Tag Archives: La Union

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

Chapter XV : Digital Legilimency

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In Harry Potter, the word Legilimency was used as a spell to invade or look into one’s mind. i thought that it was the most apt word to use as the event that i attended last Saturday was something like legilimency, only easier and less sinful.

The Digital Influencers Marketing Summit (#dim2013) was held at Thunderbird Resorts and Casino at Poro Point, San Fernando La Union last Saturday (January 26, 2013). up until the first few speakers had i reached the conclusion that this event was worth the wait, travel and expenses. to be honest, i was excited to be part of the summit as a marketing officer for the company i work for, and as myself – an aspiring blogger – who lacks the motivation to be consistent with posts.

We arrived in La Union at around 4am, checked in at a local hotel (to kill time, as the event starts at 9:00), and found ourselves awestruck with the awesomeness of the venue (more on that on another entry). we also took time to have some photo opportunities while we wait for the event to start.

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Photo by Aris Suarez

it was awesome that tension was already lifted at the start of the event as introductions were made – spiels were given – and all of us wait in anticipation as the first speaker took the podium to discuss her blog Journey. i was relating to Vanj Padilla, when she was reiterating how she was not really an expert on blogging and internet tech, but that didn’t stop her from becoming a blogger, and being one of the most prominent in Pangasinan. she kept urging the audience to blog, and not let the lack of internet knowledge be a hindrance in becoming a blogger. She said that we should look for a niche, and try to be an icon of said niche. somewhere along the presentation, she pulled a jennifer lopez, and made a quote (as simple as it may be, but really got to me) “So i Blogged. and Failed. and blogged again. and again.”

I particularly related to the story of sir Vincent Tabor as  he told the audience how he started blogging during the “Friendster” days, and evolved as technology grew. he was sharing the times when he was criticized and put down as a blogger. he also said that there will always be competitors and you will always be criticized, so we, as bloggers, should always be prepared to receive some tough love! but in the end, such wont matter if you blog for the right reasons (and not primarily for money)

Juana Change literally changed the mood of the event as she took the microphone and told us her success story in creating viral videos to Tough Love some of our nations issues and concerns. her approach on life made me a fan, and her disposition on being true to one’s self is inspiring. She was really hilarious as there was no end to my laughter when she shared her voyage to being a sensation today. i was particularyl inspired as she went from 300+ lbs to a 250 lbs wonder as well!

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Me and Juana change, as she digitally signs our picture!

after lunch, we immediately proceeded to hear a talk about the importance and how-to’s of SEO by Ben Francia. by this time, many of the participants are already on “bibo mode” (including myself) as we broke our silence and tried to clarify and inquire on the importance of SEO application to our blogs/sites, wherein speakers Ben Francia and Tof Salcedo patiently answered and shed light to confused souls (like me). at the end of the presentation, keywords/phrases such as “engage bloggers, use google+, be remarkable” were imprinted on everyone’s being.

by this time of the day, i felt that my personal needs from the summit has reached its peak, but the next speaker made me more attentive as an officer of the company i work for – as he discussed the importance of brand champions and brand management in the social media context! Joma Giron (who btw is a fan of our product! awesome plug sir!) made it a point to highlight the importance of having solid brand influencers and advocates. from this point on, my hat as a marketing officer for the company was put on, but also taking notes that i may use as a personal blogger. he further discusses how all must define the social media plans that they intend to do, and strengthen it by engaging the market.

of course from this point on, i was really expecting to fill my other hat with knowledge that i can use “to make yabang” to my boss the following week! Mannix Pabalan went on to tell companies on how to “make ligaw” (court) bloggers, influencers to help the company out. i particularly liked the “Convince you, Convince me.” By this time i was beginning to understand how to deal with bloggers, influencers, and ambassadors that we have or will have in the future.

seeing as the event saved the best for last, Dr. Nick Fontanilla took the podium to make most of the audience feel like inactive fools as he encourages everyone to surf (because he just did) and try dragonboat! (seriously, i felt so weak and fatter!). but i was more amazed when he was discussing the behavior of consumers, bloggers and the impact of new media to purchases. i wanted to ask something related to Marketing and Politics (gladly i was able to ask it once he ended his talk, and when i got the chance to ambush him outside the room.)

in totality, the Digital Influencer Marketing summit has achieved its goal. it made me more aware of the basic tools, strategies and techniques in online marketing, social media presence, and brand management through the new media. at the end of the day, i was already formulating plans for the company’s social media, and also for my new approach to my personal blog (this blog!) 🙂

i wouldn’t hesitate attending similar events done by Jannete Toral (@digitalfilipino), as the events are what every starting (aspiring) blogger should attend and invest their money, attention, and time at.

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(L-R) Vanj Padilla, Vincent Tabor, Juana Change, Ben Francia, Joma Giron, Mannix Pabalan, Nick Fontanilla

Thank you guys for the imparted knowledge!

— Behind Thick Frame Notes
1. Should you wish to look and view the thoughts of the speakers. try following them on their social medias:

Jannete Toral – @digitalfilipino ,  @jannettetoral
Vanj Padilla – @vanjpadilla
Vincent Tabor – @sirvincentph
Juana Change – @juanachange
Ben Francia – @benfrancia
Tof Salcedo – @TofSalcedo
Joma Giron – @jomattittude
Mannix Pabalan – @mannixbp

2. Venue Location : Thunderbird Resorts at Poro Point, San Fernando La Union. @tbrphilippines

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Filed under Adventure, Book 2 : The Quest, Review, Travel