Tag Archives: hotel

It’s Finally Good Friday in California!

I’m waking up to a Good Friday…why it’s Good when Jesus is dead, I have no idea. Black Saturday, I can understand with Him being in that cave until Easter Sunday. I’m not trying to be funny…but I remember the days as Holy from Monday through Thursday. I’m glad though that I don’t work on Fridays. I guess part of my sacrifice is blogging–and learning the neat stuff that others are doing. Knowing me, I doubt if I would get to the technical side before the day is over. That would be a Good Friday miracle.

I’m sure the Philippines is now resting after the religious ritual there on this day. Without even reading any news, I have mental pictures of the flagellants on the streets and most likely somebody nailed on the cross…I mean really nailed! Maybe I should check if there was another brave soul that still did this perplexing act. Hhmmm…maybe this is why it’s called Good Friday–with  most trying to be good! These are intriguing pictures to most foreigners, and it probably will be to me had I not been a Pinay myself.

I think I have to end my fasting for a while…my stomach really needs that thing they call breakfast. I have lost that ability to really fast!

What Makes This Week Holy?

The Catholics…I guess! Or, should I say unHOLY? If I had not come across Bob Martin’s posting in his newly-launched electronic magazine ‘Live in the Philippines’, I wouldn’t remember the Holy Week. Indeed, it’s BIG celebration in my country. It may have taken different shades of meaning through the years, but one thing constant–it’s a holiweek (no business for a week) as opposed to a holiday.

Normally, I would feel a certain ounce of holinesss only when Good Friday comes. Maybe, here in the US, life goes on as usual. We have to go to work–no big deal–nobody mentions it. What makes Good Friday different then? Yes, I try to be extra careful since this is the day that I have to be on my own…God is dead!

Fifty years is a long way back to that Holy Week of a 7-year old kid in the remote farm of Cadiz, Negros Occidental. Good Friday was the start of a day that we couldn’t leave the house to play. Many had probably experienced, one way or the other, some of the things that constitute this day to us though my younger siblings may had been too young to remember.

             * No play–just listen to the radio for the ‘Siete Palabra’, The Seven Last Words’ of Jesus as he was crucified on the cross. Mind you, I could remember myself crying silently (as I clung to those words I can’t even recall now), not because I couldn’t play but I wasn’t sure though if I felt bad simply with His dying on the cross…or the dying for the sins of the world or just my sins (my mom said I was a good kid).

            * No taking a bath–you will develop black spots on your body.

            * No ‘sinugba’–maybe it is this grilling that can give you the black spots. I guess I may have to ask my mom again.

My mother is the one that has all the religious/superstitious beliefs, and I was glad that my father was there to balance everything with his humorous and witty dispositions. Still, I had carried all through those long years the respect for Good Friday and Black Saturday until God is risen again on Easter Sunday. Numerous things may have changed in the way I approach Holy Week, one thing I can never bring myself to do is celebrate or go on holiday travel on these days for the sake of enjoyment. There is that certain tug in my heart that prevents me from making plans…you can call it guilt, perhaps conscience. When any member of the family plans on whatever holiday outings or travels within my hearing distance, I could only pray that they would change their minds. I want to hold on to the sacredness of these days!

What Will PhP5000 Buy You in the Philippines?

When you basically ask yourself some journalistic questions as a starting point, you’ll find the answers in varied ways that will boil down to your own flexibility and tolerance. The Philippines may have as many as 7,107 islands (…and, did somebody say 7,108 islands during low tide?), but only approximately 1000 are inhabited. If my joker friend should be believed, there’s one island that you’ll find only snakes and another only turtles. He lives in Naval (Visayan Islands) where there are numerous tiny islands. That’s a place you could buy your own island. Without a doubt my friend exaggerates; how much grain-of-salt you have to splash into his stories is your call.

Where are you planning to stay? If you start from my apartment, a day in the life of a king could be possible. Though I can’t promise a queen unless you are one; that would be a queen without a king, just the maids at your service. We’re not close to the beach, but we can take you to Subic in Olongapo where what used to be the U.S. military base is now a tourist area. Or if you want a day by the pool side, we can go as far as Laguna or Tagaytay…maybe simply sightseeing within a 3-hour drive radius. Another option is Boracay Beach as your kingdom for a day. If you are a frugal backpacker, who can eat what the locals eat (or survive on noodles and the kind) and sleep where the locals sleep, then you could last a month finding beauty and peace in places where raw nature abounds. Do you really need that running water in that thing they call faucet? What do you mean hot? Just don’t ask anymore questions! There’s always that middle ground somewhere only you can ascertain.

In March 2005, an unbelievable reunion came to fruition.

9S reunion

All 9 siblings (start from right counterclockwise full circle to the youngest) were there alive and kicking…only our father was not physically present but I knew then he was looking down on us chuckling, like I could hear it with him sitting next to me. What can I say…I was his first baby!


My uncle, Mother’s only brother, stays with our family. One of my favorite pictures is a wonderful contrast to the picture of my nephew below.


With Ral growing up in the same house, he brings joy to Tiyoy’s (Uncle).


Let’s move on to the next questions. When are you going to travel? How long are you staying, and how are you moving from place to place? Who will be traveling with you? What are you planning to do during your stay in the area of choice? Hopefully we’ll be able to address these questions at some point in time; otherwise, you’re on your way to launch your own adventure. Good luck and I hope you’ll find your own place of pleasure anywhere in the Philippines.

Life in a Crowded City

Why would someone choose to live in a crowded city? Family. A very simple and indesputable answer. Last December I came across Goyo’s blog about his [ http://travelswithgoyo.wordpress.com ] and I enviously followed him on his travel from Dumaguete, Negros Oriental to Cebu where ‘he and Mrs. Goyo plans to retire with her family in the near future’. His blog is full of enticing pictures poignantly chronicled from the eyes of a foreigner with the local’s heart.

And here I am retiring [soon?] in the midst of noise and pollution. But, first–I am a daughter, a sister, and many more to the people around me. Luckily my husband loves them too. So it is where we should start for now…our humble beginning could not compete with hotels. Our 4 walls can only block the noise so much that, if you’re a light sleeper, the sound of the 24-hour tricycle will be your nightmare; and before you can lull yourself to sleep, the penetrating sound of the peddler’s voice will surely awaken you to greet the morning sun. Then it’s time to start a new day!

alley st.frnt clbhse1frnt clbhse3fnt clbhse2

            hi dogsclbhse gtclbhse gt2

This is the Filipino life in motion! It’s not for the faint-hearted or the half-hearted (?)…and, if you have visited Goyo’s blog and read Rain Girl, we have more-of-a-kind here in Metro Manila…even Window Boy!

The Unfurnished Side of Fairview Apartment

Imagine starting life at Fairview without the furnishings…still entering the same gate at the alley side, going up the same staircase, only this time you’ll be making another flight of stairs. Yup! It’s the 3rd floor hallway where the other 3 Units are located: (Same layout as the furnished ones, just different colors.)

 3rd flr hallwaybedroombuilt-in closetGrn U fan

      bg2 U kitchenbge UKblue UK

I might as well include one Unit intended for dorm rooms, or maybe…just maybe, one of these days I should consider opening this area to backpackers. There are 3 similar-size small rooms that can be shared by 4 or just 1 in a room but the kitchen and bathroom will be shared by all dormers.

dorm rooms/hallwaydrm desk4-bed dormdorm-2beds.jpg

dorm kitchendorm bathroom


That doesn’t look right? The Caps Lock again–the culprit. Earlier I was screaming in desperation why my email password is not letting me in. It couldn’t be. It’s my primary account; I use it everyday–almost! I can’t believe my unlucky star today. This morning at work I was locked out of my account after typing 3 password combinations unsuccessfully. Why do they have to make us change our password every now and then? As if it was not bad enough to have one in every place. I know I should have written it somewhere right away. Sure…grey matter fades and it’s getting lighter and lighter from day-to-day. That I should remember!

Then I heard my husband yelled back from the other room, “Is your Caps Lock on?” Nevermind! Some ghost must have accidentally hit it…not me! I guess it’s not just the password stuff that makes life sucks. Worse are the people who believe that to con others is an art. Just because it worked at some point with others, doesn’t mean that it will continue to work. Besides, it’s bad for your conscience. That’s true…if you have one.

Actually, discovering that I worked my tail off this weekend for a scammer didn’t get to me at all. Thanks…at least I started some groundwork though I must admit that teeny weeny bit of sigh–it wasn’t real after all. It was a short-lived surge of hope that there really was an interested prospective tenant. A tenant that is ready to pay the full 6-month rent! Omigosh…but wait…did he say ‘send back part of the money through Western Union’? Coincidence? Benefit of the doubt? What else? Enough…I got it! Somebody pulled this similar trick on my husband with the ‘I have a client who wants a drum you’re selling but send me back the rest of the money through Western Union’ thing. At that time the TV stations did not catch on it yet, but it didn’t sound right. Always good to ere on the side of caution…when unsure, simply visit your friendly police precinct. While I’m at this, let’s give my husband a drum roll–visit his drum collections at www.xzyllardrums.com and you might just enjoy it, too.

Well, anyway I have the 4 parts of that email ready, so I’ll continue with the 2nd installment of our apartment pictures. It’s the inside part of the funished (air-con) model. All 6 one-bedroom units have the same layout, just different colors.

   alley side gatestairs2nd flr hallwayUnit door

           insidehallway.jpgbilt-in closetfurnished bed roomorange living room 

orange kitchen-DRorange U bathroomcooking arealaundry area

A Test of Patience

Friday was not just another day…it was a day with Craig! Actually more of an evening with Craig, and into the wee hours of the morning. It was not just posting but more of visiting the other ads. Somehow it got interesting to travel from place to place and vicariously visiting different houses, condos, and apartments. When I finally got down to what I really needed to do, it was almost midnight.

The irritating part was discovering what to do (or not to do) for the first time–no matter how simple it could be–doing it over and over and then gone forever when you hit the back arrow and, duh! There’s the edit button! Just as you thought you were done…aha, the FAQ…you read something that says “you can manage your postings better  if you create an account.” Who doesn’t want to make things easier? 

So, time to fill out the info, but ‘lo and behold’ what’s the password for my gmail account? It’s been a few months since I started this blog…oooppps, none of my combinations worked. Time to hit that “Forgot your password” since I couldn’t find my printed info anyway. Secret question? Why is my answer wrong? How could I forget my first teacher’s name? I give up. But there’s that little voice that says check your primary email first. Unbelievably lucky…they sent the password reset. Ha, Ha…Back to the grind and I tried redoing my add from my newly created account. Posting time…how come? Sorry! I can’t post a similar ad? But where’s that first one? I guess I just have to charge it to life’s learning experience.  Back to FAQ…’it takes about 15 min’ before I could see my posting. Let there be hope! My waiting paid off. I’ve seen my first posting…and I did not call out for my husband’s help. He was already sound asleep; he was tired too.

Here’s the best part. Saturday morning–5 hours later from that wee hours before I hit La La Land–an email, invitation for another free posting. Free is good! Then Sunday morning…another email enquiring about the ad, from a father for her daughter. Sounds good to me. I emailed him the info and the pictures in 4 parts.

The first installment included the picture of the building as seen in my previous posts and the view of the area/neighbors from the rooftop.


Craig’s List – a flcker of hope!

Time is of the essence…is it? And, therefore, must not be wasted. Yesterday I was trying to assemble pictures to send to a prospective renter, and I thought I might as well check out Craig’s List…posting it there might have some exposure I so needed. Having prepared the draft, I thought this page could just be as good as any parking space. Better than my PC hard drive. Who knows when I’ll make it to Craig’s List? Will I even make it to Flcker? Maybe I should work harder and earn my keep!

hallwayinside hallwayBR built-in closetFrn BR

           dining arealiving roomfurnished kitchen

From the kitchen, you will see the bathroom door next to it, then another door to the cooking and laundry area.

     orange toiletcooking arealaundry area

Here’s my draft:

Fully Furnished 1-bedroom unit apartment in Fairview, Quezon City. Weekly, monthly or yearly lease rental terms available now. One block to subdivision main gate and right across from the club house. Near supermarket, schools and easy access to transportation going anywhere in Metro Manila, a mere 5-15 min. from SM Fairview, FEU Hospital/School of Nursing & Medicine, NCBA, also close by UP & Ateneo.

Weekly Rates: (Air-con Rm.) PhP 10,000 inclusive of utilities. One week stay minimum. Security deposit of Php 5,000 required but refundable upon check out ( P2,000 / day in excess of one week). Full payment upon occupancy.

*Fan rm. only available for half the price, same security deposit/terms.

Monthly Rates: (Air-con Rm.) PhP 35,000 inclusive of utilities with PhP2,000 / day in excess of one month. Security deposit of Php 15,000 required. (2-5 mos. stay, security deposit of 1 mo.required but refundable / 1 mo. advance) Required payment in full upon occupancy.

*Fan rm. only available for PhP 20,000 inclusive of utilities with P1,000 / day in excess of one month. Security deposit of Php 10,000 required. (2-5 mos. stay, same terms as above)

Long Term: 6 months minimum. (Air-con Rm.) PhP 25,000 exclusive of utilities with two months security deposit plus one month advance payment required. Refund of deposit according to terms and conditions of lease agreement.

*Fan rm. only available for PhP 20,000 exclusive of utilities with PhP1,000 / day in excess of one month. Security deposit /advance – same terms as above.


For long term stay, option to stay on the 3rd flr is available for PhP 5,000 less on both Fan and Air-con rooms. Contact us for unfurnished and semi-furnished units.

Rates and Terms negotiable according to preferred options. Rates may depend on furnishings and the availabilities of utilities (tel, cable, dsl).

*note: Partial deposit required to secure reservation of the unit, and balance payable upon
check-in. Serious inquiries only. Deal direct with owner.


Built-in closet in bedroom
One Full/Queen size bed  (2 single beds must be requested)

Two portable mattresses may be provided upon approval
4-seater dining set with dinner wares, basic cookwares
Refrigerator & 2-burner stove

Living room set plus coffee table
TV with remote control, Cable TV

Computer/Internet connection possible, arrange for time and availability
*Air Con (in bedroom)// 2 ceiling fans (standard in every bedroom & living room)

Hot/Cold shower


For more information, specifications and reservations pls. do not hesitate to contact us:
e-mail: zylla3@gmail.com

Tel. #: U.S.- (714) 284-0877 [Cecilia] // Philippines- (02) 461-6917 [Elena]

Range of Trust

When we venture into unknown territories, we could only be grateful of some strangers’ random acts of kindness. How much could we rely on our instincts? Between 1 and 10, 10 as the highest range of trust in your scale, what would it be for you in the Philippines? Would it vary from city to city, island to island…or what about from country to country? Would Father Time be a factor? In this day and age…proceed with extreme (?) caution.

Four years ago—before I decided to buy our place in Luzon as temporary stopover before ‘real’ retirement—I just typed “travel to Philippines” and “Philippine Real Estate” in the hope that I could get my own perspective of things and places that were ones familiar. Two decades was a huge gap in time (plus I have my husband who would be seeing the Philippines in living colors for the first time) even if I have my family as my fall-back position. I came across the websites of two foreigners married to Filipinas. There were several others but the fact that they were the ones involved in the things that interested me, I remembered them again when their websites came up in my recent searches.

Bill and Lorna in Boracay: http://asiabill.pages.web.com/id18.html  where you can get your perspective on budget stay in the Philippines or http://asiabill.pages.web.com/ where they have a specific down-to-earth instruction on how to get to their place from the airport which I believe will be the same to most places of your destination. It just fascinates me to see them in the same light that I could be in one day, but I don’t have the guts to do everything that they’re doing…I have just started with the structure now and how to grow is still a question…maybe more on education slant/distance learning, but I can’t see myself doing all the fun stuff of adventure. Perhaps, I could try on a smaller scale one day when everything is in place.

Another interesting guy that would probably be knowledgeable if you’re going further down south is Bob Martin. Before, I’ve seen his www.wowphilippines.com/ –not in my realm, but fascinating entrepreneurial spirit, maybe…a small boutique in one nook of my building to keep my renters self-sufficient is all I’m capable of doing. Recently, I came across his www.mindanao.com site that any adventurous nature lovers should check out. Davao is a favorite tourist spot and his site is a good link to many places in the Philippines, esp. the wifi hotspots.

Backtracking for Backpackers

Bedspacers…or backpackers? I guess this is a reaalllly new concept for my sister, and I can hear her arguing to the max against the idea. She’d rather stick to having (student) bedspacers. Maybe when I’m permanently based in the Philippines, I can look further into this. I don’t even know about tax classifications or any repercussions in diverting from original plans of straight yearly leases. This is the up-and-coming headache that I’m dreading to face.

My place needs a specific clientele with a maximum capacity of 4, preferably just 2. It’s somewhat strategic since I have malls, schools, hospitals, etc. within a 5-mile (or kilometer) radius. By Philippine standard, most that can afford the unfurnished 1-bedroom unit for $200-$250/month (depending on the exchange rate) are the dual-income family earners that are somewhat established, which usually come with 2 children (if I’m lucky). What comes with the package? Somebody has to take care of the household, the 5th wheel which could possibly be a maid, an aunt, a mother, or a grandmother. For a wonderful family, I am prepared to stretch the maximum to 5. Another hurdle, the unfurnished units are in the 3rd floor…tough for Grandma. I even lost a few pounds just going up and down the stairs when I was there for 6 weeks. Rent-wise, steep for starter couples either.

Summer of July 2007 that we vacationed in the Philippine (not that we have gone anywhere other than our house and my brother’s house, another family hub), I decided to furnish the 3 one-bedroom units on the 2nd floor. I knew I cannot compete with hotels since we’re right in the middle of the crowded city life–with regular folks. The cities in Metro Manila barely sleeps…life goes on: people working different odd hours, tricycles milling in every streets and alleys of the subdivision, and before you know it you’ll be waking up to the sound of the peddlers (that is if you’re not sensitive to the noise and you had a good night sleep). Oh, did I mention the neighbors? Listening to the on-going activities can be both ways though. This is real living in the Philippines, and not many foreigners could get used to the hustle and bustle of ordinary life here. The provinces could be different. My best friend from one of the Visayan islands swears that his province has a lot better air.

Let me backtrack 4 years ago when my husband and I decided that we will be retiring in the Philippines. We had only two weeks then to find a place to retire. Even if I had instructed my family there to have ready ‘lots for sale’ to inspect, I still scouted the internet for real estate information since I had been gone away for almost 2 decades without ones going back. I had come across a few interesting sites before that I still found lately when I got busy learning the ropes of blogging–much improved and with more elaborate information. I’m pretty sure they could be more helpful to backpackers.