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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.


-Spacious, Cozy, Living, Inviting.

I normally start my reviews on rooms but this one I wanna focus first on the lobby. Where2Next Manila occupies the 2nd and 3rd levels of an old building they did well in renovating. At the 2nd floor is the lobby area which is the centerpiece, the main feature of the hostel. It is difficult to explain but since it is spacious and beautifully maximized, it serves as a magnet for guests to gather and chill. And that's what hostels are, they provide a perfect venue for interaction, meeting new friends and authentic local experience.
Balcony + Smoking Area

The lobby is the reception, living room, entertainment, dining, locker, internet area wrapped into one. Each spaces distict but with an overflowing feel. Best of all, it's airconditioned. Breathable space. Living space. Beyond the lobby is the smoking area separated by a glass window thereby creating an extension of the already spacious lobby. The glass even allows for a view of the outside.

You will love this area because this is where you can chill. Smike, drink, sing videoke for 100 pesos per hour, chat and socialize with fellow travelers. Look down the street and watch it come alive and see people excitedly partake in thrill that is Malate.


Dining and Kitchen
+ Palengke Tour

A simple breakfast consisted of toast, egg and fresh mango (or fruit in season) is included in the room price. Unlimited coffee too. Other than the hearty breakfast, the dining area reminds me of the palengke tour the hostel offers every Wednesday when guests are accompanied to a traditional market (palengke) to buy fresh vegetable, seafood or meat to bring back to the hostel to be cooked. Guests are then taught to cook simple Filipino dishes like adobo or lumpia by hotel staff. I find this a very fun and immerseful activity indeed.

It was also here where we saw a Korean guest (Bora), eating together with hostel staff. They were eating adobo prepared by the hostel cook and they were happily chatting like a scene from a happy family meal you see in movies except that this one is real. We were invited over but we were about to check out at that time to catch another appointment so we managed to stay for a few minutes to taste the adobo after I was eagerly handed a fork to try eat. I couldn't resist. Bora was so at home I felt that she found a family here. My only regret is that I failed to snap a shot to capture that surreal moment.

Dormitory rooms are located at the 2nd floor while private rooms are located at the 3rd floor.


Where 2 Next - Manila Hostel has 4 dorm types available 
- 14 beds, 
- 12 beds, 
- 6 beds (female) and
- 6 beds (male).

They also offer private rooms for 2-3 people, and all of our rooms are air-conditioned, so you can have a comfortable and pleasant sleep. We also now offer private rooms with fans instead. It's having your privacy on a budget! Our hostel can sleep a total of 52 people. Shared toilets.

We stayed in a private room for 1,300 pesos per night. We originally booked this for 1000 pesos and I though it includes airconditioning but not so we were offered to add 300 pesos for it. Not bad. Two single beds, divide the cost for two pax and that is around 650 pesos. A small difference for dormitory rooms of around 500 pesos per pax for added privacy.

Around The Hostel
Happening Street
Where 2 Next is situated on the famous street of Adriatico, in front of Malate Bayview Mansion and next to Go Kizip Korean Restaurant. The hostel is also surrounded by museums, old churches, art centres, national library, parks, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Hence, providing the area with a very vibrant nightlife.

Places of Interest:
- Malate Church
- Intramuros
- Manila Bay
- Rizal Park (Luneta)
- Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)
- Star City
- Chinatown and Divisoria

Adriatico is such an odd street. You will hardly feel that you are in the Philippines when you walk through it. Korean restaurants abound. Persian, Chinese food finds, modern fusion food and even a Japanese Ramen cart very famous in the area. Walk a little farther and you see a Chinese temple. The only reminder you have is when you walk past some of the entertainment clubs (esp..at night) when local girls are in front of them inviting you to try their place. Finding Filipino food could be a bit of a challenge.
Also along Adriatico is Erra's  where you order the usual silog and sizzling dish sets. It is also a very popular drinking spot for both locals anf foreigners. It is never out of patrons at any given time of day. But we were not here for that but for ramen (Erra's Vest Ramen) which equally makes the place popular because of their cheap version of the well.loved Japanese food.

Shoyu -60 pesos
Miso -80 pesos
Shio - 70 pesos
Tan-tanmen -90 pesos



One major discovery, bingsu! This popular Korean shaved ice refreshment similar to our halo-halo I've been dying to sample. I thought only Cafe Bene with only a few branches in Metro Manila offers it but two blocks away from the hostel is Cafetaly which sells breads, pastries, bingsu and even chimaek or chicken + maekju (beer).

So what is the difference with halo halo? We are more playful and generous with our ingredients that we combine anything available and mix them, thus halo-halo (mix mix) but in the case of bingsu, flavors are distinct. If it is classic red bean (what we ordered) tiramisu, berry, name it, they have so many variations to choose from, at least in Korea. At Cafetaly, they have only three. One thing that makes bingsu a standout is the ice. They invest a lot on the shaver that the ice is as fine as you can get, almost the fineness of ice cream. And I heard they mix mix before they freeze their ice? This fine texture of the ice therefore makes the milk, sugar and other flavors blend well into the whole mix for an even and consistent taste. Makes me wonder, why can't big shops selling halo halo like Chowking or Razons invest in a better ice shaver?

At night.....
Thanks to the help of the hostel we were able to find hawker food in an adjoining street where we enjoyed popular food on stick on a sidewalk table set up for its customers.


Makchang Korean Restaurant

As I mentioned, Cafetaly also sells chimaek, half chicken sells for around 359 pesos then you order the beer separately. We thought of going back the next day to try it but we opted for a Korean restaurant indeed. Just below Where 2 Next is a Korean Restaurant with very clear glass walls that i salivate each time I take the stairs to and from the hostel. We opted for another Korean Resto also net to the hostel, Makchang!

Nice place and I was satisfied with the food although Jang Ga Nae in Ortigas is still my favorite when it comes to Korean restaurant.
Read: >>> http://www.pusangkalye.net/2012/01/jang-ga-nae-korean-restaurant-and-late.html


Creating Memorable Experiences
In their website...." When you combine passion, fun, and an invaluable bank of experience in the realm of hospitality and travel, you realize that the best travel experiences are stress-free, comfortable and filled with like-minded people who just want to enjoy life."

Above, I recounted the authentic hospitality the hostel extends to its guests. Below are photos I grabbed from their Facebook page showing the manager enjoying touring his guests. Such memorable experiences sets Where 2 Next Manila Hostel from the other accommodations in the area I tried. Keep up the good work guys.


I will go to El Nido soon and will stay at Where 2 Next Nacpan. I will try to share the experience about it soon! Cheers!

is located at 1776 M. Adriatico Street Manila, Philippines
Call: +63 917 804 0434
Email: bookings@where2nexthostel.com
Website: www.where2nexthostel.com

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