Sangat and Manila

21 Jan

It’s a quiet morning, the water only disturbed by the resort staff arriving from Palawan for the day shift.

Sadly I have to leave. Another boat ride, another bumpy minibus ride, and another delay from Cebu Pacific Air.

Fortunately I have a hotel car booked for my delayed arrival. Even on a short flight in a hot country, having a private car organised is an absolute must. It may be twice or thrice the price of a taxi, but after a delay on a hot airplane, being greeted by a uniformed rep holding a sign with your name on it is brilliant.

Within minutes I’m in the back of an air-conditioned BMW, with a cool towel and a chilled bottle of Perrier, heading out of the airport past the 500 people queuing to get ripped off by the local taxi mafia for their ride in a shit-heap of a car that stinks of cigarette smoke while mine smells of jasmine and cedarwood. Or something. How the hell would I know. Pleasant, though.

Manila traffic is its usual shitty self, including people cycling the wrong way through 4 lanes of traffic shuffling along at snail’s pace. Good news though: Candy Rush is on at the sing-along pub house. Looks a great venue, shame I’ll miss it.

Thanks to the hotel chauffeur I make it to the Conrad just in time for the end of happy hour in the executive lounge, with the usual array of booze and canapes and desserts that I have free access to as a Diamond member. Somehow, it always tastes nicer when it’s free. And I always have more.

One of the best things about exec lounges compared to airports, aircraft, and other public places in Asia (or Newcastle for that matter) is this rule in bold:

Amazes me that anyone needs to be told…

The delay means I’m too late for the sunset, except the tail-end caught through the exec lounge window, with the reflected interior actually adding to the colour.

I’ve seen enough sunrises and sunsets from my private beach, so I’m not bothered.

The lounge has an empty TV area just for me and my G&T, and Richard Quest taking a selfie on CNN. If you travel much, you know Richard Quest!

Instead of that, let’s go and see what you get when you book the cheapest room in the house but you’re Diamond so you ought to get an upgrade:

Nice big room. With some welcome treats:

And a welcome, er, cow. For some reason:

I could show you some views of the bathroom or the pool view or the living room:

Instead, lets have quick wander:

Don’t be fooled by the fast video. It’s bigger than my house, and very well finished. The shower is bigger than my kitchen, and probably cost more. The walk-in closet is bigger than my bathroom. The only fault is that one of the TVs in the bathroom doesn’t work.

Next, flights to Kuala Lumpur, then Brisbane, then Fiji, with nighttime stopovers in KL and Brizzy (that’s slmost certainly what Aussies call it. Or Brizza.)

Slightly convoluted routing, but it enabled 3 business class flights and 2 hotels all on points and miles and a total cash outlay of £87.50.

Sangat Island Dive Resort

21 Jan

The food is really excellent. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, has been a completely different menu like this every day I’ve been here, and it’s a buffet so you can have everything. Nice.

Photos don’t come close to doing it justice. Imagine something really fresh and delicious. Now imagine 6 different dishes like that. And soup. And dessert. Now imagine that 3 times a day, for 5 days, different every time. Now imagine that all you do all day, save for a bit of jet skiiing and kayaking and snorkelling, is sit around on the beach drinking pina coladas, and imagine the calorific surplus….