A year since I last travelled abroad, I was excited to visit Thailand. The Southeast Asia nation I haven’t really explored. This was also my birthday trip and I wanted to try travel differently this time. Skimmed down my gear by not bringing my tripod this time. I did still bring my main camera but I was shooting more with my Asus ZenFone 4 Max 5.5 in Thailand. I have always wanted to try to minimalize and focus more on the travel experience than the gear I have.
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.
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.
Greece would be an ideal place to be lost in if I were to travel to that part of the world. But that seems to be a distant dream for now. It’s a good thing international resort chain Thunderbird brought a piece of the Greek Island, Santorini at the land of La Union. Perched up high on a scenic cliff at Poro Point, the grand Greek architecture stands out from a distance to welcome visitors at Thunderbird Poro Point Resort.
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.