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CEBU, Philippines — “Bai” is Cebuano colloquial term for a buddy or a pal. And it has lately come to be associated with a new hotel in the city. With the opening of Bai Hotel, it looks like every local and international traveler has a friend in the Queen City of the South!

I was one of the privileged few to be the first to experience what Bai Hotel has to offer, when it exclusively opened its doors right in the heart of the city’s bustling hub. Once I stepped into the spacious lobby, I was astounded by its sheer size and capacity. Built as an atrium, I couldn’t miss to appreciate the grandeur of the open-space reception area. Suddenly the lobby then exudes a different character by dusk as natural light meets the artificial – almost magical!

“Mabuhay!” we’d often say to welcome guests. At Bai I was greeted with the gesture of the right hand touching the chest followed by slight nod for acknowledgment. Within the premises of the hotel, the hotel staff were consistently giving me this expression of assent, quite refreshing.

The heart of every hotel is its accommodation. With carefully designed contemporary interior, each private nook at the hotel feels truly a home-away-from home. Appointed with the best and most modern amenities, each room is haven for the traveling soul.

I have to admit, dining is always my most anticipated part, because this where most hotels set themselves apart from each other, their palatable offerings. Gladly Bai Hotel did not fall short on its fancy feasts. Bai Café offers many buffet meals. As the hotel’s dining central, the spacious hall is practically where everyone converges. Its vast spread of international culinary fares will definitely make diners want to stay day and night.

Adding to its already delectable options are two distinctive outlets soon to make a mark on guests’ palates – the Steakhouse and the Japanese restaurants.

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The pool bar is a perfect spot to unwind after a long day. Perched on the 21st floor, the pool area ushers in a 180-degree vista of the city.

The couple of nights did capture my fancy. I did feel short to be honest – and I’m sure to comeback for more. “Magkita lang ta og balik, bai!” (I will see you again, my friend!)

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