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Day 2 in Cebu: Shangri-La Mactan’s Day in Paradise

2 Apr

As what I’ve written on my previous entry, Day 2 was definitely our favorite. ūüôā

We woke up early to have breakfast at Verbena’s restaurant. Since there’s only 1 free breakfast (no free drink), we bought another meal (Php75) and a cup of hot chocolate drink (Php20). There’s free mineral water from the resto’s water dispenser so I suggest not to buy hot chocolate or coffee since it’s just a sachet of Milo or a sachet of a 3-in-1 coffee (or try bringing your own sachet! Hahaha!).

Verbena's Cafe Tukana

My Php95 breakfast meal --- tocilog + a sachet of Milo for my hot choc drink

A month before our trip, my boyfriend and I emailed Shangri-La Mactan asking about their day tour called Day in Paradise. According to the service manager, the payment of Php2,500/adult (Php1,300/kid) shall be made on the day the package will be availed and would not be available when the hotel is full. (So we were hoping that Shang would not be full on the date we’re planning to go to Mactan. Evil us! Hahaha!)

The Day in Paradise package is from 8AM to 9PM and the free lunch buffet at Tides is from 12NN to 2:30PM. The package inclusions are the following:

Lunch Buffet at Tides Restaurant
Free use of beach, pool, towels — you can use as many towels as you want
Free use of Gym and Health Club facilities (sauna, steam bath, jacuzzi)
10% discount on Health Club and Salon Services for adults
Complimentary 2 hours use of Kid’s Adventure Zone for kids (kids must wear long sleeves and socks)
25% discount on Dinner Buffet at Tides Restaurant

Anyway, after having our breakfast, we hurried to hail a cab going to Shangri-La Mactan. Some drivers would ask for a higher rate (Php350 and above) to drive you to Shang. I suggest you look for a metered cab since it just cost us less than Php300 to get to Shangri-La from Verbena Pension House.

As soon as we stepped in Shang’s grounds, we felt like we were indeed in paradise. The place is really beautiful (and looks really expensive, too). The front desk officer pointed us to Senses Souvenir Shop where we can pay for our day tour. The lady in Senses was really nice. However, she¬† answered us in Tagbisaya (combination of Tagalog and Bisaya) when we asked her questions in English. Good thing, I could still understand her even if I don’t know how to speak Cebuano.

When availing of the day tour package, I suggest you immediately hit the beach to get the first dibs on the chairs with huge umbrellas. Foreigners may love to bask under the sun, but they still like shade. ūüėõ By the way, there are no lockers at the beach area. You just have to¬†leave your things on the shore.

the beautiful beach of Shang Mactan

marine life in the beach (Shang gives free food for the fish)

There are other water activities in Shang --- zorb, snorkeling, parasailing, diving, sailing, etc.

After having a hearty lunch at Tides, my boyfriend and I decided to try out the pools this time. And man, we loved the texture of the water! It’s like swimming in Evian! Seriously, are they using distilled mineral water for their pools? Hahaha!

Death by Tides!!! ;P (We were sssooo full!)


Shangri-La Mactan offers a ride to SM or Ayala for only Php100/head. Since Shang is far (if you’re coming from Cebu City and we saw that there were a few cabs on the road), we decided to take the shuttle’s last trip, which is at 5pm. Had¬†we known that the guards from the entrance by the road could hail a regular metered cab for their guests, we could have stayed longer. We initially thought that the cabs hailed by Shang guards could have a “hotel rate” for their fare.

shuttle sched

Anyhow, at 3:45pm, we decided to go to the Health Club to have a shower since we have no room where¬†we could change our clothes. FYI: Males and females have separate room. According to my boyfriend, males would have to get naked when they enter the locker room/changing area when trying out the steam bath, sauna, and jacuzzi. For the females’ room, it’s fine to wear your swimsuits.

Health Club

After taking a bath, my boyfriend and I met up at the common area in the Health Club. We still had time to take pictures before our shuttle arrived to drop us off at SM Cebu City.

From SM, we took a cab to get to Tabo-An Market. It was a HUGE mistake not to check out the local products’ prices in SM before going to Tabo-An because the products are indeed cheaper in SM Cebu’s Snack Exchange area in the departmet store. Take for example, a 200 gram¬†dried mangoes in Tabo-An is Php120 (it’s Php119.75 in Manila), but in SM Cebu, the same brand and weight is only Php94.75! So I suggest to just shop in SM. You can use your credit/debit card and even get points for your SM Advantage card!

We went back to SM Cebu to compare the prices of the¬†pasalubongs we bought from Tabo-An. We then decided to try out Jonie’s in SM. It’s a local restaurant in Cebu whose radio ad we heard on our way to hotel on our first day in Cebu. The prices are pretty affordable. For only Php59, you could get a slice of sizzling porkchop with gravy, buttered vegetables, and 2 cups of rice! Busog! Hehehe…


Here’s our ITIN for Day 2:

06:30AM     Breakfast
08:00AM     Day tour in Shang Mactan
12:00NN¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Lunch buffet at Tides Shang (12:00 ‚Äď 2:30PM)
01:30PM      Pool
03:45PM      Health Club
05:00PM¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Last trip of Shang’s shuttle to Cebu City
05:35PM¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Cab to Tabo-An Market — fare: Php90 (wrong move!!!)
06:00PM¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Cab to SM from Tabo-An — fare: Php90
06:30PM      SM Cebu
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Dinner at Jonie’s
08:00PM¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Cab back to our hotel — fare: I could not remember (sorry)

Who would not fall in love with the Shang? It definitely is a paradise in Cebu! It made our second day in Cebu legend… Wait for it… dary! Legendary!!! ūüôā

Entry about our Day 3 to follow…

Day 1 in Cebu: Cebu City Tour

26 Mar

It was our first time to try Cebu Pacific. We were told by friends that the flights are usually late so it was a surprise that our flight to Cebu was on time. Bravo! ūüôā

view from the plane

The weather was gloomy in Cebu when we landed. With all our lugagge, it was kind of hard for us to go to the main road to get a regular metered taxi since it was raining. There were other regular cabs at the airport, but they were asking for Php350 – Php400 for the fare to the hotel. Rip off!!! So my boyfriend and I decided to take the airport cab instead to take us to Verbena Pension House which only cost us Php278 (to think that the airport cabs’ flag down rate is Php70).

Since the check-in time in Verbena is at 2PM, we were advised by the front desk officer to just come back at 2PM. He informed us that we could leave our things in their storage room so we could tour the city. NOTE: Verbena has no tag number to give you when you leave your bags with them. I hope they would have claim tags in the future to ensure the safety of their guests’ luggage.

Anyway, after leaving our bags, my boyfriend and I took a jeep (minimum jeepney fare is Php7.50) to JY Mall (JY-Apas-Lahug sign board) to get a habal-habal (motorcycle ride) to take us to Tops in Busay Hills. It’s better to take a habal-habal to get to Tops since cabs would charge Php850 or even higher to the said place. Depending on your negotiating skills, a habal-habal ride would cost around Php200 per head (price could be lower or higher) for a two-way ride. Make sure to have an agreed price before going to Tops and don’t forget to ask the driver if they have additional charge for waiting. The entrance fee for Tops is Php100 per head, which we think was¬†REALLY pricey.

Tops in Busay Hills

After getting to Tops, our habal-habal drivers dropped us off at JY Mall and we took a cab to the Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills. It cost us around Php60 – Php65 for the cab ride. The temple has no entrance fee, but you just have to take note of the temple’s rules.

I must admit though, I was not a fan of the temple, mainly because I did not like the smell of the burning incense sticks. We ended up leaving immediately because it was drizzling and also¬†because¬†I felt like I was going to barf, too! ūüė¶ (Sorry, no offense meant to our Chinese brothers and sisters).

Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills

We did not ask for our cab driver to wait for us (wrong move!) so we had to wait for a cab near the temple to drop us off at JY Mall. So for the ride back to JY Mall (or to wherever you’re going to), it’s better that you ask your cab driver to wait for you. Anyhow, ¬†since it was still early for check-in, we decided to go to Ayala Center (just take a jeep with an Ayala sign board) to have lunch. The outside of Ayala Center looked so much like the Ayala malls here in Manila. The inside looked more like the old Glorietta mall though.

Finally, when it was time to check-in, we took a jeep with a Capitol sign board from Ayala to get to our hotel… If you’re on a tight budget, I suggest you stay in Verbena Pension House (they have a newer¬†hotel called Verbena Capitol Suites).¬†This was suggested to me by my friend, Salve, who stayed in the said place last August when she went to Cebu.¬†Well,¬†Verbena Pension House is not really a hotel and the place is not as fancy as real hotels, but Verbena’s staff are friendly and accommodating. They also offer free¬†WIFI for their guests and a free breakfast for 1 person, too (an additional breakfast meal is around Php75 plus Php20 for the drinks, but you can just have their free water from their restaurant’s¬†water dispenser). The room obviously looked kind of (take note: just kind of) old, but it’s clean.¬†We were¬†provided with 1 roll of tissue, 2 towels,¬†and 2 small soaps. The room that we got costs Php850 a night¬†beacuse we wanted¬†a private bath with cold and¬†hot shower. There’s a Php750 room without a hot shower though.

This is the old Verbena. There's a new one called Verbena Capitol Suites.

We decided to rest for around an hour after checking in. We then resumed our tour and took a jeep going to Basilica Minore del Sto. Ni√Īo (Magallanes-Church-Jones sign board). Behind the Basilica, you could see Magellan’s Cross. Cebu Cathedral is also a stone’s throw away from the Basilica so we checked out the Cathedral’s schedule for the English anticipated Mass. From the Basilica, ¬†you could walk going to Plaza Independencia and Fort San Pedro. Fort San Pedro’s¬†entrance¬†fee is Php30 per head. After touring the old fort, we rested for a while. We then walked back to Cebu Cathedral to hear Mass at 5:30PM.

Basilica Minore del Santo Ni√Īo

Thank you, Magellan, for bringing Catholicism to the Philippines ūüôā

Fort San Pedro

Plaza Independencia is currently under renovation

Malaca√Īang in Cebu

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Two of my friends from the office (Chyng and Salve) tried Larsian near Robinsons Cybergate Center at Fuente Circle when they went to Cebu. My boyfriend and I love¬†barbeque’s¬†so we decided¬†to try out the grilled food¬†at the famous Larsian. The rates are pretty affodable, too! ūüôā

where everything is grilled

For our last stop, we headed to Crown Regency to try out the Sky Adventure. My boyfriend decided not to try the rides out (wuss! :P) because he was so full (nabusog ng sobra sa Larsian)¬†and he also found the price pretty expensive — Php750 for the 2 rides plus 1 free shirt. Since guests are not allowed to take pictures, you wouldn’t have a choice but to buy your souvenir pictures which is Php230 each photo!!! ūüė¶

Sky Adventure at Crown Regency

Crown Regency has a new ride called Vertigo. I did not try it out because it was not part of my budget. Had I known about the new ride, I would have allocated money for that. I think it costs around Php600, if I’m not mistaken (will try that when we get back!). Oh, by the way, if you’re going to try the Sky Walk, bring your own pair of socks (Crown Regency will sell you a pair for Php20) or better, wear sneakers/trainers/rubber shoes so you would not have to wear the sneakers they offer (no rental fee though).

Anyway, here’s our ITIN for DAY 1:

06:35AM¬†¬†¬†¬† Departure (Cebu Pac’s 2nd flight to Cebu)
07:45AM¬†¬†¬†¬† Arrival — airport cab (yellow) to Verbena — fare: Php278
08:20AM¬†¬†¬†¬† Left things in Verbena’s storage area
09:00AM¬†¬†¬†¬† JY Mall (JY-Apas-Lahug sign board) — fare: Php18 for 2
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† *habal-habal ride to Tops — fare: Php200/head (two way ride)
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† *cab from JY to Taoist Temple — fare: Php60-Php65
12:00NN      Lunch at Ayala Center
01:45PM¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Jeep to Verbena (Capitol sign board) — fare: Php15 for 2
02:00PM     Check-in at Verbena
03:00PM¬†¬†¬†¬† Basilica (Magallanes-Church-Jones sign board) — fare: Php15 for 2
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† *Basilica Minore del Sto. Ni√Īo
                            *Magellan’s Cross
                            *Plaza Independencia
                            *Fort San Pedro and Malacanang sa Cebu
05:30PM     Anticipated Mass at Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
06:35PM¬†¬†¬†¬† Took a jeep going to Larsian (Capitol sign board) — fare: Php15 for 2
07:00PM    Dinner at Larsian
08:15PM     Walked going to Crown Regency for the Sky Adventure

Stay tuned for our Day 2 in Cebu (this was our favorite part of our whole Cebu trip!) ūüôā

Take Me Back to Ilocos!!!

24 Apr
My boyfriend and I had always wanted to see Ilocos. We were intrigued by its beauty and charm so we decided to go on an Ilocandia tour. This was last year, by the way. Hehehe… ūüėõ
Day 1: Ilocos Sur Tour
Breakfast. ūüôā
I love Vigan longganisa way before we went to Ilocos and I would not pass up the oppurtunity to eat some in Vigan, of course! ūüôā

breakfast at Grandpa's Inn, Vigan

After having breakfast, our next stop was Baluarte, a mini zoo owned by Chavit Singson.

mini zoo in Ilocos

We also went to Bantay Church. According to our tour guide, its belfry is known as the Sinking Bell Tower in Ilocos. I don’t know if that’s true because I read that St. William’s Cathedral’s belfry is the one known as the sinking bell tower. We saw St. William’s Cathedral’s bell tower on our way to our hotel and man, it’s massive! No wonder it’s sinking on its sandy foundations. Too bad… ūüė¶

Bantay Church and its belfry (Sinking bell tower in Vigan)

Marcos Museum

After our visit to Marcos museum and mausoleum (no cameras were allowed so I was not able to take pictures of our¬†former president’s body), we went to the famous Paoay Church.

Paoay Church

Next was Currimao Coral Reef Formation. They look like boulders, but if you look closely, they’re dead corals. Amazing!
Oh yeah, I slipped here when I tried to go to the water. My old digicam got wet, too! Sayang, nasira! ūüė¶

Currimao Coral Reef Formation (slippery!!! Hahaha!)

We also checked out La Paz Sand Dunes. They told me this was where the movie Panday was shot. Hehehe…

La Paz Sand Dunes

Our last stop before going to our hotel was¬†Malaca√Īang of the North. This was the Marcoses’ rest house in Ilocos. It is also known as Malaca√Īang Ti Amianan.

Malaca√Īang of the North

Paoay Lake (at the back of Malaca√Īang)

Check-in time!
We loved Java Hotel!

Java Hotel (owned by the Fari√Īases)

Take a peek of our room:


our toilet and bathroom

We were dead tired and sleepy so we just had dinner at Java Hotel’s bar.

Java Hotel's resto bar

However, even if we’re exhausted, we still went swimming. ūüôā

night swimming

Day 2: Ilocos Norte Tour
After breakfast, our 1st trip was to Cape Bojeador.

Cape Bojeador

We also went to Bangui Windmills! Wind energy!!! ūüôā

Bangui Windmills

We had photo op on Patapat Bridge.
Try turning on your car radio while on Patapat Bridge and you could get the radio frequency of Taiwan’s radio stations! Hehehe…

Patapat Bridge

Another photo op at Agua Grande. I think it’s also known as Aqua Paradiso.

Agua Grande / Aqua Paradiso

If you’re in Ilocos and you wanna hit the beach, where will you go? PAGUDPUD!!! ūüôā

Blue Lagoon Resort, Pagudpud

the blue waters of Pagudpud

Day 3: Vigan and back home
On our last day, we went to Vigan’s Heritage Village. It sorta brought me to the¬†old Philippines.

Heritage Village, Vigan

My boyfriend is kind of a shy person, but he was sssooo fascinated with Heritage Village that he asked one home owner if we could go up her place and take some shots from her window. The¬†nice lady agreed. (We did not know that there was even a shooting by TV 5 in her house so I guess that’s why she also let us in.)

view from the second floor

Heritage Village's pavement tiles

The trip was truly memorable. Not only did we get to visit the beautiful Ilocos, we also got to taste their native delicacies like the bagnet, empanada, and longganisa. (We even had dinner at Laoag’s local “food court”, Tapayan.) Moreover, we gained a few aquaintances who are now our¬†friends on Multiply. ūüôā

Flashback: January 2009

27 Jan

My boyfriend and I promised that we would not spend too much this 2010. Ergo, there will be less or even no travels for us.

Since we’ll try to lessen our expenses this year to save money for our future, I am quite content looking back on what happened last year. Flashback, much? Hehehe… I will try to blog the significant stuffs we did last year since I was not able to blog them anyway.¬†¬†BUT I will¬†still blog current stuff.

So… REWIND to January 2009!!!

We went to Hong Kong together with my boyfriend’s family. I’m proud to say that I¬†paid¬†for my own¬†share ¬†(unlike some people I know who are such freeloaders. Hahaha!).

We stayed in BP International Hotel in Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.  I can say that if we visit HK again, we will definitely choose this hotel (although my brother offered his place at Kimberly Road). The hotel is just beside Kowloon Park and the it is very accessible to the shopping areas and MTR stations.

Here are some of the pictures of the our HK trip:

waiting for our flight to Hong Kong

It was my first plane ride and my first international flight, too! Yeah, I’m such a late bloomer on travelling outside Luzon. Hehehe…

Sorry to say this but HK Airport is better than NAIA


Day 1: Freezing cold

Our first stop after checking in was Victoria Peak. And man, it was sssooo cold up there.

Victoria Peak Tram's long queue

inside the tram

I could not remember how much the ticket was for Madame Tussauds Wax Musuem.

Wax Musuem

view from Victoria Peak

After going to Victoria Peak, we decided to go to Mongkok to have dinner and of course, to SHOP!!!

Mongkok at night

Sadly though,  I was not able to shop much because there was not enough time. [due to the sloppy itinerary]

As soon as we got back to the hotel, I phoned my brother who lives near Kowloon Park. My boyfriend and I met up with him. He showed us his place and sorta toured us around the area.  My brother walked us back to the hotel since we had to sleep early because of another scheduled tour the next day.

Day 2: Boring and Fun

Okay, the first part of the tour was boring. After going to Victoria Harbour for some photo op, we went to the oh-so-ever-compulsary tour to TSL Jewelry Factory and to¬†a “factory outlet” of shirts, bags, champoy, kiamoy, candies, Pony, and Disney items. And I’m telling you, they’re not cheap at all. Some factory price, huh? As for the Jewelry Factory, even if the¬†jewelries were 50% off, they’re still pricey (picture taking was not allowed so I have no pix of the items). The only thing I liked about TSL’s factory was the free drink/s. Oh yeah, we were given a free bookmark, too! Hahaha!

Hong Kong's "Manila Bay" --- Victoria Harbour (Brit English spelling!!!)

After the boring tour, we finally¬†went to Lantau Island where Disneyland is.¬† I must say, we √ľber loved Disneyland!!!

Disneyland Hotel

one of Disneyland's souvenir stores

Disneyland's Filipino musicians

Chinese New Year Parade

After the wonderful fireworks show of Disneyland, we went back to our hotel.¬†And since it’s our last night in HK, I decided to see my brother again. We went shopping in Kowloon and my brother even bought me an Esprit bag.¬†We also bought stuff for our parents and brothers as pasalubongs.

I was¬†sad to leave my brother and I even cried at the Shopper’s Lane when we were saying our goodbyes! Hahaha! I’m such a drama queen. (NOTE: My brother visits Manila every 6 months so I get to see him twice a year).

Day 3: Last Day in Hong Kong

On our last day, we went to Ocean Park. We did not have enough time to try all the rides because of our flight sched [due to the sloppy itinerary]. Well, most of our companions are not fond of rides (scaredy-cats, I know :P) so they did not care if we would be in Ocean Park for a short period of time.  Hahaha!

I loved the cable car!!!

Atoll Reef's ginormous aquarium

Ocean Park rides

Time to go home… ūüė¶

boarding area --- waiting for our flight back to Manila (P.S. I am not in the picture. These women were waiting for their flight, too.)

My boyfriend and I had fun in Hong Kong. Definitely, we will visit HK but we will make sure that it will just be the two of us.

Late Birthday Post (a very late one‚Ķ)

1 Dec

I was so busy the past few days that completely I forgot to post what happened on my birthday.

My boyfriend and I went to Lancaster Suites Hotel in Shaw Blvd., Ortigas and got an Executive Suite. We always check in at a hotel when celebrating our birthdays and our aniversary.

But before I write what happened on my 26th birthday, I want to write what happened during my past birthday celebrations with my very loving boyfriend.

My 23rd birthday:

It was a Monday and since I was still new at the company where I am currently working, I still did not have vacation and sick leaves. My boyfriend worked as a web developer/designer for a medical tourism company that time and on that day, they held a Medical Tourism Expo in PICC or CCP.

Anyway, my boyfriend decided to visit me at work. However, he rode the wrong FX and reached Bacoor instead of Makati. Hahaha! Good thing he was able to go to my office fast. We were able to have our dinner at Max’s Convergys.

My boyfriend wanted to go to Baguio for my birthday but since I didn’t have leaves yet, we decided to wait for a long weekend (1 – 3 December 2006).¬† We checked in at Microtel Inn and Suites and got a Single Room. After checking in, our first destination was SM City.

The next day, we went to Burnham Park, Mines View, and¬†the Botanical Garden. We heard Mass at the Baguio Cathedral after eating at Don Henrico’s. We had dinner at Max’s SM Baguio.

On our last day, we went early to the market to buy pasalubongs. We had lunch at SM and went to the bus terminal to wait for our trip.

His gift? It was a beige jacket from Mossimo.

My 24th birthday:

We both went on leave and checked in at The Linden Suites in Ortigas and got an Executive Room. We bought our dinner at SM Megamall and ate them in our room.

As his gift, he set up a surprise for me. He locked me in the bathroom and when I got out, the room was full of confetti and balloons. Below the birthday banner was a big teddy bear and a small one. There were chocolates and a cake, too!

My 25th birthday:

We checked in at Regalia Hotel in Cubao and got a Deluxe Room.

My boyfriend went all out for my 25th birthday. He gave me 25 gifts! Some of these gifts were an Asus netbook, a top from Zara, a video presentation, baked mac that he cooked, etc…

Now, for my 26th birthday:

He surprised with an improvised photobooth set-up. He also set up a heaven-looking dancefloor to make me feel like we were dancing on the clouds. Moreover, he cooked dinner for me and gave me the following:

  • a birthday card
  • a polo shirt
  • a white gold necklace
  • chocolates
  • another birthday card
  • a personalized calendar

This guy loves me sssooo much! I am so lucky!!!