Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012
My Deluxe 2 room with bathtub
E R M I T A - M A N I L A   S T A Y

I got stranded in Ermita, Manila during the visit of Typhoon Ofel. I was meeting a friend that night at Robinsons Place-Manila. Just to make it on time, I walked from Pasong Tamo, Makati to Taft Avenue which was probably like 3 blocks of EDSA-fronting Camp Aguinaldo.

I always dread of going home at night from Manila because I have this preconceived notion that it's not as safe as other cities in the metro. If only for the great number of strangers going in and out of that city because of the US embassy and other processing institutions that are located there, Manila is far from being quaint. In the middle of a rainstorm and flooded streets, I was determined to survive the night without being a typhoon casualty.

My solution? Check in for the night at a budget hotel that does not stink yet. I'm all for heritage, but if it's close to seeing a horror booth, I'd rather have them pay me to get scared instead. I definitely will not sacrifice security as well.

Patronizing budget hotels has been my strategy for so many challenges in the past. When I was being fixated upon at the office for being tardy, I checked in at Tune Hotel for 5 days straight. Tardiness and body clock adjustment solved! When a visiting distant Australian relative of ours wanted to experience a Filipino home one time and I offered my room, I booked myself for 2 weeks at San Juan City's Orange Hotel. I've been celebrating my past 2 birthdays on overnight stays at Lancaster Hotel also.

Connect with Buddha or thru wi-fi.
Back to that Typhoon Ofel night... To avoid further agony going home after the meet up, I headed to Gran Prix Hotel, an affiliate of Victory Liner. That fact alone makes you think that the former was made for the latter. It's the case in Gran Prix's Pasay and Quezon City branches where the hotels are adjacent to the Victory Liner bus terminals. In Manila, however, it's a lone structure next to the famous Tesoro's heritage shop, near PAGCOR, along Mabini Street.

I arrived drenched in rainwater as I recalled experiencing in Vigan a month ago. Taft Avenue was flooded already so I rode a so-called padyak or a no-engine pedicab. Before that, I was so stressed out riding the LRT which I can honestly compare to the hellish cemetery apartments in North Cemetery except that the people in the train were still alive and constantly moving their muscles against me. Just imagine my happiness when I finally reached the decent reception area of Gran Prix. The place was actually like a much coveted prize. Coincidentally, Gran Prix means Grand Prize in French.


I stayed at a Deluxe 2 (with bathtub) room which could set you back P2,200 on a good day. Deluxe 1 (P1,999) does not have a bathtub just so you know. My room did not have any ornate decorations and it satisfied me not seeing any that night because I was so tired from walking. I only wanted to see bare stuff. I reckoned that most guests that they have always shared the same mindset, especially those who stay for dealings at the US embassy or the nearby recruitment agencies. All of which are 30 minutes from the hotel. Water pressure was strong. The bathtub was clean. I wished there was a city view through a window but I'd rather sleep the night anyway. At a prime location such as Manila, the room rate is competitive enough.

My dinner: hubba-hubba Humba!

Hotel Security

With all the mysterious deaths going about in other budget hotels in Ermita (every 2-3 months I would always read in the newspaper of a mysterious death of a foreigner), I'd definitely go for a reputable budget hotel such as Gran Prix. The hotel's electronic key-card seems modern enough to reassure guests of tight security.

Dining At Namayan Restaurant

For dinner, I dined at the econotel's Namayan Restaurant which is situated at the 7th floor of the building. I had the Humba, a sweet pork dish that was cooked and served in brown sugar, salted black beans, and banana blossoms. It was my first sampling of Humba ever so I enjoyed tearing into it.

My Morning At The Econotel

The room rate was inclusive of breakfast which I enjoyed with an order of tocino. The meal was not with a hefty serving of viand as I hoped it would be because I wanted to regain much needed energy that morning. For plan B, I paired it with a 2-piece pancake. Interestingly, the pancake was both soft and firm and the syrup sort of had a citrus-y hint to it. I loved this additional breakfast fix.

I was glad that the serving of coffee is refillable. I had a couple of cups that morning to keep awake after a tiring night.

I plan to visit Gran Prix's other econotel branches such as Quezon City and Pasay, but first, I need to book my Cebu vacation. I plan to stay at Gran Prix's Cebu branch for 2 nights.

Maybe next year, I can get to stay at Gran Prix's more luxurious branches namely The Sitio (prime vacation villas in Boracay) and their soon-to-open Palawan hideaway.

For now, as my pre-Christmas gift to all Turista Trails visitors (An average of 200 page views a day!), I'm letting you all get the chance to win a free overnight stay at Gran Prix Hotel (in Metro Manila). To make it extra-special, I'm tossing in a free old school 2013 planner. (Contest now closed; winner to be announced soon)

Thank you to all who joined the Turista Trails-Gran Prix Hotel Stay and 2013 Planner Giveaway! Winner to be announced soon.

My travel stamina partner, Laminine   +   My personal blog, New Self    +   Pasig City Natin


  1. Magaganda nga daw reviews dyan sa Gran Prix Hotel. i want to visit the place soon.

  2. Thanks for this giveaway. And congratulations for winning the Cebu vacation :)

  3. wanna join the giveaway ... anyway this budget hotel is not ordinary :)

  4. I am actually on the very same area when Ofel came. Duty sa work. Goodluck sa raffle. Sana manalo ako. :)

  5. I really wanted to try this econotel on my visit during my vacation . Sana manalo ako for my visit next vacation :)

  6. Need to win! For mama's bday :) jia yo!

  7. thanks for the tip dito sa place na 'to. medyo nakikita ko yan pag nadadaanan ng jeep pag bumibisita ko sa manila before. :D

  8. hmmm.. looks like a very relaxing place!

  9. wow
    thanks for mentioning my employer

    happy halloween!!!

  10. Nice place! I waan experience too! Hope I'll win <3

  11. Experiencing the same.. :> It's a good place.

  12. i wanna win! hehehe... btw... i like those little title like food, experiece things you have on every post...

  13. I heard good reviews about Gran Prix! I wanna try staying here soon! :D

    -Alexis Mendoza (Kim Bam Heo)

  14. Only overnight, can you make it 3 nights para sulit.


Got anything to add to my post or want to express your thoughts about it? Comment away!

Book Now

Check out the Turista Trails E-Zine Issues 1, 2 and 3

Check out the Turista Trails E-Zine Issues 1, 2 and 3

Thanks for visiting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Partner With Us

Partner With Us

More About Turista Trails