Getting Away   |  In Metro Manila   |   Mactan Island   |   Boracay Island   |   Singapore Sojourn

Heavenly Boracay Island
When we checked in at Mactan Island Airport we were surprised and proud to find that our one only bag now tipped the scales at a mere 14.7 kilos all up for us both. If only I hadn't ditched a bottle of rum and bottle of Kalua back in our hotel! The excuse for our pitiful baggage allowance became apparent after landing at Caticlan Airport. Yes, the motivation to save weight becomes VERY clear as you survey the incredible photos above. And do you know what? There's no stop lights or warning signs beside the road either! I'm glad I didn't have a window seat.

Here's how airliners deal with Caticlan's VERY short runway!

Locals "voluntarily" give way to incoming aircraft. Wouldn't you?

The Caticlan franchise of the Yoo Hoo BBQ chain.

A pump boat beside Caticlan Airport

Our arrival at Caticlan Airport was well organised chaos. Reps from multiple resorts crowd the tiniest airport building.  Each one is uniformed in his or her resort's livery, all carry a clipboard and all are shouting different instructions. Ours cries "don't worry luggage, I care.... hurry, hurry van outside". Well of course I do in fact "worry luggage" but we are swept on to our hotel's shuttle van by an irresistible forward momentum. The van takes off at breakneck speed and before we know it we are dumped outside a waterfront waiting lounge. "Hurry, hurry, air-conditioned inside and cold drinks too".

Actually the Shangri-La Resort's portside waiting lounge is pretty good and hands-down beats any of the last three airport lounges we've experienced. The reason for all the hurry now becomes clear. It must be so we can get a good seat for waiting!"  Actually that's a bit unfair because within 15 minutes our speedboat does arrive and we're soon hustled across a gangplank and made to sit down. "Ladies and gentlemen....everyone must wear lifejacket...." What a joke, I put mine on and there's at least a nine inch gap between left and right side but I'm not saying why. Still I'm sort of wearing a lifejacket and that meets the rules even if I do happen to hang myself jumping overboard!

I wanted to photograph the above cafe but our departure happened so fast and obliged me to try a trick shot over my shoulder as our boat pulled away from the jetty. Not much of a photo but I really like the name. "Meet you at the Yoo Hoo Barbeque"...... it's got a really appealing ring to it.

Racing away to Boracay Island - Three star transportation version

This two storey pump boat looked like a medieval galleon

Our first view of Boracay Shangri-La..... Yes please !!

Golf buggies whisked us from the Resort's jetty to our room

A very pretty hostess collected us from the Resort's private jetty, took us by buggy to our room, threw back the curtains and gave us a quick rundown on the various gadgets, transportation system, dining arrangements and other essentials.

Here at last. The view from our huge balcony

Delighted with our one room suite. We both exclaimed "Wow"!

I don't want to rave on too much but Lynn and I were knocked out by our room and the setup here at the Shangri-La. There's a covered walkway which joins the individual blocks of rooms to the Lobby area and a handful of restaurants. There's also a network of narrow roads linking everything up. No matter where you are one just lifts a phone and a golf buggy appears within a minute or two. It will take you to your room or whatever part of the Resort you wish to visit next . This is pretty welcome given that the Resort is built on the side of a cliff and temperatures are around 30 to 32 degrees every day. It's so effortless and such fun too because every one of the Staff are really friendly and seem really happy. The ambience is great and within 24 hours we have the whole place more or less figured out. This is truly our idea of a tropical beachside holiday and we're really looking forward to the coming week. This is going to be better than expected.

Down to the beach for our first swim on Boracay Island

Passing local craft make everything seem so romantic

Pretty much every meal is a buffet here at the Shangri La. There are a few a la carte alternatives but they seem very poor value for money. Of course the trouble with all these buffets is that we are just eating TOO much. We always resolve to be frugal and practice some abstinence but every time we waddle out of the dining room we ruefully look at each other and ask, "what went wrong?"

As time goes on we discover that ordering lighter snacks and simple meals from room service is a useful alternative for some of our meals. We've begun  to just order one of those types of meals, then share it between ourselves with perhaps some small supplement we've purchased from a market town we can reach via the resort's shuttle bus. Frankly we're "fooded out" after three weeks of buffets in three different Shangri-La properties. Nowadays a few slices of mortadella with tomato and lettuce on a crusty roll is our idea of luxury. If only we hadn't forgotten to bring our peanut butter and Vegemite. Damn, damn damn, we've never forgotten them before and we'll never forget them again!

Our balcony has a dining table, double lounging bed & huge spa !

A balcony sunset to end our first day on Boracay Island

Talking about food, have I mentioned that Lynn is suffering from mango poisoning? Since we got to the Philippines about three weeks ago I don't think more than two hours have passed without us being "forced" to eat or drink mangoes. We've had sliced, diced, pureed, dried and grated. We've found mango in cakes, granita's, smoothies, desserts, curries, icecreams, snack packs, soups, and casseroles. No matter how much one loves mangoes there does come a time......!

I'm kind of proud of this shot given I had to use maximum zoom

Large tour boat on beach at Shangri La Resort

Lynn and I have now settled into a routine where we mix our time between various beaches, various swimming pools, various dining rooms and so on. These activities are leavened with plenty of time in the cool of our room reading, sleeping or doing needlework. Well, actually Lynn does the stitching whilst I go through hundreds of photos and try to compile this website so we can share our joy and good fortune with family and friends.

Lynn enjoys a drink in our balcony spa. Don't ask, I'm not telling!

A bunch of Japanese kids having a wow of a time in this spa

A late afternoon beach wedding took place below our balcony

Watching wedding reception fireworks before turning in for night

I guess all these beach and pool photos are a bit repetitious but honestly, there's so much variety around the resort and it's all so drop dead gorgeous. Lynn and I have been real water people all of our lives and we never get sick of being in, on or beside the sea. Over the years Lynn has remarked on several occasions that I positively glow when I'm in the water or on a boat. There's probably a fraction of poetic license in that remark but by and large I'm sure it's true

Lynn orders a pina colada + plate of spring rolls from Pool Menu

Don't know the face but I think I recognise the outfit

This is the view from the breakfast buffet restaurant

Spent many lazy hours lounging beside one of several beaches

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