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Friday, July 24, 2015

PINK MANILA HOSTEL Weekend #HostelStay

I wanted a repeat of the pleasant hostel stay experience we had a few years back where we checked in at MNL Hostel in Makati on a weekend where it felt like being in another country since we were the only locals in a foreign tourist dominated accommodation. We spent most of the time in common areas of MNL Hostel socializing with fellow travelers sharing their wonderful stories on the road and learning about their experiences in and out of the country. Some of the foreigners I talked to have been to more destinations in the Philippines than I have been to so it was really a good chance to get tips from them.

Since MNL Hostel is located in the happening district of Poblacion Makati, we also got to explore the area for food choices. Poblacion prides itself with lots of restaurants, pubs and the nightlife here is really
alive.Read: Good Vibe + Good Crowd at MNL BOUTIQUE HOSTEL

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There are only a few such accommodations in Metro Manila so I was excited when I found out that another hostel opened in Manila City and this one has a pool! Yes, PINK MANILA HOSTEL has one. It is rare to find a hostel with a pool. I actually don't remember any in the country with
such facility.

Finally had the chance to try the place last month. Booked via Agoda for around 490php for a bunk bed. I was surprised to be greeted by a young French guy at the front desk who asked for our passports. I immediately told him we are locals and that we are here to just chill and feel the place. The guy is a university student in France doing volunteer work here . His English is a bit difficult to comprehend at times but good enough. He assisted us to our room and oriented us about where things are.

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PINK MANILA HOSTEL is located in an old building occupying floors 4-6 and rooftop area. He mentioned that hostel's rooftop section caught fire two weeks earlier so the place is just recovering from the incident. There used to be so many booking before the fire that affected some electrical wiring in the lower floors including the air-conditioning at another room so it really affected their bookings because many guests prefer air-conditioned rooms especially during summer. Sayang kung kelan peak season saka pag nagkasunog.

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PENTHOUSE ROOM
Also, it was already rainy season so we were only few in the 16-bed dormitory room. I was Ok with it
though, at least it was not crowded and it was easier to move around unlike when the place is full because if so you would expect somebody sleeping at any given day so you have to minimize your noise in every move. Bed sheets ad blankets are clean. I have no complains about the pillows either. Basic hostel conveniences.

Forgot to bring sandals during our stay so I was barefooted inside the room most of the time. Noticed
that a few steps on the wooden floor easily made the sole of my feet dark. A janitress frequents the
room but it seems that she wasn't really cleaning the floor thoroughly.


DORM A
SLEEPS-8
>>A/C, 8-Beds, Private Bathroom, In-room lockers.
DORM B
SLEEPS-8
>>​A/C, 8-Beds, Private Bathroom, In-room lockers
DORM C
SLEEPS-8
>>​A/C, 8-Beds, Private Bathroom, In-room lockers
TWIN ROOM
>>A/C, Twin Bed, Private Bathroom, In-room locker, Free Bath Towel
PENTHOUSE
SLEEPS-12
>>​Fan, 12-Beds, Private Bathroom, In-room lockers

Another weakness is the restroom. There are only three showers and one toilet. The whole floor can pack 16 + 6 people so I cannot imagine how the limited shower and single toilet can accommodate all guests. Didn't experience the queue fortunately since there were only 6 of us in the room at peak but with the weak water pressure which means longer shower time than normal could mean long wait during peak season.
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Although fan-only room, the penthouse is very breezy since there are doors on both ends and windows the you fully be opened. The balcony views on both sides affords one with a good view of the metropolis with Manila City on one side and Makati area on the other. People know how much I love city skyline view so this is another plus for the hostel for me.
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LOCATION
Looking for the hostel could be some sort of a treasure hunt if you are not familiar with the area. Be sure to study your map well and be familiar with the directions stated in their website especially if you are commuting. LRT Vito Cruz Station is the nearest mass transport. One can walk for 5 minutes from there. Make sure you disembark on the side opposite De La Salle University and go down the stairs in your left. Walk to the first street corner immediately facing the center of DLSU Mail Building. Turn right and walk straight past St. Scholastica's College. After a small bride, you will notice Hotel Benilde on your left. At the junction, turn right. Look for the first inner street on your right. Walk straight and the hostel is the end. Look for a 7-storey building with a gym at the ground floor. The Hostel is located at the 4th floor. Take the elevator.
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AROUND THE HOSTEL
At first I thought what is a hostel doing in a dead spot. I imagined it to be in the area of Malate near Robinsons Mall where most accommodations ( like Tune Hotel and Amelie Hotel) are located and therefore many restaurants and attractions. But this area where Pink Manila Hostel has a life of its own except for Sundays when most restaurants around are closed. First, it is near two major schools, DLSU Main and St. Scholastica's College (not to mention DLSU College of Saint Benilde) so the streets are alive during weekdays with business that caters to students. It is an upcoming area for dining. I spotted a few interesting restaurants for mid-range budget. Not so much for budget-conscious travelers but not too expensive naman.

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Lunch at Champions Food Zone
We were already starved after check-in so we ended in the nearest restaurant from the hostel -Champions Food Zone. We ordered nachos, Champions'tinapa pasta and crispy pork binagoongan. The pasta was good, the nachos so so and the binagoongan I can highly recommend to foreigners who want to experience good Filipino food. I love the mix of saltiness and a kick of sweetness to it. Locals will surely love it too. They also have other specials like lechon, sinigang na lechon, sizzling crispy sisig and crispy bicol express. 

Tinapa Pasta -120php
Nachos -90php
Crispy Pork Binagoongan -130php
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Dinner at Stoops Bagnet Ilocos

There are so many native dishes to try here. They also have chicken bagnet (105php) , boneless bangus (100php), adobo ilokano (60php), igado (60php), dinuguan (60php), sinanglaw (50php), pakbet (35php), dinengdeng (35php), empanada (45php).

Unfortunately, we were already full trying other food before going here so we opted for bagnet which is what this restaurant is known for. I thought of coming back the morning Sunday to try other dishes only to find out they are closed on Sundays. Tsk tsk tsk.
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Going around that night we also noticed another restaurant selling bagnet. By the looks of it from the
outside it looks like they are selling a more expensive version and probably better version.Maybe.Would try it next time.
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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 pala so chick 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.

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We tried Berry Me with Kisses milkquake and Choco PiƱacollada Mocktail. The difference between milkquakes and mocktails is that the latter has cocktail mix. The milkquake was a bit little over sweetness but the mocktail comes with a perfect kick. All milkquakes for 145php and all mocktails for 185php.


We also sampled Sure of Churros (speculoos, nutella), 170php for around 7 or 8 pcs. A little odd-shaped churros they have here at Le cheat, roundish but surprisingly floppy plus the right crunchiness to it and the fullness of the dough. Comes perfect with the nutella dip. Add the milkquakes and you are in for a pleasant snack. And again, the lovely interior makes the whole dining experience fun.
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MAMA V
For those who are on a budget, there's mama V. Lakas maka-china china peg ng place na to. Basta ganun lang pakiramdam, that it is a different space, the way the place is decorated and where things are. Simple yet all corners are operational. So there are tables for dining at the center and surrounding the dining area are videoke rooms for small groups. Nakakatuwa pa kasi all meals are 99 pesos worth. Walang  kahirap hirap sa computation sa bayaran. We tried sisig, tapa and lomi and taste is so so. What do you expect for a 99-peso place anyway. I think if you are with your barkada though and you want cheap entertainment plus snacks/ food on the side then this is a reasonable place. We dined here for lunch when not many people were in so I cannot really comment on the type of crowd that comes here. The waiters were very friendly though, one even approached us to give us a calling card with information of condo rates. haha
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Recalling the Pink Hostel Experience, we stayed around the pool area at night and chilled over beer. There was a heavy thunderstorm that lasted for about an hour or so which caused brief flooding around the area so we noticed from the 5th floor. 

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Fierce thunder and lightning forced us to stay mostly by the bar and reception area with other foreign guests. When the storm passed, we got to finally have our evening dip at the pool before finally calling it a night. Got to talk to two Canadian university students too who asked a lot about the places they were to visit on their month-long stay in the Philippines. I was very happy to share my personal experiences and give some sort of assurance to them that they don't have to be worried about safety going around the country.


Chill chill weekend achieved!

_____________________
MANILA PINK HOSTEL is located at
2551 Don Pedro St. Cor. Bautista St. Malate, Manila 1004
Tel. No.: +63 2 484 31 45 
Mobile: +63 905 573 0736
E-mail: pinkhostel@gmail.com

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