On Mackerels, Grilled Pineapples, and a Free Accommodation at Maribago Bluewater Resort

Monday, June 4, 2012

Expensive is probably one of the words you'd likely hear from someone when he/she mentions about Bluewater Resorts, and for a budget traveler like me, one would stay away from high-end posh beach resorts...unless you're one lucky bastard who got an overnight stay at Maribago Bluewater Resort  — for free.

With only a budget of Php 2,500 for two, my girlfriend and I decided to celebrate our 1 year and 8th month at Maribago Bluewater Resort last Saturday. I know — you're probably wondering right now how can two people enjoy the said place with only a budget like that.

But as one of my life mantras would say, "Traveling doesn't necessarily mean you have to splurge a lot." This post will tell you how we managed to have a good time while staying at the resort for almost a day and a half with minimal expense. I also left some tips below to help you enjoy your stay. I will also greatly appreciate if you can leave your questions, comments, or suggestions about the place (or of this post) below.

Getting There
Saturday morning, my girlfriend and I were at Tipolo National High School, Mandaue City as volunteers in DepEd's Brigada Eskwela program. We finished before lunch time but both of us decided to take lunch at the resort.

Both of us neither knew the jeepney  route going to Lapu-Lapu City so we took the taxi going to the resort instead. Travel time took around 45 minutes — plus the traffic. Ida was already too tired so she slept in the taxi and I decided to talk to the driver the whole time.

When we arrived at the resort at around 1 in the afternoon, there were already a lot of people — both foreigners and locals — who were waiting for their turn to be accommodated by the reception staff. When it was my turn to check-in, I was greeted with a warm smile as I presented my gift certificate to one of the lovely ladies. A few minutes after checking the computer, she called someone over the phone and she was told that my room got upgraded — for free. I'm one lucky bastard, indeed.

The Free Room Upgrade
When the receptionist told me they were upgrading my Garden/Beach wing deluxe room to an Amuma Spa suite room for free, I asked her if she was serious and why. I know hotels sometimes have hidden charges to their rooms, services, or amenities but when she handed me the keys to the room, no further questions asked — even other guests waiting in line were talking at my back — all wondering.

I already slept in a tent in Badian, Cebu, in a cheap hotel in Tagbilaran, Bohol, and in a car at Danao, Bohol, but this was frankly my first time to sleep in a first-class beach resort.

Whether it's one of the perks of being a blogger or not, I just couldn't say no to the offer. Hell, no.

Tip: You can already use their amenities even if you arrive at the resort before the check-in time (2:00PM). Just tell the staff you already have a room reservation and you can leave your things at the reception area. 

One of the staff took our bags and we were taken to our suite room in their service vehicle. As soon as we opened the room, we couldn't believe our eyes — two queen beds, clean sheets, towels (lots of it), and the best part: a huge al fresco bathroom (almost the size of my apartment room) complete with a bath tub and hot and cold shower.

Ida decided to catch a quick afternoon nap so I decided to use the room's bath tub right away — again, my first time. All mine.

Other amenities inside the room: a mini bar, cable television, a relaxing private veranda and a free complimentary breakfast at the resort's Allegro restaurant.

Tip: Food and drinks in the mini-bar are definitely not for free. Aside from it's expensive, it's your usual hotel food. Read the next section to learn more about food and dining. 

Food and Dining
After Ida and I got our short rest, I called the front desk and asked if there's any restaurant in the resort serving sea foods since I was craving for kinilaw. We took our late lunch at The Cove and ordered kinilaw but I found out that it was not what I expected.

Tropical Ceviche is not the usual kinilaw prepared the Filipino way but instead fresh mackerel with grilled pineapple and coconut cream. The price? Well, it cost a hefty amount (together with the Salmon en Papillote and two garlic rice) but given the view and the world-class experience you get while dining at The Cove, I think it was worth it and at least now I know what mackerel tastes like...and the grilled pineapple, of course. Total dining cost: Php 983.00.

Other dining areas at the resort are Allegro Restaurant serving Filipino and international cuisine, Oyster bar (an open-air cocktail bar by the beach), Molto Italiano serving Italian foods (their gourmet pizza is a must-try), and the  Amuma Spa Cafe and Juice Bar.

But if all of these restaurants hit your budget, you can try Maribago Grill, which is just a few meters away from the resort (along the highway). We recommend this place if you're looking for cheap local food — not to mention the relaxing ambiance from the place itself. You'll eat inside small huts surrounded by trees plus their staff are really friendly even foreigners from nearby resorts also choose to eat here.

Tip: You can buy food outside and bring it to the resort as long as it's not too many. A few bag of chips and a bottle of water (or beer) will do. Just tell the security guards you're a guest of the resort.

Swimming Pools
After we ate and spent some time (and money) at The Cove, Ida was already excited and can barely wait to try out their pools. Personally, the bath tub is probably better but a boyfriend has got to do what his girlfriend wants to do — another life mantra. Try it.

Aside from the resort's 110-meter white-sand beach front, there are three lagoon-shaped swimming pools: one at the Amuma Wing (ideal for adults), one at the Garden Wing (with a kiddie slide) and one at the resort's Allegro restaurant.

Among the three, the main pool beside the restaurant is the largest and at times with the most number of people.

Too bad Ida and I were only able to enjoy the pools at the Amuma wing, where we stayed the rest of the afternoon on our 1st day, and the Garden wing, where we swam the whole morning (the following day) since the main pool got crowded after a BPO company held their summer outing at the resort. If you're looking for a little privacy, you can swim in the two other pools.

Clean towels are also available at the poolside. Just look for the security staff. It's free. The staff will only ask for your room number.

Tip: We were still able to enjoy the pool after we checked-out. You can again leave your things at the front desk. Just ask them nicely. Hopefully, they will allow you. 

Room Rates & other Amenities
For those planning to go on an overnight stay at the resort, below are the room rates. You may also want to check their room comparison guide at their website for more room information.

• Deluxe Room - PHP 7,000 net per night
• Amuma Spa Suite Room PHP 8,000 net per night
• Premium Deluxe Room - PHP 10,000 net per night
• Royal Bungalow Room - PHP 15,000 net per night

All rooms are fully air conditioned. Availability and prices of the room (as of May 26, 2012) are subject to change w/o prior notice.

Guests can also avail of the day-tour for a small fee.

The resort also has other activities for its guests. For people who are into water sport activities, you can try jet-skiing, snorkeling, scuba-diving, and island-hoping. They also have daily shark (black tip reef shark) feeding at the Marine Wildlife Lagoon, billiards, table tennis, tennis (shell court), beach volleyball, and a life-size chess board.

Source: Maribago Bluewater Resort's website

Maribago Bluewater Resort is truly perfect for people who want to take a break from their busy lives and for those who want to take a relaxing and soothing vacation  not only for those who can afford but evidently for those who are on a tight budget, too. Key takeaways of the resort: friendly staff, great amenities, perfect bath tub just enough for my 5'6" body size, mackerel and grilled pineapples.

Next stop: Singapore.

For more information, you may visit or call Maribago Bluewater Resort at:
Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort
Buyong Maribago, Lapu-lapu City
Cebu, Philippines 6015
Phone: (63 32) 492 0100
Fax: (63 32) 492 1808


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