While participating at TBEX Asia Pacific 2016 in Pasay, Manila, I chose to stay in the Pasay area, located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay. A major residential suburb, densely populated and highly commercialized. Kabayan Hotel, a 3-star hotel near Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) hubs turned to be a stunner. I had few reasons why I booked the Kabayan Hotel, mainly because it is in close proximity to the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), venue of TBEX Asia Pacific 2016 in Pasay.
The check-in process was cumbersome, it took me a good 20 minutes to line up in the queue, to get through the concierge. I had my booking confirmed for 2 nights in the male capsule dorm through Agoda and the payment was to be made directly to the hotel at the rate USD 15.71/- (800 pesos) a night including free breakfast. The lobby area was spacious and decorated nicely with a Christmas tree around the reception desk. I actually asked a local why the Filipinos start decorating for Christmas so early, and she told me Christmas always had a special place in the Filipino culture and that there are three seasons in the Philippines: dry season, rainy (or wet) season and Christmas season. The concierge collected the payment for 2 nights from me and gave a receipt, electronic key card to my dorm room and a separate key for my locker. My room was on the 2nd floor of the hotel, and that was just one floor above the lobby and reception. I swiped the electronic key card through the lock and turned the door handle and “Wow” the room looked quite and comfortable, the air-conditioned temperature was cool and welcoming. I had clean and fresh set of pillow, a blanket and a towel inside my locker, toiletries weren’t provided and I always travel with my own toiletry kit.
I was no longer able to contain my jet lag, and I knew that I will definitely sleep well after a 13 hour journey including a transit at Changi Airport, Singapore. I found it a little challenging though, having to climb to the top bunk, but the moment I lay on my bed inside my capsule, my eyes went shut and fell asleep then and there. The space inside my capsule didn’t bother me, and I am glad I am not claustrophobic, I was able to comfortably move in all directions without struggling. The dorm was shared with 7 others and I was cautious and considerate in not making loud noises. My room mates were not very social, but one local was nice enough to ask me if I had dinner. During the night, when the room temperature gets cold, I would shut the venetian blinds attached to the entrance of my capsule.
The fan, clock and lights control bar in the capsule were not friendly, some of them didn’t function, and the downside was that since it didn’t have any electrical sockets, I was not able to charge my phone and laptop. Every night before I go to sleep, I had to go down to the lobby and place my laptop and phone to charge and wait until it gets charged 100%. The hotel provided free wi-fi access, but the signal only reached few areas inside the hotel, unfortunately my dorm room had very limited wi-fi reception, I couldn’t even access the Grab car app with wi-fi access the hotel provided, I had to go down all the way to the lobby and near the restaurant area to get a good wi-fi signal.
Possibly my favorite part about waking up at the Kabayan Hotel? Starting my day with the buffet breakfast at Pinoy Star Cafe. The breakfast might not be the most impressive, but I loved the different food they served each morning.
The drawbacks were few and minor — I disliked having to go down to charge my phone and laptop, especially every night before going to sleep. Who wouldn’t? Will I stay at the Kabayan Hotel again? Yes, I certainly will again if I have to attend an event at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay. Traffic in Manila is a disaster and a daily struggle, there are people who spend as much as four hours a day commuting relatively short distances, and while the Google maps show 12 minutes average to the PICC from the Kabayan Hotel, I always made sure I left the hotel an hour early to be on the safe side and arrive on time. I also felt that I didn’t need an expensive or even a medium range hotel since I had to spend my whole day at TBEX from morning 7 until 6 in the evening, and all I needed was a clean and decent place to have a good night sleep.