Explore the Thriving City Culture of Manila


It can be easy to overlook the Philippines’ capital city of Manila in favor of getting lost amongst the 7,641 beautiful islands that make up the country instead. However, the developing sub-culture of art, food and music found there makes it a place worth visiting for more than just boarding a plane. Here you can find a unique cross-cultural experience influenced by neighboring China, Spanish settlers and Western visitors.

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Our 5-Star but Affordable Stay at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Hotel

It’s a common notion that 5-star luxury hotels also come with a 5-star price, that’s why Beep and I only get to stay in such hotels once in a while because of discount deals or when we find hotels with top class amenities with surprisingly affordable rates. During the long holiday break, we found ourselves stuck in Metro Manila while most city dwellers escaped to the beach and islands. Luckily that time, Traveloka had an app-exclusive promo of 60% off on Metro Manila hotels so we booked 2 hotels for the holidays, one of our chosen hotels was Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Hotel (check the room rates here). Even without the discounts, the rooms in the 5-star Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Hotel can be booked for as low as PHP4,000-PHP5000+ a night. A steal price for a 5-star hotel!

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Costa Pacifica Baler: Where Chill Surfing Vibe Meets Upscale Comfort

As a country surrounded by bodies of water, local and foreign travelers are treated with plenty of beach destinations in the Philippines. City dwellers like us only need to drive for a couple of hours to get to beaches during weekends. But for the adventurous souls looking for more than just lazy days on the beach, surfing destinations like La Union and Baler are also easily reachable via bus or a private car from Manila. After spending most of our days off at the beach last year, we craved for riding the waves to kickoff our February, exactly a year after we surfed in Sorsogon.

Should You Book with Traveloka? Here’s Why It’s Safe and Legit

Ever since we started using Traveloka last summer of 2017 for booking hotels and flights, planning for our trips have been easier, faster, and more budget-friendly because of their better deals and discount promo codes. We always get these questions from our friends and readers: “Is Traveloka legit?” “Is Traveloka a scam?” “Is Traveloka safe for online booking?”. The short answer: Traveloka is perfectly safe and legit for online booking. 

Brisa Marina Beachfront Resort: A Picturesque Getaway Near Manila

“What’s the best beach destination near Manila?” If we could get a hundred bucks for every time someone asks us that question, we’d probably have enough money to go jet setting every weekend now.


Most people think of Batangas as the best beach destination near Manila, it being just 3-4 hours away from Metro Manila. But if you want to to explore beaches aside from good ol’ Batangas, head to the North where we discovered a picturesque and very Instagrammable resort in Morong, Bataan called Brisa Marina Beachfront Resort (check the room rates here).

Hoyohoy Villas: Your Private Tropical Retreat in Bantayan Island

What’s your idea of paradise? For us it’s being surrounded with palm trees while inside a nipa hut-like house with the sound of the waves lulling us to sleep on a lazy afternoon. Luckily, we have a lot of those here in the tropical country of the Philippines with our 7,641 islands. Bantayan Island in Cebu, an underrated destination that we fell in love with after staying there for a week (READ: Why Bantayan Island Should Be in Your Philippines Travel Bucket List) , is one of those places and we found the perfect tropical retreat in Bantayan Island’s Hoyohoy Villas (check the rates and book a room in Hoyohoy Villas here) that we discovered thanks to Traveloka App and became our home for 2 nights.

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Azumi Boutique Hotel: Your Stylish Home Away from Home South of Manila

For years now, there’s been a never ending comedic offline and online battle between citizens of Manila’s North and South. From stereotypical personalities to which is the better part of Manila to live in. This argument never ends. Here’s one example.


As someone who has lived South of Manila my entire life, of course I’d battle you out just to prove my point that the South is better. Compared to the North, we have a more chill vibe and it’s always nice to come home to the South with it’s homey ambiance after a tiring day at work. Since there are no infrastructures like the MRT/LRT and major thoroughfares like EDSA, it’s less chaotic, less polluted, and greener thanks to subdivisions and parks that don’t cut down lush trees to build business districts or malls. Not to mention, we’re pretty close to the airports! These are just some of the reasons why more and more people are considering settling down in our side of the Metro.


If you don’t have a home yet in the South or are just in Manila for vacation, you can get a taste of this comfy living by staying in Azumi Boutique Hotel (check room rates and book with better deals here) in the heart of Alabang. Beep and I booked a 2-day staycation in Azumi during a long weekend just this November using the Traveloka App where we got up to 20% off the publish rates. Read our review of Traveloka App for booking hotels here

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Why Bantayan Island Should Be in Your Philippines Travel Bucket List

Kota Beach
With over 7,000 islands (7,641 to be exact), the Philippines has a lot of hidden paradise waiting to be explored. We thought we’ve already seen the best of Philippines when we traveled to El Nido and Coron, Palawan which are always listed in the top beach destinations in the world (if not number 1); but our trip to Bantayan Island, a small island north of Cebu, proved us wrong yet again. This is what we love the most about our home country and our promise to explore  more of the #PhilippinesFirst, there are a ton of little El Nido’s in every corner of the archipelago that mainstream media don’t write about or are not included in coveted destination lists but are equally stunning as the ones they do. 

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Our Romantic and Flavorful Weekend Stay at Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay

Whenever we crave for quick travels, Tagaytay is always a top choice because it’s just a couple of hours drive from Manila. Aside from being a day trip destination, we also sometimes rent a Tagaytay condo unit in Airbnb with a view of Taal Lake and Volcano and buy groceries and cook our meals. While that option is very homey and convenient, we also want to experience a different side of Tagaytay where we’re pampered and our meals are prepared with perfection in mind. Fortunately, we were invited by Taal Vista Hotel (check room rates and book better deals here), a historical landmark in Tagaytay, for a weekend full of romance and good food.

We Traveled Back to The 18th Century at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar


Aside from the world-renowned tropical islands in the Philippines, one of the reasons why our home country is a must go-to destination is our rich culture shaped by our history. It’s evident not just in our traditions and cuisine, but also in our architecture. When you travel to a number of rural destinations in the country, you can still see old houses with Spanish influence since we were under their rule for over 300 years from 1521 to 1898, but there are only a few of them that stand today.

Luckily for our generation, a treasure trove of these houses are now well preserved in a one-of-a-kind open-air museum and heritage resort in Bagac, Bataan – Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (check the rates of hotel rooms at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Traveloka). Just 3-4 hours of travel from Manila, the capital city, you can already step back in time and get a taste of what it felt like to walk in the cobblestone streets of old Philippines at Las Casas. Now we can proudly say that we’ve traveled not just to the most beautiful spots in the country, but to 18th century Philippines too.

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Diamond Hotel Philippines: A 5-Star Experience in Manila

Travel guides will tell you that watching the famed Manila Bay sunset along Roxas Boulevard is a must-do when you’re in Manila, Philippines. I’ll be honest, I’ve lived here all my life but I’ve never really went out of my way to go to that famous strip and actually wait and watch the sunset until it gets dark. I know, I know, for someone promoting exploring the #PhilippinesFirst not just to tourists but to my fellow Filipinos, I should be ashamed of myself. That’s why a few weekends ago, Beep and I planned a staycation in one of the hotels along Roxas Boulevard for the best view of the sunset and get a much-needed short trip too.

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I Got Inked by Kalinga’s 100-Year-Old Tattoo Artist Apo Whang-Od

traditional-tattoo-apo-whang-od-buscalan-kalinga Of all the places I’ve traveled to in the Philippines, the secluded small village of Buscalan in the mountains of Kalinga holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I got the best travel souvenir yet – tattoos from the legendary mambabatok (traditional tattoo artist) of the Butbut tribe herself, Apo Whang-Od. She is now 100 years old, and in her hand lies centuries of tradition.

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