I normally don’t travel during Philippine holidays, primarily because my work requires me to follow the US holidays, but also because I know everybody will be traveling then, and the prices go up. However, My birthday falls between Thanksgiving and Bonifacio Day this year, so when I chanced upon a Cebu Pacific seat sale, I quickly booked a trip to Bohol with my friends Sunshine and Bea.
Just a couple of days after that, I received an email from Deal Grocer, asking me to choose among their hotel deals for an overnight stay. I was still in Bulusan that time (September), and won’t be back in Manila until the end of October, so I thought, why not use the voucher for a stay on my birthday, during our Bohol trip?
I’ve visited the Subic Daco beach and the Juag Fish Sanctuary back in 2011. It was cloudy then, and the waves were pretty big, so it wasn’t quite as pretty. We were awed, but the photos aren’t too impressive.
It’s now the beginning of the summer season in the Philippines, and despite the threat of a typhoon coming this way, we were blessed with really good weather. Subic Daco really blew us away.
Last August, I finally bit the bullet and booked a flight to Cebu to finally make it out of the city and explore Bantayan Island. It just so happened that I won Airbnb credits at a contest, and there was a beachfront house listed. Perfect.
Traveling for almost 12 hours from my house to Sta. Fe is quite taxing, but that place was worth traveling by air, land, and sea. The weather is still quite cool in the Philippines this time of the year, and most of the locals are either recovering from the Christmas season or traveling to the Sto. Niño festivals in Kalibo, Iloilo, or Cebu. It’s mostly foreign tourists we saw in Bantayan, and there’s not a lot of them either.
In our family Viber group chat, my brother expressed his interest in joining the Cebu Marathon in January 2015. He’s excited by the lechon-shaped medal, but he laments that the rates for the good hotels are all too high. I told him to look for Harolds Hotel. He searched for the hotel on Agoda, and was surprised to see how cheap the rates are.
I found out about Harolds Hotel when Agoda arranged for me and my friend to stay there before we leave Cebu. Our flight was fairly early, and we felt much comfortable staying overnight in the city, instead of traveling all the way from Badian.
I love getting e-mails from Hong Kong, because that meant good things were coming. And I was right — with it came a question: am I traveling sometime soon, and can Shangri-La assist with my accommodations? My travel plans at the time were non-existent, but I knew I wanted to have a special treat for my birthday, and that’s how I ended up at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel last Monday.
When asked what kind of place I would like to go to care of Agoda.com, my answer came quickly: the beach. Living in the city all of my life, getting the chance to see and be close to the sea is always a thrill, even if I can’t swim that well and scared of very deep water. The turquoise water, the sand on my feet, the bright blue sky, and the gentle breeze that tickle the coconut trees, that for me is the formula to happiness.
A couple of months after that conversation, Charisse got back to me with another question: would I like to stay at Badian Island Resort and Spa? A quick read about the property resulted in an even quicker (and overly excited) yes.