Enjoy Nature in Style in These 8 Glamping Spots Near Manila

by Julia Escano

Most of us are guilty of it. We romanticize camping, thinking it’s a cool way to show we’re hardcore outdoorsmen. We get it: the idea of lying outdoors with nothing between you and the stars does sound romantic. Then come the first few mosquitoes, the ants that find their way into our tent, and that annoying piece of rock that keeps digging into our backs as we sleep. While camping certainly has its charms, there is an alternative to enjoying nature without having to get rough and dirty.

Enter glamping. The concept of “camping with glamor” has been around for a while, and finally, it’s becoming a bigger thing in the Philippines. With glamping sites near Manila sprouting regularly year after year, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a crowd favorite for city dwellers. What’s so great about glamping is that it marries the best of both worlds: the rustic beauty of nature, and the creature comforts of luxury. What more can you ask for, right? So if you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone on your next weekend or holiday, here’s a list of the best glamping sites near Manila that you can enjoy.

San Rafael River Adventure, Bulacan 

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Along the stretch of the Angat riverbanks in the town of San Rafael, is a retreat that’ll make you feel like the city isn’t just two hours away. While amenities like an infinity pool are a major draw, the real attractions are the expanses of bamboo and the serene Angat River naturally defining the landscape. The best part is San Continue reading Enjoy Nature in Style in These 8 Glamping Spots Near Manila

Got Skills? Stay for Free at These Lodgings When Traveling Around the Philippines

by Julia Escaño

You’ve booked your flights. You’ve searched through every digital nook and cranny of your destination. You’ve outlined your Must-See and Must-Do lists. You might have even created a special playlist for the trip. All that’s left to tick is finding your home away from home.

Finding cheap accommodations anywhere in the country should be easy enough, but why settle for cheap when you can get it for free? If you’re willing to sweat it out and share your skills, the Philippines has free accommodations for serious travelers who want more bang for their buck.

From the city to the countryside, from the land to the sea, here is a list of free accommodations in the Philippines that allow you to travel while giving something back to the community!

Share your skills for a bed in this Tacloban hostel

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What would you do for a free bed? In this hostel, talent and skill are the currency.  Yellow Doors Hostel, an award-winning hostel in post-Yolanda Tacloban, offers a stay-for-free program for skilled guests. By imparting your knowledge through different kinds of workshops, sharing your music by joining jam sessions at their rooftop bar, or offering any other talent that might be handy, you can stay in the hostel for free. It’s not just about saving money,  you get to help enrich the experiences of others while fostering community and Continue reading Got Skills? Stay for Free at These Lodgings When Traveling Around the Philippines

How to Get Free Lodgings Anywhere in the World by Volunteering

by Julia Escaño

We’ve all been there: slumped on your office chair, longing for ice cold beers by that hidden beach you had discovered on your trip last week, and wishing you could do it all over again. Then reality kicks in: Your travel budget is tight. Accommodations aren’t free, and neither are cold beers. That reality is just about to change.

There is a whole world of free lodgings available to travelers everywhere. Through various volunteer programs and work exchange opportunities, you can stay for free and help a community at the same time. Most organizations even prioritize longer stays which allows you to fully immerse in the local culture.

If this sounds like your thing, explore the possibilities with these organizations and websites below. All it takes is a strong desire to help, some elbow grease, minimal membership fees, and you can bid that office chair goodbye. It won’t be seeing you anytime soon.

Mind My House

House-sit and dog-sit while living in scenic Northern France 

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Who doesn’t fantasize about living in the French countryside; those quaint stone houses, surrounded by rolling green fields and blue skies? If you’re willing to trade a little housework for it, one of those houses could be yours for free. Through Mind My House, a website that brings homeowners and house-sitters together, you can handpick a location and volunteer to take care of a home there while its owners are away. The website offers listings from all over the globe, which means that wherever you want to go, there’s probably a house waiting for your care. This listing, for instance, requires caring for animals and tending the Continue reading How to Get Free Lodgings Anywhere in the World by Volunteering

These Idyllic Mountain Towns Are the Perfect Rainy Day Getaways

by Julia Escano

With temperatures cooling down and rains coming in almost every day, beach bumming season has come to a close. But that doesn’t mean our wanderlust and thirst for exploration has to end too! Apart from seaside getaways, the Philippines is also rich in lush mountain destinations that don’t always get noticed.

Find your perfect escape in these idyllic locales nestled in the country’s lush mountain regions. Rainy days (and Mondays) don’t always have to get you down!

Bontoc, Mountain Province

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Photo by Gwendolina G | CC BY

The town of Bontoc may only be 45 minutes away from Sagada, but it has yet to enjoy the same fame. Walking through the streets of Poblacion, Bontoc is much like walking through the town center of Dagdag, Sagada from 10 years ago. Instead of hordes of tourists milling around, you see locals coming to and from the market, interacting with each other, and going about their daily lives. It paints a picture of authentic local color, which is a breath of fresh air.

Just like its neighboring town, Bontoc’s attractions are in the outskirts, where nature is relatively untouched. Bontoc’s stretch of the vast Chico River is calm and crystal clear, making it a great spot for swimming. A short tricycle ride plus a long hike will take you to some of the most breathtaking rice terraces in the region, such as the Palali Rice Terraces. Along the way are the Alab Petroglyphs, which Continue reading These Idyllic Mountain Towns Are the Perfect Rainy Day Getaways

Luxe Lodgings in Makati for a Stylish Staycation

by Julia Escaño

Maybe you have a big work deadline coming up. Or you and your barkada need to finish a group project. Or you just want a change of atmosphere. Whatever the reason, staycations are a quick and easy way to give us a refreshing boost without going far or spending too much. And what better place for a staycation than one that’s not only familiar to us, but also a haven of food and recreation? Here are some awesome Makati suites that are fitted perfectly for anything and everything your quick escape calls for.

For the Urban Sophisticate

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The Gist A lavish 2-bedroom in one of the most exclusive addresses in town
The Space Accommodates: 6
Bathrooms: 2.5
Bedrooms: 2
Beds: 2
Rating 4.5 stars (60 reviews)
Amenities Kitchen
Wireless internet
PoolFree parking on premises

Feel like a millionaire for a weekend in this luxurious 2-bedroom unit in Rockwell Center. High ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass windows characterize this corner unit, while high-end furnishings and tasteful details in every room give it a designer flair. The unit is designed for 4 guests, with two bedrooms, but can accommodate up to 6 without feeling cramped. It’s perfect for a grown-up getaway where your day includes wine and cheese while overlooking the stunning city. For a little activity, the building has 2 pools and is right across Power Plant Continue reading Luxe Lodgings in Makati for a Stylish Staycation

Farm Resorts Near Manila for Your Next Vacation

by Julia Escano

Beaches are a staple when it comes to weekends and short vacations out of town. Likewise, mountain climbing and camping have become a popular activity across the board. But too much of these and you can’t help but look for something new, something different, but something equally fun. In the past few years, farm resorts across the Philippines have grown in number. Soon they will probably become the next hot destination for weekend warriors and out-of-towners looking for a different experience.

Farm resorts are great in that they offer a different side of nature we rarely get to see, while providing all the creature comforts of a true getaway. Imagine the serenity of waking up in the morning and looking out into vast farmlands where you are protected from the hustle and bustle of the city. The following is a list of farm resorts near Manila, which offers a unique escape from the daily grind or the usual destinations.

Costales Nature Farms

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Located in Majayjay, Laguna, Costales Nature Farms was established in 2005 to cultivate premiere organic produce in the country. Now, it has also opened its Continue reading Farm Resorts Near Manila for Your Next Vacation

Hip Hostels: 6 of the Best Budget Lodgings in Manila

It looks like Manila is becoming more tourist-friendly by the day. If a few years ago, your only choices for accommodation are hotels and motels, there are now a bunch of hostels in Manila, and cool ones at that.

Hostels have had a reputation for being the backpacker’s choice of lodging – cheap, basic and oftentimes sketchy. But recently, many concepts have cropped up that help other kinds of travellers to warm up to hostels. Some hostels now include hotel-grade amenities, tastefully-designed spaces, and even host activities for guests to enjoy.

Here are the hip hostels for your next visit or staycation in Manila:

Z Hostel
Don Pedro Street, Makati

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5 stars (181 reviews)

Z Hostel calls itself a luxury hostel and it’s clear from the moment you step in. The bright, airy space and tastefully designed industrial interiors instantly make you feel like you’re in a boutique hotel. Though Z Hostel caters mainly to backpackers with their dorm-style accommodations, they do have a few private rooms at their top floor. The dorms come complete with a vanity, lockers and an electric socket for each bed.

hip hostels in Manila: Z Hostel 1
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There is a café at the lobby with self-serve complimentary breakfast. The theatre room also makes up for the lack of cable TV – its complete with a flat screen TV, a turntable and even a DJ console. At the top floor is their famous roofdeck bar with Continue reading Hip Hostels: 6 of the Best Budget Lodgings in Manila

Rent These Entire Private Islands in Palawan, Butler Included!

We’re sure you’ll agree: the best vacay is one that’s uninterrupted. When you’re spending what’s left of your downtime at the beach or a hotel, the last thing you want is to contend with throngs of tourists and families for lodging, or your own space on the shore. That certainly won’t be a problem if you can have the entire island to yourself — like these private islands in Palawan we’re about to show you.

Yup, that’s right! Among the world-renowned islands of Palawan are 6 exclusive, private islands that you can rent entirely. No other tourists but you and your family. Some of them come fully-staffed, with chefs, butlers, and masseuses to cater to your every whim, while some offer a taste of real island life, with some basic comforts.

Whether you want to make like Richard Branson and own a luxurious private island for a night or be a castaway with no need for rescue, there’s a hideaway in Palawan to suit your taste:

LUXURY

  1. NoaNoa Private Islands 
    Northeast Palawan

This private island is so incognito it’s not on Google Maps. The tiny speck on the map, 200 feet above sea level, can be found through its exact coordinates – look close enough, and you’ll see its own pier and helipad Continue reading Rent These Entire Private Islands in Palawan, Butler Included!

Skip the Hotel: 7 Unique Airbnbs for Group Outings Near Manila

Are you gearing up for your family or barkada getaway?

It’s likely that everybody else will be on holiday, too. So for a change, skip the crowded hotel and resort, and book your own little hideaway via Airbnb. We did the homework for you and sought listings with unique concepts, stunning views, close proximity to nature activities, and rock-solid reviews, too.

Stay in one of these to make the most of your summer:

**Click the title of each lodging to be redirected to their respective Airbnb page. 

1. Modern Kubo with Private Pool Overlooking Taal
    Narra Hill, Tagaytay

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THE GIST A bed & breakfast overlooking Taal Lake where you can rent a kubo, or the entire venue.
P9,041.00 / night
1 night minimum stay
THE SPACE Accommodates: 5
Bathrooms: 1
Bedrooms: 2
Beds: 3
RATING 5 stars (26 reviews)
AMENITIES Free Breakfast, served by staff
Free Parking
Pool
Air-conditioning
Wireless Internet
Family and Pet Friendly

We all know how Tagaytay can be crowded, especially on long weekends. But guests of Narra Hill say it makes you feel like you’re on a different side of town.

Continue reading Skip the Hotel: 7 Unique Airbnbs for Group Outings Near Manila

Gorgeous Boracay Hideaways for Families and Barkadas

Summer is right around the corner, and it’s never too early to plan the perfect trip. If you are bursting to get some sea and sun with your barkada or family, Boracay is always a safe bet for fun – and then some. But it isn’t just the island’s legendary beaches and waters that could make a trip memorable; the perfect lodging could do so too. There is now a ton of Boracay group accommodations for extended families or large cliques that not only give you a place to rest your head after a night of partying, but also create a whole other experience.

Check out these gorgeous accommodations perfect for big groups like barkadas and families. We dare you to resist.

The Ocean View Penthouse at Karuna Suites

Boracay group accommodations: The Ocean View Penthouse at Karuna Suites

Boracay group accommodations: Karuna Suites (Top View)

The Gist: A serviced penthouse with 180° views of the island
P 23,757/night
The Space: Accommodates: 12
Bathrooms: 4
Bedrooms: 4
Beds: 4
Rating: 4 stars (151 reviews)
Amenities: Swimming pool
Kitchen
Butler service
Wireless internet
Air-conditioning

If you are looking for something truly remarkable, look no further. Karuna Suites Continue reading Gorgeous Boracay Hideaways for Families and Barkadas