Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Imperial Palace Waterpark Area

Done with the building and the hefty lunch in previous blog entries, lets go out to the inside area of this resort which is basically the expansive waterpark. Shall we? Okay, we shall! As I said previously, this place is nice to view from over at the lobby lounge and even the Familia Buffet Restaurant. There are nice directional signs everywhere, so you don’t get that much of ’lost’ while roaming around. You can always go back to the building anyway if you felt like you were already somewhere outside Mactan hehe. It’s a big place but made smaller for the wanderer in us as the sides are dotted with those luxurious villas.

Actually I cannot be wrong if I declare that Shangri-La Mactan has a bigger/wider garden than Imperial’s. But what do you do in a big grassy garden with only 2 pools over at Shang while at Imperial there is a ‘waterpark’ of sorts. Well, that’s how they call it anyway. Fact is, there are also only two main pools in Imperial but ‘the works’ make it look like there are a lot! Pool-wise, Plantation Bay definitely has a wider expanse of water than Imperial’s. Then again, it pales on the ‘variety’ of fun things to do for the whole family. Hmm, now I am being a family man eh!

First, there is the Island Pool. This is nearest the hotel building and biggest of the resort’s water facilities. Nice irregularly shaped pool. True to its name, in the middle of the pool is an ‘island’ where there is a mini-garden with trees and other shrubberies. Tables and sunning chairs are also available plus there is a pool bar. This bar is fairly regular if you viewed it from within the island, but if you were swimming, the other side is a swim-up bar so you don’t actually need to be on dry land to catch your drinks. There is a cute mini-bridge to the island. Nice! Oh, yep, there is a big kiosk near this big pool and that is where us the day-trippers go to get the free towels before plunging or lounging in.

Then, onwards is a series of inter-connected pools. This would actually be bigger than the Island Pool except that its middle portion is land while the outer rim is what they call the ‘Amazon River’. From the name alone, you realize that this pool has flowing water and shaped like a winding river circling around the ‘island’. Nice that those transparent inflatables are just floating around and you can grab one if you want to just make the joyride. More of like a smaller version of Fontana’s “Lazy River’ or a minute version of Splash Island’s “Balsa River”. Then again, small as it may be, this is the only one of its kind in the area. This ‘river’ interconnects the other water fun facilities.

The ‘Wave Rider’ is as it is, a wave pool but generally for kids. Adults going in this area unaccompanied by children have a choice of either to feel out-of-place or feel half-stupid in a shallow wave pool where 8 people at the 'deepest-end' is more than a crowd hehe. Yeah yeah, it’s a mini version of the many wave pools in this country. Then there is the Toddler Pool. Yep, you baby-sitters a.k.a. lazy mothers and fathers, this is the best area to bring the little kulits for their own fun. There is just one red mushroom with raining cascades, and just one little yellow slide all at about shin deep of a wide pool water. You’ll never get dizzy watching where they are or what they're doing. Hah, how greedy we adults can sometime be hehehe!

But there is the ‘Captain Hook’s Pool. Ah you OA mummies will surely get dizzy where those lads went this time hehe as there are slides, another mushroom, the pirate ship, fountains, a fishing net for the rascals to climb over and that big bucket that splashes bucketfuls of water. Add in 5 more kids and you'll surely be 'praning' where or which they are. Then there is the ‘Beach Pool’ separated from Captain Hook’s by a wall of play jungle where adults can still see over. No its not a beach on sea water. It is still part of this group of pools imitating the form of a beach with green rubberized walking pads instead of sand hehe. Don’t worry, while water here is ‘very deep’ to about the waistline of an adult hehe, kids generally avoid this place as there is nothing here except that the empty tubes pass by as the ‘river’ slowly flows. So you can relax at the real sunning chairs IF someone else is watching them at the other side of those trees and plants hahaha! That's it!

That’s it? Nah, there are still the ‘real’ slides for the ‘real thrill’.

Down at a corner nearer the sea are the big slides for the big kids in us all. Those are 3 slides that of course have some bit of pool water at the drop area like in other waterparks. The first 2 slides (green and white) are fairly regular. Just about as great or probably even ‘milder’ than say the thrills over at Fontana, Splash Island or even 8 Waves and Club Manila East. The white slide (well yes, its cream colored) is open all the way from start to finish. Good for claustrophobic kids or mothers who scream louder than fire sirens. The green slide has more loops and is like a tunnel but empties you out to an open horizontal ground-level part of the tube with just about shin deep of water. Ah you wont notice those colored light-vents during your first slide as you’d be busier screaming hehe. The third slide called Space Bowl is the most thrilling. It looks similar to White Rock’s Big Bowl where you slide via a tunnel unto the cauldron then you continue spiraling down until gravity drops you unto the 6ft or so drop zone.

Again, remember these 3 slides are the only things of their kind in Cebu, thus, the best so far. Hey, aside from the minimum age limit of 11, there are ‘maximum weight limits’ on those slides. To slide on the bowl you cannot be heavier than 200 lbs. Yep, that’s only 91 kgs. I repeat… 91 kilograms ONLY. Hahaha, I can sense someone is protesting now. I mused a bit how come there are maximum weight limits. Well, since the crews were too busy to entertain my questions, I just surmised that if you were any heavier than that, you would probably stick to the slide and you won’t fall as normal people would. Something like veins and arteries being clogged by cholesterol? That’s probably the best analogy hehehe. Okay, I’ll stop laughing now… whaaaaahehehe!!!

One thing I observed, instructions do not say you should know how to swim in the big bowl slide. But I suggest you do. I watched some K kids dare ride down on it and it looked like most of them were struggling for dear life when they plunge down the drop zone hehe. Its depth is a bit more than my height so its more than 6ft deep. No worries though as there is always a life-guard armed with a floater to pluck each person as they plunge unto the water. Its even a rule… crews up at the slide entry point won’t allow anyone to ride on without a go-signal from Mr. Plucker down at the drop zone – yes, even if you are all adults who’d be sliding hehe!

Story not over yet… Let’s go to the waterfront.

The waterpark has Cabanas in two locations. All of these are part of the “Cabane” service in this resort. Some are lined in a semi-circular fashion between the Island Pool and the Wave Rider. Others (that are more luxuriously fitted) line the ends of the “beach area” while in the middle are the big umbrellas with sunning chairs. What sort of luxurious renditions do we find in them? Well, see the pictures for clarity. These are not your ordinary beach cottages on some public beach nor are they pretending to look like rustic native Pinoy huts. These are sturdy structures, architecturally designed to look like simple square cabanas but with a touch of luxurious elegance a.k.a. extravagance. At which resort in this country have you seen wall-mounted big flat screen TVs at a mere beach side day-use cottage? Try opening that cabinet and you see the DVD Player, a well-stocked refrigerator and everything you might need for some refreshments, snacks, cocktails or a full blown soiree. Ah if there’s anything missing, you still probably know how to use that landline phone. Do you? This place is breezy. I should know since I lounged at one of the vacant cabanas and told the crews to just drive me away if any guest wanted to use them! Shhh, that’s a secret, don’t tell the boss or those crews will be fired. But OMG, I saw one such cabana where the occupants ridiculously commandeered for the crews to put in a stand-fan. Yes, an electric fan by the edge of the sea hahaha! In my mind I just thought… “a siguro asawa yan ng politician, ang taba-taba kasi di maabot ng lamig ang kalamnan nya”! Hehehe, sometimes I am just so wrathfully wicked hahaha!

To the left (northwards) of those beach area cabanas is another facility of the resort called Coral Seaside Restaurant. It was still closed during my walk-around. A crew tending to the grass and the plants told me it opens for dinner way until past midnight. Easily this place is the real “it” place for me. Ah, closed as it was, I also lounged at the outdoor chairs and coffee tables lining the glass walls of the building. Across it is some kind of a circular boardwalk that must be best for sunset cocktails or even dinners. Oh, I peeped inside the air-conditioned portion of Coral Seaside Restaurant and I could see it is equipped with what looks like awesome gadgets that could probably pump up the place or pipe in nice romantic melodies. Ahhhhhh!!!

Even further northwards is the resort’s Marine Center and Boat Deck – yes, a wharf. The facility is operated by another Korean company, probably not even a corporate affiliate of Imperial. But – that makes them the resident sea adventure operator of the resort since they’re housed inside the resort’s premises. And that is where everyone takes off to go on snorkeling or scuba trips, that thrilling parasailing ride, banana boats, the jetskis and all those other exciting sea-bound action near and far. I promised myself I’ll surprise some family and friends soon by bringing them here. I mean they ride, I laze around the Coral Seaside Restaurant, until everyone thinks of joining me for some fun cocktails or dinner at that boardwalk.

The beach. Is there a beach? Well, like anywhere in this part of Mactan, everything is a spruced-up, made-up attempt to create what would appear to be a semblance of the normal white sandy beach that most everyone expect. So Imperial Palace has its own version hehe. The ‘sandy beach’ where those cabanas are located all the way from the boardwalk view-deck on the right to the Coral Restaurant on the left is actually at some elevation of probably 3 to 4 meters above sea level at high tide. What makes for the elevation? Hmm, the rocky ground that makes up most of the island of Mactan hehe. So its not a simple run from your sunning chair via the sand and splash into the water. You have to either descend via the concrete stairs or pass by a concrete rampway to the sea. You may not jump from the ledge as you might land on some of them sharp rocks especially during low tide. Kayaking is instead one of the more consistent activities that guests enjoy in this area (because swimming is rather best at the pools). There are dedicated crews who are supposed to be continuously “sweeping” the waters from those floating sea-grass, weeds and plastic wrappers, but sometimes they probably cannot cope, especially on a blistering hot noontime. Oh well…

Aha, lastly, after I roamed everywhere, I popped into the ‘main branch’ of Aqus Bar. This is the bigger bar over at the waterpark area with one side touching the Amazon River. So there are also 2 levels here. A ground level bar area for those who want to remain on dry land and a river-area counter which is the swim-up bar as you wade along. I called this ‘main branch’ since that smaller bar over at the Island Pool we described earlier is also called Aqus Bar. Ah at this bigger bar where I had a couple of beers, the crews were mostly a jolly pack of intern students from various universities in Cebu and Negros. They enjoyed interviewing me and I had fun asking things about their internships and what they have learned so far. I think that big TV should be repositioned to some other area. Why? Just see the picture hehe. Intern or regular crew alike, their attention was always divided between making burgers, parfaits or potato chips; their customers like I was; and that TV.

Anyway, I got acquainted with another guest billeted at one of the villas whose companions were out on a dive. Make the story short, I got invited (or probably I made feelers) to see their villas. Hmm, interesting luxurious villas, no wonder expensive. The lower floor rooms have outdoor pools of their own while the 2nd level rooms have their own outdoor jacuzzis. It was quick. I mean just a quick visit to their villas (if your kinky mind might be drifting into something) and we went back to our beer bottles at the Aqus Bar. No inside pics btw, cuz every photo I took had some undies or the likes hanging about hehe. Crews at the bar told me all villas have the same set-up, pool at ground level and jacuzzi at upper level. No wonder I saw those blue colors when I was looking down from the slide jump-off area. Those were the pools and jacuzzis, I now realize!

Aight, let’s wrap this up… when I thought of calling it a day, I walked back up to the main building and OMG, the side of Island Pool was already converted to a big party place with a Filipino Fiesta theme and trimmings complete even with sorbetero, bahay kubo for the kakanin, bahay kubo selling trinkets, guitars, souvenir t-shirts, shellcraft and all those things. Even the waiters were in blue camisa chinos and the waitresses in Filipiniana attire as if they were to dance tinikling soon. There was a group of manong’s obviously musicians as they were tuning their guitars and that big big guitar-like thing bigger and taller than them. I asked what the event was and a handsome crew answered that it was the resort’s dinner set-up for in-house and night-tour guests. Aw, that hurt a bit. I should have asked if there was anything other than a day tour with buffet lunch! There is! Its a night-tour with buffet dinner. Oh well, there’s always a next time…

On the way out, a bellhop I spoke with earlier in the morning saw me and immediately approached saying “sir, you were the one who wanted to see our hotel rooms, right? we can go now, if you are ready!” I said “oh thanks, but its okay, I already saw the villa rooms down there”. He walked me to the main entrance and motioned for a truckster – yes, the red carts that can tour you around the resort. I said “ayaw na dong, maglakaw ra ‘ko ngadto sa gawas” His astonished reply was “ha? bisaya diay ka, sir”?! You guessed it, my grinning answer was “dili oy”! And as I went along, he still a bit hollered with “ayu-ayo, balik-balik sir” !

Whew, this was a lengthy one... and if it looks like I am advertising this resort, well, yes I am, but good for Imperial Palace its for free on my blog. Why? Because, though expensive, I think I enjoyed this visit!

C ya on my next destination then!!!


2 comments :

  1. Hi! Thank you for your ver detailed post in Imperial. I came across your blog when I googled Imperial Palace. Can you help me pls, based on your experience, which will be best for a day tour wherein my 9 yr old kid will enjoy swimming on beach and pool, Imperial or Shangrila or Plantation Bay. Thanks for the help =D

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  2. If it is literally 'the beach' that the kids will enjoy all day - which I doubt - then it is Shang. For variety of water fun activities like the slides etc, its Imperial. Plantation would be much appreciated by you, not the kid, though they have a separate small pool away from the manmade lagoon for the little rascals hehe

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