December was an incredibly busy month for us therefore our weekend in Cebu was the perfect way to unwind. Our main reason for visiting Cebu was our friend’s wedding which took place on December 18th. And to top it off, the wedding was held at the beautiful Shangri-la Mactan.
Airphil Express (www.airphilexpress.com)
We left Manila around 45 minutes late. Fortunately, the flight to Cebu was a short one. The seats were fairly comfortable for me, but I’m not tall. Anyone a little bit taller would feel constricted. The ride was a bit turbulent. We weren’t able to book our tickets ahead of time so we had to pay around 2,700 Php per person round trip.
Once you arrive at the Cebu Airport, go out the arrival area doors and go up the stairs to the “cheaper” taxi stand. I think the taxis that were in front of the arrival area were only airport taxis thus more expensive. We were 6 in the group so we took 2 taxis. The taxis were metered but for some weird reason we ended up paying different fares. We paid around 95 Php and the others paid around 15 Php more. Also, my husband was telling me that the driver of their taxi tried asking them for additional payment since “it was the Christmas season”.
It’s fairly easy to get a taxi in Cebu. Like in Manila, malls have taxi stands and hotels can flag down cabs for you.
*I haven’t tried any other mode if transportation in Cebu that’s why I cannot comment on them.
Shangri-La Mactan (www.shangri-la.com/en/property/cebu/mactanresort)
This is the second time we’ve stayed at Shangri-la Mactan. This is absolutely my husband’s favorite resort. He wanted to stay longer if only we had more time. Shangri-la is located in Mactan Island. It is a couple of minutes away from the airport and you can catch the hotel’s shuttle to go to the city center (around 100 Php). We traveled in groups so we opted to take taxis instead to cut on the cost (around 150-200 Php per cab).
The only downside to this resort is that there are no cheap restaurants/eateries accessible from the hotel.
We arrived on morning of the 18th (Saturday), which was the day of the wedding. Our rooms weren’t ready when we got to the hotel, so we crashed in one of our friend’s rooms first. When our room was ready, we left our things then had a late lunch at Hola Espana which was located at the Max Center across the hotel. If a guest wanted to get to the hotel’s main entrance to either take a walk, look for restaurants or catch a tricycle, they can drop you off the gate with a golf cart. When you get back, the security at the gate can also call to have you picked up.
After lunch, we got ready and spent the rest of day celebrating with our friends. The ceremony was held at the picturesque Ocean Pavilion while the reception took place at the Mactan Ballroom.
We all stayed up pretty late the night before so we had late brunch at Acqua the following morning. Shangri-la guests can either take breakfast at their Tides restaurants or Acqua. We ended up just hanging around the resort ’till mid afternoon (and until Masterchef was over). We then went to the city to go with 2 of our friends who decided to stay 1 night downtown and had early dinner at CNT Lechon (roasted pig). Fortunately we were early and we were still able to buy some for dinner (1 kilo of lechon for 4 people, anyone?). And yes, they do run out of lechon! Unfortunately I’m not a big fan lechon nor can I distinguish their supposedly distinct flavors but a lot of people truly appreciate those made in Cebu. Apparently, it has something to do with the way they are cooked which really makes it flavorful. No sauce or gravy needed!
After dinner we went around SM Cebu and had dessert at a local ice cream parlor. We took a taxi back to Shangri-la and called it a night.
On our last day, my husband and I just spent the day at Shangri-la. We had a late breakfast again but we were given a late checkout. Our flight was not until early evening of that day therefore we had a lot of time to kill. We left our bags at the concierge and I was pleasantly surprised because my husband decided to get massages at Shangri-la’s Chi Spa (www.shangri-la.com/en/property/cebu/mactanresort/health/chispa/intro). People used to rave about the Chi Spa and I have been waiting forever to try it! And I was not disappointed.
We booked our massages at the Chi Spa desk at the hotel lobby. I ended up trying the “Element Vitality Massage” which lasted for an hour and 30 minutes. While waiting for the therapists, we were given cold water to drink and cold hand towels. We both had private villas and I stayed at the Badkan Villa.
Before starting, the therapist explained what the massage meant and what oil was to be used which was all related to my element – Earth (they made us answer a questionnaire while waiting). It was very relaxing and one of the best I’ve tried. I know the ambiance helped with my impression but nevertheless, it was fabulous.
After our massages, we had time for a quick snack at the lobby. Then we took the shuttle to the airport to meet up with our friends and to catch our flight back to Manila.
I really wish there were more relaxing weekends such as this. But I know someday we’ll be back to enjoy Shangri-la Mactan again.