Diamond Hotel Philippines: A 5-Star Experience in Manila

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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, a budget travel blog inspired by her travels with her cheapskate travel buddy and boyfriend, Beep who likes to call himself a “hobo”. Their first date was a solo backpacking trip together in early 2012. Instead of splurging on romantic dates, they go on budget trips in the Philippines and Asia. She works full-time and makes the most of her vacation leaves and holidays to travel the cheapest way possible.

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, a budget travel blog inspired by her travels with her cheapskate travel buddy and boyfriend, Beep who likes to call himself a “hobo”. Their first date was a solo backpacking trip together in early 2012. Instead of splurging on romantic dates, they go on budget trips in the Philippines and Asia. She works full-time and makes the most of her vacation leaves and holidays to travel the cheapest way possible.

Pradera Wake Park: Your New Weekend Playground in Pampanga

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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, a budget travel blog inspired by her travels with her cheapskate travel buddy and boyfriend, Beep who likes to call himself a “hobo”. Their first date was a solo backpacking trip together in early 2012. Instead of splurging on romantic dates, they go on budget trips in the Philippines and Asia. She works full-time and makes the most of her vacation leaves and holidays to travel the cheapest way possible.

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, a budget travel blog inspired by her travels with her cheapskate travel buddy and boyfriend, Beep who likes to call himself a “hobo”. Their first date was a solo backpacking trip together in early 2012. Instead of splurging on romantic dates, they go on budget trips in the Philippines and Asia. She works full-time and makes the most of her vacation leaves and holidays to travel the cheapest way possible.

#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, a budget travel blog inspired by her travels with her cheapskate travel buddy and boyfriend, Beep who likes to call himself a “hobo”. Their first date was a solo backpacking trip together in early 2012. Instead of splurging on romantic dates, they go on budget trips in the Philippines and Asia. She works full-time and makes the most of her vacation leaves and holidays to travel the cheapest way possible.
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