Reddoorz Baguio: Staycation Review

I have not always been a fan of staycation. I mean, why don’t you go out instead and explore what your surroundings get to offer. Then again, cliche as it may sound but some things change when we grow older. And that includes a changed perception about staycations.

IMG20190706104923

Living in a Baguio alone is already ideal and relaxing but these reasons didn’t deter me from choosing to “sleep over” in some hotels/ hostels/ BnBs from time to time. I have tried several bed and breakfast places and the experience was exquisite (especially at Lucia’s and The Old Orangewood BnBs). I also did a staycation with my family at a hotel near the Wright Park, and it was a happy one just cuddling and eating together with your mom, pops, and brother.

My recent staycation experiences are 2 Reddoorz Hotels near my place (actually both are just 5-minute walking from my home). These experiences are 2 totally different experiences – one highly pleasant, the other very terrible. I am writing this as a form of review, that may serve as a form of caution to people and at the same time, for me to vent out my frustration over  this very bad experience with one of these hotels.

I am not really promoting Reddoorz app but since this experience involves this app, it will be mentioned every now and then. (Also, I have other travel and accommodation apps i my phone since I am an avid fan of travelling with Bookings.com still being my personal favorite and Skyscanner). My 1st Reddoorz app experience was also beyond terrible that I ended up not staying in that hotel in Iloilo even if I booked 4-days and they would refuse a refund.

IMG20190629142151
Room at Reddoorz Aura One Hotel

I told myself not to use Reddoorz app again but when I got back home in Baguio, I got curious with Aura One Hotel being part of Reddoorz. I had a wonderful experience with this hotel back then during a Christmas party with my pharmacy colleagues. So I wonder how it was like to go for a staycation. Since I earned some rewards during my unpleasant 1st Reddoorz experience, I went on to use this in booking my stay at A1.

And woooow, woooow, wooow! My Aura One Hotel experience via Reddoorz was great. Everything was really great. Got the room for a really good price, the hotel room itself is lovely and the hotel staff are beyond nice and really kind. This 1st staycation at this hotel was followed up by 3 more bookings (that I didn’t notice I was already staying with them for almost a week).   I even went for a Red Club membership just because of my very pleasant stay at Aura One. (perks of being a member includes a special discounted price for every booking). So it is safe to say that my Aura One experience overshadowed that very bad experience in Reddoorz Iloilo.

After a few bookings at A1, I decided to try out other Reddoorz hotel hoping that the experience would be, if not as great as A1’s, pleasant and satisfying. And so I booked this Reddoorz @ Aurora Hill Hotel. It is just a stone’s throw away from A1. So the day of my booking at Reddoorz @ Aurora Hill came and boooy! I was shocked with different kinds of disappointments.

I arrived at the hotel at 12:43 noon. And I asked the receptionist if I can already check-in and she told me I cannot check-in unless it is 2pm. I asked why and she said just because that is what she was told. I understand 2PM is the standard check-in time in most hotels/ hostels around the world (not only in the Philippines) BUT in ALL past hotel/hostel experiences I have had, whenever I arrive between 12-2pm, and the room you are supposed to stay is already available, they allow you to do an early check in without paying extra. Some reception staff would tell you to wait for a while in case a room is still being cleaned up, nonetheless, they always allow early check-in. So I was in for a surprise of my life when I was told I can only check-in at 2PM.

I even wasn’t able to contain myself in comparing my Aura One experience. From the 4 previous stay with A1, 2 instances involves an early arrival at the hotel (around 12:15-12:30) and without batting an eyelash and raising an argument, was I allowed to check in immediately. I even asked if I could talk to someone about this and after a while, I was talking to someone who seems to be a “manager” of this Reddoorz @ Aurora Hill hotel. Talking to her over the phone gave me an impression that this person does not know how to properly deal with customers. SHE obviously does not know how to therapeutically and professionally converse with enraged clients and she just kept on insisting of their rules. This person even told me that Reddoorz allowed them to make their own rules when I asked, where in their written rules is this and that. I just really hope that what she said about Reddoorz, allowing them to incorporate rules they want to without their consent is true or else, this is a bad image for Reddoorz.

66530229_488348421982927_5299317098630086656_n
Room at Reddoorz @ Aurora Hill

Then came the part where I had to pay a deposit. I understand that hotels usually ask for a certain amount. I paid Php500 in Iloilo Reddoorz, and I also pay Php500 whenever I check in at Aura. I gave Php1000 here at Reddoorz Aurora Hill. I was waiting for my change when the staff said that the deposit is Php1000.00. What a surprise!!! I felt enraged again! She said that is the usual deposit asked same as other Reddoorz Hotel, she even mentioned that it is the same amount asked by Aura One Hotel to which I vehemently denied and told her they only ask me Php500.00.

NO WONDER that out of the 5 Reddoorz Hotels in Baguio City, they have the lowest rating. Now I understand why! All these things happened even before me getting checked-in. So the time I got check-in to my room, I was no longer feeling the staycation vibes I have wanted. Instead of feeling relaxed, all I wanted to happen is for this 2-day staycation to end.

Assessing their room, I would say without a bias that they have a way inferior room to even the cheapest room at A1. I know this is way too early to say but I definitely will NEVER stay or book this hotel again. I will never recommend this to any of my friends coming to Baguio for sure!

66637894_1402210876597147_696977392895262720_n
View from Aura One Hotel

Anyhow, I am looking forward to staying at Aura One again where my staycation experience was remarkably satisfying. Or maybe try this hostel I saw using my Zen Rooms App.

SUMMARY of Review:

Question Reddoorz Aura One Hotel Reddoorz Aurora Hill
ROOM – Temperature room comfortable upon arrival Yes Yes
ROOM – HVAC functional and in good condition Ceiling fan is ok Electric fan is ok
ROOM – DND Sign in good condition Yes Yes
ROOM – Entry door good condition Yes Yes
ROOM – Entry door functional Yes Yes
ROOM – Entry door lock functional Yes (makes use of a key card) Yes (makes use of a regular key)
ROOM – Entry door frame clean Yes Yes
ROOM – Telephone works Yes No telephone
ROOM – TV works Yes (+ they have Netflix and Youtube) Yes
ROOM – TV programmed correctly Yes Yes
ROOM – TV remote works Yes Yes
ROOM – Thermostat operational N/A N/A
ROOM – All electrical outlets functional Yes Yes
CLOSET – Safe instructions posted No No
ROOM – Minibar clean N/A N/A
ROOM – Minibar functional N/A N/A
BED – frame good condition Yes Yes
BED – Bedding clean and free of stains Yes Yes
BED – Frame good condition Yes Yes
BED – Headboard good condition Yes No headboard
ROOM – All flooring/carpet clean Yes A bit dirty
FURNITURE – Nighstands good condition Yes None
FURNITURE – Trash bin clean Yes No trashbin inside the room, just inside the toilet
FURNITURE – Desk chair good condition Yes Too low
FURNITURE – Desk chair clean Yes A bit
FURNITURE – Other chairs clean Yes No other chair
FURNITURE – Desk clean/ good condition/ functional Yes Not conducive
CLOSET – All accessories in closet present and in good condition Yes Yes
CLOSET – Light(s) functional No lights No lights
CLOSET – Doors open & close properly Yes Squeaky when opening.
CLOSET – Door good condition Yes A bit.
CLOSET – Interior clean Yes No
ROOM – Art hung straight/ good condition Yes Yes
ROOM – Mirrors clean/ good condition Yes Yes
ROOM – General area lighting clean/ functional. Yes A bit dim, not conducive for reading.
ROOM – USB charging ports work throughout room Yes Yes
FURNITURE – Tables good condition/ clean Yes Too high
FURNITURE – Sofa clean/ good condition N/A N/A
ROOM – Wall paint good condition Yes Yes
ROOM – Walls damage free Yes Some dent
ROOM – Windows clean/ good condition Yes A bit dirty, and one window cant be closed.
ROOM – Windows function (if they can be opened) Yes Defective
ROOM – Drapes/Sheers functional/ clean Yes Not so.
ROOM – Ceiling clean/ good condition Yes Yes
ROOM – WiFi functional throughout room Yes Yes
ROOM – Vents clean/ good condition Yes Yes
BATH – All  surfaces clean Yes NO
BATH – All bathroom tile and floor clean Yes NO
BATH – Shower glass streak free and clean Yes None
BATH – All drains in room clean and non-obstructed Yes Yes
BATH – Sink(s) clean Yes Yes
BATH – All countertops and surfaces clean and streak free Yes No
BATH – All lighting clean/ functional Yes Yes
BATH – Presence of foot rug and hand towel Yes None
BATH – All towels clean and in good condition Yes Yes
BATH – All amenities refreshed and present in bathroom Yes No
BATH – Trash bin clean and in good condition Yes Yes
BATH – Toilet clean Yes Yes
BATH – Toilet has functional bidet and shower Yes Yes
BATH – Water pressure functional Yes Yes
BATH – Hair dryer functional Yes None

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy.

Moon Fools: An EcoTourist Hostel (Bohol, PH)

It’s true that learning is a lifetime process. As an active traveler, I have come to realize that I am fortunate to learn a lot of things through various means. One thing traveling has taught me about (and is continuously teaching me) is the concept of “ecotourism”.

DSC_0223

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” This “take only pictures, leave only footprints” approach also is termed by others as ethical or responsible travel, and green or nature travel. With these terms and definition at hand, I don’t totally consider myself as one but I am trying my best to be one.

PicMonkey Image

And so when I met the owners of a unique hostel in Panglao, Bohol, who are both advocates of ecotourism, my interest in becoming ecotourism conscious was brought to a higher level. My conversation with Mari was one of those that reminded me of how much impact can I do as a traveler.

As someone who is conscious of his travel spending, it has dawned in me that we really do not need much money for us to become a more eco-friendly traveler. And one action I frequently do is by staying at a hostel. I’ll save for another post the reasons why I love staying at hostels. In the meantime, here are some ecotourism tips that I believe will help us travel-enthusiasts to travel more sustainably AND responsibly.

DSC_2504
*How about PACKING LIGHT: While most people know that a lighter baggage means saving money on check-in baggage fees, not everyone is aware that lighter load also means increasing the plane’s fuel-efficiency. This is one thing I had to remind myself every now and then because I used to pack really heavy! Now, I make sure I pack items that are light weight, quick drying, easy washing, and fewer clothes.

*SAVE ENERGY, SAVE WATER: Make sure that when you leave your room, you turn off everything that consumes energy from your AC, TV, lights, gadgets and the like. When taking shower, turn off the water outlet while shampooing your hair, or brushing your teeth. I love that Moon Fools have these little reminders randomly posted in their hostel.

 

*My mother mountain taught me to LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS, all the time. This is to avoid harming native flora and fauna. Also, bring your own trash bag (especially during hiking and long travels). This is a very simple way of maintaining the outdoors/ nature beautiful.

*BE ONE with the LOCALS Take time to immerse yourself in the local scene by talking with the local people, and experience their culture — be it arts, food, music, and the like. Respect the differences you notice, respect their practices, and their laws. Also, support local goods and crafts. That way, you are also helping their community.

These are just some of those that I do whenever I travel. And I am glad I share most of these insights with Moon Fools Hostel’s staff and owners.

DSC_0040

Moon Fools Hostel caught my attention when I was looking for a place to stay at prior to my Bohol trip. It wasn’t there yet when I last visited Panglao in 2015. Without much information about this hostel, I relied on my instinct that it’s probably one of those few accommodations I’d love. And boy I was right… The moment I entered the hostel, I already knew that it was my kind of hostel – an eco-friendly one.

I was happy to have had a great conversation with one of the owners, Mari. That is when I have learned that she and her husband are very passionate about the environment. So it isn’t surprising that the materials used in the construction of their hostel are mostly recycled. It is very admirable as to how they have made use of recycled materials from their curtains (coffee sack) to pillowcases, bedsheet, plastic cups turned into plant pots, lamps from old jars, and even recycled wood materials turned into chairs and tables. Moon Fools Hostel shows that the very essence of recycling is re-using.

 

 

My stay at Moon Fools also comes with a simple breakfast that you get to prepare on your own. It usually consists of oats, raisins, mallows, some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg plus your choice of drinks (coffee, tea, or chocolate). Plus bananas too!

I also like the fact that they have these little ecotourist reminders all over their place – from the bathroom to the dining area. The local staff of Moon Fools is the usual endearing and respectful Boholano people. During my 2-night stay, I have noticed that I was the only Filipino. Most of my roomies were Europeans, and the other visitors I got to know were Koreans, Chinese, and Australians!

And oh, you’re probably wondering why Moon Fools… Mari told me that they have this fascination for full moon and the stars that is why various moon artsy stuff is seen inside the hostel, And I agree when she said that we are all over the moon about something or foolish at one point in our lives. I like that!!

P1030214

What else to expect with Moon Fools Hostel:

  • All rooms have air conditioning.
  • Free WiFi is available from the lounge area to the rooms.
  • The hostel offers airport shuttle services at an extra charge.
  • The hostel has a shared communal bathroom.
  • A 24-hour convenience store, a cafe and a restaurant are found on the 1st floor of the hostel.
  • There are motorcycles and bicycles for rent.
  • Water sports facilities are also available.

Moon Fools Hostel
Address: Ester A. Lim corner Hontanosas Road, Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol.
Contact Number: 0925-588-9868
E-mail Address: hostelmoonfools@gmail.com
Facebook Page: Moon Fools Hostel

Don’t worry guise, the hostel is conveniently located along the main thoroughfare. It is a good 5-10 minute walk to the beach and various cafes, restaurants, ATM and the like.

If you’ve stayed at Moon Fools, how was your experience? I hope you had a great time as much as I did.

IMG20170724224029

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

 

South Palms Resort Panglao (Bohol, PH)

Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simple things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard.

Sumptuous and Paradisiacal: Two words befitting to describe my visit at this prime Bohol resort in the island of Panglao called South Palms.

4South Palms Beach Resort is a 9.3 hectare tropical paradise within a 45-hectare spread of a beachfront property. I have to say it is one of the ultimate beach destinations in Bohol as it boasts off a beach with the longest coastline in Panglao. Unlike other beaches teeming with people, Bolod Beach of South Palms guarantees a relaxing leisure walk along its white sand-dotted shoreline, and enjoyable swimming in its azure to turquoise waters. Definitely PARADISIACAL!

DSC_0058

The resort rooms display local artistry, with utmost relaxation and a stunning view of the beach as footpath provides easy access to the lovely coast. Each of these tropically adorned rooms have AC system, a flat-screen TV, a personal safety cabinet, coffee-and-tea making amenities, and a private bathroom with toiletries and hot/cold shower facilities.

They also have a variety of luxurious recreational activities and facilities that range from ball games, different water activities (snorkeling, SCUBA diving), and even day tours to other Bohol spots. Truly an ideal place for family and friends!

DSC_0056DSC_0046

And, if you intend to come in group for a business meeting or a company outing, the beach resort is also a perfect venue as they also have conference rooms and function halls. While I was strolling along their beach area, I was thinking that it is a great area for team building.

DSC_0062

 

Another thing I like about South Palms is that they have their own restaurant. A seafood restaurant at that! I am a seafood lover so I may have a little bias here. Its resto is called Oceanica Seafood Restaurant that serves both local and international cuisines. It is an open restaurant meaning you have a wonderful view of the sea (and the pool) while you are eating. It is in close proximity to the resort’s pool bars (which offers a selection of refreshing drinks). Here are some of the really palatine-satiating food I have tried at Oceanica:

Manok Inato – a local dish of grilled chicken cooked in coconut milk with aromatic spices. First time to try this and my palate agrees that it is tasty! Then there is this “Gambas-al-ahilo”, a prawn delicacy that is both sweet and spicy. I am a seafood lover so yes, I love this one. Both dishes were a great match to my “inun-un” or crab meat rice. I also had a healthy and refreshing salad called “Watermelon Summer” salad made of lettuce, mango, and watermelon. I had cucumber lemonade for drinks, an all-time favorite drink of mine. So, it is safe to say that I really had a gastronomic experience at Oceanica. As I have said earlier, everything is SUMPTUOUS!

DSC_00743Other features of the resort include the following: a souvenir shop, an ATM, a spa, a gym, laundry service, and outdoor pools. Wi-Fi access is almost everywhere (even along the coastline, I love it!) There is a free public parking that doesn’t require reservation. It is good to know that they have a 24-hour front desk, a 24-hour room service, provides airport transfer and shuttle services (that is if you want to go to Alona Beach), and they even have currency exchange. I am also pleased to know that they have facilities for guests with disability.

 

South Palms Beach Resort Panglao is indeed a destination to keep in mind when in Bohol. I can even imagine it as a lovely setting for a romantic date or beach wedding

DSC_0205

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Please refer to the images below for their rates and some promos:

2100

Vessel Hostel (San Juan, La Union)

Beyond beds, books and beers, hostel stay is life. — no_juan_is_an_island

When I was in college, La Union has been our go-to destination if we wanted a quick weekend getaway. With its proximity to Baguio, Elyu is one outright choice. Dotted with fine, grey-black sand, and a stunning sunset during the late afternoon, the coastal town of San Juan was then but a budding surf spot.

DSC_0015

The annual La Union Surf Break, the discovery and unveiling of more Elyu attractions (like Tanagdan Falls, Bahay na Bato, grape-picking in Bauang), and even a hit indie movie all contributed to the increasing number of people visiting the province. And in all of these, San Juan became an important hub for tourists and travelers alike. Year after year, this once quiet, the fishing town became more popular to surfers and beach campers alike. Also, a number of establishments (from resorts to restaurants and hostels) sprouted like mushroom through the years.

DSC_7309One awesome addition to this array of accommodations is a hostel built from shipping containers called VESSEL HOSTEL. So during a not so busy weekday, I got the chance to try this seemingly Instagram-worthy abode in Elyu.

Located in Urbiztondo, San Juan (which is where most of the surfing action, beach bumming, partying, eating and sleeping quarters are), this hostel created by Buji Libarnes and Nikki de la Paz, is pretty easy to find. Vessel is a 4-storey hostel all in all made up of 22 beds in dorm-type rooms. The ground level is where the front desk is. The rooms are found at the 2nd and 3rd levels. The beds are all double-deckers, each of which goes with a mini-desk, sockets for your gadgets, and a locker. Moreover, each room has an air-conditioning system and even electric fans. Each guest also is provided with a towel during his/her stay. Some rooms have a toilet and bath inside them, while those that do not have, may use the hostel’s very clean and complete bathroom.

C360_2017-07-20-14-27-07-913

The 3rd level is also where a mini sala is found. Nikki, the co-owner, and I had a great time sharing our travel experiences and some random stuff from surfing to hiking. It was such an inspiring conversation wherein she also shared how Vessel started, and how she and her husband have envisioned this hostel venture of theirs. (Here is a quick trivia: Both Buji and Nikki are architects. No wonder, almost every corner of Vessel Hostel is aesthetically appealing! And both of them are surfers. Now that isn’t surprising at all).

The 4th and topmost level is where one finds the roof deck that offers a lovely sea view. If one doesn’t feel like going to the seaside to watch the sundown, this part of the hostel seems a perfect spot. Also, a small kitchen and dining area is found at this level. A stay at Vessel Hostel comes with a complimentary continental breakfast. During my stay, bread (and a choice of butter or strawberry jam to go with it), boiled eggs, banana, and coffee were served. (Do note that you just get what you can eat AND do not forget to clean/ wash whatever you have used).

Whenever I am in San Juan, I spend most of my time outdoors. Either I go and practice my dwindling surfing skills, or hop from one resto to another, and eventually wait for the sunset by the shoreline (as the sundown at this side of the Philippines is really spectacular). It spent it differently during my overnight stay in San Juan. I just went out to check the surf scene quickly that gloomy afternoon, then went to eat dinner at a nearby food nook called “Tagpuan” then went back to the hostel and spent some time in bed, reading, and yes, writing. (The bed is really hard to resist as it is really comfortable you’d doze off at an instant”.

DSC_7288

Other things you might want to know about Vessel Hostel:

  • They do have wifi. A good one I must say.
  • There are a lot of restaurants that are within walking distance from Vessel.
  • They also have shower rooms outside the hostel.
  • They have endearing staff who are always ready to help you out with your needs.
  • The bathroom has a bidet, the shower room with liquid soap/shampoo.
  • The dorm room I was staying had a mini terrace (not sure with the other rooms).
  • They sell some stuff like shirt and sando (which I’d probably buy when I come back).
  • The rate of an overnight stay is at Php980.00
  • You will be asked to give a Php500.00 deposit upon checking-in.

Vessel Hostel

Urbiztondo, Manila N Rd, San Juan, La Union. (from Manila, it is at the right side of the road).

Bookings maybe done through vesselhostel@gmail.com

You can check out their Facebook Page here.

So if you find yourself wanting to de-stress or soul-search up north, without compromising the need to stay at some place truly relaxing, make your way to La Union and aboard the Vessel Hostel. You need not bring much because when you are in La Union, #ElYuNeedIsLove… and who knows, you might end up saying #IFinallyFoundSanJuan. Cheesy? Yes! Fun? Yes, Yes!!!

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

WN Hilltop BnB (Baguio City)

I want my home to be that kind of place–a place of sustenance, a place of invitation, a place of welcome. Mary DeMuth, Live Uncaged: Find the Freedom You’ve Always Wanted

An Airbnb is defined as an online marketplace and hospitality service. This allows people to rent short-term lodging. This may include apartment rentals, bed and breakfast places, homestays, or even hostel beds. I first tried this when I went to Auckland, New Zealand last year. Having a pretty high cost of living, a hotel stay for 2 weeks seems not a good and practical idea. So I opted for the way cheaper alternative – that is to try Airbnb. Fast-forward, a few weeks ago, I told myself that I should try an Airbnb in Baguio City, and at an instant, I was accommodated by a nice Airbnb host named Lex.

DSC_7157

Perched on top a private property, in a seemingly unobtrusive wood-carving neighborhood along Asin Road in Baguio City, is a home-turned-BnB. It is simply called WN Hilltop BnB. Asin Road is a major thoroughfare in the City of Pines that isn’t exactly at the center. It’s the main road that goes to nearby Tuba’s hot springs and the famed Ben Cab Museum. With that in mind, it may not instantly be a top choice for a place to stay in Baguio, especially if what you want is something very near the major Baguio tourist attractions.

DSC_7153

I, myself was a bit worried that transportation or travel time be a problem if I’d stay in such BnB. BUT, why don’t you check the place for yourself? Because I was pretty surprised (in a very good way) as to how lovely, QUIET, and relaxing this home is. Lex, the owner of the BnB is such an amazing host. He is very accommodating and is readily available to everything his guest’s needs.

DSC_7207

The room I had is beyond exquisite! I love how tastefully decorated the walls are with beautiful art pieces. I also adore the fact that I have a comforting view of mountains, a golf course, and if you are lucky with the weather, a stunning sunset too! When I saw my home for 2 days and 2 nights, I suddenly had a change of plans. Instead of checking nearby places like Ben Cab, Tam-awan, and Lourdes Grotto, my mind and body instantly wanted to just enjoy my stay at WN Hilltop BnB. It was a perfect place to spend your time watching your favorite Koreanovela or do a movie marathon. I myself spent most of the time eating, drinking tea and coffee while reading a book.

DSC_7240

Since it is a BnB, a simple breakfast of bread and pressed coffee (which is so good) comes with your stay. There is also a welcome tea drink and cookies. Oh, how I love these simple things. Lex also gladly showed me the other rooms of his home, and I must say they are all lovely. I also like that each room has a terrace. Some units have their own toilet and bath while others have to share a bathroom.

DSC_7172

Things guests might want to take note of are the following:

Lex and his partner have 2 dogs – Bali and Coco. Wifi is available but it isn’t very fast. But that is okay as disconnecting from your social media could further make your stay at WN Hilltop more relaxing and stress-free.

A golf, spa, and restaurant are within walking distance. The Pinewoods Golf Course and Clubhouse is actually the one you get to gaze at from your window and is approximately a 15-20 minute walk or if you have your own car, it’ll be around 5-minute drive. As mentioned earlier, the Ben Cab Museum is near the area. So you can just wait for a jeepney or taxi that pass by the area and go visit the museum.

I have to agree when Lex said that the location of his BnB is best for those who want to capture a snapshot of living in Baguio City and of course, those who’ll like a pretty quiet place to stay especially at night. Those who choose to go for the extra mile will surely be rewarded!

DSC_7162

How to Get to WN Hilltop BnB: So here are the various options for getting around.

If your point of origin is SM Baguio, take a taxi. It would usually cost around PHP 70-120 depending on the traffic. If you opt to take the public transport, the jeepneys going to KM4 in Asin Road is at the Baguio City Market (locate Panadero Bakeshop). The Asin Road jeepneys are found in here. The fare is less than Php 10.00. Get off at Pamela Store or if you see the orange colored bridge (Asin Bridge Number 2), then you are on the right track. You will see an uphill to your right, walk your way and you will see a big gate on your left, go walk straight until you see WN Hilltop BnB.

WN Hilltop BnB
Address: 0976 KM 4 Asin Road, Baguio City
Phone Number: 0956 407 6649
Facebook: WN Hilltop FB Page

More of WN Hilltop (especially reservations), please do check Lex’s Airbnb profile for the price and other essential details HERE.

DSC_7199

My stay at Lex’s place was marked by comfort and serenity. Thank you, Lex kabsat for the asikaso ken istorya nga addu!

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Lucia’s (A Delightful BnB Experience): Baguio City, PH

If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace. — Gaston Bachelard

Baguio is one place I never get tired of bragging about to my friends. I tell them to visit its various tourist attractions (Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Botanical Garden, PMA, Tam-awan, BenCab, Session Road, John Hay to reiterate some), which is a staple to anyone coming to the city of pines. I also encourage these friends of mine to explore the local cafes and restaurants (like Arcas Yard, Café by the Ruins, Vizcos, Sweet Stop etc) that offer some really palatine-satiating food and beverages. Lately, I have also been suggesting them to come to Baguio and just laze around, chill, and experience a true blue staycation.

DSC_7126

 

An overnight stay or two in one of Baguio’s bed and breakfast places is one experience I recommend someone to try. And maybe, you’ll end up discovering new things about Baguio, and yourself. Just like my recent know-how in a charming, and serene house-turned-BnB called Lucia’s.

DSC_6984

Lucia’s Bed and Breakfast (named after the owner Ms. Lucille and her daughter Lia) is a classic Baguio home I have always seen during my formative years – homey, and pleasant in every corner. I am not usually very good with describing things to the least detail but what caught my interest (in terms of the house’s features) are the following: the murals, the peculiar accents, quotes, and vibrant color of each room, the wooden floor, and wooden window borders! My eyes almost always ogle in excitement whenever it sees something wooden. All the elements of a desirable BnB are exemplified by Lucia’s – from the warm, personalized service, the hospitality, the mingling with other guests, to that “beyond sumptuous” breakfast, and of course, the relaxing stay.

 

My 2-day “staycation” at Lucia’s wasn’t just about pampering my physical self for a much-needed rest. My stay at Lucia’s made me realize a few things. These realizations were inspired by the names of the BnB’s rooms.

DSC_7083

  • The best way to learn something is to LISTEN intently to someone else’s stories and shared experiences. I had a great deal of time exchanging stories and ideas with the BnB’s manager and her family. We talked about travel, Baguio life, and much more.
  • To LAUGH with all my heart whenever I find myself staring at the ceiling… smiling because I remembered a funny, silly experience. Having had a lot of “me time” during this staycation, it made me reminisce a lot of past experiences. To which I end up laughing at myself.
  • I have also re-discovered that despite being an adult, I still LEAP with joy whenever I see something really enticing like a lovely art piece (like some of those that I have seen within Lucia’s home) or hear an interesting story (like when Ms. Cate, the manager, told me about her climb to Mount Pulag before).

DSC_6999

  • The 2 breakfast meals I had at Lucia’s was a gastronomically LUSCIOUS experience. I both love the breakfast calzone and chicken fajita in a veggie tortilla that was served during my stay! It was so palatine-satiating that I wish they could have their own café soon and serve those dishes.
  • My LOVE for Baguio has never been this intense. I admit, I used to feel a love-hate relationship with this city, but having left it, made me recognize that there is no place like Baguio. Lucia’s BnB is Baguio in a nutshell – it’s a place of love, warmth, and the very essence of a home.
  • We all have a LOONEY side in us. In my case, I’d say, my crazy soul, can range from mild to wild. I’m used to spending time alone, and during these times, I tend to go a little berserk (in a good way) because I get to have more opportunities to entertain my crazy ideas. And I actually like it.
  • Lastly, my wonderful stay at Lucia’s reminded me of how happy it is to LIVE. I had a great time exchanging pleasantries with the kind and accommodating staff of Lucia’s. They made my stay exciting and at the same time, fulfilling. True enough, the life and soul of a house, are the individuals who live and make it a home.

 

So, if you are yearning for a tranquil Baguio stay with your family or friends or a love one, Lucia’s BnB is a perfect choice. They have 7 bedrooms to choose from, with ample bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a dining area, a kitchen, and even an indoor recreational space. Also, they have a garden and an outdoor breakfast area.

DSC_7096

Here is a summary of the room rates at Lucia’s. Please do note that there may be changes without prior notice hence it is best to contact them for validation purposes.

DSC_7046

Lucia’s Bed and Breakfast:

Address: 7 Navy Base Road, Extension, Baguio

Phone: 0917 530 3623

 

Lucia’s Bed & Breakfast is easily accessible via Leonard Wood Road. It is near Teacher’s Camp, Baguio Botanical Garden, SLU Navy Base campus, and a handful of cafes and restaurants of the Newtown Plaza Commercial Complex. Lucia’s has a parking lot so bringing in your own car isn’t a problem. Both public jeepneys and taxi frequently ply the area.

DSC_7068

 

Special thanks to Ms. Catherine Saranglao (Lucia’s manager) for accommodating me, for the awesome travel stories we shared; Sir Emerson Bimuyag (Lucia’s chef) for the sumptuous and healthy breakfast, and of course to Ms. Lucille Yambao (Lucia’s owner) for opening your home to travelers, backpackers, and tourists who would like to experience Baguio’s warmth.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Old Orangewood BnB (Baguio City, PH)

The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back. – Wendy Wunder

Baguio is, and will always be my favorite Philippine city. I mean who wouldn’t love the City of Pines? It seems that it never runs out of charm, well, besides the fact that a lot of people love it for its cool weather. Having spent a long time in this city, a lot of my people I know would consider me as the person to go to about places of interests, and of course, accommodation.

0oobb

So here is one homey and really cozy place I recommend called Old Orangewood Bed and Breakfast. Yes, it is an old house (one that is post WW2 I suppose) that is given a new look. And yes, it is an orange one. A hue that matches the entire vibe of this simple and laid-back home.

This once abode of a group of diverse Baguio foreigners now caters the growing population of Baguio tourists, travelers, backpackers, and even local who want to do a staycation in their own city. The house features old wood and stone pillars and which I like. I really have a soft spot for anything wooden. Since it is located at the backroads of Baguio’s main thoroughfare, it is spared from terrible traffic. Nonetheless, it is still within walking distance to the central business district and a jeepney away from most popular Baguio sites.

24oobb

It has 11 rooms of different sizes. Interesting to note that each room is named after famed landmarks and tourist attractions in the Cordillera (primarily in Baguio). Moreso, each of which has a distinct “personality”. The color of the room, the bed sheets and pillows, mural artworks by artist Kelly Ramos, and even some hand-crafted decors make each room unique. And did I mention that they also have a special playhouse for toddlers and young children that are just beside their café? Perfect while you have your coffee and at the same time, watching over your young.

So here is the current rate for each room (as of July 2017):

Name of Room # of Pax Off Peak Rate Peak Season Rate
Asin Hot Springs 4 – 6 3, 600.00 3, 800.00
Banaue 2 1, 600.00 1, 600.00
Burnham Park 8 – 10 650.00 /head 650.00 /head
Botanical 2 1, 600.00 1, 600.00
Camp John Hay 4 – 5 3, 600.00 3, 800.00
Kennon Road Rooms (1, 2, 3) 2 pax or solo 1, 100 (for 2) or 700 if solo 1, 100 (for 2) or 700 if solo
Mansion 3 – 6 3, 900.00 4, 000.00
Mt. Pulag 1 900.00 900.00
Sagada 2 – 3 2, 200.00 2, 300.00
Scout Hill 2 – 3 2, 200.00 2, 300.00
Session Road 2 – 4 2, 800.00 3, 000.00
Tam-awan 2 – 4 2, 800.00 3, 000.00
Wright Park 1 – 2 1, 600.00 1, 600.00

***Please do note that these rates are subject to change so it is best to confirm with them through the contact numbers enlisted below.

The Burnham Room is a dorm-type room wherein there are bunk beds.The Mt. Pulag room and the Kennon Road rooms are the rooms ideal for solo travelers/ tourists. The Botanical and Banaue rooms have 2 single beds while the Tamawan and Session Road rooms have 2 double beds. John Hay room has 1 queen-size bed and 2 single beds; Wright Park room has 1 King-Size bed; Sagada and Scout Hill rooms each have a double bed & a single bed. While the Mansion room, true to its name, has 3 double beds. Note that each room has its own toilet and bath except for the 3 Kennon Road rooms wherein T/B is shared. The T/B is equipped with a hot shower.

During my 2 night staycation here, I had the Mount Pulag room. I just love everything about it. It’s the topmost room so I get a beautiful view of the sunset during late afternoon, and some nightscape after sundown.

They do have a wi-fi. All rooms are inclusive of a daily breakfast, per person. It has a resident café called Hotcat Café where breakfast is served. Well, you can also opt to eat at their newly created dining area found at the back of the house. (By the way, if you intend to bring with you a private vehicle, they do have some parking space but let Sir Nic know about it in advance).

19oobb

Old Orangewood BnB’s house rules:

  • Check-in time is 2 PM, Check-out time is at 12 NN.
  • Extra mattress is Php450, inclusive of breakfast.
  • Laundry services are offered for a fee.
  • Flexibility on pricing can be discussed for a longer stay.
  • Breakfast is served between 6 AM and 10 AM only. (You can let them know your preferred time).
  • Rooms and extra beds must be paid before checking-in.
  • Pets are NOT allowed at The Old Orangewood.
  • Rooms will be cleaned only upon request.
  • Handle keys with care. Since there will be a fine for lost or damaged keys. Leave your room key at the front desk or keep it with you whenever you leave the premises.
  • Smoking is prohibited in the rooms or anywhere else in the house. There is, however, a designated area for smoking.
  • Conserve water by NOT running the faucets and showers unnecessarily and turn them OFF when not needed. Please report any signs of leakage or damage to water closets/appliance.
  • There is a QUIET TIME observed between 10PM-7AM. So refrain from shouting and running around in the common area.

FOR RESERVATIONS and INQUIRIES

Contact: 0928-970-7357 (Smart), 0956-645-2249 (Globe), 074-442-5060 or 074-244-9384 (landline)

Email: theoldorangewood@gmail.com

Location: 20 Gomez st., Lower P. Burgos, 2600 Baguio City, Philippines

You can also check their Facebook Page for promos. OLD ORANGEWOOD BnB

Shout out to Sir Nik, Mam Danette, their adorable daughter Lilu (who would come to me and have some really nice conversation), and her brother Noah for accommodating me with utmost warmth. And to all their uber friendly and helpful staff – keep it up! You truly add up more warmth to Old Orangewood BnB, and Baguio’s cool climate.

14oobb

So, the next time you look for a place to stay in Baguio, and you want some place totally relaxing and really homey, give The Old Orangewood Bed and Breakfast a try.

DSC_0155

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJUAN.