If you think about college, what is it that you remember most? For me, I think it was the endless summers and beach bumming, when I wore size 23 jeans and had skin so tanned like I lived on a beach. I posted pictures and even a blog entry about Plantation Bay Resort and Spa back during the days of Friendster. It was, after all, the most popular social sharing site in 2003-2004 (pre-Facebook era). More popular than MySpace here in the Philippines, in my opinion. But sadly, the site shut down and along with it disappeared the fond memories of a timeless place I just had to visit not just once but twice during my carefree college days.
But that’s not the end of this story, because 9 years later, I found a treasure trove. No coins or any precious metals like gold or silver in it but I found what is more precious to me than any of those even in crates. I FOUND MY MEMORIES… in several compact discs. Some pictures were scanned from prints and others were taken by low megapixel camera phones and digital cameras. Please excuse the quality. 🙂
My husband Noodle Boy and I were just discussing about going to Plantation Bay for our next summer vacation and incidentally, I found a folder in one of my files containing all my old photos from days spent at the resort. Check out all these “vintage” photos of yours truly and see if you can recognize me.
When we arrived at Plantation Bay, the first thing I noticed back then was the NO TIPPING policy. It’s a perfectly clear sign you won’t fail to notice when you ride the service/golf carts. It was the first time I’ve encountered such policy and the staff were extremely courteous and pleasant that you can’t help but want to tip them; of course, they’d just flat out refuse so I’d just thank them profusely for doing any service. The servers are also nice because you can actually engage them in chitchat. Not a lot of waiters and waitresses do that but the one assigned to us during a meal was articulate. I really liked that!
Nevertheless, that was back in 2003 when I went there with a dear friend of the family, Melanie, together with her mom and friends. She was visiting the islands for the summer and what better opportunity to cool off than go swimming at Plantation Bay. As you can see, we were all laughter and cheers then. I believe it was like a girls day out as we sipped cocktails at Savannah Pool and relaxed at Mogambo Springs. We tried the warm water pools, cool freshwater pools, and the saltwater pools!
|Thanks Mel and Mommy Ging for the getaway!|
Breakfast at Kilimanjaro Kafe is absolutely amazing. It’s got everything my Filipino palate wanted to eat and then some. I went there pre-high-tech-digital-camera/smartphone era so forgive me if I don’t have Instagram photos of food to make you salivate. Also there’s a variety of international dishes there and supposedly a different culinary theme each day. Here’s a little F&B insider tip: I heard that there was a tremendous amount of effort made to pick just the right kind of bacon to serve. More than 10 kinds of bacon were tried/tested. Wow! For someone who loves bacon like I love the feel of summer breeze on my skin, that’s just really awesome!
Apparently, my first time at Plantation Bay definitely blew me away. I just had to come back and this time it was with my family. It was right after my mom and I arrived from our US trip in 2004. My dad who we miss so much already didn’t wait for us at home but met us in Cebu. So then we stayed overnight at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan because I insisted. Tee hee! I mean, come on, the place is marvelous! All 11.4 hectares of the place is a sight to behold. We biked around the resort and it was a fun way to break a sweat. Can you believe this place is actually man-made!?!?! WOW! By the way, I gotta hand it to the architect, Joy Onozawa, for the great job with the environmental designs!
Anyway, my mom and dad were very impressed with the place, too, as I hoped. They particularly gave remarks to the water’s edge and the lagoon side rooms. It’s only in this resort where one can feel absolutely loved and cherished because of the basket of Philippine delicacies (gotta love those dried mangoes and yes, it was the first time I tried the mango-tamarind treats which until now we regularly buy from the grocery whenever we have the chance to!) that you’ll find in the room upon check-in and the 1L of mineral water that they replenish daily. It’s also amazing how Plantation Bay makes their guests feel like they have their own beach houses. My dad is really a beach bum (I must have gotten that from him!) and he still actually goes to our
dilapidated beach house every weekend. There are times he would go there up to thrice a week! I think it reminds him of the times he had growing up after he lost his parents and he had to fish for food just to be able to eat lunch. But, yeah, that’s a different story. He loves the water and enjoys swimming.
|This is my dad. My source of strength, the greatest provider, and the most understanding man I know.|
Our summer escapade at Plantation Bay gave us a chance to bond as a family. I’m an only kid, you see, and as an adolescent I was sort of rebellious and didn’t communicate well with my folks. I wrote them A LOT of letters though. My mom has kept each one of them in her drawer. But that was before because now my relationship with my parents is pure delight, and they’re both wonderful grandparents to my son. Before I got married, summer outings and vacations were ways for my parents and I to be able to sit down and talk and just enjoy being a family. Plantation Bay provided quite the peaceful and tranquil setting for that.
With the advent of technology and the rise of the social networks, getting in touch with Plantation Bay now is so easy. Recently, I was able to contact them through Facebook and got a reply promptly.
I’ve been wanting to go back to Plantation Bay for so long but this time I want to take my own family, Noodle Boy and the little Noodle Lito, and then create new memories. It’s such a family-friendly resort and I’m excited to try the fun and exciting things to do at the resort with my husband and my little one. I remember the last time we were there it was possible to get some henna tattoo done in one of the kiosks. Also there are so many children’s activities and rides to get involved with. I just found out that you can go fishing for real live garoupa, fish-feeding, boat-racing, sand-castle building, face and t-shirt painting, and there’s a game room full of entertainment at your disposal as well as you can participate in outdoor activities like rock climbing and archery! My oh my! Furthermore, it’s very nice to know that they have a nurse on duty 24/7 as well as a doctor on call. Obviously, there are still so much to see and experience at Plantation Bay that I just can’t wait to go back!
So until then… I’ll just reminisce with my memories of a summer that lasted forever.
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa
Marigondon, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines
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