The birds woke us up in the gentlest of ways as the sun streamed in through the soft curtains into our regal four poster bed.
We were lucky enough to have another beautiful room to stay in. The hexagonal shape made us feel like we were in a giant honeycomb, high up in the trees. It was totally zen, with an outdoor shower and another of those ridiculously big bath tubs that we could both sit in! It was everything we needed and more, plus bigger than our entire flat in London – although that’s not too hard!
Before I forget, I must tell you a bit about the Mandala Spa Resort. It’s so beautiful. Every single communal building in the resort is outside-inside in style, so you always feel welcome whatever the time. They’re all built in the same hexagonal pattern, creating an amazingly natural flow shaped by the jungle plants lining the paths.
It’s the most naturally peaceful place for a relaxing break. It’s no wonder then, that it’s been voted the Philippines’ Leading Resort and the Philippines’ Leading Resort Spa for 2015 in the World Travel Awards.
After breakfast and our exploration of the hotel, we decided to have another relaxing day at the beach, although this time we felt a little more explorational.
It started out as another paradise day, so we started early with a few cocktails. Relaxing and soaking up the rays, then walking the length of the beach. We found a beautiful hotel at one end where a wedding was being set up. It looked like it would be the most beautiful celebration.
Walking back, crabs scuttled across the sand zipping diagonally. Blink, and they would disappear into little holes in the sand. Fish darted about in the crystal clear waters, as the clouds drifted hazy shadows across the lagoon of the bay.
It was lunch time when we reached the familiar sight of the restaurants lapping at the edge of the beach. Continuing our walk until we found some comfortable looking deck chairs to throw ourselves onto, and a menu served on the beach.
As the clouds rolled in, we lunched on tomato and mozzarella salad with pine nuts and basil and a club sandwich with mojitos to follow.
It rained for about 10 minutes, before the clouds retreated once more, rolling out to sea gathering steam as they went like an angry train. There really is nothing like swimming in the rain, it’s having a bath at the same time. Totally heavenly.
Kids ran up and down, preparing for the evenings festivities and the hoards of tourists that would soon swarm the restaurants and spill onto the sand.
We took our cue to return to the room for hot showers and fresh clothes and we were ready to hit the beach for dinner. In Station 1, the quiet and local side of the beach, dinners are quiet and intimate. We stopped at a place called Cowboy Cocina. They had candlelit tables set up on the sand and a promising cocktail menu.
We ended up in a long conversation with a couple that had once lived and worked there, while we waited for our food. It was a lazy chat. Talking, but saying nothing terribly important. Just being and enjoying a forgettable conversation, words getting lost on the warm breeze of the Pacific Ocean.
The wedding that we had seen being set up earlier in the day had obviously gone well, as the sky was lit up with fireworks sparkling and dancing across the darkness.
The food was really good and the cocktails just as tasty. We had a few, before a moonlit walk along the beach. We walked right the way down until we reached station 2, to where our flashy next hotel sat – the complete opposite of the beautiful Mandala Spa Resort. The Mandala was quiet, humble and relaxed. The District looked bright, flashy and asking for a party.
We weren’t quite sure what we were getting ourselves into, but we knew we’d be sad to be leaving the stunning retreat of the Mandala Spa Resort.