Everyone needs a day off. We got ours at Shangri-La Mactan.
Flying to another island / city in the Philippines has got me giddy, since I haven’t really gotten the chance to travel around for quite sometime due to adulting responsibilities — which includes my everyday costs, down payments, monthly dues, furniture shopping, groceries, etc.
Everything has been so overwhelmingly complicated. If you know me, you’d probably notice how my stress and pressure doubles when it’s triggered by emotional rollercoasters and like any other human being we all know how it feels like having ups and downs. I certainly can say that mine was just a bit of a breakdown. I did figured that I needed a time off, not just within the concrete jungle of Manila (where I live). My boyfriend and I decided we both deserve a few days out of the city, and this is where the short story begins.
Ironic because right when we both thought booking a flight out of the city was the plan, it actually means booking a one-hour flight to another one to get to the island called Mactan (this is what you get when you travel around Philippines – islands over islands over islands), just a few kilometres away from the city but closer to the city’s International Airport. We chose to fly to Cebu because we got hosted by Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa known to be one of the best Shangri-La’s.
It was a relief entering our room and finally being reconnected with the warm breeze of the ocean, just by our balcony. It got better when I saw the generous gift on our bed – dried mangoes covered with dark chocolate, plus we were given the option to choose our preferred complimentary hotel activities for two. Our first day was a poolside moment, just basking under the sunlight, and swimming around their 7.5ft deep pool which I love the most. After 6pm we got a Luxury Chocolate Spa in their hotel spa called Chi. It was a cacao festival on our bodies! While spreading the cacao scrub and oil all throughout my body all I can think about was having chocolate for dessert, they surely know how to start a relaxing first day.
Second day was all about spontaneity. We have nothing planned for ourselves but we did enjoy the beach. I snorkelled my way to the floating platforms about a few meters away from the shore and as I dive in the deep I see an underwater kingdom down below. It was miraculous, all the different color combinations of corals and fishes all together, the different sea creatures both friendly and deadly (No sharks, just eels and water snakes.) I am not exaggerating but as someone who travels to different beaches all over the world, I can really say this is one of the best! Too bad Ronny & I didn’t have underwater cameras with us to shoot the house reef. At night, we were scheduled at 6pm for a romantic Four-Course Dinner at the Boat Jetty but it rained and weather wasn’t really cooperating, but we were surprised that they managed to arrange a beautiful setup by the cabanas.
Third day was a very slow day, we slightly caught up with some work but went back to just having fun. We’ve decided to use our complimentary activity today, we both chose Jetskiing because it would be nice for the video and besides, who doesn’t love jet skiing? I was first to ride since Ronny will be the one droning and the next ride was the both of us. It was an adrenaline rush for a moment, it’s good to squeeze in a bit of excitement in between relaxations.
Fourth day’s highlight was doing The Land of Chocolate Tour at Cacao Garden where we were able to experience the traditional and native hot chocolate in the Philippines called Sikwate, and we also had our Chocolate High Tea at the Lobby Lounge afterwards where we got to experience a little tea party but instead of tea, we were sipping Sikwate.
Last day as we woke up and realised that with just a few hours left to enjoy, we did a bit of work and by work we mean — shooting content both videos and photos. The last shot was a one take scene of me jumping in the pool, made me feel a bit sad knowing that this will be the last time I’ll be jumping a 7.5ft pool for a long time.
As soon as we quickly wrapped up everything we need, we rushed to our rooms to shower pack and checkout to catch our 2:30pm bus on the way to the airport. With heavy hearts, we bid Shangri-La Mactan farewell. But our farewells are not forever, I’ll definitely visit again soon!
If you’re from Manila, all you have to do is book a flight to Mactan-Cebu International Airport. For others who are from other countries, you can book directly to Cebu. If not, you can fly through Manila then Cebu.
For affordable flights, details, itinerary, check it here.
Level of convenience: 9/10
One point missing because the flights might be the cause that wee bit of inconvenience.
For Travelers who are in Manila, if you’re checking out Cebu and you’re wondering how difficult the travel is from one island to another, read what I have to say — all you need is to sit back for an hour in the plane and the rest of the travel from Cebu International Airport is on Shangri-La Mactan
I’ll be reviewing the hotel based on the services I’ve experienced and witnessed all throughout my stay. Please know that everything I write below is subjective, all my opinions are based on my own encounters.
Never experienced any discomfort from any of the staff, everyone was kind and approachable especially one of our waitresses in Acqua (one of the restaurants).
We stayed in one of their Deluxe Sea View rooms. It’s a nice and classic room, it’s clean, spacious and the balcony has a wonderful view of the sea and the pool. Although, would be nice to have a separate bath tub from the shower.
Room Services 10/10
What can I say? Everyone is prompt.
Spa: Chi 10/10
The place itself is very peaceful. Overall ambiance is great for relaxing and the treatment that was done to us was really amazing. Everyone in the spa is also very accommodating, as we enter the rooms everything is clean and organised as well.
For our breakfast buffet we only ate at Tides because it’s the closest to our room. I must say that food is great, but there are just some parts missing in the buffet. I guess what I missed is a bit more variety to their food, so that not everything is similar everyday.
Chocolate High Tea at the Lobby Lounge 10/10
Giving this a perfect rating because I love chocolates and not to mention cacao. Every dessert was full of cacao flavour and the Sikwate’s strong distinct raw taste is still a bit in there but it was perfectly mellowed down when combined with the milk & chocolate.
So far we’ve only experienced Tides and Acqua but I can definitely say both are really wonderful restaurants, the aura inside and even the alfresco part of both. The food is also exquisite in both restaurants. I guess I’m just missing more variants in their menu.
Pool Area 9/10
We only experienced one pool which was the one in the main wing. It’s really nice, I like the fact that it has a 7.5ft deep part which I enjoyed.
Beach area 7/10
Everything is really nicely designed, there’s a lot of beach beds available, but the sand is a bit rough, and it’s quite messy because of the crowd.
House reef 10/10
If you’ve read the whole blog, you probably know why I gave a perfect rate. It was just speechless.
The Land of Chocolate Tour at Cacao Garden 10/10
I really enjoyed this mini tour. Every explanation is detailed from the process, to the tasting of the native hot chocolate which is 100% raw.
Special thanks to Cassandra Cuevas, Director of Communications and Jacqueline B. Bulawan, Communications Executive for planning everything during our stay. We highly appreciate it!