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Exploring the Queen City of the South

Traveling with Regina is like having a personal travel agent.  She does her research well and that's why we get good deals and our vacation is hassle free.  For our birthdays last year,  we decided to take advantage of Cebu Pacific's deals which included a stay at Shangri-La Mactan.   Here are the highlights of the trip.

1. Shangri-La Mactan

ShangriLa We paid 15,000++ pesos each for a chance to stay at one of arguably the best Shangri-La Hotel and Resort. That amount included round trip air fare. Did I mention buffet breakfast was included? Cebu Pacific offered this net fare on its website. We had an option of Waterfront, the Hilton, and the other resorts in Mactan and Cebu. I of course   Snorkelingchose Shangri-La even if it cost 2,000 pesos more. The 2,000 peso difference is definitely worth it.

Each room at the Shangri-La has a beach-front view. One of the options for breakfast is at Acqua – which offers an awesome view of two infinity pools. We were not able to explore everything that we could do at the Shangri-La but we did take advantage of snorkeling at the beach. The fishes were not shy --- on many occasions – they bit the piece of bread right from my hand --- and although they’re not huge --- there were times I thought that I lost a finger.


IslandHopping2.  Island Banca Cruise

When in Boracay, I refuse to hire the motorized boats when I do the island hopping. I get nauseous from the fumes of the motor. So I prefer to get the wind-powered Sailboats called Paraw. Riding the Paraw allows me to lounge under the Sun while we sail around the Island. For our Cebu Trip, we discovered a really cool way of exploring the waters around Cebu. It’s a tour provided by a company called Island Banca. It’s a motorized boat – but it’s bigger than your usual tour boat and to top it off – you actually have a  huge deck with a number of bean bags. PERFECT for lounging.

3. Cebu Lechon and Cebu Sea Food

Everyone raves about the Cebu Lechon. Even Anthony Bordain hails it as one of the best tasting roasted pig in the world. I agree with him. I am not a big fan of Lechon – but you should try the Cebu Lechon. It melts in your mouth and the skin is the crispiest Lechon skin I’ve tried. You do not even have to use Lechon Sauce. The whole city is filled with Cebu Lechon stalls so it will be difficult to miss it.

We were also able to try one of the floating restaurants during our Island Tour. We had huge prawns, rock lobster and huge scallops. All cooked in Butter ( fried, steamed, and roasted ).

4. Abaca Restaurant

Abaca Hailed as one of the best Restaurants in the Philippines – we definitely had to try the restaurant. It is also a resort and it’s only open for Dinner. One has to make reservations because it doesn’t accept walk-ins. It has been said that some of Manila’s elite will fly from Manila to Cebu just to have dinner at Abaca. They serve Mediterranean dishes.

The resort is exclusive and very private. Rates are much higher than the Shangri-La ( at least 300 USD per night ). For loungers, they actually provide queen sized mattresses by the pool. It’s perfect for a honeymoon or a romantic rendezvous for those with illicit affairs.

When I showcased my photos in my Facebook profile my friends agreed that it seems like we had a great time. We did. I am now a fan of Cebu. For those who are looking for a beach destination – Cebu is definitely my top choice. Some of my friends would argue that Boracay is a better destination – I would have agreed five years ago. However – with Boracay being the destination of every Tom, Dick and Harry – it has lost its charms. Next time I visit Cebu --- who knows --- I might get lucky and find someone who will take me for a romantic getaway at the Abaca resort.

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