In terms of historical significance, we know Mactan Island as the place where the forces of the Spanish conquestador, Ferdinand Magellan, and the Filipino forces of Lapu-Lapu, [see also Revisiting Magellan's Cross, Mactan Shrine and Basilica del Sto. Nino]. In terms of tourist attractions, we know Mactan Island as the location of a number fine beaches and 5-star resorts, including the Imperial Palace Waterpark and Spa Cebu.
We discovered a number of interesting facts on the way to the Imperial Palace, located at Brgy. Maribago in Lapu-Lapu City. Uhm, trying to figure out where to start. Ok, Magellan’s group was defeated by Lapu-Lapu in Mactan. It’s called Mactan Island, a geographic designation. Administratively, however, Mactan Island is under Lapu-Lapu City, which is found inside Mactan Island. And inside Lapu-Lapu City, which is found in Mactan Island, is Brgy. Mactan.
Confused? Good. Try reciting those pieces of trivia the next time kids nag you with “are we there yet?” when going to the Imperial Palace.
It’s not difficult to find the Imperial Palace, even for those who are first-timers in Cebu. We’re not saying it’s easy, but it’s wouldn’t be that difficult. The international airport is found in Mactan Island, the same island where the Imperial Palace. Ask around for its location, or where Maribago is found, and make sure you don’t cross the Mactan-Cebu bridge or Fernan Bridge (two bridges linking Mactan Island to mainland Cebu). You’ll have an adventure while looking for the eight-hectare property Imperial Palace.
It’s not prohibitively expensive at the Imperial Palace, though we’re not saying it’s cheap. The published rate for a Cebu Suite Garden View is P23,000, the Mactan Suite Ocean View is P18,000. There are other resorts in Mactan Island that charge more than a hundred thousand pesos a night. For those seeking a luxury experience, the Imperial Palace, with its 556 rooms (128 deluxe rooms, 380 suites, 48 pool and jacuzzi villas) would definitely have something special to offer.
Guests who go on day tour, or those who don’t check-in and use only the waterpark, are charged P2,500 a head. That’s way higher than what Splash Island charges. Then again, Splash Island is not found in Cebu and if we factor in the 5-star hotel and other facilities, and considering that the high rate is, we were told, meant to discourage non-guests, the rate appears to be just right.
We doubt that the P2,500 per head charge is meant to discourage “outsiders” because it’s too low to achieve that purpose. It’s also well to remember that the P2,500 is consumable. It’s a rate that, and this is a wild guess, would still accommodate non-guests while at the same time maintaining the status of the Imperial Palace. Besides, it’s more fun frolicking in the waterpark complex if there are enough bodies around. To completely discourage outsiders is no fun at all.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to try out the Cebu Yellow Submarine, which would be a blast, looking at all the marine life. There’s a glass-bottomed boat, but we also missed that. We would have wanted explored the rest of the facilities, the restaurants and tried out other outdoor activities. Well, there’s always a next time.
What’s noticeable at the Imperial Palace Cebu, aside from the world-class facilities and service, is the percentage of guests who are foreigners. There’s really no problem with this because the whole point of the tourism campaign is to attract foreigners to visit (and, ahem, spend) in the Philippines. No problem, really, except that should we bump into each other the next time we’re back at the Imperial Palace, don’t be surprised with our British accent. Or Korean (they compose around 75% of the guests). Or Chinese. All nationalities appear to be represented, and most welcome, at the Imperial Palace.