Tag Archives: Hotel

Chapter XVII : The Circle Hostel

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After an amazing time at san fernando, we (Karyl, Aris and Myself) arrived in San Juan La Union to start our one and a half day vacation. we have a whole sunday planned ever since this trip was conceived – our plan to go surfing and be at the beach the entire day dominated our list.  in order to achieve our goals (since surfing costs approximately 400/hour), we agreed to look for a place to stay that is well within our budget and is a place wherein we can be comfortable, and not too ashamed to talk about or tell our friends about.

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The first i’ve heard of the Circle Hostel was when i attended an event our company sponsored (Travel Massive Manila). For quite some time i have been really curious on what can be seen, or what is special about the place. My officemate Karyl then told me that she stayed at the circle hostel during one of her surf trips and further reinforced the curiosity as she found it to be an amazing place to stay at. lo and behold, the night of saturday (January 26) welcomed us with an amazing discovery – an environmentally attuned haven – and a place that i concluded to be ripped out of a page from a fantasy game (think Kilika of Final Fantasy X , or Destiny Islands from Kingdom Hearts).

Upon entering you’ll notice that the Circle Hostel is composed of different structures made entirely of wood (which i later found out to be the common area, the restroom/showers, and the sleeping quarters). for 400 pesos, you can enjoy a bed that is very much social friendly and environmentally sustainable (no rooms, just a personal space for you) – the sea breeze makes it impractical to wish for aircon even, the only thing that you may actually wish for is an additional blanket. for those more adventurous travelers who wish to be like cocoons whilst asleep, a 350 peso hammock rental can also be availed in Circle Hostel. (considering my size, and my sleep moves,  getting a hammock is a no-no!).

Why i fell in love with Circle Hostel

1. It is Affordable – in places like san juan, visitors are expected to be away from the hotel/inn/hostel for the entire day. why pay 1k plus for a room that you would barely use anyway? pay 400 for a bed, bring a padlock for the locker, and prepare to meet new friends, – as this hostel is a place where walls does not exist.. you are bound to make friends – making 400 pesos a cheap investment for comfort, fun, and socials.

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(L) Stairway to the bunk beds, (R) my bed and personal space during the 27th

2. It is Eyegasmic!- appealing to the visuals. upon entering the area, colorful tiles surrounded by neautral colored pebbles will capture your attention. quotes and markings have been left by guests, hostel admins, to make the place more homy. every area is photo op worthy!

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(L) View from the common area, (R) me playing around the common area outside grounds

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(L) view from the gate (reception, residential, comfort room zone) (R)shot of me in the common area

3. Promotes Interaction – this is the place to be when you want to meet new people – – new friends guaranteed! when we were there last sat- sun, i felt i know the guests staying there at that time. heck, we even spent the entire afternoon together at bacnotan beach to surf, and was united when we opted to stay for more than two hours (more on this on my surf post soon!). i loved that all outlets are located at the common area, to increase the chances of making new friends, or hearing other people’s stories!

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(L) at Bacnotan beach with friends we met at Circle Hostel, (R) common area shot

Circle Hostel does not only offer residential answers, it offers opportunities! opportunity to meet new people, to experience freedom and the feeling of not being confined by solid blocks, opportunity to escape the normal and relax. definitely the place ill return to when i have the urge to surf at la union again!

–Behind Thick Framed Notes

1. Follow the Circle Hostel in Facebook 🙂 –> Circle Hostel Main Facebook Page
2. Check out Circle Hostel’s Website –> www.thecirclehostel.com
3. Some photos by Me, and some by my ever present and loyal personal photographer Aris Suarez, check his blog out –> Aris’ Narcissus Chronicles

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Chapter XVI : Thunderbird Resorts

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For me to actually say that a hotel is spectaculary-awesome, it needs to pass three criteria

1. Comfortable Bed, Clean Bathrooms, and Excellent Hotel Service (the Residential Criterion)
2. Excellent Ambiance, Fun Factor through hotel amenities, and  Spectacular food (the Entertainment Criterion)
3. Photo Opportunities that are brag-worthy (the Vanity Criterion)

just three minutes upon entering the vicinity of Thunderbird Resort in Poro Point, San Fernando La Union (on a tricycle no less – how unclassy – joke!), i thought to myself that this will be a different kind of hotel experience for me. i am really picky, and “maarte” with hotels, as i was a kid that grew up abroad and had the opportunity to visit different hotels that makes you want to be filthy rich just to be able to live there forever. the feel of Thunderbird was similar to the Grand Hyatt and Al-Bustan Hotel back in Oman (some of the very classy and top of the line hotels back there) – it was a piece of heaven on earth!

3. Vanity 
If you haven’t discovered this already, i am a very vain (sometimes conceited) type of individual. taking pictures of myself takes up about 30% of my day, and having good photos always make me happy. Thunderbird resorts was like a comicbook store to a comicbook addict, a toy store to a kid, and a buffet of deliciousness and wonders for the eye. i have always dreamed of visiting a particular place in greece called Santorini, and Thunderbird has (in a way) made me feel that i was there even just for a day. the architecture and color compliments the sky pallete even if the sun is at its peak – therefore compliments every shot that me and my friend took of me.  i was silently praying that the Digital Influencer Marketing Summit of 2013 (the main reason why i was here) starts late, so that i could abuse my photographer to photograph me in every area, with all the poses that i possess. but due to the fact that arrived a bit late (8:30am) i had to make do with a couple of shots during daylight and go through the event and resume vanity after it. suffice to say, with the number of shots that me and aris had, we have enough photos to last three profile and cover photo changes in facebook!

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2. Entertainment
The pool was already something that would scream “quota” on my entertainment needs, but noo, thunderbird resorts have more to offer than a pool worth spending the entire day at. Thunderbird resorts la union has a casino (which is about 2 minutes away from the hotel itself – thunderbird shuttles go back and forth transporting guests to the casino and back to the hotel) and a golf course as well.  Me having no interest whatsoever in trying my luck with cards and chips, or teeing off while watching the spectacular sunset appreciated the fact of the diverse entertainment areas made available to guests. i, however, particularly liked the greenery area wherein you can watch the sunset (hand in hand with someone you love), take sunset photos or enjoy the scenery as night envelops and the hotel lights go on. the food was awesome as well, as we (event participants) were treated to a buffet of pallete orgasmic (pallgasmic!) feast –  it is just what everyone needs to compliment the eye treat (eyegasmic!) that is thunderbird resorts!

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1. Residential
the most important of the three reasons for me. no matter the reason of the check-in, we always choose the hotel wherein it is worth spending a day or two at, that offers the chance to escape from the routine, and enjoy something different. (so if my hotel room is just similar to my house in manila, how can i call that an escape?). Right after our Casino appreciation, me and my friends were given the privilege of entering one of thunderbird resorts’ villa (based on the price given by their marketing dudes, one night in this very awesome villa costs about 25k – but can house more or less 8 people comfortably.) come to think about it, this would be a good barkada outing venue for very special occasions. we managed to enter this villa, and tour it, i even tried lying down on the beds to determine how comfortable it is to stay there (wrong choice, i ended up wanting to sleep as soon as i felt the matress!). the villa also has a kitchen and plenty bathrooms, a receiving or common area, and a dining table. this three storied villa also has balconies enabling the guest to marvel at the spectacular view the scenery fronting their villa.

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the experience (though brief) was something awesome! i do hope that when burdened by the chaos of manila, i get a chance to retreat to this paradise, and experience everything it has to offer! indeed, Thunderbird Resorts deserves the awards that it has gained because it truly is world class!

— Behind Thick Framed Notes
1. Follow Thundirbird Resorts in their Social Medias
Thunderbird Facebook

Thunderbird resorts twitter :  @tdrphilippines

2. All photos shot by Aris Suarez <– visit his blog here!

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Filed under Adventure, Adventurers' Notes, Book 2 : The Quest, Photo Dump, Review, Travel

Chapter XIV : Touchdown Galera

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Rumor has it, that this was a cheap man’s boracay (to be honest, i can not really tell, as i’ve never been to both.), last year, december to be exact, My bestest girl friend Len invited me to accompany them (Vince, Eunice and Gab) to Galera, without hesitation (cause im easy that way), i said yes!

three reasons why i did say yes!
1. i love the beach
2. never been to galera
3. i was with the most awesomest people ever!

remember when we were kids, and our parents brought us to toy stores, candie shops, comic book stores – – have any of you remembered how you moved, acted, spazzed in anticipation? i was all of that on the day that we were supposed to leave for galera. i was very much giddy, to the point that i acted like a little boy holding his very first lego box! haha

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but galera was nothing spectacular in my opinion. there was water, sand, structures, stores, visitors – – just an ordinary beach hyped by rumors and stories. but the beach is still the beach for me, in the end, it was us (me and the party) who made this trip extraordinary!

a destination is just a destination (in my opinion), what makes it memorable are the people who were with you at that time!! and being with these clowns, and nerds were all i needed at that time (aside from the sun, and sand, and super clear waters of galera!)

Vince, Me, Gab, and Len

with Len 🙂

with the gang! galera 2012! gab. myself, eunice, moshen, vince, and len

more beach adventures this year guys!! see you soon!

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Chapter III : The Sudden Squall

My alarm went off at 8AM on the 1st of October. In my excitement, my mind is picturing the things i wanted to do, and the places i wanted to be in. based on the recommendation of a lot of my friends in Manila, I wanted to see the giant dog, the igorots, have my picture taken at mines view and sample dishes that can only be found in Baguio.

Breakfast was served, and rightafter,  the four of us were setting up our cameras in anticipation of the adventure that we going to embark on. But the wind was howling, and water was slamming on the glass door separating the common area of the hotel room to the balcony. The mist was replaced by a strong gust of wind accompanied by the rain. I felt the fear of not being able to go about my plans for the day, I felt that the storm is going to thwart my planned adventure. I felt defeated.

but still, a second plan was formulated, and we found ourselves travelling to SM Baguio for supplies.

SM Baguio – our Armory and Tavern for the Adventure ahead

in this case, we bought new pants, raincoats, and SD Cards for the execution of the plan that we are about to implement. right after Lunch, we bid farewell to our original party, and at that moment, the four of us were determined to implement our plan.

we wore our raincoat equipment, and set out to shoot the nearest landmark that we could find. we were informed that the Baguio Cathedral was nearest our location. i was also informed that this is the largest catholic church in Baguio, no one verified that though, but since this could possibly be the only place that we could visit on this stormy day, i let that information motivate me to brave the storm further. after getting wet and a encounter a lot of mishaps that involves puddle splashes and raincoat malfunction – we reached the cathedral


Baguio Cathedral – i got the impression of a pointed Notre Dame Cathedral in France

Seeing this in the rain made me feel gloomy. the colors would surely be complimented by the sun, i surmised. But seeing it in actuality made me smile. mission accomplished i said. we took our time in taking photos of the church, and after satisfying our lenses, we opted to return to the hotel to get dry and spend the remaining time safe from “Quiel, the Storm”. though a bit disappointed, i was still glad that i experienced the entire rain shoot, because of one fact alone, it can never go wrong when you are with friends!

Hotel Elizabeth – Apes cozying while Quiel unleashes his wrath on the city

Behind Thick Framed Glasses Definition:
Apes – what we call ourselves when the four of us are together . etymology “Planet of the Apes, 2011”
Armory – Equipment vendor – (e.g. Film Shop)
Tavern –  Restaurant, Fast food.

Photo credits:
Jaypee David (view his flickr here)

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