As promised many months ago, I wanted to give you guys an update on one of my super luxurious and super affordable accommodations in Makati, Philippines during my 2014 vacation. Aside from staying in a hotel by Resorts World, I booked myself a beautiful accommodation in one of the available vacation rentals via AirBnB. My choice location being at the heart of the Makati shopping district since everything I wanted to do was just where Greenbelt is- Spa, restaurants, shopping.
One of the reasons of the long post delay, besides my work life taking up most of my time and some health issues is that like any best kept secret…I wanted mine to be, well a secret. Plus I lost the photos…and I found them again, so yey (damn memory cards)
Living in the US for so long, the were two things that I dreaded upon coming back home to our house in Manila. The lack of hot water & the ever increasing traffic problem.
Even though I lived on and off the Philippines for around 20+ years, I still am not used to taking cold showers and often would boil a cauldron or kettle of water then mix in a giant plastic tub w/ cold water (timba) till lukewarm and using a tabo ( a plastic water ladle) go on with my shower, even if my bathroom has a showerhead.
Hot water is not common in most Philippine houses even in the city, it would be rare to find a home with the water boiler system that we commonly have in the US. Thankfully for those who can afford, they can buy an electric water heater to install to thier showers. Unfortunately besides this being costly, you can only install one per bathroom. In my family’s house, the ONLY hot water shower finally broke down after 15+ years of use.
The traffic was another major issue for me and friends that I wanted to meet. I live close to a freeway exit/entrance so at any given time there was a bottleneck of bumper to bumper traffic that can last between 30 mins-2 hours. To accommodate some friends within a 2-3 day period, I choose Makati specifically the Greenbelt area in my AirBnB search. And I found a selection of vacation rentals under $80/night within walking distance of either Glorrieta or GreenBelt. This way we can hit the bars and restaurants and walk back to the condo with ease.
Mine was close to Legaspi Park literally steps away from the Sunday Legazpi Market – a sweet surprise since I LOVE farmers markets and the convenience of walking back and forth from the stalls to my apartment with the goodies I bought.
My Host from AirBnB is friendly, accommodating and his place was amazing. For first time Pinoys who are interested in using this service, you would need to sign up, and its free. You do need to send some form of identification to validate that you are a verified real person for security purposes. Once approved, you can search from places from around the world for a vacation rental. You can chose between a private room in a rental, a shared room like in hostels, or the entire place for yourself. I choose an entire place for myself that can at least sleep 2, 3 if the other sleeps on the couch. Once you have set a reservation and a Host accepts your reservation request- they will provide you with an address and their contact info. While browsing AirBnB’s rental selections the personal info of the hosts & property are not shown for security purposes until a transaction is confirmed.
I was specific on my search. Mine needed to have hot water and hopefully free wifi. That I got on my rental. Some rentals will charge you for a cleaning fee, others will suggest to leave a tip for the housekeeper who will look after the place before and after your stay. Majority will charge for a deposit which can cost between $50-$100 especially if you are staying in property for more than a week. Majority of these vacation rentals especially for the full rent of a property have a minimum of 2 nights stay.
As mentioned earlier I choose my rental in Makati. The rental was a newly built condo just around Legaspi Park and a 8 minute walking distance from Greenbelt. The condo being new was highly secured, boasts a gym, a lap pool, heated jacuzzis and is not far from the nearest Starbucks. And did I mentioned HOT WATER? Yes that’s a Biggie.
The only wish I had on the property I stayed was a laundry mat/or washing machine available. Other rentals may have a wash& dryer but mine did not & since I was only staying for 3 days I didn’t mind the mini dirty laundry pile up. As a reminder for those renting an entire place for stay. Though some may offer concierge services not all offer housekeeping or maid services. The place you are staying could be a home, apartment or condo, so always treat the property with great respect and keep in mind of the house rules provided by the host.
Below are pictures of the property I rented. I was booked at the 40th something floor just at Legaspi Ave. not far from One Greenbelt condominiums.
This shot was taken with my iPhone’s panorama view from the bedroom over looking the living room and Kitchen hallway. For a stove we had an electric stove. Plates, spoons & forks provided. And the photo’s from the AirBnB site are just exactly as they were when I checked in. Another pro, centralized airconditioning. Perfect for foreigners not used to the Philippine tropical humidity especially on hot summer months. Most of the properties will provide you also with basic day 1 toiletries like shampoo, soap and disposable toothpaste.
During my 3 day stay and due to jet lag, I would automatically wake up at 6:30 AM where the sun is bright and warm, perfect weather for a swim.
Having a Sunday Mercado or Farmers Market was a real treat. Even though my condo had a working kitchen, I was too busy or tired to cook. The food stalls serve a variety of international cuisines like Thai, Indonesian and other Ethnic Filipino dishes.
There are other great properties that AirBnB Philippines has to offer. In Makati area, I would also recommend the Gramercy & The Beacon. One such rental is this link which hail a great city view from their rooftop pool.
The advantage of staying at AirBnB rentals is that majority of them are cheaper than hotels and still give you that 4-5 star feel of a luxurious condo treatment. Seriously some of these places are either $59-80.00 a night. A stay at the Marriot is close to $120. They are perfect for travelling families or short term stay Balikbayaners that would like to cook rather than eat out.
Just some packing tips.
-Do bring your own towel. Depending on the property you are staying, they may or may not offer towels. Most Philippine towels are thinner, shorter and less fluffier (unless they are the slightly expensive brand), hence they don’t dry you as much.
-You may want to bring your own blanket. Again this depends on the property that you stay. I underestimated the AC in my rental and since I was in the high penthouse floor, it got really cold (even after adjusting the temp)in the middle of the night. A simple throw should do to keep you comfortable
-Bring 1 or 2 big Trashbags. If you are staying in a property for more than 2 days, trash accumilates fast. Though there is a trash chute, it’s good to have your own BIG trash bags to dump your disposables in one haul. Plus they work great for stashing wet or dirty laundry.
-DO Be respectful of the house and building rules. Remember that you are still a guest and the Host in AirBnB can grade you for your stay, so be mindful of your surroundings and your host’s generosity.
There are many great AirBnB Philippine properties you can choose from aside those in Makati. One should check out those offered in Palawan or Boracay. And there’s other city areas like Paranaque and Alabang MuntingLupa
So there you go. This is my AirBnB review and stay.
I will be travelling back to Manila in a few months so hopefully I have more stuff to post.