Go artsy at this new hotel in Makati

Go artsy at this new hotel in Makati

Colorful walls, delicious food, and free premium Filipino coffee—all in one convenient Poblacion hotel.

U Hotels on the tailend of Burgos Street in Poblacion is quiet on the outside, but it will take your breath away once you step inside. It’s all of 62 rooms adorned with murals made by local artists. The lobby alone is a work of art, with “Hello” splayed on the beam in different languages. Greens and browns set the mood.

The Lobby Lounge of U Hotels Makati. Refreshing, minimalist, and with little creative and eco touches. Photo from U Hotels Makati.
If this isn’t a boutique art hotel, we don’t know what is. Photo from U Hotels Makati.

Most people might not consider it a boutique hotel, but its 62 rooms adorned with murals made by local artists beg to differ. The location is almost central to where you’d want to stay in Poblacion, with everything is not more than a 10-minute walk away.

Sleep

There’s one word to describe my room: simple but given life by murals. It checks the basics—a great bed, a place for your stuff, TV, coffee making facility, an arm chair, and a mini-fridge.

But there’s more to it qualifying as artsy than the murals, say, the wooden headboard with short messages on it.

With the room having the basics covered, it really lets you enjoy the little things. Photo by Andrew Del Rosario

Eat

They serve comfort food at The Lobby Lounge that’s familiar to Filipinos, like their smash hit beef pares (the beef is good enough for two to three people based on “classic” pares servings) and what they like to call Just Noodles, inspired by a Taiwanese dry noodle dish that you’d find on the streets of Taipei.

They call it Just Noodles, but it’s definitely not just noodles. Photo by Andrew Del Rosario

Just Noodles is a dry noodle dish that may seem like a hodgepodge of what you’ll find in a kitchen but is surprisingly good: medium thick egg noodles with minced beef, peanuts, and what we’re calling a Filipino-style sunny side-up egg (crispy sides that are on the edge of getting burnt).

That’s a big bowl of beef pares, arguably the most requested thing on the menu. Photo by Andrew Del Rosario

Drinks at The Lobby Lounge include sodas, lemon-infused water, tea (viand changes every day), and their trademark premium roast Filipino coffee barako, the local Liberica, served free to every hotel guest.

Do

Visit the oldest church in Makati, the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish; go on a food or pub crawl;  swing by Circuit Makati and while the time away in the skatepark or football pitch; or trek to the Ayala Triangle Gardens for a quick run. If you feel the itch to draw or paint, take an art class offered daily at the hotel at 4pm.

Show your room card to some of their partner establishments in Poblacion and get a discount.

Verdict: 8/10

The basics
Rooms start at Php6,000 (USD30) per night without breakfast
5091 P Burgos Street, Makati City
Uhotels.ph
Facebook.com/uhotelsmakati
Tel: +632 820 1000 to 02

Words: Andrew Del Rosario

10 affordable & charming resorts for couples

10 affordable & charming resorts for couples

Some of our favorite holidaymakers Levy Amosin, Carla Araniego, Christian Sangoyo, Celine Murillo, and Darwin Cayetano, pick the most gorgeous resorts they’ve been to that don’t break the bank and are perfect for you and your love.

Urban Sands Resort, Iloilo

Mixing modern urban sophistication and beachside ambience, the Urban Sands Resort at the heart of iloilo brings the sea closer to the city. Levy Amosin of Hugging Horizons describes it as “a paradise within the heart of the city.” Using real sand and pebbles in the landscaping, the focal point is the pool, which, according to Levy, brings a “coastal feel to it.”

From Php3,250 (USD60++); Urbansandsiloilo.com

Loboc River Resort, Bohol

Imagine staying in this room with a view of the Loboc River. Photo by Christian Sangoyo

Away from the usual island resorts in Bohol, Carla Araniego of Blissfulguro recommends the Loboc River Resort in Tagbilaran as an alternative place to stay while in the land of the Chocolate Hills. situated right beside the Loboc River, their cottages replicate the feel of traditional nipa houses. “Having coffee on the balcony with a view of Loboc River was the most memorable part of my stay. Away from the beach crowd of Bohol, its seclusion is perfect for those who are looking for tranquility amid the busy goings-on of city life.”

From Php2,500; Lobocriverresort.com

Casa San Miguel, Zambales

A hidden gem in the town of San Antonio in Zambales, Casa San Miguel is a rustic retreat intertwined with art and culture. Besides hosting guests, the casa is actually a local school for music. Carla recalls her stay, “waking up to the charming voices of kids having their weekly voice and violin lessons truly separate this resort from the rest.”

From Php4,000; Facebook.com/casa.sanmiguel.zambales

Crosswinds Resort Suites, Tagaytay

It’s not really a stay in chilly Tagaytay without the sight of pine trees and beautifully-colored houses. Photo by Christian Sangoyo

The Crosswinds Resort combines the feel of charming swiss-inspired chalets with the mildly chilly environs of Tagaytay. Carla says “walking along its winding roads, the scent of pine in the air, and passing colorful chalets, transport you to another place.”

From Php3,700; Crosswindsresortsuites.com

Casa San Pablo, Laguna

It looks old, but we’re willing to bet you’d find more than gold here. Photo by Christian Sangoyo

Brightly painted walls mixed with vintage furniture and on point accessories are the charm of Casa San Pablo, a bed and breakfast near Sampaloc Lake. Each nook and cranny has a surprise. Somehow, the craziness of the place works with the peaceful ambiance of its location.

From Php2,900; Casasanpablo.com

Moon Garden, Tagaytay

Remember what we said about colorful settings in Tagaytay? Photo by Christian Sangoyo

Best for a romantic weekend in Tagaytay. situated on the quieter side of the city, its rustic stone casitas are overgrown with vines and has open hut lounges surrounded by ponds. Overall, the place has the vibe of a secret garden and forgotten places.

From Php2,600; Facebook.com/Moongardentagaytay

Coco Grove Beach Resort, Siquijor

Imagine having a drink or dining here. Photo by Christian Sangoyo

With almost a kilometer-long shoreline, three swimming pools, three restaurants, and garden and pool bars, Coco Grove Beach Resort is one of the bang-for-the-buck luxury places in Siquijor.

From Php3,500; Cocogrovebeachresort.com

Luljetta’s Place Garden Suites, Antipolo City

A scenic eight-hectare property is carved along the ridges of a cliff and overlooks Antipolo, Laguna de Bay, and Metro Manila with a very relaxing infinity pool with views.

From Php4,000; Luljettas.com

Sophia’s Garden Resort, Coron, Palawan

Celine Murillo of Celenism.com recommends the Spanish-style villas of Sophia’s Garden Resort, an actual garden with a wonderful El Comidor restaurant that looks like it’s straight out of historic novel Noli Me Tangere.

From Php3,300; Facebook.com/sophiasgardenresort
SkyJet Airlines flies from Manila to Coron

Sand and Stars Beach Resort, Baler, Aurora

See the sand and stars at night, enjoy the beach in the day. Photo by Darwin Cayetano

For convenient beach camping, Darwin Cayetano of Tracking Treasure says Baler’s sand and stars Resort has huge tents. “Other than the convenience of having actual beds, the floor is carpeted􀈀 it has a sitting area􀈀 and every corner is Instagramable,” adds Darwin.

From Php2,500; Facebook.com/sandandstarsdinadiawan

Our Dash Sources

Words by Christian Sangoyo

Weekend escape

Weekend escape

Quest Hotel & Conference Center in Clark has a 36-hole golf course and a two-pooled villa. What’s not to love? 

As I check in at Quest Hotel & Conference Center on Mimosa Drive in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, I get a hint I’m in for a pleasurable stay.

I see renovations are ongoing—the hotel is being rebranded from Holiday Inn to Quest Hotel & Conference Center—but it does not keep the property from revealing glimpses of pleasures.

The hotel is clean and elegant—taupe walls, marble floors; the hallways are spacious; and there’s window all over letting natural light spill in.

The earthen tones extends to the Club Lounge.

The main lobby is composed of earthen tones and texture at play, with a vibrant flower arrangement at the center. It’s minimalist with velvety couch seating as main furniture pieces.

Check-in is fuss free and personalized. Once I’m settled, somebody offers to take my bag and leads me to my room.

Wow factors

The Mimosa Golf Course is an enviable 36-hole facility set within Filinvest’s201-hectares property. You don’t need to be a member to get to play.

Lose all the pounds you gain here.

The swimming pool, brand new gym and equipment, and yoga studio are great for keeping fit while holidaying, not to mention the expansive grounds for early morning jogs.

Families with kids will love the well-appointed kid’s corner too.

And when they say grand, they mean GRAND.

The Grand Villas built in between the main hotel and the golf courseis the ultimate in pampering. Fetching 75 grand a night, the Balinese-inspired comes with a personal butler, a private pool, a lavish living room, cable satellite TV, a king size bed, kitchen with top tier fittings, all-white bathroom with vanity area and a grand bathtub with a view.

The nest

Got this room to myself.
And clearly enjoyed it. Photo by Kat Magsino

I’m billeted in a 22sqm Club Deluxe Room, furnished with a king size bed, a work table and a seating with a view. There’s cable TV, private bathroom with hot and cold running water, and coffee and tea making facility. Lighting is subdued but who needs it when you have bright interiors andbig windows for natural light to seep in? Loved the vintage inspired white cabinet, and found the daily fresh fruits thoughtful.

Wining and dining

Lots of options to choose from but the Club Lounge is special, giving you exclusive access if you’re booked in a Club Deluxe Suite. Here, you can have breakfast or enjoy fill after fill of cocktails and snacks from 5 pm to 7 pm.

Charley’s Baris a countryside-inspired sports bar at the ground floor, which serves wines and spirits, and an international menu. Their classic Margarita is a must try.

Lunch may be had at Q by Mimosa, located right within golf and country club, for American, Korean and Filipino favorites. I thoroughly enjoyed their meaty Bolognese spaghetti and Mimosa Salad.

Opening soon is Mequeni Live, an all-day interactive buffet featuring a grilling, Asian, Kapampangan(Pampanga local fare), desserts and other stations. Look forward to their specialties palabok and pork sisig. Guests can expect their favorite dishes to be personalized as they will serve it according to the customers’ preferences.

The basics

From Php6,000 (USD113) per night for two
Questhotelsandresorts.com/clark/
Tel: +6345 599 8000

Get there

Take a P2P Bus going to Clark for Php350 (USD7) at NAIA Terminal 3 Arrival Bay 14 then ask to be dropped off at Mimosa, Filinvest

Words by Kat Magsino

48 hours in awesome Antipolo

48 hours in awesome Antipolo

Looking for an escape near Manila that’s only minutes’ drive away? We bring you Antipolo, the land that’s put together into one the best of many worlds—breathtaking sceneries, trendy hangouts, creative spaces, and your perfect R&R. Experience the awesome city in only two days with this itinerary.

Day1, 8am


One of Antipolo’s not-so-hidden-gems is Hinulugang Taktak, which literally translates to “where the bell dropped,” and it’s sheer beauty. This beauty is about 21.5m tall and about 25.8m wide, and at its foreground is a landscaped picnic area with a pavilion—great spot for taking snaps.

Day1, 12pm

The crowd favorite: Beef Salpicao

 

A few blocks away from Hinulugang Taktak is Bistro at Le Blanc Hotel where you can enjoy unique Filipino-Asian fusion of dishes, and the restaurant’s star dish, the rib eye salpicao.
Facebook.com/The-Bistro-at-LeBlanc-1458714327516116/

Day 1, 1pm

Pinto Art Museum, a tricycle ride away from the Antipolo Municpal Office Building, has become one of today’s most sought after galleries in the country. Its main lure is the design of the gallery itself, which takes inspiration from the Cycladic Architecture. A lot of contemporary artists have hold exhibits at Pinto, and some of the notable ones like respected painter Bendicto Cabrera. To complete the Pinto experience is its unparalleled location—at the edge of a mountain.
1 Sierra Madre St, Subdivision, Antipolo, 1870 Rizal

Day 1, 7pm

The pool at the edge of Cafe Lupe makes for a wonderful dip

 

Imagine feasting on sumptuous kare-kare (peanut stew) and nachos while taking in views of the breathtaking cityscape at night with all the city light lit up. Well, you can actually make it happen by booking a stay at Café Lupe, a bed and breakfast with an infinity pool, KTV rooms, table tennis facility, a 70s inspired lobby, and countryside style restaurant.
Facebook.com/cafelupeantipolo

Day 2, 8am

Luljetta has one too many gardens and this is one of the nicer ones

Pops of color are a mainstay at Luljetta’s rooms

 

An overnight stay at Luljuetta’s Place will get you waking up to views of the metropolitan skyline for the resort sits literally on the edge of a mountain. Luljuetta’s main attractions are its pools surrounded by lush greens and flowering plants, and its outdoor spa. If you want to have a most pleasant breakfast, order their daing na bangus (milkfish) and signature garlic rice and have it at their garden.
Sitio Loreland, Barangay San Roque 1930 Antipolo, Rizal

Day2, 12pm

A dance number at 11Circle food park. Why not?

 

If you can’t decide where to have lunch for the last few hours of your stay in Antipolo, might as well head to 11Circle, a food park with a smorgasbord of booths selling dishes from around the world. Here you’ll find a samgyupsal (Korean specialty) stall, a ramen stall, and stalls that offer American and Filipino favorites.
Facebook.com/11circleantipolo/

Day 2pm

Beautiful place of worship, hands down

 

Cap your Antipolo adventure the most peaceful of ways by stopping by the Parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary, a solemn place of worship in Antipolo’s more quieter side along the main highway.  Inside it feels like you’re covered by a giant web of white panels and glass that let the trees from the outside meld with the inside and the natural light to seep in. Very unlike your typical heritage churches the Philippines is famous for, but equally impressive.
Daang Bakal Rd, Antipolo, 1870 Rizal

The basics
Book Bienvenido Travel and Tours operates. Contact operator Ramon Marinas at +630977 821 3075, tel +63695 1965, email [email protected], Bienvenidotours.com.

Get there:
SkyJet flies daily from Batanes, Coron in Palawan, and Siargao to Manila. Book a SkyJet flight now.

From NAIA Terminal 4, take a cab or book a Grab ride to Ayala Avenue in Makati (RCBC building) where there are Antipolo-bound UV commuter vans.

Story and photos by Kat Magsino

That pretty little bed and breakfast

That pretty little bed and breakfast

This is a place very far away from Manila that can make you blurt the perfect awww: Bernie’s Bed and Breakfast in Ivana, a sleepy town in Batanes some 15km from Basco Airport.


Bernie’s is a two-storey seven-bedroom hotel inspired by the traditional Ivatan architecture with touches of modern. Its “quaintly” features? The stone-dotted façade with trellis and vertical windows; the stone path leading to the entrance; the homey but bright and airy interiors, and the careful mix of wooden furnishings, kerosene lamp-inspired fixtures, ornamental plants and art pieces. One nice touch at Bernie’s are its books, shelves of them, that are the first to greet guests.

The B&B is logically designed—the social spaces are on the ground floor while the rooms on are on the second floor.

Slip at the small garden at the back for a quiet moment by yourself and take in the sun and Ivana’s peaceful surroundings.

Sleep

 

Author Jonalyn Fortuno enjoying some peace and quiet at the Queen Room

There are queen bedrooms and double bedrooms,
all spacious. I stayed
in a queen room with whitewashed walls and stone tiles, well-furnished along with mod cons. It has a spacious bathroom with fine toiletries. At full house, Bernie’s can be filled with up to 21 people.

Eat

 


Bernie’s only serves breakfast and it’s typically what’s available like fried flying fish, rice and coffee. The innkeeper may cook a meal for guests.

Do

See Batanes’ famous landmarks close by: the House of Dakay, the oldest stone house in Batanes; Honesty Coffee Shop, an unmanned store that operates solely on trust; the Old Spanish Bridge.

The basics
Starts at Php3,500 (USD67) per night
Facebook.com/Bernies-Bed-And-Breakfast

Get there
SkyJet flies daily from Manila to Batanes Book a SkyJet flight now.

Story by Jonalyn Fortuno; photos by Ferdz Decena

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