I have not been to Cebu City for so many years. That is why exploring Mactan Island in Cebu is exciting; not only because this is my first time in Mactan but also because I will be with my colleagues for both business and leisure.
Mactan Island is more popular because of its rich history and culture. The Battle of Mactan is said to be on the top list because it was the plain native, Lapu-lapu who defended the island from foreign invasion and killed the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan. The island is the go-to place for quality guitars and other musical instruments and it is home to the second busiest airport in the country, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
Aside from its historical and cultural prominence, the island is a haven for tourists because of its white powdery sand beaches and the various water sports activities that are offered by resorts and hotels in the area.
I was lucky to be part of the Management Committee (Mancom) of South Bacolod General Hospital and Medical Center, Inc. (SBGHMCI) because we were treated to a three-night-and-four day off from work to just be ourselves, make fun memories together with the other supervisors, department heads and top management as well as making creative activities that promote unity and teamwork.
Palmbeach Resort and Spa in Lapu-lapu City was our home for four days and we seemed to have not left our respective homes because of the various amenities and features that we were privileged to enjoy during our stay.
This mini resort is a 15-minute drive from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and a 10-minute drive to Mactan Newtown. The new commercial complex is a mixed-use structure, composed of beachfront hotels, malls and industrial parks. The construction is ongoing, but the commercial areas are operating such as the mall and offices. A separate building is an Information Technology - Business Process Outsourcing office (IT-BPO) hub. Banks and money currency exchange stores are available. Being a beach-front property, various sports activities are available such as island hopping, diving and, snorkeling.
I was surprised to see the very wide reception area upon checking in. It has two big sala sets which can comfortably accommodate 7-10 persons per sala set. The piano placed against the wall reminds me of the good old days when the family sits together; to rest and engage in discussion after a sumptuous dinner.
|You will be greeted by this large sala set upon checking in.|
The decorations and furnishings are special, too. There are plenty of wall decors on the hallway and lounge areas, which you can leisurely appreciate while going to your room. The service areas are arranged in such a way that your needs are met immediately.
1. Well-appointed Rooms
We occupied a Deluxe Room on the third floor for the three of us. The beds are just spacious enough for our weary souls to rest and sleep after a hectic day. The air conditioning unit never fails. There is a 30-inch flat screen TV, a very strong WIFI connection and a well-maintained toilet and bathroom.
While a notice posted on the bathroom wall reminds the guests to encourage multiple uses of the towels, new and crisp towels were provided daily. I like hotels who are conscious about their waste disposal system and this green initiative will somehow help in reducing waste dumped in the environment.
2. Children Playroom
A small play area is available for guests with children. The room is in bright colors with child-friendly playground equipment set. It features a plastic slide, and a miniature playhouse with all the mini toys for the children to play, explore and enjoy.
The hotel ensures the safety of the children by installing plastic matting on the floor. It is useful when your little kids are bored going with you on a long trip. Playing though requires adult supervision.
|The little ones will surely enjoy the recreational and educational equipment in Children's Playroom|
3. Game and Dart Area
For guests who have the extra time, they may spend the evening at the Game and Dart area on the ground floor. There are two long and rectangular tables and a big circular dart board. I was not able to find out what are the games available, but I guess, one table is for billiard games. You may ask the customer service counter if you want to play the American-style eight Ball or trying to be simple by playing the straight pool of 16 balls.
|The Dart and Billiard room will put your excess energy to good use.|
4. Mini Chapel
The hotel features a place to spend some time with the Lord to give thanks and pray for a safe journey. It is placed at the far end of the ground floor hallway to give guests an ideal quiet time for prayer and meditation. The best time to pray is before going out of the hotel to ask for a safe trip and after coming in from the trip as thanksgiving.
|A solace and comfort in times of distress|
5. Sunrise Cafe
An ideal place to catch the sunrise, as the name implies, is located at the farthest end of the ground floor, overlooking the vast blue Camotes sea. The balcony is an ideal spot to get the best shot of the blue water and the swimming pools below.
A complimentary buffet breakfast that goes with your hotel accommodation is available at the Sunrise Cafe. You can choose either the American or Filipino style breakfast.
6. Spa and Massage Room
After a long walk at the beach or discovering the new eating place at a tourist spot, you can relax, have a foot spa and get a massage at the Spa and Massage Room located at the Ground Floor. Pampering ourselves will enable us to recharge which is useful as energy-enhancer that we need for the next day's trip.
7. Jacuzzi and Swimming Pools
There are three swimming pools - a kiddie pool and dipping pool for adults located near the beach area, and an upper swimming pool at the extreme portion of the beach. Our group had a night swimming on the upper pool with the night sky as our backdrop. It was somehow an exclusive affair and we had a grand time making our freestyle and backstroke.
Luckily, we witnessed a firework display from the nearby hotel. We were told it was a regular fare on weekends. Since we were elevated, it was the best opportunity for us to take a look at the colorful display of lights with our camera to record these amazing sights on the evening sky.
For those who want a relaxing water massage, you may want the hotel's jacuzzi. The hot and bubbling water improves circulation and the powerful jets are capable of giving you a soft massage. I went for a 10-minute jacuzzi then an unlimited night swim at the elevated pool.
|The clear blue water of the swimming pool seem to invite everyone to swim.|
Transportation of hotel guests is not a problem. Air-conditioned vans are available for rent on a per hour basis. You may call or visit the customer service counter to book your reservation.
Places to Visit/What to do:
There are many places to visit to while staying in the hotel. Most of these tourist destinations are not far from the hotel and accessible by car.
- Virgen de la Regla (or Lady of the Rule) Church.
The Lady of the Rule is the patroness of Lapu-lapu City and her feast day is celebrated in the late part of November. During the feast day, thousands of pilgrims from neighboring towns, carrying the image of the lady, flocked to the shrine to join the procession, hear mass, light a candle and pray for blessings or make panaad (promise). The shrine is overlooking Opon plaza and the town's public market.
|The famous image of the Lady of the Rule.|
- Magellan Shrine
This open-space structure houses the statue of the famous local hero, Lapu-lapu and the historical marker signifying the place where the battle between the local villagers and foreign warriors took place. As we all know, Magellan was killed in the battle. Various souvenir shops lined the outer portion of the plaza, wherein you can find novelty items at low prices.
|The imposing statue of Lapu-lapu serves as a backdrop of many selfies making the rounds in social media.|
- Simala Shrine
Located in the hilly southern part of Cebu, in Lidogon, Sibonga, the interesting architecture of the shrine caught my attention. It would seem I was on the set of a Disney movie. There are big images of saints and angels. The life-size characters of the different stations of the cross are amazing.
We arrived late morning and the line of people going to the image allowing devotees to kiss or touch the image of the miraculous Virgin Mary is too long that we decided not to join the queue. Instead, we prayed and lighted candles of different colors according to what we prayed for (e.g. green candle for career, red for love, etc.).
- SM Seaside
This SM store in Cebu is famous because of the Sky Park. It is an open garden, children's playground and a mini auditorium suitable for small entertainment or private affairs.
Instagram fanatics will have a grand time taking pictures of the tower, the scenery below the building and other good angles that may be caught his/her fancy inside the Sky Park.
- Cebu Safari and Adventure Park
If you want nature or appreciate extinct animals and plants, then Cebu Safari Adventure Park is for you. The management really takes an effort in simulating the natural habitat of the animals in their care. We saw zebras in groups eating while impalas and other animals roamed in the nearby area. They have around 50 adults crocodiles, three pairs of lions, fat and long pythons and other animals.
|These zebras live side by side with the other wild animals in the Safari jungle|
- Pasalubong Finds
The best chicharon, whether with meat or plain, spicy or not can be found in Carcar City, specifically from Mat-Mat outlet while the tastiest rosquillos and otap (native delicacies) are available from Titays. Titay's, I was told started during the pre-war and it has that distinct taste that does not vary despite the passing of time.
|These rosquillos and otap are best paired with coffee|
|This chicharon is from Carcar City, the home of the famous Cebu's chicharon|
- Water Sports Activities
The resort has a diving school, catering to mostly Korean and Chinese tourists. This is a private individual renting the lower ground floor of the hotel. You may also arrange for island-hopping when the weather is good, at the customer service counter.
We were home at Palmbeach Resort and Spa. I will never forget the courteous staff and personalized service. I am not feeling well after two days and my stomach was giving me a headache. When the owner knew the situation, she gave me medicine immediately, a rare gesture of someone who may just delegate the task to her staff.
My stay at Palmbeach Resort and Spa will now be part of my travel diary. I discovered new places and familiarized with the culture of the locals, a one-of-a-kind experience I cannot trade with anything.
For room rates and other amenities or offerings, you may visit the hotel's website at www.palmbeachresortcebu.com.
Do you travel a lot? Where do you stay when you travel? Please share it in the comments below.