Diamond Hotel Philippines: A 5-Star Experience in Manila

diamond-hotel-philippines-premier-room-manila-bay-view-9
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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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

Escape to Nature: Aquascape Lake Caliraya

 

What’s your idea of a perfect escape? If you ask me and Beep, it’s getting away from the noise of the city, just the two of us, alone and one with nature. It doesn’t even have to be in a high-end resort or beach – the more isolated we are, better. Like when we pitched a tent in one of the islands in El Nido, Palawan where we cooked our dinner by fire under the moonlight;  the soft waves, the rustling of the trees, and the sounds of the animals living in the island lulled us to sleep. Spending time outdoors, and one with nature, has a lot of health benefits too! While there are islands that are a couple of hours away from the bustling city of Manila, it’s seldom that you’ll have the place to yourself since you’ll have to share the island with other campers or travelers. That’s why Beep and I are always on the lookout for private getaways that we can easily drive to. We’ve tried renting houses but none of them can compare to that night in our own island, until we found out that there’s a floating cottage  somewhere in Laguna thanks to an invitation from the owner of Eco Saddle [now Aquascape]. Planning a trip to Manila and its nearby provinces like Laguna? Find cheap flights to Manila here.  So last weekend, we drove to Eco Saddle in Caliraya Lake/Aquascape and spent the night in their motorized floating cottage. It was like having an island all to ourselves again, but this time we had a fully-furnished house that can cruise around the lake. Who needs a yacht when you have a real Hobo house? 

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

Pradera Wake Park: Your New Weekend Playground in Pampanga

pradera wake park pampanga

As the pair behind Travels with a Hobo, you’d think that Beep and I are always traveling during weekends. The truth is, we’re both home buddies and often spend the weekend sleeping in and watching Netflix. We love traveling but we love our beds more! So when we do go out on weekends, it has to be something worth losing a good day of sleep and binge watching for.

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

Siquijor: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Travel to This Mystic Island

Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid to Travel to Siquijor “Don’t look straight into their eyes” 

“If someone insists on giving you a gift, politely decline it” 

These are just some of the warnings that people told me when they found out that I was going to Siquijor for a week-long Central Visayas trip with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines. While there were other destinations in the Philippines to choose from for TPB’s first-ever domestic Product Familiarization Tour which I was invited to take part in, I immediately chose the Siquijor-Dumaguete-Bohol tour just because I’ve always dreamed of going to Siquijor.

Shrouded in magic and dark tales, the mere mention of the word Siquijor sends chills down the spine of many Filipinos. Believed to be inhabited by mystical and dark creatures like aswang, ghosts, witches, and sorcerers; this reputation might have gotten people to repulse the third smallest island in the Philippines , but it’s for the same reason that tourists (myself included) are attracted to the island once called Isla de Fuego (Island of Fire). It was dubbed so because of the eerie glow of the island according to the Spanish conquistadors who discovered it in 1565. The truth? It was just swarms of fireflies that flitted around the island’s Molave trees seen from a distance.

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

#PhilippinesFirst Friday: This 7-minute Video Will Make You Want to Go Backpacking in the Philippines Now!

Mark David Acoba's Travel Diary: Backpacking Philippines 2015

Last week, we launched the first part of our #PhilippinesFirst Weekly Blog Series, where we round up articles/content published in the recent week to prove just how beautiful the Philippines is. The series is our own little way of helping our fellow Filipinos realize how lucky we are to live in this country, feel proud of our roots, and bring inspiration to travel the Philippines first before the rest of the world.

What inspired us to travel more of the Philippines this week despite the disgraceful laglag-bala extortion racket in NAIA headlining the news recently?

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

An Open Letter to Filipinos: Travel the Philippines First

To my dear fellow Filipinos,

“If you were given an all-expense-paid trip to any place in the world, where would you go?”

That was the exact question that started my talk on budget travel last October 15 when I was invited as a resource speaker for Take the Risk, an Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE) held at the University of the Philippines Diliman organized by the UP Travel Society, which aims to teach students about budget travel, backpacking, and hiking with travel bloggers as teachers for a day. While I gave tips on how to make budget travel possible, the heart and soul of my talk was my ‪#‎PhilippinesFirst‬ advocacy- to inspire Filipinos to explore more of the Philippines.

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

Why I Keep Coming Back to El Nido, Palawan (and Why Every Filipino Should, Too)

Why I Love El Nido Palawan

Two days before my birthday back in the year 2011, I had one of my fainting episodes at home. I don’t suffer from any serious illness but once in a while I faint whenever I have dysmenorrhea (I’m telling you, it was brutal). While my Mom would usually brush it off like my previous episodes, she brought me to a clinic to have me checked up by a doctor, just in case I need medications. The doctor had a better idea though, he had me confined in a hospital to run some tests on me because he thought that I might be epileptic. I ended up spending my birthday in the hospital with negative results for the tests, proving that I’m not epileptic and that I needed a better doctor.

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

Budget Trip in Coron? Stay at Patrik & Tezz Guesthouse

When you’re traveling backpacker style (with a very limited budget), a luxurious hotel is definitely out of the question. Why stay in rooms with 21-inch flat screen TVs when you’re just going out the entire day anyway? You’re traveling to enjoy a place you’ve never been to before (or some place you like going back to again and again), not to watch TV just like your usual lazy weekends in your own home.

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

How We Traveled to El Nido, Palawan for 5 Days for Only Php 6,730.66 All-In [Expenses]

el nido palawan DIY budget travel

Last week, we asked people if they think we can successfully pull off a 5-day El Nido trip for just Php 7,000 all-in per person (we’re 5 in the group). A lot of people couldn’t even begin to imagine how we’re going to do it but they wanted to see if we could really come back to Manila without empty wallets or maxed out credit cards. And so yesterday morning, when our plane landed precisely at 10:30 AM at NAIA Terminal 4, we concluded our 7k El Nido Challenge.  The final computation?

Php 6,730.66 ($149.57)

Congrats team! *virtual high-five*

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

Hobo Love, Will Travel: Deej and Joni

deej-joni

Love makes you do crazy things. It can make you jump out of a plane, propose on bended knee in Batanes, and shout to the world that you want to grow old and spend forever with each other. That’s exactly what our first featured Hobo Love, Will Travel couple (and two of our favorite people in the world) did – Deej and Joni.

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

I Fell In Love with the Hobo at Malasimbo

malasimbo

Whenever people ask how Beep and I met, my answer depends on how much time I can spend with the person who’s asking. The quick and boring answer will go something like “We used to work together“, but if you have a lot of time to spare, the story will begin with one word, “Malasimbo“. 

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.

How You Can Travel More Without Going Broke


travel more without going broke

Don’t you ever wonder how some people can afford to travel constantly despite not being CEOs or millionaires? Traveling is considered as a luxury. A mere day on paradise, getting a relaxing massage by the beach or soaking up the sun to get a tan with a pink lemonade in hand can cost a fortune. That is why most people only go on vacations a few number of times each year (or in their entire lifetime). I was one of those people too, before I started traveling with Beep who is known for being a cheapskate traveler.

Is it really possible to go on a vacation every weekend or every chance you get without breaking the bank? And the answer to that is… a big resounding yes!

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Gem is the co-founder and author of Travels with a Hobo. When she’s not hopping on a bus or a plane, climbing mountains, or soaking up the sun in one of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines, she lays in bed all day watching crime documentaries and TV shows and rewatching Game of Thrones. Winter is here.