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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pusangkalye in 2013: HOTEL/RESORT Reviews + Staycations

I was off to a slow start. The holiday rush and the weeks leading to new year's celebration and everything related to it finally took its toll on me. I am starting the year with a bad cough and flu. But this is just a small bump. I am actually very excited about 2014. I think this year is gonna be an awesome year. Though late, allow me to summarize the amazing year that was 2013.

2013 has been another breakthrough year for my blogging with content focused mostly on travel, food, product/services reviews as well as hotel and resort staycations.

Here is a summary of my HOTEL/RESORT Reviews + Staycations for 2013.

HOTEL/RESORT Reviews + Staycations 2013

clean, classy, affordable

The place is strategically located downtown.It's next to the public market and also near a Gaisano Mall branch which sells sandos for 100php each.Love!

One thing I also like about Sky Garden Hotel is that it lives on its name.At the rooftop is a garden spacious enough for group functions.There was no event during my stay so I spent a few minutes here contemplating,planning my next itinerary and smoking.Nicely landscaped with an area at the corner where on can hang out with a small group and chill over beer that you can order at a small bar next to it.Nice!
Read Full Review >>> here

+ Puka Beach = Worry Free Travel
I was here in transient for the final leg of my #Roxas-Kalibo-Boracay Extended Weekend with Ati-Atihan as the main event.That didn't stop me from making the most of my stay here though.And I stayed in one of the best kept accommodation on the island.On top of the hills of Brgy.Yapak lies ALTA VISTA DE BORACAY.
Read Full Review >>> here

Where Romance Meets Adventure

Is there a place where Adventure Meets Romance?Yes.But an hour land tour from Manila?That might be a difficult feat.Well,read carefully---places like this do exist.

At the foot of Sierra Madre in Tanay Rizal lies a leisure park where you can have the adventure of your life and still experience that Romantic Getaway less the grind of traveling far ----at TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay.
Read Full Review >>>here


Classy, Minimalist Hotel w/ a very good view of Mayon

After camping in Calaguas Island, I was soooooo excited to get to Legaspi.Another 2 hours from Daet to Naga,and 2 hours from Naga to Legazpi,the reassurance of being within the borders of the city and all its comforts means relief.I missed hot showers,convenience stores,restaurants,and yes,even mobile phone coverage.

There is also another thing which made me very excited (other than seeing majestic Mayon for the first time) that is,knowing that we will be staying at--------The ORIENTAL HOTEL Legazpi.

Read Full Review >>>here

ELLIS ECOTEL Embarcadero de Legazpi
I have been using the word 'classy' a lot,especially in our Legazpi trip.Yes,I loooove classy accommodations---especially if they are affordable.ELLIS ECOTEL located at the 3rd floor ofEmbarcadero de Legazpi is one example.

In our first night in Legazpi,we stayed at The Oriental.That hotel of course is one of the most sought accommodations in the city.It sets a very high standard when it comes to luxury so I was hoping Ellis Hotel would not disappoint.Ang hirap kung subrang glam ng unang pinag-stayhan nyo tas biglang pangit ayt?I was relieved therefore when we tried Ellis,it met my expectation.Actually,it went beyond my expectation.

Read Full Review >>>here

ELLIS HOTEL Embarcadero De Legazpi


my #staycation2013 started with an Ace!
We have already moved to Binangonan from Pasig when D' Ace Plaza opened a few years ago so we didn't get to check the place until recently.I am very familiar with the brand because it was Ace Water Spa Banawe which introduced me to the wonderful world of public baths may years back.D'Ace Plaza is visible if you are passing through Shaw Blvd. and I always see the building since that's the route we take every time we go back to Binangonan.I have always wanted to try the place but has regarded it as a secondary priority thinking that the hotel wing is not to be taken seriously.I was mistaken.
Read Full Review>>>here
Ace Hotel Pasig

come Home to AZALEA RESIDENCES Baguio
During Panagbenga 2013,I decided to extend my usual weekend trip in Baguio so I got to stay for 3D/2N at Azalea Residences.I love this hotel. And since I stayed longer this time,I got to appreciate it more.I could finally say I was finally able to stay and connect with the place.Watching the Panagbenga parade and touring around Baguio to experience good food and beautiful places and going back to Azalea at the end of the day is like coming back home.
Read Full Review >>>here

AZALEA_Residences Baguio

The PUZZLE MANSION Bed & Breakfast Tagaytay
Much of the public's attention these days is on the Puzzle Mansion's Puzzle Museum with the Largest Collection of Jigsaw puzzle in the world and the title holder Gina Gil-Lacuna becoming an instant celebrity.Little people know that there is another component to the place ----The PUZZLE MANSION BED AND BREAKFAST.
Read Full Review >>>here


Good Vibe + Good Crowd at MNL BOUTIQUE HOSTEL
I felt the good vibes the moment I stepped in the place. Lakas maka-"foreign feel" ng hostel na to!.In my head I was thinking, "what took them so long?".We need more cool spaces like this in Manila and yes, all over the country.

Read Full Review >>>here
MNL_Boutique_Hostel Makati


Affordable Escape at CALLOSPA and RESORT Antipolo
The decision to stay within the Metro during Holy Week was a good one.Instead of queuing long lines joining the flood of people rushing for their hometown or vacation destination outside the Metro,my wife and I were taking our time,lazying by the pool and having a relaxing massage at CALLOSPA and RESORT Antipolo.

Read Full Review >>>here
CALLO Spa Antipolo
COCOON BOUTIQUE HOTEL: green hotel w/ genuine service
I was a bit under the weather the other week.Perhaps all of the wonderful beach photos of friends posted over Facebook made me a bit envious.At the back of my mind,I was thinking,what am I doing here in Manila on Holy Week when everybody else is on vacation somewhere.Thinking deeply about it,staying around and not rushing out competing over rides and space with everybody else is one good choice.One can actually appreciate Metro Manila (being less crowded) during this time of the year.

And I did get to spend quiet and quality time with my wife on Holy Week, I am glad we checked in at COCOON BOUTIQUE HOTEL.
Read Full Review>>>here

Top-notch hotel w/ a pool that is the envy of others
Puerto Princesa was only our set-off point to El Nido this time.But since we delayed the gratification of being in paradise,we thought of making the most out of our overnight stay here.Our afternoon flight from NAIA-4 was delayed (as expected) so it was already 8:30pm when we landed in Puerto Princesa.Good thing the pool of HOTEL CENTRO Palawan is open until 10pm everyday.Humabol pa ng night shot which was what I have been excited to see days prior to coming here.

This is what I mean by "making the most" out of something.Either you pick the cheapest room orlubusin mo na to something classy and high end.If it is Puerto Princesa, Hotel Centro is definitely one of the most sought after accommodation in the city.
Read Full Review >>>here

#ElNidoSummer2013: BLESSED INN
Finding accommodation in El Nido during peak season is such a pain in the neck.Just like in any other place you might say.Well El Nido is a special case.I called so many places but they don't even answer.That made me shout on twitter during the ordeal "ang elitista lang ng mga accommodation sa El Nido,tatawagan mo nat lahat dika parin sasagutin".

Sayang,I had fantasies of staying in a beachfront inn pa naman sana.Well,we ended up in an anonymous Inn which barely has two (2) reviews on Tripadvisor.I will eventually be the 3rd to review this place coz BLESSED INN as it is named is not bad as I imagined.
Read Full Review >>>here



Amazing view, Unbeatable Dining Experience

What makes a hotel a cut from the rest?That is a hard question. Minsan kasi pare-pareho na. That was also the first thing I asked myself when we tried The BAYLEAF INTRAMUROS.
Fortunately, it's easy to answer.

No other hotel is situated inside the walled city of Intramuros, that in itself is something.

2.Amazing View
None among any of the hotels I experienced has a SKY DECK VIEW BAR with a view of Metro Manila skyline this nice.Read on.

3.Unbeatable Dining
Great food + a perfect cityscape view (day in and day out) compliments to an unbeatable dining experience.That, without hurting your pocket.
Read Full Review>>>here


HONG HAN HOTEL Bui Vien: backpacker friendly + very helpful manager
Bui Vien is the backpackers district of Ho Chi Minh City.This is where many affordable hotels and bed&breakfast are located.We stayed in HONG HAN HOTEL.

We arrived at around 1am local time.Contacted the hotel to arrange a van trabsfer for us and it was all smooth.Approximately 30minutes from the airport.The main door to the hotel was already closed when we arrived so we had to doorbell..This is true to most hotels in the area.I guess to prevent looters.Security guards are not common in Vietnam.
Read Full Review>>>here


where NOT to stay in Phnom Penh: KHA VI GUEST HOUSE
Among all the accommodations we tried during our Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand trip , KHA VI GUEST HOUSE in Phnom Penh was the worst.I mean, $10 overnight accommodation (good for 2pax w/o breakfast) is not expensive but I am sure you can find a better place at the same rate.If I am to describe it in one word, it would be ----- dysfunctional.

We stayed in a fan room originally for 2 but upgraded it to 3 beds so we were asked to pay $5 more.Meaning, $5 per pax. We paid an extra $5 coz we realized that we cannot survive without the A/C on one hot Cambodian summer night.That means $20 total for this dark,dysfunctional and ambiance-less place.
Read Full Review >>>here
GOLDEN TEMPLE VILLA Siem Reap: Small hotel with a BIG Statement
It was another 6 hours ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, supposedly, but it took ud only 5 hours because we took the van instead which I think is more efficient especially given the poor road condition between two cities.

It was the same scenario from HCMC, we left the capital 3pm so we were in Siem Reap by 8pm. We went straight to our hotel for check in. Knowing that a nice accommodation is waiting for you is one of those simple pleasures of tiring road journeys.

GOLDEN TEMPLE VILLA Siem Reap is love.
Read Full Review >>>here
Golden Temple Villa Siem_Reap
Golden Temple Villa Siem Reap

Fall in Love with LUB d BANGKOK Silom + Pat Pong
Back to Bangkok, back to the City of Angel's loving embrace.Transferred to another location and accommodation for our last night ------Lub d Bangkok Silom.

The original intention was to stay at entertainment district aka "red light district" as close as possible because the original plan was to end the trip with a bang.We wanted to watch the "notorious shows" in Pat Pong ----only that we ended up buying "pasalubong" rather than drown in booze and enjoy some wild entertainment.lol
Read Full Review >>>here


EASTWOOD RICHMONDE HOTEL Staycation beat my expectations
Eastwood Richmonde Hotel may not be as popular as other hotels in Metro Manila, but that's exactly the reason why I loved it.Less crowded means more peaceful and laidback----the feeling that you hardly get once in the Metro despite effort to isolate yourself from the tiring fast-paced life.

I came to appreciate this more coz were just got back from our 3-country swing of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for 7 days which meant we had to constantly push ourselves to be able to explore more of the areas we covered.No time to waste.It was physically exhausting and all we wanted was to slowdown and reward ourselves with a relaxing staycation.
Read Full Review >>>here

to say The HENRY HOTEL Cebu is "Like No Other" is an understatementIt's one of the few hotels which made me exclaim "My god this place!" on several occasions. Sorry, I didn't help it.

I know it's the onset of the rainy season and for somebody like me who dreads turbulence on a plane ride, flying to Cebu alone seemed like a bad idea.For some weird reason, I felt like Cebu (having been there several times) couldn't excite me anymore. I was wrong yet again.After this solo trip, I have seen Cebu with fresh eyes. My accommodation in Cebu City, The Henry Hotel in Banilad changed that mood.

To say that The HENRY HOTEL CEBU is like no other could actually be an understatement. It is on a league of its own.It's a visual feast,even to somebody like me who is not good with art.This place is a thing of beauty.I see it as a celebration of the beautiful things in life.
Read Full Review >>>here
The_HENRY_Hotel_Cebu City


WIDUS RESORT Clark: the Finest in Central Luzon
I do get a lot of queries about what hotel to recommend here and there.If it is accommodation in Clark that they ask though, I would always end up apologizing as I haven't tried staying in one in the area.

That until a few weeks ago when we tried WIDUS RESORT.I have been routing for this place because I wanted to find out if all the hype is indeed true. After the experience, I am certainly sure that there is finally a hotel I can confidently recommend to my friends and readers.
Read Full Review >>>here



LORELAND FARM RESORT Antipolo has evolved into something "fresh"and "exciting"
It has been five long years since our last visit at this Resort.It was here where we celebrated our 8th anniversary in 2008. We were still dating that time.I actually wrote a "lousy" blog post about the place that time reflecting my humble beginning as a blogger and I am amazed (and partly embarrassed) whenever I read how I accounted our experience.

Loreland has caught my attention again lately. I've been seeing a lot of changes (through social media) so we thought it would be nice to come back and check the place again.It didn't disappoint.I realized that the resort has held a special place in my heart.Seeing the transformation made my heart silently cheer.

LORELAND FARM RESORT Antipolo has evolved into something "fresh"and "exciting"!

Read Full Review >>>here


Luljettas HANGING GARDEN and SPA Antipolo
This is what I mean when I said something "exciting" has arrived at Loreland Farm Resort Antipolo, the newly developed section on the hillside they call Luljettas HANGING GARDEN and SPA.

Heaven Suspended on a Hill.

They did great in transforming this hillside property into what it is now.It took years to develop and that's the good part of it because it was well thought of.

I was already aware of this new development before coming here but I was still blown away when I saw it in person.I used to have a favorite spot at the main resort but this one is now my favorite place.I call it "Heaven Suspended on a Hill." Luljettas is love.
Read Full Review >>>here
Luljettas Hanging Garden_Loreland_ANTIPOLO


PATRICK & TEZZ GUESTHOUSE Coron: The Best $10 you"ll ever spend
This is where we stayed for two nights in Coron Palawan.The main consideration was of course the price.At roughly $10 per room per night, what more can you ask for. Coron is to be enjoyed with island hopping which means you are out in islands most of the time. We did so for two consecutive days so PATRICK & TEZZ GUESTHOUSE was definitely the practical way to go.
Read Full Review >>>here
PATRICK & TEZZ_GUesthouse_Coron

CORON ECOLODGE: for budget conscious travelers who don't want to compromise quality
It is a budget accommodation that you can easily mistake for an expensive hotel because of its upgraded facilities.

Coron is well known for backpacking but the kind of tourists that are discovering Coron lately has diversified.People see the fact that the main activity here is island hopping (which means you are out exploring the lakes, beaches and dive spots most of the day) so people are still keen on keeping it on the low-end of the budget when it comes to accommodation.The entry of Coron Ecolodge in the ever competitive Coron hospitality sector is a welcome thing therefore for budget conscious travelers who still value quality.
Read Full Review >>>here


takes the "family friendly" hotel concept to a higher level
Hotels in Metro Manila can always claim they are "family friendly" but if one says "your child eats free if accompanied by adults", that for me translates to taking the meaning of "family friendly" to a different level. HOLIDAY INN &SUITES Makati is exactly that.It is not just kids friendly, it truly is family friendly.

I together with our adopted daughter Angel finally did it again in a perfect place.Holiday Inn got it right when it opened a new location right at the heart of the country's largest central business which is also undoubtedly the shopping capital of the Philippines.
Read Full Review>>>;here
Holiday Inn Makati
Holiday_Inn& Suites Makati Poolside


is character, class and sophistication
Go to the Sky Lounge (now referred to as "The Nest") of Vivere Hotel Alabang and you can easily pinpoint among the high rises of Filinvest City the three new hotels that has joined the growing list of accommodations in the area.

Vivere Hotel was the first Hotel in Alabang and it has been #1 in the area for five years and running. That, at least, according to Tripadvisor which is the world's largest travel website.It definitely is #1 among the many who have tried the place and that includes myself now.

I call Vivere Hotel, the Queen Hotel of Southern Metro Manila.It is character, class and sophistication.
Read Full Review >>>here

the NEST_@VivereHotel Alabang
the NEST RESTAURANT_VivereHotel Alabang


The joy of going back to TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay
I was here in January commissioned to get photos of the property for the website they were working on at that time. I got to bring my wife with me so it was some sort of a romantic retreat for us at the same time. This December, we got to bring two kids with us ---our adopted daughter Angel and our niece Jhanine.

TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay: Where Romance Meets Adventure

Our staycation 2013 started with a bang and it ended in style.Thanks to TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN in Tanay Rizal.
Read Full Review >>>here

I feel very thankful for the diverse accommodations we experienced in 2013. High end, mid end, low end, each has a character that stands out. They all catered to our needs for the travel year 2013. Many were city hotels which are known for luxury and comfort. Some sponsored, some we had to pay on our own. All added to our extensive experience and therefore made us become wiser in what to look for when looking for accommodations in the future. 

It is my wish that my reviews had somewhat helped some of you decide for the perfect place to stay. Hope to experience more nice hotels this year. I am very excited. Here's to more staycations in 2014!!! ^^

ALSO, feel free to to read my staycation summary for 2012


  1. Galing naman! ikaw na talaga!!!
    Sana makahanap din ako ng whole-year sponsored vacation .:D

  2. grabe! dami nyo pala napuntahan this year ha! hehehehe! naku... doblehin nyo yan this year! hehehehe!!! congrats! :)

  3. Nakakaengganyo ang magtravel..magenjoy..lalo na kung nakakakita ka ng ganitong mga picture..hehe

  4. @Take a Break---cheers to that.let's travel more! hehehe


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