susie and i finally settled on a cebu day trip, since neither of us could be away for the whole weekend. it was a getaway that we both badly needed.
we were desperate for a vacation, and i had a couple of free tickets from cebu pacific that were about to expire. this was the best way we could think of to take advantage of them.
and i'm glad that we went through with it, because that saturday was a blast.
parking at NAIA terminal 3
we decided to take the car and park it somewhere since we were just going to be gone for the day. we thought of using park & fly, but after hearing a lot of bad reviews, we opted for the NAIA terminal 3 parking, which was actually pretty good!
NAIA terminal 3 parking rates are at P30 for the day, and P50 for overnight parking. what's more, the arrivals gate is just a short walk away. when we came back, the car was still in good condition, which means parking is pretty safe, too. it's a good alternative for travelers who need a place to park their car.
we entered the airport, found our check-in counter, and had breakfast upstairs before going inside the departure lounge for our gate. terminal fee is at P200, and there are plenty of places to buy food from.
arriving in cebu
we arrived in cebu a few minutes ahead of schedule. while waiting at baggage claim, i decided to go up to the shangri-la mactan resort stall in the cebu airport. i asked about their day rate, and it was nice to know that the rate hasn't changed: it's still P2,000 for the day, which already includes access to the beach and the resort's amenities, buffet lunch at tides, towel, and a P200 discount off health club services.
it was a pretty sweet deal--exactly what we came for. i told the shangri-la representative that we'll be taking that day package, and he told me we could join the shuttle bus that would take us to the resort after we pick up our luggage.
the shuttle bus service is free for all shangri-la mactan clients, and the ride from the airport to the resort took all of 10 minutes. we were welcomed by friendly shangri-la representatives--all smiling and courteous.
to avail of the day rate of shangri-la mactan cebu, just go to the senses store, pay your P2,000, and get your day access tag. it's a bright blue tag that has the "tickets" to everything you're entitled to: lunch buffet at tides, towel, and health club discount.
since we didn't have a room, i decided to avail of the P200 discount on health club services and get myself a locker, which normally costs P500. aside from a locker, you also get a bath towel, face towel, and slippers, as well as be given access to the jacuzzi, sauna, and shower room. the locker room has a hair dryer, lotion, and other toiletries you might need.
now, on to the beach!
with those things out of the way, we headed to the beach. since we were there early, there were only a few people enjoying the morning sun, and we got ourselves prime lounge chairs that were just a few steps away from the water.
we decided to just lounge around and wait for the tide to come in. but susie had other things on his mind. he went up to the buko bar and got a couple of beers for us, to celebrate the first getaway we've had in months. we must have really enjoyed ourselves a lot, because we were able to down 4 bottles each before 11am.
in between beers, we would take a dip, or feed the fish (from the leftover bread at tides), or take in the sun--a lovely way to spend a day away from busy, mad manila. i was finally getting started on the tan that i've lost from being away from the sea for a year.
before we knew it, it was lunch time. we headed to tides, still a bit giddy from the beers and the beach. we were greeted by another of their friendly staff, who led us to a table and served us water while we waited for the buffet to open.
the selection wasn't as extensive as the last time i was there, but it was definitely good enough to fill a rumbling tummy. susie feasted on the seafood, while i got a lot of cold cuts and cheese. we ended the glutton-fest with chocolate fondue--dipping slices of mango and bits of marshmallow in yummy milk chocolate. coffee and tea are also served after the meal.
and after that, we were back in our lounge chairs, which were dutifully "guarded" by the staff at the buko bar, who had become our buddies because of our beerfest earlier. they asked if we wanted more beer, but we had to decline, as we were still full from lunch.
i ended up dozing off for about half an hour, safely shaded by the huge beach umbrella. the rest of the afternoon was spent taking in the cebu sun (to achieve the desired tan), splashing in the water, or just plain talking and laughing (something we hadn't done in a while!). when the sun was at its hottest, one of the shangri-la mactan staff came up to us and offered wet face towels to cool our faces off with. such simple yet attentive service really made the day even more enjoyable.
we decided to call it a day a little before 5pm. we headed off to the health club to shower, but not before bidding goodbye to the staff at the buko bar. they're one of the friendliest hotel staff i've ever come across with--friendly, attentive, yet not stifling. i will definitely be back because i felt like i was taken care of.
the fun continues
while i expected to be out of shangri-la mactan after showering, susie and i decided to walk around the hotel and check out its little nooks and crannies. we ended up having our photos taken by the christmas tree out front, then checking out the bazaar that they had that weekend. afterwards, we walked back to the direction of the health club and checked out the e-zone, their game room which had internet stations, billiard tables, a corner for playing wii games, and their own timezone.
susie and i decided to burn that heavy lunch off by playing half an hour of wii (for P200 pesos, i think). i was defeated repeatedly at tennis, but i dominated in bowling. i did get hungry after that, and decided to head to cebu's center and devour some larsian noms.
it wasn't such a practical option, and i'm kind of regretting getting out of mactan that day. we could have easily walked out of the hotel and enjoyed some tapas at the spanish bar right outside, but i had to insist on going to larsian, which was a P200 taxi ride away.
but this is not to say that i didn't enjoy my meal. i did, a lot, but would have enjoyed it more if i didn't have to pay P200 for the cab ride. i'm kuripot that way. :p
still, all in all, the cebu trip was a huge success, even if it was just for a day. a day spent on the beach is always a great day for me!
shangri-la mactan resort and spa cebu
punta engano road, lapu-lapu, cebu
phone number: +63 32 2310288
day rate: P2,000 inclusive of towel, access to hotel facilities, buffet lunch at tides, and P200 off health club services
more photos of our cebu day trip.