A layover in Cebu offered a chance to embrace a couple days more of summer before heading some place to enjoy the coolness of springtime.
During these times I prefer not to stay far from the Cebu airport. Staying in a Mactan resort is always a wise choice, a resort where I can embrace the charm of island living—the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort.
It was back in the early 1990s when I first set foot on the white sands of the Maribago Bluewater Resort, the resort’s name back then. I recall having a feast on fresh seafood in the restaurant, dipping in the cool water and watching my friend’s son jet-ski across the water while the adults watch from the private island. The once young boy is running the chain of resorts today.
The resort may have changed twenty years since my first visit with more rooms, dining outlets, the addition of a spa, among others, but what remains the same is the homey feel of the resort. Yes, that distinctive feel of a Filipino home. They call in “Amuma”, the feeling that I belong.
The original 30-room Cebu resort, which opened in 1989, has grown to a 500-room resort chain that includes Panglao and Sumilon islands today. “The beauty of the small room count is we can maintain a high quality standard,” said Eric Monsanto, Bluewater’s Marketing Manager.
When I asked what was retained from the original Mactan resort, Eric replied, “We just demolished the last of the original structures and replaced with these new structures you see. What is retained are the age-old trees. The resort is built around these.” For this reason, the resort is an ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee.
“We recently acquired a small parcel of land beside us which will make the property’s total land area to more than eight hectares. We plan to build more rooms on it.”
Eric said Bluewater refuses to build skywards and prefer the sprawling design with no structures exceeding two floors. “Our guests live in the city, in high-rise buildings. When on vacation, they would prefer to step on sand, not hallways.”
The resort has four room types: the Deluxe Room in traditional Filipino design with capiz shell windows; the Premier Deluxe Rooms, which sports a contemporary look with clean lines and cantilevered beds and a large skylit bathroom with a free-standing bathtub and separate shower; the expansive Amuma Spa Suite, with a private veranda with a relaxing view of the lagoon-style pool and topical gardens and an al fresco shower and bath, is perfect for place to indulge in a spa treatment; and the well-appointed Royal Bungalow by the beach, an ideal space for the family.
As to dining choices, Bluewater Maribago has no shortage of cuisines to choose from. Allegro Restaurant, the resort’s main restaurant, is open 24 hours. It offers al fresco themed dining nightly by the poolside patios.
For fresh seafood, here are a couple of joints in the resort. The Cove is where you can you feast on fresh seafood, and the open-air Oyster bar is the spot to enjoy fresh oysters with you favorite cocktail. In both food outlets, the panoramic view of the private island and the open sea are bonuses.
If it’s Italian you want, head to Delfino’s for its brick oven specialties and pasta dishes.
For a healthier option, Amuma Juice Bar (best after a relaxing therapy at Amuma Spa), offers fresh fruit and salads, light meals, and sandwiches, and its innovative fruit and vegetable-based drinks, milkshakes and flavored iced teas.
After a day in the sun and enjoying the resort’s multitude of activities ranging from water sports to outdoor and indoor games, getting pampered at the spa will be perfect. At the Amuma Spa (Amuma is a Visayan word which means indulge with every attention, comfort, and care), you can experience a delightful blend of spa services that incorporates ancient and modern therapies from Visayan-Filipino, Asian and Western Cultures.
“If you noticed, you don’t see any expats in our staff. This is because we believe in Filipino skills,” Eric divulged. Perhaps this is where the resort’s strength truly lies—the Amuma. Who else can best express it but the Filipinos themselves?
Amuma, it’s the same essential trait that turns guests into loyal clients that crosses generations. Eric said the more 30% of their guests remain loyal. The most heart-warming comment they have received so far was from Japanese guests who say they have visited the resort as kids with their family—and they have been doing so all these years.
Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort is in Buyong Maribago, Mactan Island Lapu-lapu City in Cebu. Visit their website at www.bluewatermaribago.com.ph.
Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.