That means "live long" in Tagalog. Hola, everyone! I have missed you, my blog. Alwin and I just returned from the most amazing beach vacation-cum-honeymoon in Boracay Island in The Philippines. Words just can't express what an enjoyable time we had watching sunsets, sipping mojitos and lounging by the beach and pool. No worries or stress, just pure unadulterated bliss.
We stayed at Discovery Shores Boracay and spent a good 6 days there, which flew by rather quickly much to my dismay. From KL, getting to the island may prove to be cumbersome and involved a stayover in Clark, a connecting flight to Kalibo airport, a 90-minute car ride to the Caticlan jetty, a 7-minute private boat ride to the island and another 15-minute car ride to the resort itself. But once we were arrived, it was paradise on earth.
Now, Discovery Shores Boracay is not voted the 5th best hotel in the world for no reason. Here are several reasons why I think they deserve the accolade:
#1: Seamless transportation transfers. A private van picked us up and sent us to the Caticlan jetty where we were transferred into a catamaran called Discovery Shores II (privately owned by the resort) and were served bottle water and cookies! At the jetty, another spacious van awaited us and ferried us to the resort. No hassle, no drama.
#2: In-room check-in. Once we arrived, we were offered cold towels and welcome drinks, pretty standard I would think, for a 5-star boutique resort. Our personal check-in personnel led us straight to our suite where we checked-in there. No long queues at the front desk.
#3: Complimentary care packages and foot baths. Service at its best. We were offered a free foot bath and scrub each in our suite. A small table next to the daybed was jam-packed with a carafe of pandan water (yum!), a hamper which consisted of pretzels, chocolates, bottles of peach tea and a small tube of sunblock and a sweet platter of bite-sized welcome cakes.
#4: Friendly beach butlers who were always ready to serve. They brought us towels, cleaned our sunglasses and brought us ice water - all without us having to ask. We were delighted to return from the sea to find our clothes nicely folded. At brunch and tea time, they'd serve guests complimentary ice lollies, pizza, prawn fritters and other snacks. Once, they even sprayed evian water on our faces to cool us down and handed us cucumber slices for the eyes!
#5: The beach setup at sunset. It's no wonder so many people flocked to the beach during sunset. The beach butlers were always hard at work setting up plush cushions, cocktail tables and stools for guests to relax and admire the daily sunsets. They'd recommend cocktails - their Classic Mojito is the best I've ever tasted.
#6: An amazing turn-down service. Every night, we returned to our suite and were greeted by a different animal saying good night. These animals are made of towels and they sit on the daybed. Such a sweet and simple touch. Besides that, our bedroom slippers are placed neatly next to the bed and a Filipino sweet delicacy await us every night.
|The private Discovery Shores II that ferried us to the jetty|
|Snacks for free! We didn't even need to check out the in-room bar!|
|Check out the personalised details. They even printed namecards for us|
|Welcome cakes - Maligayang Pasko means Merry Christmas|
|White Beach shoreline. Very fortunate to have access to this beach throughout our stay. Powdery white sand and crystal clear water!|
|Pandan-flavoured lollies. Gonna try and make this myself! Haha!|
|Isn't this the most beautiful sunset?|
|Again - free snow cones by the pool! Seriously, one won't get hungry or thirsty here :)|
|Some random ring shot we took ourselves|
|Our favourite beach butler Jigs took this photo for us|
|Friday's is our neighbouring beach resort|
|Colourful surfboards. Couldn't resist taking a pic!|
|Went paraw sailing. It's a sampan with sails, and they weave together nylon strings so you can sit and lie on it|
|Mojitos by the beach!|
|Very proud of my iPhone 4S for taking this pic|
|Willy's Rock at sunset|
|Moo-moo cow saying good night|
We pre-arranged a casual photography session with a pair of local photographers based in the island. We thought it would be a great idea to document our honeymoon with great pictures of our vacation. The result came out fantastic! Pictures of our fun shoot in the next post - wait for it!
As I'm writing this, I can't help but miss Boracay terribly. Sometimes, it really is the little things that matter and make the most impression. When it was time to leave, we left with a heavy heart and tanner skin, but not without a promise that we will return to Discovery Shores Boracay one day.
More information on Discovery Shores Boracay can be found here.