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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review: WHERE 2 NEXT MANILA HOSTEL - A Place Full of Warmth #hostelstay

I had the privilege to meet Paul, he is the manager of Where 2 Next Manila Hostel. In his early 20's, Paul is young, hip and energetic, a personification of what the hostel exudes. It was late afternoon then and Paul was busy chatting with his guests he accompanied earlier to Binondo for a food + cultural walking tour. Although tired, he greeted me with so much optimism. I also learned during check in that they just left the hostel a few minutes before our arrival. That is when I asked about the tour posted on their board if how much they charge for it. I was surprised to learn that they don't charge their guests a cent.

For now, what the hostel wants is to create an opportunity for their guests to experience Filipino culture by simply chipping in for the food they consume and the fares to and from Binondo. Paul told me that the group spent around 300+ pesos for the experience, that is for several restaurants they tried. Such is a showcase of Filipino hospitality. And I could tell that Paul is so into the fun of the experience. He enjoys every bit of it as his guests does. In the process, he makes friends from all corners of the world, lasting bonds that money cannot buy. I see why he enjoys his job so much.
I wouldn't know the existence of this hostel if not for finding an accommodation in El Nido. Yes, Where2Next has branches in both Nacpan Palawan and Manila. So, after securing a booking for El Nido I thought why not try the one nearby to get a sense of what the brand offers.

Remember Malate-Ermita area? The glory days of this tourist district is coming back. Thanks to the return of entertainment establishments, restaurants and with it are hotels for all budget. So far, we have tried Amelia Hotel, Pink Manila Hostel and recently Where2Next Manila.

About Where 2 Next Hostel
In Their website,........"Where 2 Next - Manila Hostel is a young and dynamic hospitality provider in the Philippines. Where 2 Next promises to be more than just a pit-stop on your travels - it may very well become one of your favorite destinations. We at Where 2 Next have experienced the glitz and glam of 5-star luxury accommodation - on a tighter budget, we’ve definitely seen the other end of the scale too. Our goal is to bring the best of both worlds to you and give you the best travel experience by providing the highest quality of service, clean and newly refurbished dorms and communal amenities, and a warm and inviting atmosphere - all while keeping the budget in tow."

A dormitory room could cost around 500 pesos per bed so that definitely fits the budget and with the quality of accommodation you get, I say, you get the best value for the kind of experience and excellent location.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Nature Photowalk with #Canon PowerShot SX60HS @CanonPhils

Living in Rizal has a few downsides. I often miss out on events because working from home means I cannot afford to leave on weekdays. It could also become a bit boring at times because there is no night life here or not so many dining options. But if there is one thing worth all that, it's being close to nature.

In Nature #ishootwithcanon #beyondwhateyessee
Our village is bordered by a hill with lush forest on the South and farms on the North. Beyond are the hills of Morong Rizal and farther afield are the mountains of Tanay. Such is the view that greets me everyday.

And since I was excited to test my new Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, I decided to go for a quick walk in nature the other day to check if this camera lives to my expectations.

About Canon PowerShot SX60HS

The PowerShot SX60 HS is a super-zoom compact well-suited for travel and sports photography. With a 65x optical zoom lens, it packs one of the world’s highest zoom capability in its class. The 16.1 megapixel PowerShot SX60 HS is ideal for travel and sports photographers, where zoom empowers users to capture subjects from long distances.

The PowerShot SX60 HS grants unprecedented control in video recording on a compact camera with Manual Movie mode. This mode allows advanced users to adjust settings such as shutter speed, aperture and ISO. That gives you a lot of control even in shooting still photos.


Amazing Telephoto Function

I was particularly eager to check its telephoto capability. There is a mine nearby visible from our village. Using the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, I was able to zoom into the processing plant of the mine and I was surprised at how powerful the telephoto function of this small gadget is. I have never seen the mine this close.

The photos below will give you an idea of how far the subject was from where I was standing. Notice the only structure in the first photo and see how I was able to zero-in to that subject.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Taking a Trip to India? Make Sure You Visit these Hill Stations

Tourism in India over the past decade has grown substantially. All credit goes to the Ministry of tourism in India who has realized that this country has a vast tourism potential; the country certainly lack in the stunning natural beauty department. The influx of tourists who come in from all across the world to India on their vacations is on the rise. The rich heritage, natural beauty, and distinct culture of the land, all serve to captivate tourists.

India is all about its attractive beaches, golden deserts, rich wildlife, historical monuments, elegant temples, serene locations, and the folklore. Apart from all that, you have at your disposal a number of vibrant markets, festivals, lifestyles and hospitality of the locals, which makes your entire stay in India one that is truly fantastic and unforgettable.

Kalpa, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India
Himachal Pradesh, India. 
Photo Credits: Jitendra Singh
Manali India. 
Photo Credits: Ranna M V

Displaying bio and geo diversity at its finest, from snow-capped mountain peaks to ultramodern tech cities that rival Silicon Valley, the land has everything. The hills and mountains remain a major tourist attraction though, and to showcase these assets best, India has several hill stations, offering a charming and refreshing atmosphere for tourists.

Traveling through India, you will be able to experience the different cultures of the locals and you will also get to see a glimpse of the incredible sights of India. If you are planning a holiday trip to this beautiful country, here are two hill stations you must visit.


In pre-colonial times, this hill station was known as the “summer capital” among the British. However, it is now known as the “capital of Himachal Pradesh.” This destination is definitely a delight and treat for the eyes, majorly because it has so many scenic sights that leave people awe-struck.

With so many glorious sights, Shimla is highly appreciated by most tourists for its eternal beauty and rich ethnicity. Walking along this hill station, you will see many colonial buildings and monuments that flaunt the splendor of the region. The ever-friendly locals here are popular for their “Nati,” a famous dance form that perform to entertain tourists.

Attractions are aplenty at this hill station; you can enjoy a tour to the Shimla State Museum, Annandale, Jakhoo Hill, small cozy cottages, and villas. You can book accommodations for your stay through sites like homestays.in and so many others.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

#FoodReview: NAV- MODERN THAI CUISINE RESTAURANT and the Best Tom Yum Goong in Town!

Tom Yum Goong is my favorite of any other food I tried to date and the best one was in Phom Penh in 2013. Yum! I therefore get ocassional cravings for tom yum and I realized it's not easy to to find a Thai restaurant in Metro Manila especially outside malls. Alas! We hit the spot last time while on staycation at Privato Hotel Pasig (Read: PRIVATO HOTEL Staycation + Food Finds in #KapitolyoPasig) thanks to Tripadvisor app. Kapitolyo, where the hotel is located, is a restaurant wonderland. Inside the village across the street from Ace Hotel and Suites is Nav-Modern Thai Cusine Restaurant where we discovered the best ever Tom Yum Goong in town!

Tom Yum Goong @


A relatively small place. An interior not so much of Thai rather more contemporary. Nav boasts a menu packed with bestsellers. Be sure for the red marking with N on the listing and that's their best selection. There are so many to salivate for! Price range for 2 pax is around 700-800 php. It was here where we had dinner on a rainy night and we thought a hot soup would be perfect. We ordered Tom Yum Goong, Green Curry and Khao Kluk Kapi (Bagoong Rice).

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Le Cheat Kitchen + Bar : On Milkquakes, Mocktails & Churros @eatlecheat

Le Cheat Kitchen + Bar
DAILY 11AM - 1AM | 

The surprise find in the area was Le Cheat, it is a restaurant and bar with hip food offering definitely fit for the kind of crowd in the place. You know, La Salle and St. Scho? They sell comfort fusion food x Artisanal Cocktail Experience.

Milkqaukes, quesodillos, raw-rritos, stella, craft burgers. Pangalan palang so chic na. Add to the modern vibe of the place pa. It lies at the street corner opposite Hotel Benilde and the mural on the wall immediately got my attention. I knew the place is nice then and there.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: CIRCLE HOSTEL ZAMBALES #HostelStay @thecirclehostel #SanFelipe

Other than Baler and San Juan La Union, there is a other surfing destination in Luzon that is rising in popularity ----San Felipe Zambales. Makes sense because San Felipe is the 2nd town from San Antonio which is well known for its coves Anawangin and Nagsasa as well as Capones Island. That said, the place is only approximately 3 hours away from Manila via NLEx and SCTEx, half the time you need to travel for both Baler and San Juan. So if you are a beginner who wants to learn the 101 of surfing, San Felipe is the place to go.


There are only a few accommodations in the beach area (less than 10 in my count) and some of them are private vacation accommodations but the fact that a popular hostel brand -- The Circle Hostel --has put up a branch here means this place is in for bigger things.

And that's where we stayed for two nights last month. Not so much to surf because we knew the weather will be not good due to an incoming storm but we were there to feel the place and chill.


By Car
-urn left upon exiting the Kalaklan Gate.
-Go straight and pass through the following towns: Subic Town, Castillejos and San Marcelino
-You will hit an T-intersection with a Petron. Make a right.
-Straight until through San Narciso until you see the San Felipe arch.

We got here by taking public transport. Took Victory bus from Caloocan station bound Iba Zambales.
We were in San Felipe at around 9:30 am. Had a quick breakfast at their public which if I could say is clean and organized for a public market. Took the tricycle to Circle hostel for 80 pesos and that's it. Cost is normally 70 pesos but it rained heavily the day before so the clever tricycle drivers unanimously agreed among themselves to raise the rate by 10 pesos. tsk tsk

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Indulge yourself at The Nest Dining in the Sky; an alfresco restaurant perched at the 31st floor of Vivere Hotel & Resorts new dishes on the menu.

Savor with The Nest Dining in the Sky’s “Pepper-crusted Pork Belly,” a common dish done uncommonly well. Smothered in rock salt, black pepper and herbs then roasted low and slow, topped with crispy pork crackling. Served with pickle relish in sweet and spicy vinegar paired with steamed rice or baked potato for Php585.00. Best matched with Ice cold beer!

Relish a fresh twist on desserts with “Salted Caramel Brownie with Bacon Ice Cream,” a harmonious blend of fudge brownies layered with salted caramel sauce and homemade bacon ice cream. A dessert for all ages and will astonish even the most die-hard chocolate and bacon lovers for Php300.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Say Hello to RED PLANET HOTELS: In 10 Locations in the Philippines! @RedPlanetPH

How come Red Planet Hotels already have 10 locations in the Philippines but no one ever heard of the brand until a few weeks ago? And for those who are familiar with Tune Hotels, they cannot help but notice that Tune Hotels are now called Red Planet Hotels. What is with the re-branding? Well, Tune Hotels in the Philippines are owned by the Red Planet Group and they decided to end the agreement with Tune Hotels and manage the business on their own using the Red Planet brand. That's what happened? So what do we expect? Except the same value-added services, five-star beds and facilities at 3-star prices, unbeatable customer service, good locations and now, it has gotten even better. Talk about painting the town red, the brand has become even more Red Hot!


About Red Planet Hotels

Red Planet Hotels was incorporated in 2010 and is a privately-owned regional hotel company focused on Asia’s expanding value hotel sector. The company owns and operates 24 hotels in Indonesia (7), Japan (3), the Philippines (10), and Thailand (4) for a total of 3,783 rooms, growing its portfolio through both acquiring existing hotels and also developing new hotels. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Food Review: BAD BOY BELLY Boneless Cebu Lechon

When we tried Peking Duck in Beijing last year I instantly realized the similarity of the superstar dish to our famous lechon in the Philippines. Mind you, if you search "attractions in Beijing" on Tripadvisor, it's not the Great Wall that comes out at #1. It's the mighty Peking Duck. And I thought, if people go crazy over this dish and they are willing to pay at least 2,000 pesos for a small size duck, we can easily turn our lechon into a global sensation. The taste is there. We just have to promote it extensively. Logistics too. It is after all easier to transport a duck than a whole pig.

And Cebu has the dominance when it comes to lechon. They have a couple of well known restaurants/brands there --- Rico's, Zubuchon, CNT, Ayer and Chonas. Manila on the other hand has Lydia's, Mila's and Aling Loring to name a few.

The thing about lechon is that the whole pig is roasted, that includes the bones. But we Filipinos love anything boneless. Boneless bangus, boneless chicken, even boneless back ribs. And so there is a new craze in Cebu and that is boneless lechon. A few years back, a group of yuppies from Manila tried it for the first time and thought about bringing it to the Metro thus Badboy Belly Boneless Cebu Lechon. 

Why Boneless Cebu Lechon by 
Bad Boy Belly ?
  • Taste the spices and the marinade infused from the crispy skin to the tender meat of the lechon
  • Waste no gram and get to enjoy tasty lechon cebu to the fullest without the unedible bones
  • The sheer size of 1 slab makes it perfect for sharing with up to 35 people for dinner, parties, and other gatherings
  • Strict sanitary standards are always applied when meals are prepared and only fresh ingredients are used
  • Now in 4 locations!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

SECRET SPOT Baler: In the Quiter Side of Sabang Beach #Baler2015 #BalerSurfing

People notice that I have been featuring budget accommodations lately. It makes sense because after trying expensive hotels, you get a sense that you are wasting money on them plus they give the same feel. But hostels are different. The socialization you get from them talking to different travels from different backgrounds and counties is something. I can't wait to feature Circle Hostel in Zambales soon but first another budget accommodation in Baler. If you are looking for one then hope this blog can help you decide.

But First, here is a comprehensive Travel Guide I wrote about Baler back then:

I mentioned Circle Hostel because I found out during our stay in Circle Zambales that they already have a branch in Baler. In 2012, we stayed in KL Javers Homestay.

It took a while before I returned here. Three years to be exact. I love Baler and for all its attractions but I also remember the haggard commute so it was off my list for a while as a weekend getaway. Until last April. This time, we took Genesis Joybus for a non-stop commute of 5.5 hours. Not bad because Joybus is really comfortable with a little price difference.

JoyBus (Deluxe) 
Cubao Quezon City, Metro Manila >>>>Baler, Aurora  
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