It’s always a pleasure to go on a road trip up north to the Ilocos. Did I tell you I had my first glimpse of Northern Luzon when I was in grade school on a road trip with mom and dad? Today it’s my elder sister’s treat to take the family on a trip up north when she came back from Canada (sans my other sister from the US). Of course from my side here, I was the one to help on the logistics – where and when to go, where to stay. Uur first stop is Vigan, and looking for a good value place, I found Grandpa’s Inn.
Microtel for many years have already established their brand. “It’s the same hotel where ever you go” as their slogan says. For the regular patrons, this is a good thing. They really do have one of the most comfortable chiropractic beds around and the familiar interiors would make it easier for guest to feel at home. While they do have a template for their hotels, they do make adjustments on their resort-type hotels. Like their Boracay branch, Microtel made adjustments to their beach front hotel in Puerto Princesa, Emerald Playa Beach and Nature Park.
General Santos is the gateway to South-Central Mindanao. We passed through the city going to Lake Sebu and also Sarangani. Our companions from Backpack Photography took off a day earlier than us so we had to find a place to stay for the night. Tierra Verde, was my choice from Jen’s Peter’s Philippines Travel Guide. Bidding farewell to our friends at KCC Mall, we took a cab going to National Highway and was pleasantly to find the said mentioned hotel is under a new management and no goes by the name, Tierra Montana Hotel.
I must admit, I find Manila lacking on budget or backpacker accommodations. One reason why most backpacking or budget travellers skip Manila or Philippines is the lack of facilities to accommodate these kind of tourist. In the age of cheap airline travel, I won’t be surprised if budget accommodations would follow. Taking on the Tune Hotels model of Malaysia, GoHotels recently opened their first branch along EDSA Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City. I was able to try them out during their soft opening period and here’s what I think about the place.
From the main coastal road of Baclayon, Bohol, just a few minutes past the Baclayon Church and Baluarte, our van took a left turn on a narrow road. We passed through a small community as we ascend taking a couple of turns on the road. It seems a distance away from the main road, I thought. But suddenly on my right I saw a large yellow gate with no pedestrian entrance. It opened to let the van through and I saw this large manicured garden with well cut grass and placed trees. Then on a higher ground stands a mansion that seemed to have been plucked out from a scene in Europe. Everything seems so elegant. I had no idea Bohol was hiding another wonder beyond what it is known for, I thought as I walk the grounds of the Peacock Garden Luxury Boutique Resort.
I can’t believe it’s almost over. I woke up Sunday morning to see the group already up and ready to leave for the airport. Munching on their breakfast of tuna sandwich and a cup of coffee in hand, I also noticed their baggage clumped together at the reception area. I greeted them good morning. Everyone’s already prepared. I brought down the Selphy Printer for a last minute request to print. And as soon as we heard the Seair plane started to land, we hopped in our jeep and sped to the airport only a few minutes away.
If Pablo Picasso were to design a living space, I would imagine the rooms to be divided in cubes with walls and furnishings playing on the palettes from his art during the heydays of Cubism. But even past his years, a new Boutique Serviced Residences, the first in the country, paid homage to the art and lifestyle of the famous painter naming the establishment, Picasso. Found at the heart of Makati Central Business district, I get to experience a night of luxury at one of its cube.