Plantation Bay – even better the second time around

Plantation Bay

Plantation Bay is one of my family’s favorite resorts. Last March 2014, we revisited the resort because my sister, ate Mako, wanted to spend her birthday ‘celebration’ there. Our first time there was so lovely that we were all excited to go a second time. (Note: Photos are unedited.)

My first sunset

I only slept four hours everyday that week, and on the night before our trip, I only slept for an hour. I was super busy, but I forced myself to stay awake. Since we wanted to make the most out of our overnight trip, we booked the 5am flight…

…and I was rewarded with this super beautiful sunrise before 6am. It was my first time to actually catch the sunrise, and I was so happy! I love sunsets, and I believe we have really beautiful ones in the Philippines (the horizon can be seen from our house), but with this sunrise, I felt like waking up early every day to see more of it.

One of the things we love about Plantation Bay is their excellent customer service, and this was manifested and affirmed throughout the whole trip.

Plantation Bay is a man-made resort, and they have a lot of different pools and activities, both free and paid.

For swimming, they have a freshwater pool, several freshwater pools, a huge pool that emulates the sea, and one pool that feels fresher than a swimming pool but is not exactly freshwater.

Perfect for sea lovers!

My dad, who loves the sea, loved swimming in their seawater pool. Its steepest level is at five feet. There is a part that is cordoned off, that is at twelve feet, but it’s reserved for their ‘cliff diving’ activity.

Me and my mother

It encircles almost the entire resort and tries to look like an infinity pool. If you just want to swim from the moment you wake up, you can book a room that has a ladder, or a porch that opens direct to the waters. But since we were concerned that night swimmers might be too noisy and we won’t get to relax, we didn’t book that room. We booked a family room instead.

The family room has six beds, composed of one big bed and two bunk beds, but if there were six people, you’ll have to pay additional $20/head for the fifth and six beds – and that does not include breakfast and no toothbrush! The beds were so comfortable and we had no trouble sleeping. We all had a good night’s sleep, and we were all so rested. You don’t know how happy I was to see my parents so unhappy and looking untroubled.

Me, on the other hand, kept nodding off the whole day, especially after lunch that I had to take a nap for two to three hours just to keep going until nighttime. I almost wanted to sleep on the top bunk because there were a few ants roaming around my bed. I don’t know why, but I didn’t get bitten when I slept anyway.

Marble everywhere!

It just bummed me out when they didn’t provide toothbrushes. Also, their rubber slippers used to be free in 2010, but you can’t take it home. Now, they charge P100 for every slippers’ plastic bag you open. There are several containers for shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, and plenty of towels no problem.

A little too enclosed.

The room was very spacious, and their bathroom  was also spacious. Curiously, there was more space in the foyer of the bathroom than in the toilet and shower stall themselves. If you were a little claustrophobic, you might not want to do your business in their toilet for a long time. Also, they didn’t have a bidet, or the Filipinos’ ever-reliable tabo.

Aside from these, they had a complimentary basket ready for us with several delicacies of Cebu like the ever-popular dried mangoes. The basket also included a small can of Pringles, two cans of Coke, and some canned juices. There was also daily complimentary bottles of water.

Aside from these, we had two TV sets. One was for watching TV, and one was for gaming. Yes, as in you can play Mortal Kombat for free, but you have to request it from the game room.

Game room? What? Yes. They have a game room where you can play table tennis, billiards, darts, and foosball, which are free until 6pm. They also have computers that you can use for free for the first thirty minutes. And you can also ride their bike for thirty minutes, and partake of their free kalesa rides, or their jeepney rides. They also have a gym for the gym buffs.

And oh yeah, they also have some books you can borrow…for free. It’s like they’re catering to every type of hobby they could. Sigh, Plantation Bay, you make me happy.

My sister and I played all the games except foosball, and gaming. Instead, we swam to our heart’s content, and did their other activities. Like…

Unlimited archery in the afternoon. I went for four rounds.
Yep, that’s my dad wallclimbing!
My sister trying out golf.

After trying out their free activities (and yes, I climbed a wall while wearing my dress) and biking around the place several times, we decided to relax in our favorite pools.

Their cold, freshwater pool that’s a little hidden from view…

Seeing this photo of my parents always warms my heart. <3

I watched as the sky turned dark while I swam on my back, looking up at the clear blue sky. Here’s a secret tip: the pool in Kilimanjaro restaurant has several pockets of jacuzzi-like enclosures. My favorite spot can be seen in the photo below, in the dark rocks. My sister and I just laid there, with the moon shining right above us, and the evening star twinkling as dusk settled. It was perfect. I felt so blessed.

My parents goofing around in our favorite pool!

For lunch, we ate at their Kilimanjaro restaurant. Plantation Bay’s food is supposed to be one of the best, but sadly, I didn’t feel that the food was anything spectacular. It was just okay.

Kilimanjaro in Plantation Bay

We ordered fish, soup, lasagna, and a sandwhich. The food was okay, but it was too pricey for me; I didn’t feel like raving about it afterwards.

Tip: If you’re looking for slightly cheaper food, try their Cafe Palermo which serves croissants and some danish and cookies. Their food there was bang for the buck!

We decided to try out another restaurant. I insisted on treating my family to dinner at their Fiji restaurant. Along our way, my sister and I saw the beach. There is an actual beach, and you can swim in it if you want natural water, but it’s not safe to swim there at night. But on the beach, there was a film viewing with several beach chairs, and a bonfire. The attendant there said there were usually a lot of people, but he was all alone when we got there. It was probably because of the show that night, that again, we didn’t get to see because we were busy having dinner.

Another perfect spot to relax, especially at night.

We dined al fresco because it wasn’t too cold outside, despite our being close to the beach. There weren’t any insects or pesky mosquitos. My dad was the only one who took a bath before dinner; us ladies actually came straight from the pools.

One of the things I like about Plantation Bay was that I felt safe. In fact, I pretty much walked around and swam in my bikini. Even my sister eventually took off her top and swam in her bikini.

Actually, their gyoza tasted weird to me. I’ve eaten in several authentic Japanese restaurants so I’m pretty familiar with the taste (and it’s my favorite). Fiji’s gyoza wasn’t not delicious; it was just different.

But their katsudon, oh my gosh, I just wanted to moan in delight. It was delicious. I think it’s the most delicious thing I’ve tried in Plantation Bay, and the best I’ve ever tasted.

What impressed me most about the place, though, was their customer service. I like ordering chocolate shakes when I’m on vacation; it signals the ultimate leisure for me (Idk why!). Now, Fiji does not serve chocolate shake. It wasn’t on the menu. But earlier that day I had a chocolate shake from Kilimanjaro and they served me one, so I asked the head waiter just in case. This was our conversation:

Me: Do you have chocolate milkshake?

Head Waiter: Uh, we’ll see if we can make one for you ma’am.

[comes back after a few minutes and tells me they can make it for me]

Me: Okay, but how much is it?

Head Waiter: No extra charge, ma’am. It’s priced the same as our other shakes.

Oh, be still, my happy heart.

The swimming pool outside our place.

When we booked our room, my sister and I opted for their breakfast the next day because it was discounted. When we asked the waitress at Kilimanjaro what the dishes would be, they cited several Filipino favorites like tocino, pancit, etc…then bacon. I was like, “Filipino breakfast, but there’s bacon?” She said, “It’s a universal favorite po kasi ma’am.” Needless to say, I was excited for breakfast.

Presenting…their Filipino buffet breakfast!

They make your eggs on the spot – but not Eggs Benedict.
Salad station
Bread stand

Bread station
Arroz caldo and pancakes station
Fruits station
The viands and rice (and bacon!)
Unlimited juice and water
Cereal station

Beside the cereals, they also put kakanin, but I wasn’t able to take a photo.

I had eggs over easy (perfectly made!), croissant, bacon (of course), and other viands like tocino. The croissant was delicious and excellent, if not the best I’ve ever tasted. They had mangoes, and I was so excited because I love mangoes! And the ones in Plantation Bay are said to be excellent. I was hoping they came from Guadalupe or *ehem* Guimaras. However, that day the mangoes are labeled as ‘just average’. Well I’m glad they were honest about it. I saw some foreigners very happy with the mango (and they even ate almost half for their group) but since I’ve eaten a lot of mangoes, true enough, they weren’t up to par. I guess when you’ve eaten succulent mangoes picked straight from a tree at the right stage of their ripeness, and that were not fertilized with chemicals and preservatives, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one better.

Then came another example of Plantation Bay’s excellent service.

Me: Excuse me, do you have cream cheese?

Server: I’ll check ma’am if we have some from the kitchen. (Goes into the kitchen and speaks in Bisaya).

I went back to our table and resumed eating, assuming they didn’t have any. After a few minutes, the server arrived with a plate full of cream cheese. At no charge. Awesome!

Thank you to my sister!

Since this was my sister’s third time in Plantation Bay (on her first time, she went with a friend), Plantation Bay actually had her details on record. We know this because they contacted her on her old number, which my mom currently uses. Then on our first day, they even called and asked if they could send a complimentary basket of chocolate goods. We were like…of course! We don’t know why we received those chocolate goods, but they were so delicious. It contained some brownies, etc, and three pieces of chocolate. I bit into one, and instantly wanted to weep because it was perfect. The bitter taste of the chocolate hit me first, then I was instantly overwhelmed by the sweetness of it. I regret not having been able to ask where they bought their chocolate.

After our trip, my sister and I vowed that when we go back, we’re going to stay in their spa room – the only place I haven’t explored yet. We really want to bring our eldest sister and niece there, especially my niece because the pools aren’t that deep, and she loves to swim.

Aside from that, they fetched us from the airport when we arrived at 6am, and even booked us immediately. I guess they can book you in early as long as they have a room available.

Plantation Bay is in Mactan Island, and is about 45 minutes away from the city proper. They offer free rides to the nearby malls on a schedule, so plan your itinerary carefully! And oh yeah, they have free WiFi all over the place…even on their shuttle. Yep.

My last complaint about the place aside from the few ants on my bed and the no toothbrush & toothpaste amenities were the bruises we all had! For some reason, they had a few rough surfaces and we kept scraping against them. Nothing serious, though, but a little of a buzzkill.

See you in a few more years, Plantation Bay!

P.S. This post is not sponsored. My sister paid for our room, while my parents paid for their air fare. I paid for mine and my sister’s air fare.

Plantation Bay Resort and Spa
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa
Marigondon, Mactan Island
Cebu, Philippines 6015
Email: inquiry@plantationbay.com
Tel. + 63 32 505 9800
Fax + 63 32 505 9818
Plantation Bay website
Plantation Bay Facebook page
Plantation Bay Twitter account

One Reply to “Plantation Bay – even better the second time around”

  1. Thank you for featuring us on your blog! It is always nice to read about returning guests like you having another enjoyable stay at Plantation Bay.

    We are pleased to know that you and your family enjoyed our facilities and activities and that you found our service exemplary.

    Please note that toothbrushes are upon-request amenities and that the pastries and pralines you received came from our own patisserie. This is our simple way of saying Thank you! to our returning guests.

    We have taken note of your comments about our food in Kilimanjaro Kafe and the ants in the room. Appropriate measures will be undertaken to address these concerns.

    Thanks again for the feature. We're heartened by your kind words, and look forward to your next visit!

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