So, here we are in Cebu - we made it!!! We’re not roughing it yet, and I’m not sure how close we will get to roughing it, but right now we are as far from a budget experience as we could be. We’re staying at the gorgeous Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa and it is the most incredible family resort we’ve every stayed at. They have thought of everything from toddler swimming pools to age appropriate indoor play centres - one for toddlers and one for 5+ - kids buffets, complimentary life jackets and beach play equipment, water slides, water play areas, fish feed for kids at the beach and oh so much more.
There’s so much for adults to do too, fabulous beachside bars, restaurants, a spa, golf, incredible snorkelling and really anything you desire. And, since I booked and paid for it a few months before we left on our adventure it doesn't impact the budget - whoop! [update: hmmmso we stayed an extra night! We couldn't leave. Consider budget impacted!] It’s been an amazing stay and I’ll write a review soon.
It was a crazy month or so before we left. Packing up your life is more time consuming and complex that I expected. There is so much to organise and I am sure I have missed out many important things, I managed to get out of the house and have it ready for tenants - but there are no tenants - we can’t rent it which is bizarre and I feel like i jinxed us as I was so confident our house would be snapped up in days. But no…there’s lots of interest but no takers as yet. I can cover it for a month but after that, who knows…I guess we review and amend strategy.
Our lives are in ONE 75 litre backpack. Can you believe it? Well the backpack and two daypacks - one for Em to carry which i have been carrying and that has to stop - plus the school bag chockers with work and activities and pencils and paints and materials, all supplied by the NSW Department of Education. I’m failing at school, we haven’t had a successful lesson yet but we’re going to get into the routine. I’m a bit confused by it all and will sort it out as soon as I can!
Anyway our packs are too full. I am dumping more and more things. All I have to wear are two dresses, a pair of shorts, a couple of singlets, a t-shirt and a jumper. Shoes are a pair of thongs and some hybrid sandal/boots. Oh I have three cosies and after all the buffet madness here at the Shangri-La I am busting out of all of them.
We spent our last night in Sydney as guests of the Shangri-La hotel, Sydney. And oh wow, what a hotel and what a view of Sydney Harbour from our room - stretching from the Harbour Bridge across the glistening Quay and over to the Opera House. After dinner at Sydney Tower we had a swim in the Shangri-La pool and a bottle of bubbles while I culled our bag for the 20th time and managed to actually close it. After a delicious breakfast in the Horizon Club lounge the following morning we were on our way to the airport with my mum, dad and sister and Emmie’s dad met us out there. Emmie had a few tears as we walked through departures but she was soon more excited than sad and settled into our Qantas flight to Manila and then Cebu Air Pacific onto Cebu where we were unexpectedly met by a Shangri-La representative who popped us into a private car for the 15 minute drive to the resort.
And here we are four days in - Emmie has made a friend and had a fabulous time, I've caught up on sleep, we’ve swam, played, eaten way more than we - I - should and had just the most amazing start to our adventure.
We’re on the ferry to Bohol right now, a small island a two hour ferry ride away and there are gorgeous beaches, the chocolate hills, river cruises and the cutes little mini monkeys - Tarsiers - to spot. This is the start of our real adventure - no room service, no tv in the bedroom and quite possibly no WIFI…WAAAHHHHHHHH.
Evie and Em xo