Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort, Camotes Island, Cebu

If you've had enough of roughing it out in Cebu, take a break and treat yourself to the luxurious yet affordable resort in Camotes Island: the Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort. 

After sleepless nights, long bus rides and plain roughing it out, we wanted to relax a bit and just... chill.  

We found Mangodlong by chance when we walked by. Perhaps it was meant to be. There was a staff member who saw us and invited us into the reception. She went through the rates and encouraged us to look around. Here's what we saw:

Reception area

Hang out place out near the beach

The neighboring resort.

The backyard. 

Here's where we hung out at night. If you're lucky, you'll see fireflies!

The pool bar

Infinity pool

The infinity pool at night. The restaurant's over at the left. 

The resort is kid-friendly, too! I found this cute.

We were supposed to book at another hotel but we found Mangodlong prettier. The room rates weren't bad! 

The standard room was just right for the three of us.
We just had to pay an extra Php 350 for the extra person.

According to the staff member, the standard room was just Php 200 more than the rooms of other resorts nearby. What's an extra 200 bucks, right? This resort seemed to be nicer than the others.

Three of us fit snugly on the bed.

Washroom... and TV!

Some rooms had patios!

Cabanas for the bigger groups.

The food in the resort was alright. It's not something that I would rave about, though. It was normal and filling. Compared to other places that we wandered off to for the day, this would be considered "fancy" already. (Please, correct me if I'm wrong.) Still, better to eat here instead.

The regular breakfast meal is Php 160: Tocino/Longganisa/Bacon with egg and rice. Comes with fruits and choice of coffee or juice. Not bad, considering we were at a resort.

Service to the max. Request for Giovannie (above) when you're there. Cute pa.

Free shuttle to/from the resort.

Mangodlong offers a packaged day tour, which we availed. The Php 1,500 is a group rate. The more people in the group, the less each person needs to pay.

This deserves a separate entry!

Just some room for improvement for Mangodlong:
  1. The reception should never be vacant. Most often than not, there wasn't anyone there. 
  2. Room 101 could be brighter. It was a bit too intimate for us friends. Hehe.
  3. Nothing beats having free Wi-Fi. Maybe it's got something to do with the lack of signal in the island.
  4. Easier adjuster for hot-cold water. Water temperature could get extremely bi-polar and it would take so long to switch from extremely hot to lukewarm. =/
At the end of the day, it's all worth it. My friends and I enjoying drinks by the beach.

Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort
(032) 583-9450, (032) 328-0500, (032) 318-4044
(+63) 0929-4598901

Click here to download our detailed 5D/4N Cebu itinerary.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day Tour in Camotes Island, Cebu

For what Camotes Island has to offer, I don’t think it's been getting the credit it deserves.

Sure, there are a few resorts around and parks set-up. Sadly, though, there weren't a lot of tourists. Or was it because we just happened to be there on a Monday? I swear. Camotes is a must-go-to place in Cebu.

Traveling from Cebu City to Camotes Island is easy: 
  1. Go to the Cebu City bus terminal bound for Danao City
  2. Take a non-aircon bus to the Danao Port - ~Php 70 
  3. Ride the M/V Jomalia Ro-Ro - Php 180 (non-aircon) -- Ride is around 2 hours.

Map of Camotes Island!
Click to enlarge! It's hi-res! 
Most of our friends were heading back to Manila early Monday morning while the three of us were headed to Camotes. Here's us roughing it out:

To save on cost, we just hung out at the lobby til 3:30AM before riding the bus to Danao. 

On the non-aircon part of the ro-ro. No need for aircon here!
5:30AM. We tried to get sleep but it was pretty difficult.

We've arrived!

We rode a habal-habal to go to our supposed resort. But when we saw that the resort beside it was prettier, we decided to check in there!

The resort where we checked in! Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort
This deserves a separate blog entry!

The resort offered a day tour which the three of us availed.

For Php 1,500 per group, we toured 5 places in around 6 hours! Better if there are more people in the group.

Here are the 5 places that we went to:

Personally, Lake Danao is something you can skip but since you're already in the area, you might as well see it. It's the biggest lake in the Visayan region and if you look at the map, it's a figure eight! 

The lake was pretty nice. Not advisable to swim in that particular area, though--better in the middle of the lake, perhaps. Lumot galore!

By the entrance of the park. There's a Php 15 entrance fee.

The boat ride is Php 500 and it will tour you around the lake. We skipped it.
(See more pictures of Lake Danao here.)

We had the beach all to ourselves. The sand was powdery, similar to that in Boracay. Of course, we all know that nothing beats the sand in Boracay. 

Here's where we spent around an hour or so. 

The whole beach to ourselves.

Feeling artsy with the waves.

The grassy sea bed
(See more pictures of Esperanza Beach here.)

Beaches are not the only attractions in Camotes Island. There are also caves such as this. Timubo Cave, in my opinion, is NOT to be missed. It's my ultimate favorite in Camotes! 

The entrance of the cave. Before you go in, don't forget to pay Php 15 for entrance!
I wasn't expecting anything grand--at all.

The ordinance beside the entrance. Try reading it aloud! Hehe.

It's a 3 minute walk going down to the main attraction.
No need for flashlights because the cave is well lighted. 

Stalagmites? Basta. Formations.
In fairness, the cave doesn't stink. There aren't any bat droppings like in Sagada.

You'll pass through some big puddles before reaching... 

This awaits you after the 3-minute descent.
The water's just right. Not too cold. Very inviting! And we had this all to ourselves!

The water is super clear! It was so relaxing to swim in, too!
I suggest wearing slippers while swimming. The rocks may hurt your feet.

There's also a grotto there.
Bawal kalokohan!

Super happy!

(See more pictures of Timubo Cave here.)

After much swimming, we went to Camotes Island's Baywalk to dry off. It's similar to the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard. 

This is the first baywalk in Camotes Island, which was built last 2009.
It's an "ideal place for recreation and relaxation in an ambiance of green and soothing breeze of fresh air."

Along the Baywalk Trail, there are ways for the people to exercise!

There's a mini bazaar / market here in Agora.

The stuff being sold in Agora.

Ukay-ukay beside Agora! Good finds for Php 20!
Some of the other shops around. We bought drinks for the night here!

By this time, we were hungry already so we grabbed some food to eat. The food's yummy, though not advisable for those with weak tummies. The place isn't really sanitary. But do it for the experience!

Here's where you can order some food if you're hungry.

Chicken - Php 45
Rice - Php 5
Coke - Php 30
(See more pictures of Baywalk here.)

We all thought it was the perfect way to end the day tour. This is probably the best beach yet. The best part is that we had it all to ourselves! In my opinion, this has the potential to be the next Boracay. But really, do we want it that way?

You can bring a volleyball and play! 

It was all to ourselves!

Skim boards can be rented for just Php 50!
Watch your toes! There are a lot of sea urchins in the deep end.
The perfect venue for a photo shoot!

The sunset was absolutely wonderful. 

(See more pictures of Santiago White Beach here.)

During our stay, preparations were being made for the Soli-Soli festival. A lot of dance rehearsals were on-going when we passed by the schools. Pabonggahan! You may want to consider going to Camotes in March during the Soli-Soli festival. Click here to find out more about Soli-Soli.

Oh, something interesting our tour guide mentioned... According to the locals, Camotes Island got its name from the Spaniards. When the Spaniards first landed on the island, they wanted to know the name of the place. The locals, who were harvesting sweet potatoes (kamote) at the time, thought that the Spaniards were asking what they were holding. “Camote”, the locals said. 
Follow @CamotesIsland on Twitter!
Click here to download our detailed 5D/4N itinerary.