Stepping into a foreign land can be intimidating and exciting. Expect some degree of culture shock as one learns the rope of a place. The ease of getting used to a foreign land depends on one’s first few steps are. In my case, I can get by with mid-range to budget hostels and inns when I travel, much like Motherland Inn when I went to Burma. They were so friendly and helpful on a personal level that I quickly adjusted. But for the Philippines who’s not really accustomed to hostels, sleeping at dorms with strangers, communal bathrooms, I was glad to learn that there is already a growing number of backpacker friendly hostels and one of them is Our Melting Pot Hostel in Makati.
At first I was hesitant to enter on what seemed to be an abandoned building in front of A.Venue along Makati Avenue corner Guerrero St. Upon reaching the 4th floor, I could smell a pleasant odor in the air, of light incense similar to entering a spa. And beyond the door I was warmly welcomed to a wide open lobby leading to a kitchen, almost immaculate in neatness that I didn’t mind leaving my foot wear outside. It was a stark contrast from the building it houses.
Our Melting Pot (OMP) was conceived by a group of friends who loves to travel and backpack. Finding the need for same type of accommodation in the country, they set-up OMP in 2009. Word of mouth spread among the backpacking community of a friendly and good-value hostel in the heart of Makati, they even got good ratings on many sites like tripadvisor and hostelworld. And personally experiencing this made me realize this type of accommodations is best suited for Filipinos who are known for our hospitality.
There are a variety of rooms at OMP. There are the 6-bed mixed rooms (P600/bed), 4 bed-mixed (P800/bed) and 6 beds females only and a single bed room those yearning for privacy (P1100). There’s the communal bathroom and toilet with enough cubicles to accommodate guest. But for those looking for something a little bit upscale, there is a room with queen sized bed and ensuite t & b (P1900). One thing in common are the clean sheaths, quality pillows, lockers, personal curtains for the dorm rooms and the well thought out interior design that’s both functional and dynamic.
I stayed there for a night with a few friends. The beds and pillows were more comfortable than expected. The size and length big enough for large Caucasians. The airconditioning works perfectly and the free wifi internet was available. Of course being in the heart of Makati, in the busy district with an active night life nearby, it was expected to hear traffic noise from the streets, but not enough to bother our deep slumber. I was amused with the breakfast setup with all the sandwich jams lined up for the choosing.
I think the most important here is the resource one can have once they enter the country. Guidebooks can be borrowed at the counter. And most importantly, the staffs are ready to help out and impart their knowledge in exploring the Philippines. No wonder it has become popular among foreigners. Guest are not only paying for the space or the bed their sleeping, their getting an extra with new found friends ready to lend a hand.
OMP is getting big, as construction of another level is ongoing and they have roof deck access if one wants to get some air with the view of the city. It turns out that the base floor will be occupied by a fast food chain and the other levels by an outsourcing company. Pretty soon this “abandoned” building will be brimming with ife. For me, I’m just glad budget-conscious travellers now have more options on where to stay in this crazy city of Manila.
Our Melting Pot
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.