I discovered my love of hostels when I started backpacking in Cambodia and Thailand. Hostels in these parts of Southeast Asia Region are unique, budget friendly, clean, and comfortable. And the best part of staying in a hostel is the opportunity to meet different people all around the globe.
I was wondering back then why can’t we come up with something better here in the Philippines, especially in Manila, which is the jump-off point to major tourist destinations in the country. As if somebody read my mind, I found out about a newly opened hostel in Manila last December 2015. It’s called, Tambayan, from the Filipino word for “hangout.”
The hostel is strategically located in the busy part of Manila, right in front of a big mall and is surrounded by cafes and a thriving nightlife. It is only a few minutes away from the city’s historical sites, such as Rizal Park, National Museum, and Intramuros. This restored mansion was converted into a hostel with a touch of Japanese-inspired capsule bunk bed.
Upon entering the place, I was impressed on how imposing the lobby is. It is, by far, the grandest hostel lobby I’ve ever seen. The walls are painted white mixed with a shiny wooden interior. A large chandelier hangs from the ceiling that perfectly illuminates the lobby, adding to the cozy ambiance. The pillars and arcs gave me an idea on how the Spanish Colonial Architecture influences the design of this mansion.
The staff are wearing 80’s retro outfit, which made Tambayan Hostel’s personnel distinct from other hostels.
Their rooms are named after popular Filipino heroes. I stayed in a private room called, Mabini, an air-conditioned room with television and restroom. It’s a wide, clean, basic room, with a comfortable bed.
What made it different is the UST’s Arch of the centuries painted on the wall. I love how this hostel values Filipino history and culture. Just so you know UST is the oldest existing university in Asia founded in 1611.
A unique restroom always excites me, though I didn’t expect to see something special here, I was surprised when I saw their old-fashioned, bronze-plated faucet and shower. I loved how they incorporated the theme to the smallest detail of to retain that vintage feel.
The stair has a smooth and shiny brown banister that leads to the second floor. There are photos of old Manila hanging on the wall and a huge faux stained glass in the center. The quality is far different from the usual hostel I stayed in. The second floor is where the common area is, where travelers can play board games, read books, watch TV, or simply hang out. My only wish is that this area is bigger so more guests could sit and interact with one another.
There was a vacant capsule room to visit when I was there so I checked it out. I’m curious if it’s comfortable to sleep in those. Tambayan is the first hostel in the country that I know that offers the capsule accommodation by the way.
Inside the capsule is a soft, clean, and white bed. It has its own light, a small fan, and an outlet for you to plug your gadgets. It looks nice but I won’t recommend it to someone who is claustrophobic.
They offer mixed and female room only but the difference is giving you more privacy. There are available lockers where you can keep your belongings whenever you’re away.
If you stay in the shared room, you have to share the bathroom with the others. Don’t worry because it is well-maintained, clean, and odorless. I loved how the doors are painted with Barong at Saya, the unofficial national costumes of the Philippines. It’s the early pre-colonial clothing of Tagalog and Visayans made from silk in matching colors.
As I walked around the hostels, I observed how the staff treated their guests; I wasn’t disappointed. I witnessed how the front desk team assisted their guests with smile and confidence. I received greetings from people who clean the room. They are also attentive to their guest’s needs.
Moreover, there is strong Wi-Fi connection. I even got a good signal at their gastro bar where I stayed there for few hours. The place is not rowdy, which is how some hostels are so I was pleasantly surprised. There were a few people drinking. I only wish that they have an easy access to the bar because you need to go out of the main lobby to get there.
The gastro bar is an ideal place where backpackers could chill and talk. However, most people that time were walk-in guests. My only note to the management is for them to create a wider space where all travelers can sit and stay. That’s actually what I love about staying in hostels; the opportunity to interact with people.
I woke up early to attend the 116th Celebration of Philippine Independence so I never had a chance to try their light breakfast. That is actually a good point for them because not all hostels give free breakfast. The light breakfast corner is just beside our room and guests are allowed to get pieces of bread, juice, or coffee from 7:00 a.m to 10:00 a.m.
I totally enjoyed my overnight stay with Tambayan Capsule Hostel. I know most of my friends both locals and foreign, don’t want to stay long in Manila, but hey, maybe they should reconsider now that there is a cool place where we could spend a good night while waiting for that flight.
Note: This is a sponsored hostel stay with Tambayan Capsule Hostel. All views, posts and opinions shared here are my own.