Staying at a hostel will not only save you money, but it can also bring you new friends and a more complete outlook on life and travel. We list down four hostels you should try
WRITTEN BY Klara Iskra Añonuevo and Meriam Otarra
PHOTOGRAPHED BY John Ocampo and Meriam Otarra
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS COURTESY OF Flotsam And Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel and Kermit Surf Eco Camp Siargao
Kermit Surf Eco Camp Siargao
In Siargao, where massive barreling waves induce an adrenaline rush, there is a hostel where surfers can come home to. Hammocks, scrumptious food, and a chill vibe—Kermit Surf Eco Camp Siargao has all those things to ease your muscles after a hardcore surfing trip.
Owned by a Swiss-Italian Marine Biologist Gianni Grifoni, he recalls how he fell in love with Siargao during his first trip to the Philippines back in 2006. “I was going to Maldives for a job, but I went back to the Philippines to start my dream.” In the beginning, he just wanted to build a house and provide homestay services to surfers and tourists, but since their official opening two and a half years ago, the place has expanded into one of the most highly recommended budget accommodations in General Luna.
Sleep, eat, surf, repeat—a routine you will easily adapt to when you stay in Kermit. Located only 200 meters away from the closest surfing spot, Cemetery, and a twominute habal-habal ride away from the infamous break Cloud 9, the resort looks like an oasis as it welcomes you with lush tropical landscape. From air-conditioned bungalows to backpacker rooms, they have everything covered for whatever needs and wants guests may have. Whatever room you choose, every morning starts with a huge complimentary breakfast served in the terrace of your room or at the common area.
They also organize different surfing packages for beginners and surfaris for amateurs. Starting at P22,000 per person per week, their packages include accommodation, breakfast, unlimited surfboard rentals, island hopping opportunities, a free massage, airport pickup, a personal instructor with one to two sessions of surfing lessons per day, plus, they will take you to all the best surfing spots in the island—yes, even the secret ones! If one week is not enough, Gianni himself will customize a package for you. When you enroll in one of their lessons, get ready to be fed with both surfing knowledge and good food, as Kermit RestoBar is also famous for its pasta. (Gianni admits that even though he’s been living in the Philippines for the last three years, he couldn’t let go of Italian food because of his Italian blood!)
A complete surfing immersion awaits guests in Kermit Siargao. Want to be closer to Cloud 9? Watch out when they open a sister resort just right in front of it!
Kermit Surf EcoCamp Siargao is located in Purok 5, 8419 General Luna, Siargao Island, Surigao Del Norte. For bookings and reservations, call (+63 917) 655 0548 or email info@kermitsiargao. com>. For more information, visit or like them on Facebook <facebook.com/kermitsurfanddivesiarga>
Pink Manila Hostel
Tucked in one of the many side streets of Malate is Pink Manila Hostel, a quirky hostel which has become a favorite hangout place not only for visiting foreigners, but for students in nearby schools as well. Located at the upper levels (it starts at the fifth floor) of a building hosting other establishments (like a gym, for example), Pink Manila Hostel will surprise you with its artsy interiors—murals painted by the hostel’s previous manager dominate the walls and doors—a stark contrast to the old buildings surrounding it.
Like most hostels, around the world, this one has a chill atmosphere: upon arrival, you might be greeted by several guests lounging or watching a movie at the common area by the bar and the pool (yes, there’s a pool that guests can use freely!). If you’re looking for a more social atmosphere, head on over to the roof deck, which not only provides a city view of the metro, but also plays host to the hostel’s nightly events (they have movie nights, pool parties, food nights, and karaoke nights, to name a few).
The hostel’s five rooms can fit 42 people—there’s a fan dormitory that can fit 16 people, three airconditioned eight-bedrooms, and one double-bed private room. A stay comes with free breakfast from 7 AM to 10 AM. Owner Christina Searles shares that the 16-people dorm is the most popular among guests because of its affordability. “As guests put it, what they save, they can use to buy three beers,” Christina says with a smile.
What makes Pink Manila Hostel so inviting is the fact that you don’t need to be booked to hangout here. Locals can mingle with the guests, have drinks at their common area, or even play billiards at the pool table. That, coupled with the fact that the hostel has no curfew and is located near restaurants and other attractions, it’s no surprise that it just recently celebrated its second year.
Pink Manila Hostel is located at 2551 Don Pedro Street corner Bautista Street Malate, Manila. For bookings and reservations, phone (+63 2) 484 31 45, (+63 919) 235 69 39, email <email@example.com>. For more information, visit
Flotsam and Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel
If you’re a traveler who appreciates good design and delicious oven-baked pizza, Flotsam and Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel is the place to go. A little over a year since they opened, this hostel in San Juan, La Union, has already gained popularity among artists and surfers (or artist-surfers!) from Manila. Started by three friends who met through surfing, Mia Sebastian, Jon Sumulong, and Carla Suiza wanted to create a unique place where backpackers from within and outside the Philippines can interact through their mutual love for surfing. But as to why they chose La Union despite the many other surfing spots in the Philippines, Mia explains, “La Union is where I started to learn how to surf back in 2003. We’d go to other surfing spots but I always come back to La Union. The waves are a lot more consistent and the locals are nice.” True enough, the staff of Flotsam and Jetsam, who are all residents of La Union, are very friendly and accommodating.
As with other hostels, it mostly has dormitory rooms with common showers and toilets. And if you want to feel the beach vibe even more, they have dormitory rooms in kubo or native huts, perfect for barkadas and families. They also have private rooms with nautical charm and relaxing blue walls, but the most sought-after room in Flotsam and Jetsam is the unpretentiously parked RV in the garden! It can fit up to four people and will make you feel like you’re in a road trip in the 70s. The catch is that they don’t accept reservations for the RV at the moment so you’ll have to rely on luck for this one.
Once you enter the hostel, you’ll be greeted by surfboards “parked” by the garden, colorful bohemian lamps, and rustic wooden designs. Get your own beanbag at the common area and relax while sipping an artisanal cocktail. The combination of the hostel ambiance and the sound of the waves coming from San Juan Beach will make you feel at home. Flotsam and Jetsam’s whole laid-back appeal speaks true to the “hang loose” culture that surfers patronize. Don’t worry about not being able to do anything because that’s the magic of the hostel—guilt-free lazy weekends!
You don’t have to be an artist or a surfer to enjoy the spontaneous jams, movie nights, barbecue afternoons, and drinking with strangers in the hostel. At the end of the day, Mia says all you need is an open mind.
Flotsam and Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel is located in Surf Town, San Juan, La Union. For bookings and reservations, phone (+63 917) 802 1328. For more information, visit , like them on Facebook <facebook.com/flotsamandjetsamhostel>, or follow their Instagram @flotsamandjetsamhostel
A new hostel in the scene, having just opened in November, Z Hostel is driven by the ambitions of its owner and president, Rommel Marasigan, who got the idea to put up a hostel after staying in several hostels all over the world. Billed as Manila’s first luxury hostel, Z Hostel was brought to life by Rommel’s extensive research—he not only stayed in many hostels around the world, but he went online and researched what travelers love about the hostels they have stayed in and put all of those in Z Hostel.
The result is one hostel building with several floors of rooms, a roof deck, a game room, a café that’s open to the public, and even a movie room. The 30 rooms can accommodate over 120 people, a big number compared to most hostels in the area. There are four types of rooms: the eight-bed dormitory, the six-bed dormitory, the four-bed dormitory, and a private room with a queen-sized bed. Each room has an en suite bathroom (but there are common bathrooms in some floors as well) and each bed has its own personal lamp and electrical socket, so there’s no need to compete with other guests to charge your gadgets. There are actually sockets inside each locker as well, so you can charge your laptops and mobile phones without worrying about their security.
The hostel may have all these bells and whistles that others don’t have, but at the end of the day, the goal of Z Hostel is to provide guests with good sleep, and the management is so committed to this goal that they named the hostel after the letter most linked with deep slumber. Rommel says, “We basically want people to know that if they come to Z, they get a good night’s sleep.”
Z Hostel is located at 5660 Don Pedro Street, Makati City. For bookings, and reservations, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit . For more information, like them on Facebook <facebook.com/zhostelph> or follow them on Twitter @zhostelph and Instagram @zhostelph