IT WAS a twist of fate. It almost didn't happen, but it did. I am glad it did.

Nothing can be more convenient (and wiser) than staying within the vicinity (try a hundred steps) of the airport whenever you have an early flight to catch to your destination (in my case, it's Tokyo at 6 a.m.).

This is the advantage the Waterfront Airport Hotel in Mactan can give all the transient travelers with Cebu as the stopover.

Call this a déjà vu. It was just like five years ago in 2010 that I took the same route to Japan, my first time to visit the Land of the Rising Sun. The schedule was pretty much the same with no connecting flights to and from Davao will get me to Narita. I had to stay a night in Cebu.

Yes, the airlines do not give the convenience it offers its passengers via the Manila hub, where non-residents can take connecting flights on the same day and spend less travel time getting to their destinations. Luckily, there is this hotel you can call your home in Cebu.

Waterfront Airport Hotel can be the traveler's home in Cebu. It was mine. With the Mactan International Airport as its "garage". It's a few meters walk upon alighting from the plane, and you can just gaze through the hotel window and check if the ride arrived on time.

In this hotel, time will always be on the traveler's side. With its close proximity to the airport, I didn't have to get up at 1 a.m.- five hours before the flight, which equals to not sleeping a tall. I was able to enjoy the extended sleep time, had my favorite Cebu breakfast of danggit with rice in bed while watching TV, took a quick shower, and took the short walk airport's departure area (okay, I didn't. The hotel insisted on driving me to the airport across the road).

You can appreciate Waterfront Mactan more during the day. It takes out the travel time across the heavy traffic-laden streets of Cebu (which is terrible!). Not good, especially coming from a long flight when the only thing on your mind is flopping on a nice bed and sleep.

If rest evades you and you need a lullaby to get you to dreamland, the Jimbaran Spa is the perfect place for it. After a long, tiring flight why not get a well-deserved treat? I opted for the spa's 90-minute signature massage and it was what my body and mind needed to rejuvenate after days of touring Japan.

You see, behind the business aura, the glittering casino that never sleeps and the grand lobby cloaked in wood that exudes an old world glamour, there is that touch warmth of home one can always find in Waterfront Mactan. Time is slower in this place, more relaxing.

More than anything, nothing beats entering this Cebu home with the man of the house, with the rest of his family, welcoming me with smiles on their faces at the door.

Nothing has changed much since my previous visit in 2010, when former GM Hembler Mendoza warmly welcomed me to the hotel upon arrival. This time it was GM BenHur Caballes who received me. I shook his hand and thanked him for the accommodation, to which he replied with, "You are welcome. You will always have a home here in Waterfront Airport Mactan." I believe him.

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