A Day in Paradise called Shangri-la in Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines
STORY: Every now and then, we want our trips to be hassle and worry-free. Every now and then, we want to splurge a little, and invest in trips that aren't necessarily cheap but somehow feels worth it.
What happened to me a couple of months ago proved to be a blessing in disguise.I missed my flight to Dumaguete. Long story - I got drunk, overslept, haven't packed. I'm the most responsible traveler ever.
As I rush to the airport with nothing but hopes of finding the next available flight, I realized all my dreams of heading to Sumilon Island became non-existent. With several hours transit from Dumaguete Airport then boat transfer to the islands, not to mention the time constraint as i need to be back to Cebu City before dusk, it’s a big joke to push through with this plan. I needed to decide where should i head first. I’d like to keep myself cool but with jacked up prices heading to Cebu, I wondered if I had choice.
Apparently, none.So I skipped my supposed plan to Sumilon, and headed straight for Cebu City instead. Bought my tickets which cost more than my round trip ticket and accepted my fate. My plans for an island getaway was scheduled next day so I had a free day to roam around in Cebu. Now, where to go?
I arrived at the airport a few hours later. I tried browsing my Lonely Planet: Philippines book but i thought of just going wherever. I planned so much the past few days, i ended up not doing anything at all. So, why bother? It's nice that at the airport, you can already shop for tour packages. I wanted a day tour where there's a beach but still near the city. With a choice between Maribago and Shangri-la, I chose the latter for obvious reasons. It's Shangri-la, of course!
As the kind gentleman dressed in true Shangri-la fashion picked up my rucksack, I knew this is the kind of treatment only the rich can experience. I rode the private transfer for free and found myself in the company of other guests: a wealthy businessman and his lovely wife, a few Korean couples yet again, and even a local noontime show host. There I was, all scrumpy and looking ridiculously out of place. But i can still remember the joys of being one with the rich and famous.
I went for the kill and finally decided I wanted a day trip to Shangri-la Mactan. Even though I wasn't staying for the night just because I couldn't possibly afford yet, the lovely guest relations officer escorted me to the main office where I paid a sum for the trip. For about P3000 or about $55, i got an orange stub and P300++ worth of food allowance i can use at any of the restaurants inside the resort. I was so ready to do absolutely nothing and experience the world-class amenities of Shangri-la Mactan Cebu.
After eating the biggest pound burger in the world, and the most expensive coca-cola ever, I still had a couple of bucks left from my food allowance. So, I did what any health buff would do and order fresh fruit platter which I later on enjoyed by the beach.
I sat there alone but happy. I was looking at the others who seem to fancy a great day at the beach. While it’s raining hard in Manila, the sky was cooperating in this side of the country. The sun was shining, the clouds were clearing up and I was enjoying my second glass of Sangria in spectacular Shangri-la.
If you ask me, "Is it worth it?" Hellsssyyyeeaaah!
"Will I do it again?" I say, in a heartbeat.
One staff came up to me, with a bewildering look, asked me why was I alone? I just smiled. In a beautiful resort in paradise, how is it that one person cannot bring someone special? I guess, i didn't know what to say. She knew it.
REALIZATIONS: That night, I checked in at my real accommodations for the night at the heart of the city. The room was forgettable, the experience was so forgettable, too. How can i complain? I don't have money. I realized… oh well! Life must go on. At least for a day, i made my dream come true!