JUST LIKE HEAVEN

At Shangri-La's Bo­ra­cay Re­sort & Spa, you have plenty of rea­sons to en­joy a dreamy hol­i­day

Cebu Living - - Travel - by Jing Le­jano. pho­to­graphs by Dak­ila An­ge­les

I've been to Bo­ra­cay count­less times over the years, and I am absolutely de­lighted to dis­cover some­thing new on ev­ery trip. While Bo­ra­cay is most pop­u­lar for its gor­geous white beach, there are other des­ti­na­tions in and around the is­land worth spend­ing your hol­i­days in. Take Shangri-La's Bo­ra­cay Re­sort & Spa, for ex­am­ple.

At the in­vi­ta­tion of Sony Philip­pines, I found my­self on a plane to Cat­i­clan with Shangri-La's Bo­ra­cay Re­sort & Spa as my fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. The Shangri-La ex­pe­ri­ence be­gins at the Godofredo P. Ramos Air­port, where you are whisked away to an air-con­di­tioned shut­tle bus and dropped off at a pri­vate lounge area by the pier. No wait­ing around for a ferry to fill up as the Shangri-La has its own fleet of speed­boats to take you to par­adise.

One of the things that I like about the Shangri-La is that its ar­chi­tec­tural phi­los­o­phy takes full ad­van­tage of its gor­geous en­vi­ron­ment. Suites and vil­las are scat­tered all around with the main build­ing filled with lots of open spa­ces. The lobby it­self fea­tures shal­low pools of wa­ter em­pha­siz­ing the re­sort's de­cid­edly is­land feel.

About a year ago, I was for­tu­nate enough to get a tour of Shangri-La's vil­las, and they cer­tainly looked lovely and lux­u­ri­ous. I par­tic­u­larly liked the way they ex­e­cuted the land­scap­ing of the gar­den ar­eas. It was like wan­der­ing into some for­got­ten for­est with all the ex­otic-look­ing trees and ferns all around. As for the pri­vate pools, they looked absolutely en­tic­ing. There were none of those generic-look­ing swim­ming pools. Each pool had char­ac­ter; some en­sconced by trees, oth­ers adorned with foun­tains.

While I was not for­tu­nate enough to stay in a villa, I did get to sleep in one of their deluxe rooms with its own pri­vate bal­cony. The tub was amaz­ing; the bed more so—and there's noth­ing like wak­ing up in the morn­ing with the clear blue wa­ters of the ocean to greet you a great morn­ing!

Of course, you are not go­ing to be sleep­ing all day in par­adise. No way!

At the Shangri-La, I in­dulged in the two hol­i­day ac­tiv­i­ties that I love do­ing the most: en­joy­ing the beach and get­ting a mas­sage.

There are two beaches in Shangri-La: Banyu­gan and Punta Bunga. Banyu­gan is nearer the pool area, which has this Lost Hori­zon vibe go­ing on. Punta Bunga is nearer the boat jetty. Both fea­ture um­brel­las and loung­ing chairs with beach tow­els at the ready; both blessed with clear and pris­tine wa­ters. If you're not the beach bum type, Shangri-La of­fers all sorts of wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties from div­ing and Ho­bie Cat sail­ing to pad­dling your way on a kayak or prac­tic­ing your swing with eco­golf balls on the beach.

And of course, a visit to Shangri-La will not be com­plete with­out spend­ing a few hours at CHI, The Spa. I've tried their ser­vices in Mac­tan, Makati, and EDSA, and CHI never dis­ap­points. This one in Shangri-La is spread over a 5,714-sq m area with vil­las built around the spa pool and re­lax­ation pav­il­ion. Take full ad­van­tage of the CHI ex­pe­ri­ence by al­lot­ting some time to en­joy the pool and other fa­cil­i­ties be­fore your ap­point­ment.

Rest and take in the beau­ti­ful views of the sea­side.

En­joy some "me-time" in a pri­vate pool area that's sur­rounded by greens.

Bring the whole fam­ily for a sum­mer stay­ca­tion.

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