What an amazing life this is. Seriously, every day I look around me and think, “How lucky are we?”. This crazy life we are leading at the moment has its downsides, don’t get me wrong- pollution, frustrating language barriers, being away from family and friends at home. But the adventure that is our everyday life, and then all of the other experiences when we travel, they are so worth the hard parts. Right now I am thinking about how lucky we are to be able to travel to so many fantastic places- so many that I can’t seem to keep up with blog posts about them! I’m currently sitting poolside in Phuket, writing about last month’s trip to another gorgeous and warm location, and who knows if I’ll ever get a chance to write about this trip, seeing as we’ve only managed to post a few photos from when we were here last year! In case I don’t ever catch up, at least we have this cool video that Eli made of our first day here in Phuket:
Anyway, picking up where I left off, the boys and I, together with Grammy and Blue, left Singapore after a few fun filled days and took a flight to Cebu. After a little bit of trouble in immigration (first time I’ve ever been questioned as to why Oliver doesn’t share my last name. PRO TIP: always travel with your child’s birth certificate) we were en route to our home for the next week and a half, the Shangri-La Mactan. We had originally decided on the hotel because Oliver had heard from several friends at school that had stayed there and loved it, so he asked if we might look into it. It was easy to see why Oliver’s classmates were so impressed- the place is a kid paradise. There was a gorgeous beach, with a marine sanctuary right there, allowing for fantastic snorkeling and diving without having to leave the resort. The pool area was also large and had a nice slide and kid’s play area. There was a mini golf course, par 3 course, badminton, an arcade, a HUGE Adventure Zone (like at the Pudong Kerry Center for those familiar with Shanghai). There were loads of activities scheduled every day- yoga, water aerobics, snorkeling and sailing trips. I admit that prior to booking the trip I was a little worried about our decision to spend all 10 days at one resort- we’ve usually booked more active vacations- mixing a few days of adventure with no more than a few days of beach/resort time. But it turned out to be a fantastic decision- we had a blast and were never bored!
Shortly after our arrival, we were reunited with Ryan, who came in on a slightly later flight from Shanghai via Hong Kong. The next day was Christmas Eve, and we enjoyed our first full day on the resort, snorkeling, swimming, relaxing, and hanging out together. Santa managed to find us, despite being in a totally different place for the third year in a row, and his elves left PJs for the boys on Christmas Eve per the usual routine. We celebrated Christmas dinner at one of the resort restaurants, and were treated to a festive parade as the roast pig was brought in.
The rest of our days were filled with pretty much the same. There was a lot of relaxing on the beach time, but we also got involved in all sorts of activities- I took Eli to try out his first ever SCUBA dive, Eli and Blue also did a helmet dive where they went under in huge old school diving helmets and looked like characters from a Jules Verne novel. We played golf and mini golf, and badminton and giant Jenga. We jogged around the resort, went ziplining, did water aerobics, and the kids spent a lot of time and money in the arcade, and also went to the Adventure Zone. We went sailing, and on a daytrip to a nearby marine sanctuary for some AMAZING snorkeling. Eli and Blue went parasailing. We all even went into Cebu City to catch a 3D IMAX showing of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. On New Year’s Eve the hotel put on a huge “Havana” themed party, with a live band, which was a lot of fun, and at midnight the fireworks display on the beach was AMAZING! And we ate. Oh! Did we eat….. Aside from the amazing Christmas Dinner buffet, we also attended (twice! because we loved it so much!) a Hawaiian/Pacific Islands themed buffet and dinner show where we were entertained by performers doing traditional dances from around the Pacific Islands, and doing crazy things with fire. I’m not sure how authentic it actually was, but it was entertaining, the food was delicious, and the kids will never get tired of seeing people breathe fire. There was also a special children’s New Year’s Day party where Oliver got put inside a bubble. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that. (in truth, the party was meant to be for small kids, Oliver was just about at max age and Eli was waaaay too old for that scene. It was also meant for kids to be dropped off and parents to enjoy some free time, but we didn’t realize that, so the whole family attended. Despite that, it turned out to be totally fun, with a magic show, the bubbles, games, a movie and so many party favors we almost didn’t have room to bring them all back). On our last afternoon we enjoyed a fantastic afternoon tea set in the lobby. So much eating!
It was an amazing trip, and despite being so long, it still felt like it was over too soon. But it was time to head back to Shanghai, see if Santa had visited there as well, and to prepare to return to the real world of work and school…..