Re-routed to Plantation Bay

I received a call from Cebu Pacific that they cancelled our early morning flight to Caticlan because of typhoon. They gave us options on how to deal with our flight. It’s either in form of full refund or re-booking without fees. I asked the staff if possible to join the flight on the next day but he told that it was already full. Besides, the typhoon was still in the region and flights might be also cancelled.

I decided to change our plan or else all our efforts and time will be wasted. I booked Plantation Bay Spa and Resort through their website, www.plantationbay.com for two nights.

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Comfortable bed of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa

Location: Mactan, Philippines

Where I Stayed: Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, Mactan

Buddies: Family

The resort check in time started at 3pm. They can give room to early arrival if available. We arrived in the resort at 12:30n, and they immediately gave us Windward Room for the resort is not fully book and its non peak season.

The Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is an 11 hectares land developed and having man-made lagoons with fresh and salt water. It also has small beach to cater for those beach lovers. However, the sand is not so white and only covering the beach portion. The sea shore is black as seen during low tide.

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The area was so wide but we managed to walk and have access to all amenities. There was a routine resort cab transporting guests to any part of the resort. The pathway in the middle of lagoons in the center was also a short cut to the beach and restaurant.

The resort is the favorite destination of Korean honeymooners as proof for most of the guests are from there. I also spotted a Korean couple having their wedding pre-nuptial.

The resort also offering indoor/outdoor games, water sports, island hopping, massages, and spa. I tried the kayak and the stand paddle raft.

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FOOD. Aside of having four restaurants to choose from, the resort also has a food buffet every night and with different theme. On our first night, the theme was Spanish, so the food and the graceful performers were also related to Spanish culture. On our second night was From Middle East. So beautiful belly dancers, hot fire dancers and Arab cuisines were expected.

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The buffets and the performances could be experienced by calling the reservation desk and paying 1,250 pesos exclusive of drinks. However, the food for me was considered average in the fact that it was rated five star. I sorted it below my expectation because I worked in an Arab country and tasted most of the Arab foods. On the other hand, the Kilimanjaro Kafe, served the best breakfast buffet in the resort. The Filipino and Mexican breakfast during our stay were both memorable. We really enjoyed it and the foods were all tasty.

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SAFETY. The resort pool has a life guard from 8am to 8pm. Beyond that time, guests using the pool will take their own risks especially those having kids. Rooms also has direct path to water, so guest having small children should understand well all safety precautions.

CONCLUSIONS. The resort was so amazing with traditional and modern twists of culture. All ages will be entertained here because of so many activities they are offering.

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The no tipping policy was unusual but this resort is continuously practicing it. The staffs always greeted us every time we meet. We are also thankful to the nurse on duty when we called her early in the morning to check our son who was suffering from fever.

The rate was expensive for an ordinary local tourist. However, they have a day tour which costs 3,000 pesos per head. These will include a buffet lunch and free use of resort’s amenities.

 

Cheers in Colombo

The flight itinerary was so complicated but it was the cheapest option to visit Thailand and a glimpse of Sri Lanka. Before leaving Bangkok, I tried the Thai beer and I realized that drinking alcohol prior for flight was not a good move. The awkward effect was still felt until landing.

The flight was so special because a lady pilot drove the plane safely from Bangkok to Colombo in Sri Lanka.

 

Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Where I Stayed: Good Wood Plaza Hotel

Buddies: Solo

My onward flight to Dammam would be next day, so Sri Lankan Airways gave accommodations to all passengers having such long connecting flights. It was clear written in the ticket that the airline will provide a hotel in Sri Lanka if the transit period is more than 8 but less than 24 hours. So be it! After receiving a referral from the airport transit desk, we (I’m now with a group) went to Sri Lankan immigration for passports stamping. We went down to the arrival area and an airline representative waited there to give us our hotel voucher. We waited mostly 30 minutes for the transit hotel bus which picked us from the lobby.

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Good Wood Plaza Hotel. This hotel was just five minutes away from airport. It might be the reason why the airline chose this as a transit hotel for their passengers. The reception was really nice and the hotel has its own unique design. We were three persons shared in a room (same nationalities) and it was not a problem to me. I’m always ready for a room sharing.
The staff lead us to our rooms separated from the main building passing the hotel’s restaurant. The hall was dark and the room allocated for us was on the ground floor. I really disappointed on the room because it wasn’t like a room of a hotel which already has name and famous. Besides, it was a transit hotel partnered with Sri Lankan Airlines, an airline with great sky services.

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The room was so ordinary with a unidentified foul smell (bat or rat urine?). I thought, my nose has problem but my room mates complained the same. We started the air condition and for an hour, the room was still hot. We started the ceiling fan for help and seems effective but the smell was everywhere. There were folded fabrics hanging on every bed ( mosquito nets) but nobody used it. This room was for three persons but the towel available was only one. The compliment bottle of water was not sealed, so we thought that it was just came from the faucet. We therefore went to the restaurant to buy a bottle of water for 120 rupees. Anyway it just for one night and our noses was immunized to the smell.

Restaurant. Both breakfast and lunch for me were average. The restaurants staffs were gladly served all guests from 7am to 11pm. They were smilingly assisted me when I needed to change a currency to rupees and offered me to try Sri lankan best beer.

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Attractions. The hotel’s swimming pool was no longer attractive. The water seems not cleaned and not treated. Anyway, Squirrel captured my attention! Their numbers in this place was amazing. Crows and squirrels filled the trees near the hotel but hard to capture from my normal camera. Lucky, I spotted a wedding prenuptial in the hotel! Best Wishes to the new couple!

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The traditional dress “sari or saree” wearing by all Sri Lankan women made them stand out from others. The clothing style was I first seen as uniform of the Sri Lankan flight stewardess. I found out that it was wore normally in the country from the immigration officers, hotel receptionists, and so on even at the wedding.

Bye Sri Lanka, “A Land Like no Other!”I wanted to navigate your wonders but I’m only on transit. Left Colombo at 6:40pm.

Pearl Farm Paradise of Samal

Settling in the southern part of Davao City lies a hidden paradise which is less than an hour boat travel from the city wharf.

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Comfortable Bed of Pearl Farm Resort

Location: Samal Island, Davao, Philippines

Where I Stayed: Pearl Farm Beach Resort

Buddy: Friends (3+)

Pearl Farm is a private resort for relaxation. I admit that it’s quietly expensive but my stay there for two days was worth for the price. Pearl Farm has its own private Marina wharf in the city where we boarded a boat going to the resort. A cold and refreshing “pina colada” was given to us as welcome drink while their friendly staff gave us briefing about the resort and its facilities.

We preferred to stay on hilltop “balay”accommodation as the cheapest option and its various natural views. A breath taking scenarios of beach, Parola bar, Malipano island, and famous Mount Apo greeted us in the morning. Next time, when there’s a chance to come back, I’ll try the Samal House built on top of the water. The room is with native and tribal decors with a personal refrigerator full of chocolates, chips, and beverages. Wow! but they have prices, it was not compliments.

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The Resort’s Aqua Sports Center offered us island hopping and snorkeling for three hours. Included in the rental are towels, speed boat, guide, and snorkeling equipments. We enjoyed the island hopping especially to Malipano Island and sight seeing of marine life by snorkeling. However, the sea that time was slightly itchy because of jellies so we didn’t stay longer in the water.

Starting at 6pm, cocktails in Parola Bar was 50% off, so it was the time for a little talk while watching the sea on sunset. There was an excellent buffet food on all meals with variety of seafood especially during dinner. There was also a native group performance at night starting 7pm that will last for almost two hours. I loved the traditional dance “Singkil”, which was performed during our stay.

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Tips. It is a luxurious and rated 5 star resort so a bit expensive for a normal local tourist.  I availed Bed and Breakfast which price varies on their site www.pearlfarmresort.com.
There is a Free WIFI in the resort.
Payment can be settled with cash or credit card.

Cebu in Typhoon

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The typhoon is coming to Cebu so water dripping was expected. This was our group tour in Central Visayas combining the neighboring islands of Bohol and Cebu.

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Comfortable Bed of Diplomat Hotel

Location: Cebu, Philippines

Where I Stayed: Diplomat hotel

Buddies: Group (11)

DAY ONE

4:30pm, arrived in Cebu City from Tagbilaran, Bohol by a boat. Checked-in at Diplomat Hotel at P1,800 per night.
7pm, hunger satisfaction guaranteed for a buffet dinner in Crown Regency Hotel and Towers for a price of P1,000 with one free ride. Enjoyed Japanese cuisine sushi and Filipino foods while a live band was playing. Experienced the thrills of Edge Coaster and Skywalk after huge meals.
11:30pm, short disco bar hopping and back to the hotel.

DAY TWO

Everyone was waiting for the weather forecast update. A typhoon signal 1 was declared on the entire Cebu island.

9am, we left the hotel for the Island Banca Cruising but reservation was cancelled due to typhoon. Frustrated!
11am, our frustration led to Portofino Beach Resort in Mactan for lunch. Enjoyed with the strong waves in the beach even the typhoon was smilingly passing through. Back to the hotel after two hours.
3pm, wet toured on the sacred Cebu Taoist Temple, the famous Sto. Nino and Magellan’s Shrine and lighted candles at Cebu Cathedral.
After a few solemn minutes, we headed to SM-Cebu for island delicacies.
Dinner at local’s suggested resto, STK ta Bay Restaurant before going back to the hotel.

DAY THREE

Everyone prepared their baggage for check out except me. My flight going to Davao City was on the next day. The rest of my companion will be at 6pm to Manila. The weather was a sunny today unlike a rainy yesterday.

7am, my companion checked out from Diplomat Hotel while I transferred to another room of the hotel. We’re early for our day tour in Shangri La Resort and Spa in Mactan.  8am, we arrived at the resort and the day tour costs P2,000 per person. Amenities and lunch was complimentary.

12nn, buffet lunch was ready and the whole afternoon was spent enjoying the white beach and huge pools of the resort.
5pm, I checked out from the resort and back to the hotel. The rest were going to the airport.
7pm, solo dinner and watched movies at a shopping mall, Ayala Center.
11pm, back to the hotel and checked out at 3am for my morning flight.