There are many life skills you should teach your young children. How to go to the potty. How to count to 10. And how to enjoy late-night beach parties, fire-spitting poi dancers and electronic music. Since we’ve survived Gymboree and Hong Kong Disneyland with the munchkins, we felt it was time to take their definition of fun to the next level. It was time to take them to Ibiza.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to sell any more of my vital organs to take my family on a plane ride halfway around the world to an urban legendary Mediterranean island off the coast of Valencia, Spain known for house music, riotous parties and other activities that my parish priest might not necessarily agree with. That’s because a little slice of Ibiza has been carved off and transplanted onto a beach club in Mactan — with its own whitewashed Mediterranean beach resort, a Spanish tapas restaurant and even an authentic Ibiza DJ. The only clue that you were not in Ibiza would probably be the Bisayan-accented Spanish.
With 13 maletas, 22 pieces of hand-carried luggage and the kitchen sink in tow, my wife, my four-year-old daughter, my 300-pound 11-month-old son, and our five yayas (a yaya each for my wife and my two kids and a yaya for my yaya) flew down for a little weekend partying at Movenpick Hotel in Punta Engano, Mactan, Cebu where we could head bang the weekend away at their Ibiza Beach Club. All the yayas were just as excited as us to party at the beach club. In fact, it took all of my persuasive skills to convince my yaya not to bring along her thong bikinis for the trip.
After being picked up at the Cebu airport by the Movenpick’s own unique mode of transport (it was a swanky vehicle that resembled the illicit offspring of a Sarao jeepney and a Cadillac), we were welcomed to an open air sailboat-inspired hotel lobby that overlooked the “busy” Cebu straits — with pumpboats (or as the locals call it, “pamboats”) docking along the nearby beaches, jet skis chopping through the water and parasails gliding 200 feet in the air — and an expanse of clear blue summer sky. The lobby’s view alone was so overwhelming that the first thing I did when I got to the hotel was to use the washroom. Well, at least I thought it was the washroom. They were brightly colored doors labeled “male,” “female,” “something tasteful,” with several creatively designed overhead water spouts. For a moment there, I thought I might have entered the set of a ‘60s Star Trek episode.
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Once I relieved myself behind the appropriately labeled washroom door, the hotel’s guest attendant showed us the wealth of activities that the hotel had to offer — from gym and fitness areas, game rooms, mountain biking, jet skiing, kayaking, parasailing, snorkeling, island hopping, sea monster hunting and other things that would require sweating. Those activities would have been great except for the fact that I planned to vegetate myself into a prune on the plastic lounge chairs that were planted in the shallow parts of their leisure swimming pools. However, my daughter and I did engage in a spirited game of chess where she invented her own set of rules that called for Disney princesses, bato bato pick and projectile throwing.
Although I planned to vegetate right after several rooks were thrown at my face, I was forced to indulge in the type of decadence that Ibiza has become infamous for. First, our lunch was a make-your-own, eat-all-you-can pizza buffet. Don’t these people realize how all this mozzarella is wreaking havoc with my LDL cholesterol levels!? To revive me from my cheese-induced coma, they served me a cappuccino from a Victoria Arduino Venus espresso machine — the folks who invented espresso machines — that fired up about several hundred thousand neurons. After the cappuccino gave me the mutant ability to crawl on their walls, I was asked to indulge from a menu of specialty ice creams (yes, my three salivating female readers, a menu for ice cream) that were flown in all the way from their mothership in Switzerland. Lactose intolerance be damned. (After all, I finally know my way around the washroom.) But before I could grow another stomach to accommodate all of the Caramelita ice cream, they opened up the hotel lobby for the dreaded Chocolate Hour — designated time when hotel guests can shovel as many chocolate eclairs, chocolate puff pastries, chocolate-covered marshmallows, chocolate kisses, dark chocolate coins and three-foot-thick chocolate bars into their gut until their blood is as malapot as lugaw.
With all that decadence, I wanted to hibernate in our hotel room for the next several years. But my daughter — in all her chocolate-fueled excitement — dragged me off my bed, had my yaya and sub-yaya squeeze me into my bikini trunks and whisked me off to the beach. After my daughter built an elaborate replica of Princess Ariel’s sandcastle that my son attempted to eat, we went to the fish-feeding area where we tossed breadcrumbs at some peculiar looking upside-down swimming fish from the shore. The beach attendant told us that these upside-down swimming fish usually attached themselves to other larger fish. After the fish feeding, I tried to burn off several million calories by going snorkeling. I waded from the shallow part of the beach into the slightly deeper waters where there was a coral formation teeming with big fish, small fish, fat fish, emaciated fish and multicolored fish (I apologize for my lack of descriptive ability when it comes to fish, but my fish vocabulary is currently limited to Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish). However, things went awry when I spied an upside down-swimming fish making its way towards my bikini trunks. Afraid they might swim inside and find something fishy inside my trunks and attach themselves, I began to flail my legs and arms wildly while involuntary depositing voluminous amounts of bodily fluids into the water.
While the DENR was checking the beach waters to make sure I had not leaked any radioactive material, my wife and I paid a visit to the hotel’s spa so that we could de-stress ourselves before our head-banging beach club experience (as the last time we had head-banged together was during my pre-marriage, chastity belt-wearing days). We chose to get their signature massage, which was specifically designed to help you relax by stimulating blood circulation and boosting tranquility (I was slightly worried that if this massage relieved me of all my stress, then there might be nothing left of me after this massage was done save for my pink parts).
The massage started with a foot scrub to slough off dead skin, wash off any traces of upside-down fish slobber and to make sure I did not have smelly feet during the massage. As I lay facedown on the massage bed, the masseuse informed me that she would be apply medium pressure with long, flowing strokes using four arms. I told the masseuse that I had to ask my wife if the use of four arms was maritally permissible. After much debate, we figured out that the masseuse meant forearms (that’s the problem when you don’t have a Cebu English to Manila English dictionary beside you). The masseuse began the massage by laying thermal pads down the length of my spine and on the back of my upper legs to loosen up tight muscles. Shortly after, she rhythmically dug her approved set of forearms into my back, which caused me to immediately doze off. I must stay that it was a very tranquil hour and a half massage (although my wife begs to differ as my snoring sorely tempted her to massage her forearm into my nose).
Get your own
After being stroked to narcolepsy, I was ready to take the family for an all-night Ibiza experience. Once the full moon was up, we slipped into our beach outfits (Awa ng Diyos, yaya! ‘Di ba I told you to leave the thong bikinis at home!?) and crossed over from the hotel to the Ibiza Beach Club strip for a hearty Mediterranean tapas meal and all-you-can devour Brazilian Churrasco dinner while taking in an in-house production number that would give Sunday noontime variety show performers an inferiority complex. The program started with a string of song-and-dance numbers covering popular ‘80s chart-toppers up to the latest hits (which were thankfully Gangnam Style- and Harlem Shake-free) that were punctuated by somersaults, splits and other athletic moves that one must not perform without the advice of a chiropractor. Then the succeeding performance was something you could only perform if you had gonads the size of bowling balls: the performers strutted across the stage while fearlessly spinning around fire at the end of metal sticks, poles and chains. The bongga-cious nature of the performances almost made me forget that the male performers were wearing skimpy outfits that emphasized what skimpy outfits should emphasize. But, nonetheless, they were aesthetically pleasing skimpy outfits.
However, the skimpily dressed fire dancing men were merely a prelude to the highlight of our evening: a two-hour set by a 20-year veteran in the Ibiza club scene, DJ Toni. The Majorca-born DJ Toni — who was so chill that he even dropped his last name — described his repertoire as “deep music”: music with “deep feelings” that delivered good pace, good groove, good rhythm, good voice and, most consequentially,
“good feelings” (I didn’t realize how sensitive deep music could be). My family took to the “good feelings” in our own ways: I was head-bopping with the rest of the middle-aged Korean and Russian tourists on the dance floor, my wife settled into a hammock that hung over the beach water and swung her head back and forth to the rhythm of the music while sipping on white wine, my daughter was twirling around to the groove inside the Jacuzzi that was beside the dance floor, and my 11-month-old 300-pound son was drooling to the music. Of course, he drools most of the time.
Thankfully, the DJ’s set ended right before yaya attempted to remove the oversized T-shirt that hid her thong bikini. It’s a good thing that security intervened in time or else all the “good feelings” would have abruptly ended at that point. While security questioned yaya, I finger-pumped my way up to DJ Toni and thanked him for the endorphin rush.
“DJ Toni, I’m afraid to admit this,” I whispered, “but I’m not as cool as I project myself to be.”
“What makes you think you were cool enough to begin with?” my wife interjected.
“It’s just that I was totally unfamiliar with the songs that you were playing. I think my musical waters run shallow. “
DJ Toni laughed. “Please don’t laugh at me,” I pleaded. “I’m having flashbacks of my high school years.”
“I don’t play commercial music,” he replied. “But when you hear the music, you like the good feeling that it creates within you. It is beautiful people feeling the groove. ”
“Well, I may not be cool,” I smiled, “but I must be beautiful.”
The following day, while basking in the “good feelings” of a beautiful person, my daughter and I were enjoying a plate of cinnamon-covered churros while watching the setting sun turn the clouds into a pink-orange froth.
“Can we do this again soon, Dad?” she said while the cinnamon and hot chocolate were smothered all around her mouth.
I kissed her on the forehead and sighed. “Of course we can, my love. Just remind yaya to never wear a thong bikini in this lifetime. Ever again.”