Over my seven year poker career, I’ve had the privilege of visiting some unique destinations. Cebu is one of my favorite places with a picturesque tropical area towards the south of the Philippines.
The macro of the entire Cebu area speaks nothing short of leisure, hospitality, and serenity. The oceans are a clear turquoise and the sand is shining pearl. The warmth of local Cebuano is a perfect match with the tranquilizing tropical weather. Here, you will not find sky scrapers or mega casinos. Instead, you will be surrounded by some of nature’s greatest offerings!
The resort where players are staying at, the Shangri-la Mactan Resort & Spa, is simply one of the best resorts I’ve ever stayed in. The rooms are recently renovated and overlook the resort’s private beach. Activities within the resort vary widely from arcade, gym, pool, mini golf, table tennis, boxing, golf, beach volleyball, and the famous Chi Spa. There are also a host of beach activities such as jet skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and parasailing. All of this should come after an amazing breakfast buffet that features cuisines from all over the world.
One of my favorite activities inside the resort is fishing at the high sea! Well not exactly but what happens is a group of 8-10 people rent a boat from the beach club and set sail to a protected Marine Sanctuary miles from the resort. Here, the corals are almost surreal as the area is protected from any disruptions. You can even find local fishermen who sell seafood fresh off the boat. The price is very reasonable and the lobster and the sea urchin is usually within an hour of when it was caught. Then, as the ship sails back during sunset, you can pop some champagne and pinch yourself to remind you that you aren’t dreaming!
Robin Lim, the Senior Events Manager, is known for organizing great celebrations and Cebu has got to be his best party on the tour. As you walk from your hotel to the private beach you’ll be greeted by fire dancers and friendly staff. Inside the party, you will find a huge buffet featuring the best local dishes including the infamous Lechón – a whole roasted pig! There’s usually a local band and whenever they inevitably sing Black Eyed Peas’ “Tonight’s gonna be a good night” it’s always a foreshadowing of things to come. Just as the ‘fun juice’ kicks in from the open bar, the exclusive party for APPT players puts on a magnificent firework display. Honestly, it’s one of those moments that cures all bad beats pains.
You might have noticed that I haven’t even talked about poker at all. APPT Cebu is one of the friendliest poker atmospheres in the world. But there is no doubt that Cebu is not just ‘another’ poker stop.
This is one place you absolutely don’t want to miss!
Raymond Wu is a member of Team PokerStars Pro