Maribago Bluwater Resort in Cebu
By Angelica Viloria of Viloria.com
From October 30 - November 2, 2003, we were at Maribago Bluwater Resort in Cebu for our annual family vacation. What follows below are my impressions and comments on the place, both good points and areas for improvement. In some of my comments, there may be some comparisons with Plantation Bay which we visited in 2002. We hope that this write-up will help would-be vacationers, as well as the management of the resort. Over-all, we enjoyed our stay in Maribago. As for this year, we may be moving from Cebu to Bohol. Happy reading! Happy travelling!
Reservation and Service
I tried reserving by e-mail and in the first round of inquiries, it was fine. However, when I was already finalizing my reservation details, I only got one reply and that was it. My subsequent queries were not replied to.
I had better luck calling their Makati Office - at 887-13-48. The Makati office is located at 98 Herrera St. in Makati and is open from 9am to 6pm, Mondays to Saturdays. I was assisted by Art Oledan and Diane Landrito.
Couldn't help comparing things though with Plantation Bay where all e-mails were responded to promptly and efficiently. Also, when reserving for a beachfront or gardenside room, I was told that you can only be guaranteed a beachfront room if you pay an additional amount per night. It was quite strange that they couldn't tell you whether you could have your beachfront or gardenside room as of a certain date.
I likewise had to repeat several times my request for a cot (for my 2-year old daughter) - through e-mail, by phone, and upon checking-in although they had it in the room some time after we arrived.
If you are travelling with a baby, it is best to bring disposable bottles. We went with regular bottles as I was told through e-mail that they can help with the cleaning/sterilizing. When we got there, it turned out that they will only do the sterilizing part and will not handle the actual washing. I ended up spending part of the vacation cleaning the bottles which was not the case in Plantation. At Plantation, their butler takes care of everything from washing to sterilizing so it really felt like a vacation.
Maribago has a massage service by the beach starting at 8am, or so their sign says. I was there one day though at 8:10am and there was still no attendant. Oh well.
Upon checking in, we were asked if it was okay for us to have an "upstairs room." I asked the girl if there were no more rooms downstairs as I didn't like the idea of going up while lugging 2 kids and all their stuff. She responded by saying: "Wala na po." I answered by saying: " E kung hindi okay sa amin, wala naman pala akong magagawa." I suppose she noted the hint (okay, more than a hint) of anger in my voice and after conferring with someone else, we finally had a ground level gardenside room. So that was fine.
One thing I liked about Maribago was that they regularly have Sunday mass for guests 5:30pm, Saturdays. At least, we didn't have to bother about going to mass when we got home to Manila. There was also the chocolate coins that they would leave at night after preparing the beds - with the chocolates placed in a small, native-looking basket - with a card which said: "Sweet Dreams." Needless to say, Adi ate most of the chocolates.
Location and Room
Maribago is only 15-20 minutes from the Mactan International Airport. The transfers went well and were punctual so the resort is convenient for parents travelling with little kids.
We stayed at Room 53. The rooms are brighter compared to our room in Plantation so that was good. The rooms had that native look with capiz windows and capiz lights in the bathroom.
We initially had wanted a beachfront room. I don't know what the rooms look like there but I was happy with the location of our gardenside room. We were right in front of the pool with the slide that Adi enjoyed so much. We were also closer to the restaurants.
The beach is okay but not great. There are a few angles from which to take nice shots but we spent more time in the pool than in the beach so the gardenside room turned out to be perfect. The sand on the beach is likewise not too fine which probably explains why Ali didn't want to walk barefoot on the sand nor sit on it. So there she was, on the beach, complete with bathing suit and rubber shoes! And everytime some sand would get on her body, she'd try to take it out while saying: "Dirty. Dirty!"
Room 53 was good except that on one side of the room, near the cabinets and close to the floor, some termites had found the wall quite yummy. I hope they have that portion repaired soon.
Activities in Maribago Bluwater Resort
Families vacationing in Maribago can choose from several activities. Unlike Plantation Bay, however, there are no organized things to do complete with schedules on a per day basis. You will be given a map though, showing all the facilities, so you can explore on your own.
There's the beach - with a giant chessboard. Just like Boracay though, there are some people who continuously call out to you (and bother you) by offering boating services, jetski, etc., etc.
The pool is our personal favorite. The water's just the right temperature - warm. There are mini-falls in some corners and one of the pools has a slide - which Adi enjoyed to the hilt! The slide is not too intimidating nor is it too corny that it ceases to be fun. There's another pool with a mini-vinta near it so that's perfect for some picture-taking.
There's a PlayRoom which is open from 9am to 12pm and 1:30pm to 4pm. During the whole time that we were there though, we didn't see any attendant to help watch the kids. Some of the toys were not working like the Batman and Riddler Walkie Talkies with no batteries. I liked the Playroom at Maribago better than the one at Plantation Bay though. It is smaller, more compact, with mini couches and beanbags. It had lots of toys, including a Baby Doll that Ali was so fond of.
Want to have some fun outside? There's also a PlayGround with a swing, seesaw, slide, Little Tyke stuff, and a real treehouse. Adi went up on his own successfully although he needed a little help from his dad coming down.
There's a Marine Wildlife where you can see sharks and other fishes. Kids can go fish-feeding at 4 every afternoon. And when they say fish feeding - we don't mean bread crumbs or pellets but real fish (small and smelly) to give to the sharks. Adi had a blast!
Last but not the least, Maribago also has a Game Room where families can play pingpong, darts, and billiards.
Generally, food in Maribago is quite expensive - taking into account the quality. They have no room service menu but if you call room service, someone will gladly bring you a regular menu from the coffee shop. Of the food we ordered through room service (and which are also available at Allegro), we liked the: Maribago seafood salad with olives, prawns, squid, and lobsters; the Spicy Chicken Wings (very tender, slightly spicy barbecue chicken); and the Crab Salad with Mango and Papaya (the fruits were sweet!).
There were some disappointments. The lechon kawali had no liver sauce (contrary to what it said on the menu.). The shrimps in the Sinigang were not too fresh. The view at Sunset Cove (looking out into the sea) was not that great and the food was really poor in quality for the price. Only the scallops and the clam soup were passable. The oysters were small with hardly any flavor and the garlic was not cooked too well. The tiger prawns (large) looked pretty much like cubs and were not tasty. The only consolation at Sunset Cove was that we saw some schools of fish swimming (Where's Nemo?) and we also saw some geese (or were those swans?). Bottom-line, stay away from Sunset Cove. The Allegro is much better.
Not all was bad though. I thoroughly enjoyed their breakfast buffets which came with the package. Breakfast is served at the Allegro coffee shop/restaurant from 6am-10am. They had a wide choice of food items from breads to congee and noodle soup with several toppings, siomai, pancakes, omelette, cereal, and fruits. They likewise had about 3-4 viands which changed daily.
We likewise had some snacks at the Halo-Halo Bar where Ate Ann was friendly although the place was definitely undermanned. At the Halo-Halo Bar, try the Pizza Mia, the Pesto with Shrimp Pasta and the Maribago Halo-Halo Special. The Halo Halo Special had buco (the halo-halo is served in a buco shell), fresh fruits like mango, crushed ice, leche flan, ube jalea, sticko and ube ice cream. The breads for the sandwiches were kind of hard for me but Manuel thought they were fine. Don't order the sundae which is just highly-priced ice cream with syrup and nuts.
Would we go back? Adi, just the other night said, "Let's go back to Maribago." The slide was really very enjoyable. Over-all, the package rates are reasonable compared to other resorts we have been to. I wouldn't mind returning but I would also like to go around to other places. So for this year, stay tuned - we have our eyes set on Bohol. Wow Philippines!
Written: January 14, 2004
Copyright © 2004 by Angelica Viloria. All Rights Reserved.
Photos Copyright © 2003 by Angelica and Manuel Viloria. All Rights Reserved.
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