Christmas for us is spent with each of our families. When we got married in 2015, as much as we would like to celebrate with just the two of us, it doesn’t really make sense since our family is just near. Christmas Eve is spent with my family in Uling, followed by Christmas lunch or dinner with the husband’s family++. This year was not an exception despite the pandemic.
And because there were less escapade for us this 2020, we thought of a beach trip for December. The initial plan was to drive somewhere south but since Mactan Resort rates are significantly lower and Solea was suggested as a venue for friend’s reunion, it was a wrap!
Check out this review of Solea Mactan Resort on Google Maps.
I discovered Google maps review in 2020! Instead of posting in my FB or IG, I started posting my comments of the places we visited in Gmaps. It felt appropriate there as it was intended for reviews. When sharing my main purpose is to have a place to look back where I have been. FB and IG is a good place but it has lost it’s touch for me. Seeing posts of people sharing their vacation and where they have been makes me cringed. I think the months of reading why social media is bad finally got to me. Whenever I saw people sharing, I automatically think that they are bragging or how badly they want for other people’s approval. I maybe am projecting but it doesn’t feel good to be thinking of that while I am still doing what makes me cringe.
We paid a little more than we would usually spend for a room but it was worth it. At 6K, we had a room good for 3 adults with buffet breakfast already. I love the look of Solea too. Escape at any Mactan Resort was not really a thing to me considering that before it would cost between 10-15k for overnight. I would rather go somewhere far with the amount but now I know why.
I’m actually very interested in checking out other Mactan resorts. Already thinking of a staycation for our 6th wedding anniversary. 😀
What We Did in Solea?
We arrived very late on the 1st day. Check-in was 3PM and checkout was 11AM the next day. Upon leaving, I thought of how nice it would be if we just arrived earlier. My friends were there for the day use which started at 9AM until 5PM only. Since we arrived late, they just actually enjoyed 2 hours of the day use. Despite that, it was still 2 hours well spent. We just focused on swimming for the 2 hours but they stayed until 7PM to consume the consumable part of the 2500 for 2 pax.
When my friends left, we proceeded to dinner. At 1500, the dinner was awesome. The kimchi rice overwhelmed. We took the leftover at our room and ate it at lunch the next day at my brother’s house. It’s super “sulit”.
To cap the night, we visited the rooftop bar to claim our welcome drinks. We had a choice of calamansi and a shot glass of rhum. We took 2 shot glasses and a calamansi. We ordered mango shake for Unyara as well and 2 bottles of san mig apple. It taste very different now after almost 2 years. I was hesitant to drink since Unyara is still very much breastfeeding but what’s a bottle and a shot glass, right?
Whenever we do overnight, the day after was the hardest as most checkout is at 12PM and we usually wake up late. Solea’s checkout was actually an hour earlier. Compared to normal check-in/checkout time, both are 1 hour later and 1 hour earlier so if you want to save time, it’s better to arrive early and just check the place while waiting for the check-in. They have tons of awesome nooks to take pictures on but since we are pressed with time, we just do the basics.
I woke up at 7AM but it still took us until 10AM to be out of the breakfast buffet. After breakfast, we quickly checkout the sea and swam. When it’s almost 11AM, we left the room for checkout without changing. After checkout, we continued swimming and just change at the comfort room. We left Solea around 1:30PM as I have a schedule to meet the contractor in charge of my brother’s house’s renovation.
Measures are in place and even if the resort is big, there are places with crowd still but I personally think that everyone was as careful as we are too. We are very thankful to God for the awesome time. Thinking about that escape now still makes my heart flutter. Praise you Jesus!
When the husband mentioned that after we visit his parent’s home last August 30, we would spend 1 September weekend on a beach, I had 2nd thoughts. Even if Mandaue City has long been in GCQ, relaxing was never an option as our family believes that God always protects but we have to do our part too.
I was very firm in not taking risk but since it’s the husband’s birthday weekend, I relaxed. After all, between me and him, I’m really the “laagan” so this request to travel is a rare request – something that I cannot ignore. Despite prior agreement, the husband must have felt my doubts so the follow-ups were more of a joke as if weighing if my yes is still a yes.
On the 1st weekend of September, I took the liberty to look at my news feed and noticed that there were posts from the beach. Told the husband about it and he commented how it’s okay already just as long as we follow the protocol. With that, I barely noticed how my work week was as I was really looking forward to our escape. Yet even on the day, lots of prayers were thrown still and until we were safely settled in our accommodation, I was very discreet.
When guilt crept in, the thought that this is really not just all for luxury as aside from going to the beach, we made arrangements for Lanie to visit her family in Asturias as well. Unyara’s minder has missed her children a lot already from not having to visit them starting April. When the husband shared that Lanie might be able to go home on our weekend escape to Tabuelan, it was a wrap. Lanie’s excitement peaked at Friday night. She was not able to sleep at all. While we were all busy that Saturday morning, I made sure we brought our quarantine pass and my company COE in case of checkups.
When I shared our trip in Facebook, some friends messaged me asking about the checkpoints and if we were checked. Not sure if it’s really the norms but we were not checked all throughout every checkpoints. I don’t know as well if it matters that we are coming from Mandaue City and not Cebu City where COVID cases are high.
When the husband researched on where to go, we carefully avoided Cebu City as last August 30, when we visited his parent’s home in Labangon, a checkpoint in city health asked us for our border pass. As we have none, we were told to secure on our next visit to Cebu City. We didn’t really have the time on weekdays to get that border pass so we kind of avoided Cebu City at all costs.
Heard about Tabuelan before but didn’t really take it as something that I would like to visit as it’s on the other side of Cebu. When the husband shared that it’s just 2-3 hours travel, I was confused. He explained that there’s a road connecting Sogod and Tabuelan.
The road from Sogod to Tabuelan is awesome. It’s wider than the high way. If not for the heightened alert of COVID, I would have asked the husband to stop and have a quick photo. Oh well there’s always a next time. Whenever we are going outside our home, I always make it sure to have less or no other contact in between at all. Point A to point B travel is still the best practice in this uncertain times. And of course, even though it’s a hassle, we still make it a practice to take a bath right after going home from an outside trip or errand. Also, make sure to pick a resort with COVID measures. So glad, Therrish has that.
Didn’t really ask the husband where we would stay but I scoured the look of Maravilla beaches just so I have an idea. When I saw the post of sugboph about Tabuelan, I was very impressed. Considering it’s the beach, I expected a native accommodation. Therrish Beach Resort is far from native. A modern basketball themed 2 story building with well manicured lawn and uniformed staffs greeted us.
The resort was fully booked. When the husband process the check-in, we waited in the car with our masks on. Upon entering the premises, our temperature was noted and names were entered into a logbook. I noticed how the last 3 guests were from Mandaue City. As Lanie’s pickup hasn’t arrived yet, after checking in, we proceeded to picture taking immediately while Lanie is still around noting how hard it is to take pictures without our official photographer.
Maravilla beach didn’t disappoint. The long beach line was free of structure. I always love Moalboal but somehow, I think I just found a new favorite. The sand and the water was awesome too. Unyara had so much fun playing in the sand. The water was child friendly as well, knee deep with soft sand and countable rocks beneath.
Moalboal & Alcoy were our go-to white sand beaches in Cebu which are both in the south part of Cebu. Due to the restrictions, we were forced to explore the north. And what an exploration it has been. I think Tabuelan is probably my favorite white sand beach now especially with it’s long stretch of shallow part. I love it because it’s good for our toddler.
When Lanie’s parents arrived, we quickly said hi and bid Lanie goodbye. As it was still 3PM,we decided to rest first before our main agenda – swimming. By 5PM, we were ready.
After some photos, Unyara and I proceeded to swimming while the husband tried his luck on Octi – his 25 feet Octopus kite. Thankfully, he was able to put it on air, to his delight and the delight of those on the beach. Noticed some ooohs and aaahs and lots of photo shoots. Pretty sure it made the husband’s heart full as well.
First Night Away from Home
After dinner, we proceeded to the beach. There were people still but not too many. You can really still do social distancing. Unyara really loves the sand and the water. After playing, the husband and I decided to walk to the end of the beach line with our very game toddler in tow. And as we were going back to where we came from with a thought to roam the opposite end of the beach line, Unyara was asleep. Her earliest so far as she normally sleeps when I do, mostly 12AM tops. Since it’s very hard to roam with a sleeping, we decided to call it a night and continued the fun at our room where the husband encouraged me to learn ukulele.
It was an extra lazy Sunday. If not for the thought that we would checkout at 12PM thus we need to maximise our time, we would still be in bed even if it’s almost 10AM. Good thing that at 9:30AM, we realized how we have to enjoy the beach while we still can. Unyara had so much fun as this time, it’s both the husband and I who were all eyes on her as she enjoys the water. We left our phones at the room so we can focus on swimming and have fun. Best decision ever!!!
The time quickly passed. We actually didn’t noticed it passing while swimming. It’s a good thing that we went back at 11AM just in time to take a bath and checkout at 12PM. Being Airbnb hosts, we know how important it is to checkout on time so the husband was already agitated when it’s about quarter to 12 and we weren’t outside already. Thankfully, we were really able to went out at 12PM.
We had our dinner and breakfast at Therrish so for lunch, we decided to roam the beach line for some restaurant. And just as we thought it was a bad idea after walking for quite some time because there wasn’t really any restaurant nearby, my roasted pic cravings kick-in. The husband laughed saying where to get “lechon” but as soon as we turned into a corner for our last stop before ruling out that “carenderia” hunting was a failure, a “lechon” vendor met my gaze. Another proof just how God’s favorite we really are.
Photoshoot for Unyara@2
When we decided that we would go to Tabuelan, I was also very excited for a DIY photoshoot. There’s really no problem with quarantine views but it would surely be awesome to be out of condo view as well.
Everything was set except for the fact that I want a family picture but our photographer was not around. While we were eating lunch, Migo mentioned that Lanie took a while and asked me if I considered the thought that Lanie would not come back. I didn’t. It wasn’t really on my mind but I told him we would manage still. I know friends who don’t have childminders. Fortunately, we didn’t have to face that problem as after a while Lanie text that she is back. We were happy to resume our photoshoot as well. We had it quick because the sun was high up already.
Darna in Tabuelan Home Sweet Home
The quick swimscape ended but our hearts are fullof gratitude. Traveling is not as easy as it was before COVID but just thankful to God for making it happened as blessed as it have been.
So how about you? When are you planning to hit the beach if you haven’t already done so. If you have, where did you went and how was it?
Because we were traveling together with the husband’s sister who is taking a month off work from being an OFW, our expense were very minimal. If it were up to us, a traditional birthday dinner will do considering the unplanned expense due to Mama’s hospitalization. But God’s awesomeness doesn’t end there. He not only allowed me to travel for my 31st birthday but He also gave me the chance to celebrate it with a mini-outreach at Josefa Recio Therapeutic Center (no photos to protect the mental patients). The gifts from my generous friends were converted into cash to buy foods for the mental patients who were at the center. Happy to be blessed to bless others. 🙂 I could go on yapping about God’s awesomeness these passing months but this blog is not for that. Go to my personal blog if you want to read about God’s faithfulness.
Moving on, Bacolod and Boracay were not on our list of must gos. For us, Boracay is just beach and Bacolod, what’s in Bacolod? But the trip convinced us that there’s more to Boracay than beach and there’s really something in Bacolod worthy of checking.
Below are the list of things that surprises us on our Bacolod – Boracay visit:
1. Bringing a car on a road trip to Bacolod is not that expensive.
Ever since we had punky, a road trip outside Cebu was in mind but we were never really that serious until the option presented itself. Road trip in Bacolod? Why not! The husband was incharge of the research. He noted that there’s only a few available articles online about it so we were not sure how much to pay until we arrived in Toledo Port. We only paid Php1025 pesos for Punky (our baby Suzuki Celerio) including the driver via FastCat. We chose FastCat because unlike LiteFerries, the travel to Bacolod is only an hour. Passenger fare is at Php150.
Compared to our previous pre-planned travels where we OC everything, we didn’t researched Boracay to bits. So when we arrived in Godofredo Ramos Airport we were pleasantly surprised at the number of rides we took to reached Boracay. Going to our accommodation in Watercolors, we booked a transport tour for Php2500 for 4 pax. From the airport, we were met by the tour personnel then ushered to rode a van to the port then a speed boat for 5 minutes then another van. The 5-minute boat ride baffled us. Why didn’t they build a bridge instead?
Going back to the airport, we commuted. We only spent Php980 in all. Rode a tryke to the port for Php180. Paid Php700 at the port: Php75 for the fare and Php100 for the terminal fee. Then another tryke to airport for Php25/pax. It was a good thing we tried the non-arranged transport. Now we know how much to allocate for a DIY transport to Boracay.
Total travel time from the airport to Boracay Station 1 is around 1 hour.
3. Staying at 2 different accommodations in Bacolod was strategic and comfortable.
On our first night, we planned to stay at Mambukal but it was fully booked so we stayed at M02 Westown instead. From San Carlos, we drove to Murcia to visit Mambukal then had a late check-in at M02. Had we stayed in Mambukal, it would have been out of the way to visit the city center at night. We rested after check-in then had dinner at Mercy’s Talabahan near the city hall. We then strolled and took photos of the city hall after.
Breakfast was included at the accommodation. After eating, we did an early checkout and attended the 10AM mass at San Sebastian Cathedral. We visited The Ruins after and stayed until our stomach screamed food. We arrived at Chicken House at 130PM. Had we arrived a little later, we would have missed eating there as they closed at 2PM and opened again for dinner time. After lunch, we were ready for Campuestohan Highlands Resort – our 2nd accommodation for the trip.
CHR was big and suprisingly, their rooms are not that expensive. We stayed at log cabin for only Php3300. We took the good for 3 person room and paid Php300 for the extra person. What’s good in staying at CHR overnight is that you get to experience a Baguio like feels in the morning.
4. Choosing an accommodation in Boracay Station 1 was worth it.
When we knew we were staying at Station 1, we were surprised. It was pricey but worth it. We stayed at a room with own balcony and mini-dining while the husband’s sister and mom is at the adjoining room with bath tub. Nighly rate is at Php7500/room. We stayed for 2 nights for a total of Php30K. The staffs were great. We were provided with welcome drinks and fruits plus good night chocs for 2 nights.
Aside from the superb accommodation, compared to Station 2 and 3, Station 1 was laid back. The beach was wider and not too populated. The beach walk from each stations was one of the high lights of our Boracay visit.
5. Both trips were still fun and relaxing even if we didn’t OC on the itinerary.
We didn’t have a full blown itinerary for these trips. We just picked the places to stay and did the activities that were available. In Mambukal, we just enjoyed the hot spring. Since it was raining, we missed to visit the falls and the boat ride. Same thing happened with CHR, we were only able to experience the wave pool and bubble swim for some minutes before we checked out. When we arrived at 4PM the previous day, the weather was cold. We were only able to take pictures before the attractions closed at 5PM. Had we known, it would have been better if we arrived early. Yet even if we were not able to do the activities, staying at CHR was already awesome. The whole resort is an eye candy. The pictures we took were enough. 🙂
Popularly known for it’s party atmosphere, what we had in Boracay was not what we expected. Contrary to what we believed, there’s actually something in Boracay other than the parties. The beach was awesome and staying at station 1 totally changed our view. We actually want to visit Boracay again. 🙂 Read our Boracay post to know why.
I’ve lived in Cebu all my life and have once aimed to visit each municipalities and cities and enjoy what they have to offer. Been to quite a handful but not in the north. If I were to choose, south is always the place to go. Yet last holy week for 3 days starting the Holy Thursday until Black Saturday, I was enjoying a little piece of h(e)aven in the north.
Hagnaya Beach Resort in Hagnaya, Cebu was the venue of the successful Citichurch’s Recharge Camp 2017. The resort is nice but below are reasons why you should add and checkout Hagnaya Resort for team building and summer getaway:
The place is pretty and picture perfect. Upon entering the gates, the first view that you will see is the well-manicured park with 4 huge animal replicas surrounding the fountain. Across the park is the social hall that can accomodate maybe 200-500 seated guests. Walking toward the sea from the gate, you will pass by the pool, rooms and then the restaurant. There are about 20+ rooms in different sizes.
We were on a self-imposed hiatus since our trip from Indochina from August 20 to September 1, 2016. The wife has been struggling with a lot of things and with it the desire to pursue wanders and adventures were put on hold. But since the start of the year, she realized that she was overdoing everything and was putting unwanted dent to our awesome life.
Last weekend, we kicked off our wanders on a joy ride to Moalboal, a 5-hour drive to the South of Cebu with our 2 guy friends aboard #Punky, our 2-month old baby Celerio. It was a trip with tons of fun other than the beach.
09:30 ETD to Moalboal
12:00 Lunch stop at Metro Carcar
13:30 Resume drive to Moalboal
15:30 ETA Nanay Terry’s
16:30 Magic Karaoke
17:00 Kite Flying
17:30 Dinner Preps
19:30 Night Swimming
20:30 S’mores-ping Time
21:00 Board Games
02:00 Lights Off
07:30 Breakfast Preps
08:30 Kite Flying, Swimming
11:30 Going Home Preps
12:45 ETD to Moalboal Market
13:00 Lunch at Moalboal Market
15:00 Mantayupan Falls Barili
16:00 Milk Station Barili
19:00 ETA Cebu City
Where We Stayed:
Nanay Terry’s 09103618540
Airconditioned room good for 4
What I like about staying at Nanay Terry’s is that it was at the laid back part of Bas Dako. You will still need to walk to the public beach which makes Nanay Terry’s front beach less crowded.
What We Did?
Karaoke on the car – it was so timely that the husband was able to discover “Magic Karaoke” – a bluetooth mic and speaker.
2. Kite flying – we bought Octi before our trip to Indochina but was only able to fly her once at SRP where we were told that we need to get a permit to fly. Haha! But only after we were done flying her. Lol When we return from our trip, we scouted other places to fly her but failed.