Sawadee Spa Cebu travel tip

Here’s a little Cebu travel tip on the Sawadee Spa near Plantation Bay. My wife and I went there on a Saturday night because the Kilimanjaro Springs Spa at Plantation Bay couldn’t accommodate my wife and I at the same time.

When we got to Sawadee, we asked them if they could give us massages at the same time. If we waited an hour then they could. They showed us the massage price list in US dollars and we were surprised to see the prices were about the same as in the resort (though they had more massage choices). The prices started at $25 for an hour-long massage.

My wife insisted on seeing the price sheet for locals, in pesos. At first they pretended not to know what she was talking about but when my wife insisted they gave us another price sheet. Here the $25 massage was 550 pesos, about $11.50. This is the first travel tip: insist on paying in pesos and make sure you see the peso price list.

We chose Shiatsu massages but still had to wait an hour. We asked them where we could pass the time and the recommended the bar downstairs. My wife and I knew the only other option was to walk around the area sweating our butts off because it was so hot. We would have seen real Filipino life since there were lots of natives out and about. But we would have gotten hot and sweaty (no fun for the masseuse) and the area was a little depressing because it looked so poor.

We went to the bar downstairs and saw posters of women on the way. My wife started wondering what kind of bar this was. Before entering you had to pay the cover (100 pesos that included a drink) for the show. There was an opaque door with a picture of a woman with large breasts painted on it. My wife asked what kind of show we’d be seeing. The woman said it was kind of a comedy show. We didn’t believe her but we paid and went in.

The place was empty; we were the only customers. There were a few waiters and some women in tight dresses walking around. We sat down at a table not to close to the bar and a waiter brought us some menus and told us which drinks we could get in exchange for the cover we’d paid. As we were ordering two ladies in fancy dresses came over, sat down with us, and said hi.

When my wife saw their faces and heard them say hi she was quite relieved because she realized they were (or at least had been) male. I didn’t share her relief. Male or female, my wife didn’t want to buy them drinks so she told them we didn’t want any company and they left. An hour later (at 9:30) the show (which was supposed to start at 9:00) still hadn’t started. We left and got our shiatsu massages at Sawadee — these were very good.

We could have gone back downstairs to see some of the “comedy” transvestite show, but we decided to go back to Plantation Bay to do some night swimming instead.

Interestingly, the taxi driver that had taken us there was waiting for us when we got out. Apparently he had waited 2 hours even though we told him not to wait (we saw him waiting on our way to the transvestite bar and told him we’d be a while so he shouldn’t wait). I’m not quite sure why he decided to wait. Maybe he knew that we’d feel obligated to give him a nice tip on the way back to the resort. On the way there the meter came to 67 pesos (about $1.40, the price of 4 mangos in the supermarket) and we’d tipped an extra 20 pesos. I don’t remember what the meter was on the way back, but thinking we didn’t need any more Filipino money we gave him most of ours.

Of course the next day we’d be looking for an ATM to pay the exit fee we didn’t know about, but that’s another story. I’ll blog about Cebu’s terrible airport in a few days.

Speaking of future blog entries, I’ll soon begin talking about and sharing pictures of Royal Carribean’s new Liberty of the Seas. Royal Caribbean sure knows how to impress travel agents and writers — it was a wonderful experience and everything was free. Thank you again for reading this blog. If I didn’t have lots of readers I never would have gotten to experience the new Royal Caribbean ship.

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