Day 3 & 4: Cebu-Bohol Getaway (Part 2: Mactan, Cebu)

As we stepped out of Gran Tierra Suites, we jumped in a taxi and proceeded to Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort where we will be spending our last night in Cebu before departing for Manila the next day. We chose to splurge a bit on our last night’s accommodation since we saved a few pesos from the do-it-yourself city tour and 2-night accommodations.
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Marcelo Fernan Bridge

It took us about 45 minutes to 1 hour (We can’t really recall, but it was surely more then 30 minutes) before finally arriving at the resort. Before you can enter the huge wood/steel gate, a guard will confirm your purpose in the resort.

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Welcome to Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort!

The hotel lobby which looks more like a large gazebo is located near the main gate. We approached the front desk personnel to check-in and to inform them that we have a reservation; but after a few minutes they informed us that there is no reservation listed under our name. We then told the staff in-charge that we  actually already received the confirmation email a few days before our trip to Cebu and we even called that morning in order to double-check our room reservation. Good thing we made a print-out of our itinerary including the email we received which we handed to the front desk staff who informed us that we had no reservation, of course he (resort staff) had no choice but to allow us to check-in Angry smile.
Tip # 10: Make a printed copy of your itinerary and include all the information you will need like the name of the person you contacted, the address of the hotel/ restaurant/ resort/ mall/ etc, the contact numbers, and most especially the reservation confirmation like emails.

Although we started off on the wrong foot, the pros were justified by the cons. While our room was being prepared, the staff provided us with cold towels and drinks; the front desk personnel also handed us a copy of the map of the resort.
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The place is like a small community inside a community; as you can see, you need a map in order to find your way around the vicinity.

Our room is situated at the Amuma Spa Wing; it is one of the Amuma Spa Suites facing the pool area. The room alone was already a haven that we didn’t want to leave, but precious time is ticking fast which was why after taking a short rest and changing to our swimming outfits we headed out to go on a tour around the resort.
amumaamuma.
Photos courtesy of Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort Website.

First Stop: Marine Wildlife Lagoons.
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There are actually two lagoons, one is filled with sharks and small fishes and the other is filled with groupers and more small fishes. This was the highlight of HIS’ day due to the fact that he also owns a saltwater aquarium back home; HIS fascination for these creatures is timeless.
We were lucky that the feeding time for the sharks was a few hours before our arrival time and we still had enough time to enjoy the resort facilities before their feeding schedule.

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Second Stop: Maribago Seven Dolphins

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The Seven Dolphins are recognized to be mythical creatures who became friends with Lapu-Lapu, a hero who hails from Cebu. This representation is the centerpiece of the resort and it’s hard to miss it because of the relaxing ambience it provides even under the scorching heat of the sun.
Third Stop: Main Swimming Pool
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This is only one of the three pools inside the resort’s vicinity. It is located near the Allegro Restaurant which is also the main restaurant.

Fourth Stop: The Beach

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The beach is covered with white sand and there are several huts available for resort goers. This place is great for tourists who are looking for peace and relaxation; but it is also desired by those adventure-seeking people who want to try the different water sports like jet-skiing, scuba diving, island hopping, and snorkeling.
Fifth Stop: Oyster Bar and The Cove
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Customers can order from the freshest catch found in the different saltwater aquariums inside the restaurant. We were not able to judge the taste of the cuisine because we just had our lunch at CNT Lechon before heading to Maribago.
Sixth Stop: Alegrado Island
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This island is a man-made island which can only be accessed by the resort’s in-house guests. A boat is needed in order to reach the Alegrado Island. There are also two platforms connected to the island which serves as a view deck.
Since we brought our own snorkeling equipment, we were able to snorkel and were again fascinated by the rich underwater environment. There were cleaner shrimps and gobies, as well as other unidentified fish species.
Tip # 11: As posted in our Cebu-Bohol Getaway Day 1 entry, if you are a water/ beach/underwater-loving human then you have to INVEST on a durable underwater camera that can withstand the wear and tear of the different water-related adventures. Try the Pentax Optio WG-1 Adventure Series 14 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom (Black).

After the marine life encounter we requested for a boat going back to the main beach. Then we opted to try out the main swimming pool for a few minutes before finally going back to the lagoon just in time for the feeding schedule.
Seventh Stop: Dolpo Kids’ Club Recreational Area
From there we were about to head back to our room to get ready for the Sunset Chillout Cruise when some resort staff offered us to join the Manager’s Cocktails Event which was open for all guests until 5:00pm. We joined the event for about 20 minutes; there were chips, nuts, dried mangoes (our fave!!!), non-alcoholic cocktail drinks, and more. Another perk is you can fill a plate with any of the snacks provided and then bring it to your room, which we did Laughing out loud.
Coming up: Sunset Chillout Cruise and Sutukil (Day 3 & 4: Cebu-Bohol Getaway (Part 3 Mactan, Cebu))

A Sneak-Peek: The 4 Days- 3Nights Cebu-Bohol Getaway

View from the top before landing.
Travelling on a very tight budget can sometimes be devastating. We know this for a fact due to our first-hand experiences. And it actually found a seat during our Cebu-Bohol Escapade.
The Obstacles.
1. Airfare – Getting the best deal for airplane tickets can be challenging because regular fare rates can be quite expensive (plus never forget the terminal fees: Php200/person for Domestic flights), sometimes it will consumer almost 50% of your budget. Hence, it is advisable to book your tickets at least 6 months in advance in order to score cheaper seats. Also, last-minute bookings cost about 50-70% more. 
Another option, and the best so far, is to watch-out for ONLINE AIRLINE SEAT SALE. The prices can be cut from 70-99% off (other charges i.e. Fuel Charge, Seat Selector, and Web Fees are not included). This is common in many airline companies including Cebu Pacific Air. Visit their website regularly and sign-up for the latest seat-sale updates.
As for our ticket, we booked it 10 months ago from a SEAT SALE PROMO from Cebu Pacific Air.
2. Accommodations – This is the most common obstacle that people encounter when travelling to a new place. If you have relatives residing in Cebu for example it won’t be a problem, but if you are like us who are new to the place intensive research needs to be done. During the research process, we found other posts from various travelling bloggers very helpful which led us to Gran Tierra Suites.
PROs:
Affordable: The hotel rates range from Php 789.00 – Php 1,189.00 depending on the room type and the number of people who will be occupying the room. The price is very reasonable especially with the amenities that go with it. Based on our experience, the room where we spent two nights is very similar to hotels in Manila which cost about Php 2,500/ night.
Very friendly staff: From the time we called to make our reservations up until our departure the staff including the security guards made us feel very welcome.
Free pastries: We forgot to take photos but once you check-in you will be given complimentary pastries c/o Cebu Cardinal Bakeshop.
Unlimited supply of drinking water: Along the hallway, you will see two water dispensers which have hot and cold features. So you can just buy instant coffee or powdered iced tea and enjoy breakfast and snack time inside your room. (A cost-cutting option). Cups and glasses are provided in the room.
Clean room and bathroom: Considering that this is a budget hotel, we were very skeptical at first because honestly, it is impossible to get a decent room at the very cheap price. However, our point of view changed the moment we entered the hotel lobby.
The staff don’t expect tips: During our arrival, the hotel attendant helped us with all our bags as we went to the second floor where our room is situated. After he turned on the lights and the air conditioning unit, he was just about to leave when we handed the tip, he was somewhat puzzled, shocked, and thankful; then he said thank you and then finally left the room.
Convenient location: Gran Tierra Suites is only 5 minutes away from Fuente Osmena Circle, 10 minutes away from Ayala Mall and 15 minutes away from SM City Cebu.
CONs:
Unfamiliar hotel to many taxi drivers: As much as we would like to take the jeepney we found it a bit time consuming to learn the twists and turns in order to reach the hotel which was why we stuck to taxis. Since this is a somewhat new hotel, 2 out of the 3 taxi drivers were not familiar with the hotel name which is why it is best that you always keep a copy of the hotel address (particularly the street name).
No elevator: We did not really find it very inconvenient since our room was located directly in front of the staircase going to and from the first floor.
Here are some of the photos taken inside our room:

The bathroom was very clean with complimentary soap and shampoo. The shower provides hot and cold water.

This is their DOUBLE ROOM which is good for 2 (max. 3 pax). Additional Php 200/ extra pax with bed, Php 150/extra pax without bed.
It was really great that we found this hotel because we were able to save thousands of pesos, thus allowing us to splurge a bit on a pricey hotel when we transferred to Mactan Island during our third day. In Mactan, we were able to grab a great deal from Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort.
3. Tours – Many people especially international tourists spend 55-75% of their travel budget on tour packages and tour guides just for the convenience. But did you know that well planned do-it-yourself tours can cut your costs to more than 50%. During the planning phase of our Cebu-Bohol trip, we almost ended up signing for a package being provided by an online agency. But due to further research, we ended up following our do-it-yourself itinerary. The great thing about it is that it contained all the things that we wanted to do and all the places that we wanted to visit without going over the budget.
Tip: When planning your do-it-yourself itinerary, keep in mind the places that you really want to visit and start planning from there. But always remember to keep your plans organized. Print your itinerary and include the name of your contact persons, their contact numbers, and their addresses (especially for hotels/ dormitories/ resorts).
Those are the top three elements that travelers, including ourselves, find as very challenging to fulfill. But unlike any obstacle, this is the type that does not require years to solve; just be ready with your pen, paper, and computer/ laptop/ smartphone.
This is just a teaser of our Cebu-Bohol Adventure.

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