In case you missed it, I went to Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa to celebrate Global Wellness Day 2017. I shared the delectable dishes we had which showcased organic and sustainably-farmed ingredients. But eating wasn’t all we did (I wish it was, but hey)! Today, I recount the activities we did that made us sweat, dance and smell like chocolate! Come one, vamanos!
A few of the media group with General Manager René D. Egle and our friends from Shangri-La who arrived early for breakfast!
We said yes to an early resort rounds covering the 13-hectare beauty that is Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa.
Resident Manager Gwen Dela Cruz explaining to us what she does twice daily to keep the resort in check. We’re not just looking for random trash but brown patches of grass among the greens, coconut fruits that may fall down on anyone if not removed or a sore sight of old leaves!
Along the beach, she showed us one of the people who maintains the pristine seas of Shangri-La Mactan. They make sure no plastic or any type of trash gets in the water.
Clearly, I haven’t been roaming around Shangri-La! It was a surprise that they had a zipline and jogging trail. An unspoiled area of vegetation with the surprise appearances of one or two giant but harmless lizards.
One of my favorite things about Shangri-La is how close the fishes swim to the shore! I learned, during the walk, that they create fish houses with resort guests, if they may please, to provide stable and alternative sanctuary to the fishes.
One of the stunning views in the resort: pool or sea, which do you prefer?
All About Cacao
An interesting anecdote shared that morning was about this ‘love seat’. It is believed to be the same place where Datu Lapu-lapu goes on dates with his girlfriend.
When Shangri-La was built, everything was taken out with trees planted strategically among the hotel rooms and amenities, except for one area which is the Cacao garden. The owner did not let them touch this particular area as he wanted to preserve the cacao trees.
A hidden basketball court among the greeneries. The guard dogs’ air-conditioned houses can also be located beside this court! Air-conditioned, I know! Props to Shangri-La for taking care of them doggies.
On our way out from the court, we went through a mini-garden with these gigantic Okras. It was fascinating as I haven’t seen the actual plant before! Look at how healthy they are!
The penultimate stop of the resort rounds was posing with one of two Shangri-La logos found in the hotel grounds. If you know where the other one is, let me know in the comments below! Hint hint: coco trees!
We, then, finished the walk at the Ocean Pavilion, a beautiful venue for weddings and other occasions and probably my favorite spot, as well. I love how it has a glass panel overlooking the sea. My aunt got married with that view and I must say that it was stunning!
We had a quick break to catch our breath and change into our swim wear. We joined other guests to dance in the main pool and burned calories while dipped in the cool waters. Top tip: you gotta move your limbs under water to feel the burn!
We had an intimate talk with no other than Cebu’s chocolate queen, Raquel Toquero Choa. She, along with her business partner, discussed the process of cacao seeds to a product that may be available to the public soon!
From fermentation of the seeds (which smelled like pickled fruits) to roasting and deshelling, to grinding and turning it into tablea for cacao liquer (commonly known as sikwate) to mixing cacao butter with cacao powder, Raquel has formulated the perfect combination that would soon save her. She shared personal stories of how cacao lava has strengthened her by lowering her stress levels and helped her deal with mental health. She would bathe or apply it onto her skin regularly which, aside from the mental health benefits, has also given her firm skin. Her passion can be heard the entire time she was talking and it was touching to know that she had humble beginnings, braved storms and is now a name, a queen even, in Cebu!
Cacao lava, a mix of cacao butter and cacao powder.
The chocolate queen’s chocolate in various stages.
A painting done entirely in chocolate by one of her children, other paintings as such was seen in a gallery exhibit at Robinson’s Galleria last June 25.
A day well spent in Shangri-La, indeed, it would be hard not to as this resort is home to some of the most beautiful spots in Mactan. You can really appreciate Cebu as Shangri-La has made sure it is well represented. It was also delightful to learn that they take care of the environment which does not only benefit their guests but also their employees, Mactan and the aquatic life nearby! Thank you, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, for pampering me and my body for Global Wellness Day!