Plantation Bay Resort & Spa – Top 25 Resorts in Asia

It’s the end of May. For some, this could be an ominous sign of huge back-to-school expenses. For many Filipinos who habitually loaf on beaches, this could only mean one thing – summer is almost over, a heart wrenching and invincible truth.  And I’m one of the many who feel the same. And in respect of that feeling, I decided to pay a short visit to one of the City’s nearest and well-known resorts called Plantation Bay Resort and Spa.

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Plantation Bay Resort and Spa has been listed as one of the top 25 resorts in Asia by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.

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Located in Marigondon, Mactan Island, Cebu, it’s a thirty minute to an hour drive from Cebu City by cab for around ₱200.00 or more, 34 km from the City center and 16 km from the airport.

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The resort has a long list of recreational facilities, water sports and other activities.

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It also offers elegant rooms, fitness room, kid’s club, spa, coffee shops and world class restaurants that offer Asian and Italian cuisine.

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Here are some of the photos I got from my very short visit courtesy of my beloved cheap camera.

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This is generally what you’ll see when you enter the main lobby of the resort.

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They have two types of lagoons, salt water and freshwater.

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This is a portion of the freshwater area at the left side of the resort. The islet with a Fire Tree is the foremost part of Kilimanjaro Kafe.

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It’s a top-notch restaurant that offers Filipino and Continental food.

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This part here is the saltwater lagoon. Saltwater because they supply it with seawater which is located right beside the resort.

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The whole place is surrounded by body of water so they had to create narrow bridges and walkways so people can easily cross from one side to the other.

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Aside from bridges and walkways, they also have chauffeur-driven golf carts which will take you around 7 hectares of sun-kissed beaches, free of charge.

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One of its highlights and means of transpiration is the famous Tartanilla, a horse-drawn carriage that will also take you throughout the resort.

Trivia: They have the friendliest staffs that speak fluent American English.

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This swimming pool with a European gazebo is located at the back part of one of the lagoon view hotel rooms. I forgot what it’s called though. They have strange hotel room names. The resort have three types of rooms, the Pool View,  Lagoon View and the Lagoon Side.

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This is how a Lagoon Side room looked like.

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You can see a lot of this around the resort. This is called lagoon gazebo, one of the resort’s highlights.

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This is just one of the few man-made islets you can find around the area.

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A close up shot of one of the walkways. This is a clear indication that I already got bored. Well, I personally think that this should be featured on a Valentine”s Day. What do you think?

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This is the main lobby of Kilimanjaro Kafe which features international and Filipino favorites, a special children’s menu, and world-famous Breakfast Buffet.

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Biking is one of the resort’s recreational activities and is free of charge.

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The place is practically surrounded by man-made tourist attractions so if you are willing to go around the 7-hectare resort you will find many interesting things like this.

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Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is literally hidden away between clear blue bodies of water and tropical surroundings.

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Unlike the beach, here, you can enjoy the freshness of the waters while taking advantage of the cool shades of the huge trees.

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This is one of the many boardwalks you can find around the many lagoons and pools throughout the resort.

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This is the outermost part of the resort where you can enjoy parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boat rides.

FACILITIES

  • Restaurant
  • Coffee Shop
  • Lounge Bar
  • Beach Access
  • Outdoor Swimming Pool
  • Outdoor Jacuzzi
  • Business Center
  • Conference Rooms
  • Function Rooms
  • Water Sports
  • Gift shop
  • Concierge
  • Room Service
  • Laundry Services
  • Massage Services
  • Babysitting
  • Tennis Court
  • Games Room
  • Children’s Playground
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Hotel-Airport Transfers
  • Tour Arrangements
  • 24-hour Front Desk
  • Car Park
  • Backup Generator
  • 24-hour Security Guard

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ROOM FEATURES

 Poolside Room

  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot and Cold Shower
  • Cable TV
  • Minibar
  • WiFi Internet Access
  • NDD/IDD Telephone
  • Balcony
  • Outdoor Seating Area
  • Swimming Pool View
  • Swimming Pool Access
  • In-room Safe
  • 2 Queen Size Beds
  • Good for 2 Guests

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Lagoon View Room

  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot and Cold Shower
  • Bathtub
  • Cable TV
  • Minibar
  • Coffee and Tea Making Facility
  • WiFi Internet Access
  • NDD/IDD Telephone
  • Living Area
  • Balcony
  • Outdoor Seating Area
  • Lagoon View
  • In-room Safe
  • 1 King Size Bed
  • Good for 2 Guests

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Lagoon Side Room

  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot and Cold Shower
  • Bathtub
  • Cable TV
  • Minibar
  • Coffee and Tea Making Facility
  • WiFi Internet Access
  • NDD/IDD Telephone
  • In-room Safe
  • Living Area
  • Balcony
  • Outdoor Seating Area
  • Lagoon View
  • Lagoon Access
  • 2 Queen Size Beds
  • Good for 2 Guests

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I was there for half a day taking pictures, roaming around the place like a lost corgi, wined and dined with my niece’s colleagues, so it was kind of fast forward experience and I got nothing much to tell.

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I hope the few photos I posted were enough to give you the idea of what the place can offer.

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I was asked if I was paid to do this. My answer is no. Nobody paid me to do this, I’m just here to share my experience and show the world what my cheap camera can do.

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“When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am.”

RIP, the world will remember.

The Daily Post

Maya Angelou by Spanglej, CC BY-SA 2.0.Maya Angelou by Spanglej, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.

Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin — find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that it was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.

When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how…

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MY EPICUREAN SCHTICKS

thephoenixyarns

Bon Palabok Appétit

“A Palabok Recipe with a Little Twist”

My Bon Palabok Appétit

          Pleasure of food is the greatest good. This has always been my motto since I started learning how to cook. Whenever my creative juices begin to drip, I suddenly take more time to make my food presentation as enticing as possible before serving it. Why? Because this is where I initially derive my pleasure. It makes me happy when an ordinary food looks extraordinarily good. I usually cook for my family and I find great joy whenever I see them satisfied with what I prepared for them. It’s an added bonus when they compliment what they saw aside from what they tasted. I am not chef, although I dream to become one. Since it costs a lot of money to become a Chef de Cuisine by profession, more than my allocation…

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Lanipao Rainforest – Cebu’s Hidden Treasure

Although the Philippines has been known for its tropical climate, ironically, Filipinos are still fond of summer. We welcome one of the warmest seasons like how people from colder countries do. And since it’s the start of summer, travelers and beach bums are starting to work on their to-do-lists because in the Philippines, summer means party.

Well, I’m not much of a traveler but I love the beach like how I love getting a free meal. I love the sea, its musky smell, its brilliant color, the feel of the shifting sand beneath my feet and finally, the awesome booties scattered everywhere like trash. Yes, like trash.

Now let me tell you what’s on my summer bucket list for the last decade:

1. Beach

2. Beach

3. Beach.

Doesn’t it surprise you? Well, I think it should.

I’m always excited to go to the beach and get myself toasted regardless of my current relative mass. There is something about summer that changes a person’s mood or aura in a more positive manner. It doesn’t only change a person’s personal outlook, it also intensifies the jubilant atmosphere that we already have. I, for one, would involuntarily turn into a masochist during summer, beating myself up with ultraviolet rays (so help me God).

But just a week ago, I decided to give my bucket list a little revision. Just for a change. I wanted to do something new or go to a slightly different place other than the beach. Maybe go to a lake or mountain climb or maybe just do a simple road trip. But I know road trips can sometimes be deceiving because it often leads me to beaches. Luckily, a friend told me about a place near the city where we can hang out with and have our summer kickoff.

The place is located in the mountainous part of Guadalupe, Cebu City called Lanipao Rainforest, a twenty to thirty minute drive from Guadalupe proper by motorcycle locally known as habal-habal. Fare is between forty to fifty pesos depending on how good you are at haggling.

So to satisfy your curiosity, here are some amateur photos we took with my infamous cheap camera.

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This is the gated entrance. We were greeted with huge trees, thick bushes and fresh mountain air. The entrance doesn’t have a doorbell, you really have to call the caretaker out to be able to get in.  At the left side are outdoor wood log table and chairs. At the right side of it is the base of a mountain.

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This is the right side of the entrance. The edifice serves as a front office that didn’t have a receptionist.

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This is the opposite side of the entrance. The blue tin roof under the mango tree is actually a tree house  where
the caretaker lives. The garden pavilion is for their pets.

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And this is me trying the infamous “selfie”. I was trying to get a full view of the entrance but failed. Those colorful objects hanging on the tree were actually Christmas lanterns. Maybe the caretaker got too lazy to took them down.

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We had to go down by this concrete stairway in order to access the swimming pool. Yes, the water hose is a part of it. If you’re too stupid not to watch your steps, you’ll surely reach the pool head first.

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This castle-like deck serves as the base of the twin slides. And yes, there’s the water hose. I’m starting to think it’s part of the exterior design.

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This is one of the cottages/kiosks/shack which is made of nipa and bamboo. It will cost you 250 for a day and ₱1200 if you wanna stay overnight. 

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This is how the shack looked like up close. Very typical and user friendly.

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This is how the first pool looked like from our shack. The pool itself is surrounded by canopy of native trees. 

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From our shack, we had to take few more steps to reach the first pool. Oh yes, the water hose.

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My friends showed their underarms off while enjoying the slide. 

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This is how the slides looked like when viewed from the pool. What’s so special about it is unlike most slides, they were supported by the ground itself going downhill.

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The area is enclosed with mountains on each side and is practically surrounded with variety of plants and trees in all shapes and sizes. You can even see huge chunks of limestone everywhere. 

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A late afternoon view of the place when viewed from a higher ground. Lanipao Rainforest is mainly located at the very edge of a stream in Sapangdaku, Guadalupe. When we got their the stream was all dried up so I don’t know how it is going to look like when there’s water in it.

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The kids pool is located at the lowest part of the area. The pool were divided into three parts according to depth. The largest shack can also be found at the lowest level opposite to the pool. 

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On the photo is a huge rock in front of the kids pool. As I have mentioned earlier,  chunks of rocks can be seen everywhere because the place is a part of a dried up stream.

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Taken in the lowest part of the place nearest to the stream with part of the larger shack seen on the photo.

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The place also has playground for kids. On the photo is a playhouse made of wood and plastic which is great for toddlers and even bigger kids.

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The playground, although underdeveloped, is promising.  It can surely be one of the place’s highlights once it will be fully developed.  This kids section is soon to have zip line for kids and motor rides.

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In the opposite side of the place across the stream, adjoined by an iron bridge are two developing villas. They are going to be fully furnished cabins with small kitchen and two rooms for ₱4,500 a night and each can accommodate 4 to 6 persons.

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This is the front view of one of the villas. The exterior part were designed to look like round timbered walls but
they’re actually concrete walls at a closer look.

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This is the villa’s interior. I was trying to take a picture of its bedroom at the second level but the paint was still wet at that time and I didn’t want to mess it up so you can only see a small portion of the area. It is designed to maximize space which is good for small houses like this.

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On the photo is the tiny kitchen and the bathroom.

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This is the marbled stairway from the villas down to the bridge. And since there’s an ongoing construction, wood pieces, ropes and water hose can be seen here. Yes, the infamous water hose.

If you are a nature lover or a conservationist, this place is just right for you. It’s peaceful and relaxing and is great for recreational activities. Just be careful with your kids on those rocky slopes, concrete stairways and the stream itself especially on rainy days. And one more thing, you must bring enough foods because there are no stores in the area and the resort itself only offers soft drinks. I remember seeing a “No alcoholic drinks allowed” sign somewhere but it looked too old and abandoned and the paint was hardly visible so I’m not so sure if they’re still implementing it. The area is a dead end so if you don’t have a car, make sure to tell the habal-habal driver to take you back to Guadalupe church on a specific hour.

My overall experience in Lanipao Rainforest was great with the place’s unique feel and the presence of my fun loving friends. If I were to rate the services and the place itself from 1 to 10, I’d give it a 6.

Basic Expenses:
₱8.00 – jeepney fare to Guadalupe church
₱100.00 – habal-habal fare (back and forth)
₱50.00 – resort’s entrance fee
₱250 – daytime cottage

₱250/day – cottage
₱1200/night – cottage
₱4500 /night – villa (good for 6)

iPhoneography: A Complex Form Of Photography

I have always said that I am not a professional photographer but I can capture moments. As I thought about it, I came to realize that it might just be another form of defense mechanism because as much as I love photos, I don’t have a professional camera all this time. But mind you, that doesn’t stop me from living by that statement. I still capture moments using my cheap camera which I bought for only 3,000 during a yearly markdown sale from TTI (Thinking Tools, Inc.) and my ever loyal iPhone 4S. I am a self proclaimed iPhoneographer. Well, you end up calling yourself anything when you can’t get to the professional side of it to pacify your frustration.

Anyway, as I was scanning through the virtual pages of my virtual journal called Facebook, I came across old photos I took with my iPhone 4S during my Christmas vacation in my hometown called Salug, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s in the easternmost part of Mindanao. The nearest cities are Dipolog and Dapitan City. In case you still haven’t heard of these cities, maybe you want to use the free-for-everyone Google search engine this time.

Merriment aside, my small hometown can be categorized as one of the poorly developed towns in the entire Region not because of its political system or community issues (okay, I’m not sure about political issues), but because the landmass has been privately owned by individuals so that investors had a hard time entering the area.  This is the main reason why the place literally looks the same since it officially became a town.

And because there are no establishments to go to, no source of entertainment aside from your home TV, no diversions at all, people end up nature trekking. And yes, it’s what I always do. When I go home, I turn myself into a conservationist in a snap. And that is the origin of these photos. Take a look.

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This photo was taken at 5:00 AM in Malaknit ridge, a 20 minute walk from our house. I and my niece were originally planning to cross the mountain barrier between our town and its nearest village but we eventually got lost because the trail that was supposed to be there disappeared. So we ended up following a different route and found ourselves on a cliff overlooking the sea. It wasn’t easy going down as the jagged rocks can tear your underfoot apart. But once we got there, our effort was paid off because the place itself was definitely a token. It was such a sight to behold.

Trivia: It took me 20 clicks before capturing this dramatic scene (well, at least for me).

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This young boy braving himself against the raging waves was my instant model from our neighborhood who went with us in our epic failed trek. Sitting there wasn’t easy for him because the big waves knocked him down every time they hit the rock.

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The distant cliff was where we came down from. We were supposed to go mountain climbing so we were wearing shoes, we brought cheap cameras and not-so-expensive cell phones when we got to the place. It was a nerve wrecking experience as we had to submerge ourselves into the water in order to be able to reach the shoreline in the other side of the cliff.

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One of my most dramatic captures. If you notice, the tone here is a little different from the others. That’s because I used HDR light photo effect for this picture.

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This photo was taken in the same place but on a different day.

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I have lots of this photo because I was trying to capture the transition of the sunset but I didn’t want to post all of them here and get you guys bored. There’s just too many of them.

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This is my niece who came along with me during our epic failed nature trekking. Take a look at what she wore.  I was also wearing similar outfit and we had to submerge into a neck-level seawater later with our shoes on and our hands toward the sky holding on for our cell phones’ and camera’s dear lives.

So this is what I often do when I go home. Bond with family, bond with childhood friends, talk about childhood memories, laugh from the gut, bond with nature, shout from the mountain top, watch as the hermit crab makes a hole in the sand, take amateur photos, stargaze, follow mysterious trails and get lost. Upon this write, there came a realization that I might have been wrong about thinking that there are no forms of entertainment in our less progressive hometown. In fact, there are hundreds of things that I can do which I don’t usually do in a hyperactive city I live in. But I won’t be able to see it without free will. And the key to seeing the best things that no modern cities can offer is to open your heart and mind. 

Behind the scene footage of my unplanned mobile photography.