Friday 15 July 2016

Cebu Day 2: Swimming & Snorkeling at Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary

Although I was feeling a lot better (the medicine that my mum gave me yesterday must have worked *cheers*), none of us wanted to wake up the next morning. Except the only morning person in our group: my mum. It's her habit to get up at 5am every morning for work so she was already up by 6 or 7am. Despite our relunctance, we eventually got up and headed out for breakfast.

There are two restaurants that you can have your breakfast in, namely: Tides (located at the Main Wing, is bigger and has more variety of food) and Acqua (located at the Ocean Wing, is smaller but has an amazing view of the sea).

We decided to go with TIDES for our first breakfast as it was located in the same building (and subsequently try Acqua tomorrow).

Clockwise from left: Fresh organic wheatgrass smoothie made on the spot! The sister and mum loves it and got me to drink it to build our immunity;
Freshly made eggs and hot porridge;
Japanese section.

There was so much variety that the pictures I took really didn't do it enough justice. There's Japanese, Korean, Western, Chinese, Indian and even a section for kids!

The kids section is all cheery and fun!
The food is placed at the kids' height so they can get the food themselves without adult help =)
My breakfast, made up of my favourite pancakes, eggs and sausages
Freshly made omelette
(there are two chefs cooking eggs so the queue is relatively short)

After breakfast, we went to check out the pool at the Main Wing.

Huge pool with different depths for different swimmers

My girl was so excited to try the huge slide at the pool!

Clockwise from left: She willingly climbed the stairs again and again to go on the slide;
For older kids only, adults not allowed (*sob*);
Only one slide but seems good enough.

The younger kids can't go on the slide but not to worry, there's a water playground with smaller slides located just beside it!

My girl enjoyed the smaller slides too!
The playground is a good size and perfect for the little ones =)

One thing I was impressed with was the life guards. There are a lot of them, one for every section of the pool and water playground!

Hardcore life guards always on the look out for dangers in the water

And they take their job very seriously. One life guard had to get up constantly to warn children (and inform their parents) not to cross the lines into the deeper part of the pool alone. Cassandra, the Director of Communications, informed us later that the life guards train and conduct mock rescues regularly to ensure that they are always ready for any possible situation in the water. They work closely with the medical staff of the resort's in-house clinic, which guests can go to if they require medical attention. Knowing that we are well-protected in the resort was very assuring to me. We were very impressed!

After a good swim, we had lunch with Cassandra at ACQUA, which specialises in Italian food.

The kids menu is presented on a pink frisbee!
The food that we ate, mainly pastas because.. who doesn't love pasta?

The food was really delicious! The tomato-based pasta was better than the cream-based in my humble opinion *laughs*.

We rested a while and couldn't wait to head to the beach to visit Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary, the resort's very own coral reefs and marine animals.

Shangri-La shares the responsibility of protecting the coral reefs of Mactan Cebu by looking after the Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary
Clockwise from left: Watersports counter where you can try jetskiing, kayaking, banana boating, parasailing, etc;
A board that gives you more information about the weather and tides;
Awesome view of the ocean from the beach!

You can rent snorkelling equipment from the Watersports counter or bring your own (we went with the former).

My girl putting on flippers for the first time (and not liking it!)
Taking various selfies of us on the beach and in the sea

To be honest, I have an irrational fear of the sea because it's so dark and full of unknowns (do you know that the sea is less explored than outer space?). And you know an OCD person needs to always be in control right? *laughs*

But I was determined to snorkel because I've heard that it was wonderful, plus it was not very deep and there's a life guard on duty so it's very safe. And the waters were so crystal clear that you can see the fish swimming pass and around you! Incredible experience!

Me snorkelling, with my girl clinging on to me for dear life because she, like her mother, was scared (haha)
The fishes and rocks we saw on the seabed
Sister trying to swim with girl clinging to her

There is a Coral Garden within the Marine Sanctuary that is bounded by ropes to inform everyone to be extra careful to not tread on the corals when you're inside. There are a lot more fish in the Coral Garden so I strongly encourage you to cross those lines! =)

Coral Garden
We spotted a few Blue Seastars! It's the first time that I've ever seen them in their natural environment! Highlight of my trip =)

The girl decided that she had enough and went back to the swimming pool with my mum. The sister and I, however, decided to continue and ended up spending more than 2 hours in the sea. I tried to take nicer photos but I didn't have a really good underwater camera with me so this was the best I could do. You really need to come and experience it for yourselves to know what I mean =)

When the sky looked too dark for me to continue snorkelling (due to my irrational fear and all), the sister and I returned our gear and went to the Health Club
to enjoy their sauna and hot jacuzzi (they have a good size gym too but there's no way I'm going to the gym when I'm on a holiday!).

Sauna, steam room and jacuzzi in the female room

Do note that the above facilities are divided into male and female so some guests who are used to stripping down to their bare bodies (e.g. Japanese, Koreans, etc) might be completely stark naked when they are inside (as is their usual practice). I'm pretty used to it because of my experience with the hot springs in Hokkaido but the sister was extremely uncomfortable.

The sauna and jacuzzi were so relaxing! Feels so gooood! =)

After a day of swimming, we were ready for some food in our hungry tummies! It was back to Tides, where we decided not to go with their dinner buffet but order ala carte.

Tides restaurant
This live band will go from table to table singing a song for each table! Hard core if you asked me!
Ordered a burger, onion rings and noodles
Decided to try something different, a dessert that's the Filipino version of the Thai mango sticky rice that we're more accustomed to.
A word of caution, the dessert is very filling so don't attempt it alone.

There's a flash mob every evening where guests can join in the super enthusiastic staff in a dance. It was quite fun and entertaining to watch! =)

It was a lovely end to an awesome day =)

Continue to >> Cebu Day 3-4: Shangri-La Mactan Adventure Zone & Chocolate High Tea
<< Back to Cebu Day 1: Shangri-La Mactan Resort Family Room


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Cebu, Philippines 
as well as other travel itineraries!

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Disclosure: Complimentary 4D3N accommodation, breakfast, lunch and snorkeling were received from Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.
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