My Trip to Cebu, Mactan Island, and Tubod Flowing Waters Resort
The Cebu leg of the trip was supposed to be a bit more than it turned out to be. When I had originally purchased tickets for all of us to fly there, I wasn’t predicting three low-pressure storms to be in the vicinity. I had hoped to see the Chocolate Hills in Bohol via landing in Cebu and then taking the Supercat ferry to the other island. The ocean was churning and trips were being cancelled in quick succession. A boat on the other side of the Cebu island (Ormoc City) capsized the night before we were going to try to leave and ultimately, 40 people died. It was terrible and my concern grew on whether or not to risk going there and possibly getting stuck without a way back to the airport. I didn’t want to miss our flight back to Manila and I couldn’t bet on the weather’s behavior. With no transportation to sightsee and no reason to risk our return, we just spent our whole time at Tubod (Spring in Visayan) Flowing Waters Resort and I was fine with that as well. Below I will talk about the resort and share some pictures.
They had a beautiful sprawling resort that I found not only relaxing, but also just right for the kids to be occupied and happy. The airport ride from Mactan International Airport cost us 900PHP ($20USD). It should have been more like 500PHP, but I have never been there before so the driver got over on me. I am okay with it though. I just wanted to get to the resort and not think about anything for a while. There was so much construction on the way and the traffic easily rivaled that of Manila’s. On the other hand, it allowed me to take in the coast line and see a different type of jeepney than I was used to seeing in Luzon.
I wanted this part of the vacation to be truly relaxing and to forget about work and the busy lifestyle we are accustom to back in South Korea. I wanted to enjoy the ocean and take in some sights that I have always wanted to see. We ended up skipping the ocean and decided to stay at a mountain resort. To be honest, it was the one that had a good price, a website that worked, and wasn’t a nightmare to get to. It was honestly a good thing too. We ended up enjoying it.
After we finished the 12 days in Cebu we agreed that we wished we had stayed in Nagas (Albay) instead. We could have enjoyed family, saved some money, and had just been beach bums for almost an entire month. Sometimes travel plans just don’t work out though. We did get to see the Ayala Mall and some local places to eat. I was able to get a massage, we got pampered at the salon a bit, and swam each day in our choice of six different pools. So even if it wasn’t perfect, we were together and enjoying the company of family.
During this leg of the trip my son realized that he loved Spanish bread (tinapay) and each morning we walking out of the resort gate to pick up 5-10 pieces for everyone at the local bakery. They were only 5PHP ($.10USD) each. How could you say no? This soft egg bread with brown sugar and butter inside makes you feel whole after putting a few away. It truly is yummy and as soon as we got back to South Korea I baked my very own which wasn’t half-bad for my first try.
Due to the typhoon season in full swing while we were there, we endured many overcast days and constant rain. It rained each day and I couldn’t have loved it more. The weather was refreshingly warm with a breeze and it was perfect for working on my laptop to keep these blog posts rolling and social media updates flowing. I was in the perfect office on poolside at the resort and they even gave me their private internet access to faster speeds.
I was amazed at one thing during our stay in Cebu. This was the first time that my wife was a tourist in her own country. They speak Cebuana there and she had to constantly ask them to speak Tagalog. She is super smart and speaks several dialects, but not this one! I saw her frustration show from time to time, but she was still a good tourist just like me.
During this trip my niece asked me to buy her a new cell phone that she could play Clash of Clans on. I agreed and we went phone shopping. She quickly realized that I am a study bug when it comes to technology. I research for the very best deal and I know the in’s and out’s of all the specs. After a week of visiting tons of stores we opted for a 5,000PHP ($110USD) phone with a 4,000MaH battery. For gaming you want a big battery so don’t skimp on this feature. She was so happy and thankful and I am glad I was able to give her something special. Not sure if she was extra thankful that I finally just settled on one instead of dragging her around even more.
Finally, the night before our departure I wanted McDonald’s and not Jollibee’s. I had enough of the red and yellow bee and just wanted a Big Mac. Everyone allowed me to get what I wanted with only a slight concession on my part. They demanded to have a McFlurry after they ate dinner. How could I argue? When we arrived at McDonald’s I noticed a store in the strip mall called “The Ice Cream Haus” and this obviously stood out to me. I love ice cream. I told everyone they could have the cheap McDonald’s soft serve ice cream, but I was having whatever they sold over there at the Haus.
When we walked over there, I found my slice of heaven. I knew they were going to be high-quality because they didn’t even have vanilla. A serious ice cream place doesn’t have vanilla. Vanilla is for wieners. They had blueberry, melon, mango, malunggay, and even durian among other flavors. Yes, that was durian ice cream. This is the fruit that even Andrew Zimmern himself could not eat. It smells awful, but tastes good. Well, I ended up with a scoop of everything and I loved it.
Below are some of the images I snapped of Cebu. I wish I had done more but these are still part of the memory so I feel that sharing them is worth it.
Tubod Flowing Waters Resort
Tubod Flowing Waters Resort was tucked away on a mountainside in a very poor community. I only had their website to go off of and I made the decision to stay there from the airport baggage claim area when we landed. It ended up being a really great experience. I just wanted to the kids to relax and enjoy their days in the pool. They did just that. Each day they swam for hours and hours. Previously neither of them knew how to swim until this trip. It was really a wonderful opportunity for them to learn and have fun splashing around and taking in the beautiful scenery. I tried for a long time to get them to approach swimming with excitement, but it never worked. My father just pushed me into the lake and told me to kick my legs, but that was also 1981 too. Times have changed.
Aside from the pools, they had great food, a fantastic community, and their staff was really fun. One of my favorite memories from the resort was the day I went outside their gate to buy bananaque for the five of us. It’s was only 10PHP ($.22USD) per stick of 3 bananas. I went back to give them to my wife and kids and I told her I was going back for the rest of them to give to the staff. I could see their eyes checking out the bounty I had brought back. So I slipped out the gate again and purchased the rest of the goods the street vendor was going to cook for the day. As I waited for them to be put into the bag I turned and saw one of the resort employees holding a 100PHP bill in his hand coming towards me. In a split second he realized I bought all of them and there would be none left for him and the ladies. I walked towards him and handed him the bananaque and told him they were for them. He tried paying me but I refused. They were so thankful and I think that broke the ice for the rest of the stay.
They have 6 pools of varying depth and probably 35 rooms of differing sizes, a spot to do family parties and weddings, and two halls with a small zoo to boot! This place was a hidden gem sitting in Magnillia City on a mountain side. The city itself was small with only a midsize mall to shop in and limited big name restaurants to eat at. I was good with this because I love street food. Mostly because I am careless about my food safety, but I am still alive and kicking.
I was forced to buy Jollibee for the family almost everyday, but I prefer not to eat there. I just don’t really like their offerings. Please don’t send me hate mail for that (to all the hardcore Jollibee loving Filipinos reading this). I love almost everything else about the islands.
Overall, we gave Tubod a big thumbs up and would absolutely stay again. I don’t know if we will see Cebu anytime soon, but if we do it will be nice to stay with the team at this resort. Next visit will be Palawan though and truthfully, I am beyond excited for that one. I love the beach life and wish I could bring my whole family with me. Below you can see the photos I took while I was at the resort. I tried choosing ones that were decent although I do not call myself a photographer. I just happen to have a camera and take pictures with it.