Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 Must Check Out Areas at Cebu White Sands Resort

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Along with fellow bloggers, Exotic Philippines was invited to come and visit one of the resorts in Mactan Cebu Philippines, the Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa.

Let me just note that this is not a hotel review, but just a featured hotel. I do hotel reviews but since I was just there for a day to talk with the owner and his family, I can’t provide any hotel review since it’s purely just viewing the hotel, talk and dinning with the family who owns the resort – which was a pleasure to meet them.

The Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Though I’ve been living here in Cebu for more than 10 years now, and just live near by the resort, it was my first time to enter and really see what’s inside the resort.

The name itself is a brand, there are other White Sands resorts owned by the Unchuan Development Corp. For years passing by this resort, I really thought that it’s one of the expensive accommodations here in Cebu, a resort that I can’t afford and where rich people stay. But then when I entered the resort, it was welcoming and feels at home. It’s just like you own a house with huge ground or lot area.

Comparing the size of the lot area of this resort, it’s not as big as other resorts in Mactan, but it’s a place where you’ll surely can relax and feel at home. I’m not that type of person who’s really comfortable with high class hotels and I usually feel out of place. So, I really appreciate the environment and ambiance of this resort, I feel more like being at home or visiting a friend's home.

Here are the areas at Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa that I think you want to know more about and that you must try out.

The Rooms

The owner of the resort tours us around the resort and of course, they let us see their rooms and here they are. Sadly, because I forgot to take notes I wasn't able to pin point which rooms is which - since there are 3 types of rooms that they offer.

Here's one of their oldest rooms, this room is one of their rooms from the start (if I remember it right, it's been around for 18 years) and look at the room. It's so clean, well maintained, classic but still beautiful!

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

At the back of the sofas, there are two beds where one can fit 2 persons and the other is just one. I believe it's equivalent to a family room but it's their deluxe room.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

I'd say that this is my favorite. It looks so comfy that I wasn't able to stop myself from sitting on it. I have to, I wanted to, love it!

Now, below is I believe the one they call the courtyard room. I just love the colors, it's so warm and the bed looks so comfy.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

If you're looking for a modern room, then book their Mabuhay guest room which is below.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

It has a terrace that you can hang out, and the nice thing about it that I think honeymooners will like is...

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

See that window? if you'll turn off or open the blinds, then you'll see everything inside the toilet room in black and white. Naughty! Naughty!

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

If you're looking for a room good for two (2) then here's another Mabuhay guest room for 2.

As for the room rates, they are:

Room Type
1 Night Stay
3D/2N Stay
Courtyard Villas
Courtyard Junior Suite
Supreme Room

If you're more than the capacity of the room, they charge P1,500/night for adults (I think the extra bed is included) with breakfast and P900/night for kids.

The Restaurants

We were able to have our lunch with the family who owns the resort, and I tell you their food is really good. I totally forgot the name (see I forgot the name, I was so focus on eating it) but it was like a steak or something.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

I do have photos of the meal but since I took the picture using my phone with a low quality camera, it does not goes well with the post.

The Anahata Spa

I love massage and upon entering their Anahata spa made me want to just lay down and call someone to massage me. The aura and the feel of their spa is so relaxing that I bet, I'll fall asleep.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

I love the lighting's! The colors they choose, it's so cool! I'm not sure what's the tub for but I believe it's for the other services of their spa. Other than massage, they also offer body scrubs, body wraps, and facials.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Their message have lots of variations too! Including the traditional "hilot" massage, Thai massage, bentosa,  etc.

The Swimming Pools

If you don't like swimming at the beach like me, then check out their pools that looks like the head of Mickey mouse.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Look at the top view that I shot. It's like a hidden Mickey at the resort.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

The resort is a family friendly resort, the resort is also owned by a family so I think they did think about their guests with kids. So, if you've got kids who loves to swim, then they'll be just fine at the kiddie pool. 

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

You can relax and at the same time, be with your kids.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Sit down, get wet and watch your kids. If you fall asleep, no worries they have people watching the pool.

The White Sand Beach

The Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa is called "the white sands" for a reason. They do have REAL white sands at their beach that have been there from the start. It was preserved by the owners, they did not buy it somewhere and put it there and I was running around the seaside at the white sands.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

The girl is Mary by the way, she's also a blogger. The one she's standing from is actually the second restaurant of the hotel, that is the Buenavista restaurant.

The Royal Koi Fish Pond

The owner Mr. Unchuan is fond of the Koi fish, but wait, what's this falls doing here?

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

It's a real false but a small one. It's one of the Koi fish pond at the resort wherein huge Koi lives in.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

 And the Kois loves me way too much or they know I'm pointing a camera at them.

They have 3 ponds for their fishes, and one of them is near the rooms.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

 And yes, they are all Koi fish at the resort. I can't count them. I'd guess they have almost a thousand Koi fish at the resort.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

So, the questionis, o Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa really have white sands?

I'll let you decide through this picture.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

If you just want to visit and relax for a day, the Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa also offers day use. For Monday to Friday, their rate is P750/head for adults and P400/kid wherein the P200 is consumable at their restaurant. As for weekends, their rate is P950/head for adults and P500/kid which includes an Eat-all you-can at their buffet from 11am to 1pm.

They also have day use rooms, wherein the entrance fee is waived for 4 persons, and a P1,000 conumable food at their restaurants and includes a free use of the pool and beach from 9am to 5pm.
Book Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Thursday, October 9, 2014

6 Reasons Why the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Wish to Increase the PSC

6 Reasons Why the Mactan Cebu International Airport Wish to Increase the PSC

I was at the Waterfront Airport hotel in Mactan to attend the public hearing on the plan to increase the Passenger Service Charge (PSC) for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

MCIAA wish to increase their international rate from P550 to P740, and P300 for domestic rate to P400. I’m using the word “wish” since this is just a proposal to increase the PSC (a.k.a. terminal fee) for the following six (6) reasons.

Last increase was way back in 1999 and 2006

It was way back in 1999 when they increased their international rate from P500 to P550, and 2006 when they increased their domestic rate to P300. 

MCIAA's financial revenue stream decreases 

With the last increase rate, and the current increase in all our expenses and costs it is possible that the revenue stream may decrease from about P1.5 Billion a year to only P500 Million after the Concession Agreement.

MCIA Projects and Upgrades

The MCIAA’s recently partnered with GMR-Megawide under a private-public agreement to help plan and do upgrades for the airport. Obviously, we’re really behind. It’s not fair to compare with international countries, so even we compare our airports (generally here in the Philippines) to other Asian we’re really behind.

Please note that GMR-Megawide is the current partner of the top rated airport in New Delhi, India. They’re the ones who brought the airport from 100+ ranking (if I’m not mistaken) to top 3 best airport around the world.

MCIA’s Service Improvement

Among of the promises that the representative of the GMR-Megawide that if we’ll pursue the plans, we have a huge improvement in terms of booking queue, luggage queue, ambiance, efficiency, look, feel, facilities, etc. Which is what most of us is demanding for, that we’ve been wanting for.

Increase Flights and Airlines 

At the moment, we only have one (1) flight a day from Cathay Pacific, one of the known airline in Asia. I’ve already took a ride with Cathay Pacific and they’re really a great airline. They’re kid friendly, great customer service and because they’re known they can totally bring a huge number of tourists directly to Cebu. 

Next year, they did promised to increase their number of flights and with that we really need to upgrade since there are also other airlines who are interested in having a direct flight to Cebu.

Other Countries have increased

Finding out that Japan (they have that earthquake proof airport) only charge P1,000 plus for their international and we will only charge P750 to at least improve the services and the facilities of the airport, I say why not? Right?

Please note that these six reasons that I’m sharing with you are the reasons that I see why we should really increase our PSC. But of course, I do hope that all the money will go to where they should go, and not somewhere else. Plus, with a promise that the expected results will be delivered. It may not be immediate, but I do hope within at least 5 years we’ll all be able to see what we’ve paid for.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

8 Sites to Check Out When You're in Argao

Argao Cebu Philippines

I’ve been tasked to go to Argao to do my job as an Ambassador of WithLocals few weeks ago. I’ve been there, I mean I just pass by there and just took the place for granted like there’s nothing much to see there, but I was wrong.

In the small town of Argao in Cebu Philippines, there are at least 8 sites that you can totally enjoy to eat, look, play and explore. Luckily, the WithLocals host Janine was able to come up with an itinerary for everyone to book and enjoy and for me to share here at the Exotic Philippines blog.

The Argao Hall of Justice

Yeap! That's the Hall of Justice in Argao that they're still using. Amazingly, the walls of this building are made built with white eggs some years ago. Imagine that!

Argao Cebu Philippines

If you're going to look at the wall a lot closer (especially in person), you'll actually going to notice some egg shells on it.

The Capilla Mortuario

I got goosebumps when Janine told me that this little chapel is actually where the aborted babies are buried for years.

Argao Cebu Philippines

Don't believe me? Then this plaque about the Capilla Mortuario will be able to prove it all and give you at least a bit of history about the chapel and the babies.

Argao Cebu Philippines

Now, check out what's inside the chapel.

Argao Cebu Philippines

The babies are inside there. I think there are also babies on the sides too. But really, I feel like they're there and watching me, that my hair are standing and my back bones are tingling. Scary!

Argao Cebu Philippines

Plus, if you're going to look up you'll notice that the chapel have the image of an angel child grabbing a baby.

Guilang's Tablea

Who doesn't love chocolate? Well, there are actually people who are not into it but there are just few of them - I think. But Lola Guilang of Argao Cebu have been making her very own 100% pure chocolate tablets since 1948 and it's addictive since I bought 2 packs of it, and I regret just buying 2 packs.

Argao Cebu Philippines

Look at that! When I was actually taking this shot, I can totally smell it and starting to drool. I just love Guilang's Tablea!

Alex Kafe

So it seems Alex Kafe is popular in Argao and it's just walking distance from the Hall of Justice.

Argao Cebu Philippines

Janine have already booked and reserved us a table and ordered some meals ahead and what surprised me is this.

Argao Cebu Philippines

Their specialty, the HumbaChoy. It's a Bachoy (famous in Ilo-Ilo) but topped with the famous and my favorite Humba. which was new to me. It also has noodles! If you want me to rate it, I'd say it's 2.8 stars.

Chitang's Torta

Love torta? Then try the famous torta of Argao, the Chitang's Torta! You might want to check out my blog post about the store and the opportunity to see the back of the store and how their torta is processed and made.

Argao Cebu Philippines

The Argao Nature Park

One of the sites that Janine took me is the Argao Nature Park, which needs some improvement but hey, they're trying and the place actually looks great for a small town.

Argao Cebu Philippines

Argao Cebu Philippines

Look at those tall trees!

Argao Cebu Philippines

I want to chill and work there. Wanna come?

Argao Cebu Philippines

This is a great spot for prenup photoshoot right?

Argao Cebu Philippines

And you'll also get to meet this guy and his friends who wants to grab me and the camera.

Bahal Max

The place is a bit far from the center but if you love wine, especially the coconut wine it will be a great visit. Get to know the owner of the Bahal Max and know how it is made.

Argao Cebu Philippines

The Mahayahay Beach Resort

After the whole day visiting these sites, we get to chill out at the Mahayahay Beach Resort just like this little guy here.

Argao Cebu Philippines

If you're there in a great time and catch the waves then you might want to do this too!

Argao Cebu Philippines

Go skim boarding!

For only $48.61 you'll be able to enjoy and get WithLocals Host Janine to tour you around and bring you to these sites. There are actually more sites added by Janine but these are the ones that I think I stands out.
Check Out the Argao Experience!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bohol’s Tarsier – Meeting the Cute but Strange Small Creature

Bohol Tarsier

One of the things I was excited about when WithLocals sent me to Bohol Philippines is that, the opportunity to finally meet this cute and strange creature in Bohol that we all know as the Tarsier. I’ve been to Bohol before this, when I was still little but as far as I remember we were not able to go to the Tarsiers. But I was able to meet the monkey at the Chocolate Hills before.

I was picked up by the WithLocals host that I verified on that day, and his name is Nelson. He has his own mini-van, and along with his wife they tour me around Bohol for only $40.82 per person for the whole day tour. And one of the destinations that are included is going to the Tarsier Permittee Corp. where the Tarsiers are protected.

As you enter the place, you'll be able to see this.

Bohol Tarsier

People lining up. That's if you're visiting on season. Line up there since you need to pay for the entrance fee to be able to see the Tarsiers in person.

Let's zoom in so that you'll know the pricing details for the entrance fee.

Bohol Tarsier

Basically, for students and senior citizens, they'll get P10.00 discount.

Next stop will be taking a short orientation. The instructions is simply these:

Bohol Tarsier

Please do follow the instructions, do not touch them, don't be too noisy and don't use your camera flash. I've heard that they'll get a heart attack and die. 

Once you're done taking the orientation, you have to go up and there are guides standing by some areas to show you where to go. That day, they're wearing red shirt and I was not able to take photos of them, because when I say you have to go up, I mean up the mountain and before we went to the tarsiers we just got back from the Chocolate Hills so I really did have a full cardio on this day.

Anyway, as you climb up you'll see huge leaves that is covering something, and that something is actually the tarsiers. You might want to check it since they're really small and do blend in with the brown leaves, just like this little guy.

Bohol Tarsier

I didn't noticed him at first since I didn't get it why the kids was really happy and look fond of looking at the brown big leaf - I was like, "you've never seen a big brown leaf kid?". But yeah, I was wrong, there's the little guy. Guess I need some glasses or they're that tiny.

Since there are these Korean family looking at the little guy above, the guide waved at me and point to another leaf. So I followed the guide and tadah!

Bohol Tarsier

I really find this one so cute, he's shy - not sure if it is a he or she here!

Let's zoom in again and see how cute and shy he is.

Bohol Tarsier

I saw him looking at me and I was like "ohhh...."

Didn't spend much time there, I was just there for about 20 minutes and we walked down to exit the area but I really love the place. Look!

Bohol Tarsier

I feel like I'm Tarzan - or should I be Jane?

You'll exit to somewhat an area where you can buy these.

Bohol Tarsier

Sorry if it's blurry because it's a bit dark and I was walking taking the photo. But yeah, they're souvenirs. They're not real tarsiers okay? There are bags, figurines, and a lot more.

And look! Just found the love of my life!

Though it was just for a short period of time, it was fun and a great feeling to finally meet these little guys. But then you must respect them and think of their safety.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alegre Guitar Factory – Cebu’s World Class Guitar Maker

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Ever wanted to have the best quality of guitar? Well, I really want to have my own guitar but the thing is the guitars don’t love me back. I’ve tried to learn playing it before but sadly, it is not access – obviously. But still, I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to learn to play it.

I’ve remembered on how much I really wanted to learn to play the guitar when I visited the Alegre Guitars last year. Which I realized that we’re just neighbors, not literally that they’re a couple of blocks away but I can totally walk from my house today to the factory.

The Alegre Guitars

The guitar factory is actually named after the Alegre family. The Alegre family is actually the pioneer in guitar making here in Cebu Philippines turning it into a business. Right now, the owner of the factory is actually the third generation of the Alegre family which is Mr. Fernando Alegre.

As for my visit to these world class guitar makers, it was an interesting and educating visit to the factory, seeing these skilled guitar makers making a quality guitar just right in front of us (the visitors). Of course we were not able to finish everything from start to finish, it may take us a whole day to watch but hey, at least we were able to really see how guitars are made.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

The way these skilled guitar makers are really focus, that my flash can't even bother them you're surely assured they're trying their best to make you the best guitar!

Now over here, our tour coordinator from Cebu Trip Tours (a travel agency) explained what these parts of the guitar are doing on the wall.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

These are actually the type of materials you can choose from that you want your guitar is made out of. There are a lot of types of woods that I can't even memorize them and list them here, but I believe they do have the most expensive material that can give you the best quality of guitar - quality in terms of sound and durability.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Obviously, the guitars above needs some varnishing and finishing and of course some strings.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Now these guitars needs something. I don't know what exactly but I'm guessing the finishing and the label of the Alegre Guitars and oh! The design.

After all the hard work and focus on working on the guitar, here are some guitars that you can choose from:

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

The guitars on the bottom of the photo above is worth (I think) around P1,000

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

The guitars above are worth P9,000 and the guitar hard case is included.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Now for the guitar (dirty white in color - or am I color blind) it's worth P2,700 which includes a guitar soft case.

As for the following guitars, I'm not sure how much it's worth but to give an idea on how much their guitars worth are around P1,700 to P65,000 depending on the size and the type of wood the guitar is made of. But check out these great quality guitars:

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Now, if you're looking a guitar for your kids, they also have smaller guitars worth around P700 to P1,000 but these kind of guitars may worth around P150 to P300, again depending on size and quality.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Now if adding more stuff on your luggage to bring with you to your province or country is too much, these guitar souvenirs may satisfy you.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

If you're still looking for a different item other than the guitar, they also have these items that you may want to hang on your door.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

Different colors are also available.

Alegre Guitars Cebu World Class Guitar Makers

As for the prices of the souvenirs, the key chain and similar items may worth around P50 to P100. But better prepare more money since there might more other items you'll be interested in purchasing from the Alegre Guitars other than the professional guitars.

Guitar Buying Tips at Alegre Guitars

I'll be able to give you just a few tips on buying a guitar and they are:

  • Test it out. Try the different sizes available and see which best suits you and of course test the quality.
  • Ask their staff. If you don't have an idea on which one you want to have, then ask their staff who's standing by, playing the guitars. Yes, there are actually guitar players there playing you some of the favorite music. Feel free to request.
  • Price Negotiation. You can totally ask the cashier if they can give you a lower price. Try to negotiate! They can surely give you a lower price. *wink*

How to Go to Alegre Guitars?

Sure! You can take the taxi but if you're in a budget you may try the local style. There are two ways to get there, via Vhire (van for hire) or the jeepney/multicab.

Via Vhire:
  1. Take the Vhire at SM. You may ride the Camella Gawas/Camella Homes Vhire.
  2. Stop at Hmall. You may ask the driver to just drop you there. If you're going back to Cebu city, you can go back here and get the Vhire ride to SM.
  3. Take a tricycle to Alegre Guitars. Just tell the driver, it's about 5 minutes away from the factory already (and from me).
Transportation Expenses (one way):
Vhire - P30/person
Tricycle - P8/person

Via Jeepney/Multicab:
  1. Take the jeepney going to J Centre Mall. There may be some changes to the routes (since they do every now and then) if you're here, but to make sure ask if they're going to "highway Mandaue".
  2. Take the jeepney going to Tamiya or to Gaisano Pusok. Right now, there's a traffic going to Tamiya so you can take the  other way around.
  3. Take a tricycle to Alegre Guitars which is Abuno. Just tell the driver that you're going to the Alegre Guitars, the one at Pajac Abuno.
Can't give you specific on the expenses for the jeepney ride since I'm not sure for its rate but the current minimum fare is P8.00 per person.

The Alegre Guitars is known for the quality of their guitars, even international artists go to their factory just to buy guitars themselves. Including the A1 group!

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