5 ways to enjoy cool Manila “staycations”

This post is an excerpt of  “Creatively Cool Manila Staycations”, originally published in OfficiallyPhilippines.com.

 

With several more long weekends coming up in 2012, you might be asking yourself, “What else is there to do if I want to have a different kind of weekend but don’t want to travel and deal with airport lines, traffic jams, and all the hassle of moving in and out of the metro?” The answer is simple and could be just as enjoyable: have a staycation!

The word “staycation” is a portmanteau of the words “stay” and “vacation”, which means that you can have the same vacation experience right near where you live. Whatever your inclination might be, there’s more than enough in Manila to feed both your body and your creative soul. Here are some ideas to make your staycation just as fun—or even more so, sans the traveling headaches—as a trip out of town.

1. Get the “Greenwich Village” experience at Salcedo Village, Makati.

The Salcedo Saturday Market brings together Filipinos and foreigners alike for goodies and fresh market finds
The Salcedo Saturday Market brings together Filipinos and foreigners alike for goodies and fresh market finds

Salcedo Village might not be the “bohemian capital” that the famed New York village had been, but with its mix of leisurely residential pleasures, art galleries, and upscale dining establishments, it’s got enough attractions for the laid-back, the indulgent, and the artist-at-heart. For our wedding anniversary weekend, my husband (a musician) and I (a writer/poet/doodler) booked a room at the Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences. We enjoyed the hotel’s homage to Picasso and its art exhibits spread throughout the hotel, and also enjoyed its proximity to the Salcedo Village Saturday Market. Come Saturday morning, we hopped over to the Saturday Market and sampled some French, Spanish, and Middle Eastern dishes, bought fresh flowers and a lot of other goodies, viewed some Art in the Park (which opened again on February 18!), and felt like we were truly away from the city. For dessert, it was off to chocolate heaven at Chocolate Fire. Other places we enjoyed within walking distance of each other were: Apartment 1B, which serves “gourmet comfort food” and also acts like a mini-gallery of contemporary artworks; Blanc Gallery, an art gallery showcasing some of the best by Manila’s young contemporary artists; and even the Goethe-Institut library (great for lovers of German language and culture!), right next-door to Picasso.

The lobby of Picasso Boutique Residences at Leviste Street, Salcedo Village
The lobby of Picasso Boutique Residences at Leviste Street, Salcedo Village

2. Enjoy “green luxury” at Cocoon Boutique Hotel in Quezon City.

The one-bedroom suite at Cocoon Boutique Hotel, Scout Rallos corner Scout Tobias Streets, Quezon City
The one-bedroom suite at Cocoon Boutique Hotel, Scout Rallos corner Scout Tobias Streets, Quezon City

A “green” boutique hotel right in the heart of Quezon City? Yes—you read that right. Cocoon Boutique Hotel is a newly opened upscale accommodation at the Tomas Morato area, literally just a stone’s throw away from Tomas Morato and Timog Avenues. Fusing contemporary Filipino design with the design and the sensibilities of a true eco-friendly hotel, Cocoon promises to be exactly that: a cocoon and an urban sanctuary right in the middle of a bustling city. Snuggle up in 400-thread count, 100% Egyptian Cotton bed linen and 90% Goose down duvets—which really make a difference when you want to enjoy a good night’s sleep—enjoy a languid, refreshing dip in its rooftop pool (which makes you forget that you are in Quezon City), give yourself five-star pampering treatment at Iris Spa Deluxe (located at the 2/F) go for cocktail-and-pastries pairing at Paire (located at the G/F), or have a hearty Italian meal in the midst of a “Kitchen Battle” at Il Duelo (right beside Paire). If you’d like to step out of the hotel and continue on with your “green” theme, hop over to Greens Vegetarian Restaurant and Café, a charming garden-themed nook right on Scout Castor Street. Another resto we love in that area is Romulo Café. If you’re up for more creative dining and café adventures, head over to Maginhawa Street in Teachers Village for a delightful smorgasbord of art, café concepts, and a truly laid-back vibe.

The rooftop pool at Cocoon Boutique Hotel makes you forget that you are in the heart of Quezon City
The rooftop pool at Cocoon Boutique Hotel makes you forget that you are in the heart of Quezon City

Want to see more “staycation” ideas? Read the rest of the post HERE.

Niña Terol-Zialcita

Niña Terol-Zialcita is a “Communicator, Connector, idea Curator, and Changemaker” who uses the power of words and ideas to advocate causes and promote the Philippines at its best. She is ProPinoy.net’s Deputy Editor, as well as Editor-in-Chief of asianTraveler, the longest-running travel magazine in the Philippines. When she is not writing, blogging, or traveling, Niña is conducting writing workshops with Writer’s Block Philippines, hanging out at art galleries and cafés, and performing poetry with her husband, percussionist and performance artist Paul Zialcita. She is also the author of the book "[r]evolutionaries: The new generation of Filipino youth and youth organizations".