Places to stay in Philippines
Buses navigate the crowded streets of Manila in the Philippines. (Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images )
Manila has the dubious distinction of being the densest city in the world, packing in more than 111, 000 people per square mile. Tourists come to the populous Filipino capital for a variety of reasons, from the colonial architecture of Fort Santiago and the Malacañang Palace to fishing expeditions along the Pasig River to the priceless paintings in the Casa Manila museum. While Manila has many hotels, travelers operating on a tight budget have a modest selection of options that balance low cost, comfortable accommodations and tourist-friendly services.
The Southern Cross Hotel
The Southern Cross Hotel (thesoutherncrosshotelmanila.com) is a privately owned property just one block from the U.S. Embassy, Rizal Park and the Museo Pambata. A hotel shuttle runs to the airport and local points of interest, while an on-site gaming hall has a billiards table that's used for 8-ball tournaments Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. The hotel's restaurant offers both local and Western cuisines, with a special emphasis on Australian dishes. A big-screen TV over the bar shows sports competitions, and most nights feature some form of live musical entertainment. The hotel's 25 guest rooms, which were renovated in 2009, offer a choice of single, double or queen-sized beds, mini-refrigerators and safe deposit boxes. Family-sized rooms that comfortably sleep up to four are available upon request.
Casa Bocobo Hotel
The boutique-style Casa Bocobo Hotel (casabocobo.com.ph) is within walking distance of attractions like Manila Bay, Ermita Church and the National Historic Institute. Free amenities include on-site car parking, a luggage hold, use of the hotel safe and high-speed wireless Internet access, while 24-hour security and a state-of-the-art fire alarm system top the list of safety measures. The hotel's cafe serves Filipino specialties side by side with continental cuisines, and room service is available. Spacious guest rooms sport a sleek, modern look, and have a hot and cold shower, individual climate control and a flat-screen LCD TV with cable service. Additional room rate discounts are available for those who book at least two weeks in advance.
The Pension Natividad (pensionnatividad.multiply.com) is within walking distance of the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, St. Paul University and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Guests are free to enjoy an on-site basketball court, outdoor patio and English-speaking staff with knowledge of the area. The reception desk offers a phone for local calls and safety lockers for guests with their own padlocks. Breakfast is available for an extra fee, and Chowking serves dinner two blocks away. Although private air-conditioned guest rooms with adjoining baths are available, guests who are really strapped for cash can choose the male or female dormitories with shared bath facilities. None of the rooms or dorms have phones or TV sets, although all are Wi-Fi ready at no extra charge.