where to stay in manila when there isn’t room in the family nipa hut

When my sisters – one based in Dubai and the other in the US – came to Manila early this month for a three-week vacation, one of the concerns that arose was accommodation – where could they stay that is comfortable, affordable, and safe?

Filipinos, as long as they have room, open up their homes to friends and family. Hotels are too expensive especially for extended stays and families believe in staying together. I would have loved for my sisters to stay with me, but my two daughters and I, along with my househelper, her son, and her niece, live in a one-bedroom unit above a disused horseracing stable – not the best arrangements for guests. Luckily, we have an aunt who insisted that my sisters stay in her capacious “empty-nest” home.

Then a cousin from another side of the family popped up in Facebook chat to ask the same thing – “Where can I stay when I come to Manila in September?”

This time I flexed my muscles and exerted my ultra-buff mouse-clicking finger to do some research:

  1. For short stays, try an affordable hotel: gohotels.ph, which promises a “place for every Juan”. The earlier you book, the cheaper the rate.

2.  For transient and extended stays, why not rent a fully-furnished room, apartment, or house? Check out roomrent.ph. This is a service provided both for tourists and property owners. The home page shows several excellent property lists sorted by cities (Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, etc.) and by access to public transportation (LRT 1 and 2, MRT). There is a wide range of places (condos, flats, houses) and prices that will suit anyone’s tastes and budgets. For the impecunious traveler, there are also options for bedspace and flat-sharing.

Twin beds and aircon? Looks good. One of the rooms at http://www.roomrent.ph.

Hotels are, well, hotels. Rental units are cheaper and provide more space, privacy, and freedom. When my Dubai-based sister had my eldest daughter and me over to visit her in 2000, she rented a condo for our stay. She said that renting a unit rather than booking into a hotel was the preferred option for many Filipinos and others looking to make the most of their money.

Conversely, a high-school classmate who came to Manila last December with his family chose to check into a house-for-rent run by a religious organization affiliated with our school. Other friends from college have booked at the PCED Hostel at the University of the Philippines. They cite ease, convenience, and less hassle for their Manila-based families as their reasons for not staying at the old ancestral manse.

But what if you do not have easy access to places like those? That’s why I like the concept of roomrent.ph because before the Internet, word-of-mouth and the newspaper classifieds were the only places to look for rental units, and it took a lot of phone-calling to narrow down choices.

At this website, you have an entire database of properties, all arranged and sorted to make decisions easier. As the site gets more public awareness, more property owners will be posting about what they have available, to offer even more options for the traveler.

One of the rooms offered at http://www.roomrent.ph

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