camarines Norte.

Since I was in a short trip mode, I readily accepted the invitation and left Manila by 4:30 A.M with just an overnight bag and my camera.  With occasional rain showers on our way, we arrived in Daet, Camarines Norte at 2:00 p.m. just in time Cris was brought to the church.

It felt weird at first to see a good friend lifeless, while you just had a merienda one Saturday prior to his demise.  Memories flashed back and life became too short to enjoy.  While we become too conscious with our love handles and bulges, we also forget that the beauty of the person does not depend on the numbers of “pandesal” he has on his abs or the perfect waistline.  It is on the quality of life you live.  On how many “pandesal” you offer to those in need. 

While we were on our way to the cemetery, a thought popped out.  What about writing a book on How to Lose Weight and Lose your Life.  Well, it was just a weird thought – I guess.

But the short trip was not all about attending a funeral.  After the fleeting drama scenes and saying our final farewell (skipping the “… well see each other again” line), we checked on some gems of Daet.  While the place is still developing, I fell in love with their KaySarap restaurant. The place was cool and I highly recommend their Empanada.  Although the sherbet was highly decorated, but it never passed my tang ( he he he).  I had chicken barbeque and it was great. 

Daet offers nice hotels and it only shows that with the number of hotels, Daet has a good share of tourist arrivals.  We stayed at Villa Mila.  The hotel is big. The family rooms are spacious and the air condition unit worked well except the water heater.

On our way home, we stopped at Lita’s Carinderia.  This one is for the record. Everyone who travels to Camarines Norte should take a short stop over at Gumaca, Quezon and savour their seafood at a very reasonable price.  When I say reasonable – I guess a generous slice of grilled blue marlin at P40 and a cup of rice for P10 with free soup of tinolang maya-maya is reasonable enough.  It is also the best time and place to stretch those tired legs and take a lungful of fresh air.

About Me

"There is no happiness for the person who does not travel. For Indra is the friend of the traveler, therefore wander!" by Brähmann On a personal note, I don't know Brahmann nor Indra, but the lines speak more than they are read. I gave birth to this travel blog, inspite of the fact that there are zillion of travel blogs out there, to share with you all that we can see the world without spending TOO MUCH. This is my Travel-budget-blog.