White beaches, pristine locations, cocktails flowing and as much adventure or relaxation as you can handle. This is what I imagined in preparing for my recent trip to the Philippines. It was everything I expected and SO much more!
Looking after a group of 200 Aussies and planning a conference internationally is no easy feat. Not many people have the opportunity to wow this many clients at the one time yet I am fortunate enough to have been able to say this was my goal for a group of Australian Business Owners as they headed to Cebu, The Philippines for their largest ever international conference in April 2016. #businessblueprint
It took 12 months of planning and preparation, working with countless suppliers and on the ground handlers as well as booking and painstakingly organising every detail of the 200 business owners travel arrangements. I love every minute of my job and the challenges it can sometimes present. I feel so fortunate to be able to assist where I can and ensure that there are beautiful reminders of why we travel along the way.
It was decided for this group we would travel to Cebu, the Philippines after narrowing it down from 5 international destinations and multiple hotels. The Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, the chosen destination.
Upon arrival we were greeted by members of the Department of Tourism for the Philippines. A beautiful surprise as we walked into the arrivals area with a welcome lei. Members of the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa were also on hand to greet and assist with luggage and take us directly to the resort. I know I felt like a VIP! It was a small touch that meant so much after traveling for 10 hours from Australia.
If you are thinking about heading to the Philippines the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa is without doubt an incredible resort. We will be back for sure!
It is a beautiful 5 star property with grounds that are perfect to host an all ‘in-house’ conference and functions. With several function rooms to cater for groups small and large, several spaces around the resort for functions from breakfast to dinner and several restaurants and bars for that catch up in between. You will never be bored here as the activities are also endless. From activities in the ocean right off the beach, (a must do guided snorkel) to mini golf and several pools for all ages.
The Staff are excellent. Every attention to detail was met and the communication from all was exceptional. The events, functions and conferences team is outstanding with Lea Arbiol, the Assistant Direct of Events handling our every need. The week-long event would not have been the same without her running the show along with the entire conference and events team.
The rooms are large and cater for all your needs. The only thing that I found may need to be explained to guests is the rooming configuration. As Aussies, we are so use to traveling somewhere that has either 1 king bed or 2 queen beds that then cater for families. The set up here in their lead in deluxe rooms are either a king bed and single or 2 single beds for families. You can get a triple share with 3 single beds though there are additional charges for this. It isn’t a big deal, as the king beds are HUGE, and you can easily fit 3 in the bed, though it does need to be explained to the client so they are aware. The Deluxe Family rooms have 2 x Queen beds for those wanting a larger room. There are also several inter-connecting for those wanting additional space. The Suites are beautiful. The Mactan Suites (1 bedroom) however only have a garden view. So don't expect an ocean view (there is only 1 with glimpses of the water). The Verandah Suites and Panorama Suites are absolutely incredible and highly worthwhile for long stays, if you have small kids or traveling with a nanny. Having the additional lounge room space is also great for long stays.
We held several evening functions at the resort and can highly recommend the Beach Theme and also the Bario Fiesta, we added in extra touches with a band and surprise fireworks (by Dragon Fireworks) as the included entertainment only lasted for 15 minutes both times.
We were warmly welcomed by the Department of Tourism as well at an initial welcome cocktail function. This absolutely blew everyone’s mind and the generosity and welcome that the department gave everyone was extremely special. It set the bar very high for the week ahead. I am grateful for the assistance provided in the lead up to the conference and organising during the event.
The Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa is definitely a place to consider and book not only a conference or event, but a family holiday as well. The staff knew the names of the children attending and were all so happy to help and welcome them each time we dined at breakfast and then throughout the day. Nothing was too hard. Even our room attendandant ‘Ray’ organised a bottle steriliser for us, traveling with a 1 year old certainly isn’t easy, but the small things that the resort did to cater for not only my needs but that of the other travellers was so well executed. Thank you.
The current tourism slogan for the Philippines is certainly well suited #itsmorefuninthephilippines #visitphilippinesagain2016
A very special thank you to the Department of Tourism, for the Philippines (Sydney, Manila and Cebu offices) for their assistance in planning for and looking after and wow’ing this group of Australian Business owners and also to the Business Blueprint owners and staff for allowing me to assist you with arranging this conference.
We will be back. Check out my other posts on Boracay, and other Cebu activities. If you have any questions on travel to the Philippines with a group or for leisure please do not hesitate to contact me.