It’s been long overdue but still in order to review a fine hostel found in the Malate area of Manila. I spent a good amount of time at Where 2 Next(W2N) hostel this past year as it was my value laden launching pad to the rest of the Philippines. Let’s go over the pros and cons of W2N and why ultimately I think it’s a fine place to plan your next move.
History of Manila
The name Where 2 Next really says it all. I think the common idea upon coming to the Philippines is: “Get the *beep* out of Manila.” In some regards I agree, but there’s also a bit of charm in the ol’ Spanish-conquered, once-Japanese occupied and now American-influenced capital city. For instance, take the over 400 year old area of Intramuros. The Spanish originally arrived on the Luzon island (main largest north island) around 1570 from now Mexico (New Spain). At the time the area was occupied under the Sultanate of Brunei and thus largely Muslim for the previous 100 years. Under Miguel Lopez de Legazpi the Spanish took over the area that is now Intramuros, claiming it in the name of King Philip II. Starting to see some name associations? The Spanish occupied the islands for many years and the Catholic church played and still plays a huge influence here. You can see the oldest Catholic church in the Philippines in Manila; it’s St. Agustin Church finished in 1607.
SEE INTRAMUROS GALLERY
But Manila has changed hands a few times. In 1898 Spain relinquished control of the Philippines and Manila to the United States as part of the Spanish-American war. The Americans made Fort Santiago in Intramuros their home base for military operations in the Philippines. That was until 1941, when the Japanese Imperial Army invaded and occupied Manila for four years until General McArthur lead the US liberation of Manila. During the battle over 100,000 Filipino men, women and children died from February 3 to March 3, 1945.
The Philippines themselves only gained their independence from The Tydings-McDuffie Act in 1934. This act provided for a transitional period until 1946, at which time the Philippines would become completely independent. Under a constitution approved by the people of the Philippines in 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines came into being with Manuel Quezon y Molina as president.
Today Manila is bustling to say the least. With a approximate population of over 17 million there are brilliant skyscraper-laden areas, poverty-stricken ghettos and everywhere in between. Manila battles with its own identity constantly as it has perhaps through it’s 600 year history.
Where 2 Next
Located on second floor of 1776 Adriatico in Malate a mere 100m from Remedios Circle. It’s clean. Really clean – which is always a plus anywhere you travel. They boast two 14-bed dormitories and two 6-bed rooms. There’s also 2 three-bed rooms and 2-suite rooms. All have shared bathrooms, which as stated are kept very clean. Price range varies but a bed in the dorm or 6 room runs you about 500 PH Peso. Cheaper if you are returning, or you can negotiate for longer stays. Clean bed sheets – check. Small locker – check. Free WIFI – check. There’s even towel available for a small fee. They also serve a complimentary breakfast of eggs, toast, fruit and tea or coffee downstairs in the cafe.
The staff are first class. Led by sister owners Vicky and El Orlando, the crew observe a code of helpfulness and curiosity first. Many of them became my friends throughout my stay. I’ve also met many a cool traveler at the W2N, people which I’ve kept in contact with. The environment of this hostel leads to meeting smart, friendly people from around the globe. It’s no wonder I would return and recommend W2N.
As per W2N website:
From NAIA Terminal 1 and Philippine Airlines Terminal 2:
We recommend that you proceed to the departures area, where metered taxis would normally cost around PHP150 – PHP300.
From NAIA Terminal 3:
We recommend the official yellow taxis of the airport, which will cost around PHP250-PHP400 to the hostel. The yellow taxis are organized and record your destination and details of your taxi. This will help you later on if you need to contact the driver for any reason. Other taxis, on the other hand, do not have this facility, but if metered, would normally cost lower, around PHP150 – PHP300.
From Domestic Terminal 4:
There are taxis at the arrivals area and would cost around PHP150-300.
From Clark Airport:
The booking/reservation for a bus to Manila is located at the departure area. There, you will find an area where staff is receiving payments for a bus ride to Manila (PHP400.00). This is an air-conditioned bus and it will take you to Pasay. The last trip of bus from Clark to Manila is at 8:30PM. There are 3 buses going to Manila from Clark:
Once in Manila (Pasay) bus terminal, you can ride a metered taxi on your way to Malate. The approximate taxi fare is around PHP150 – PHP300.
PLEASE NOTE: International tourists will more than likely get charged a higher fare than the locals, so please check if the taxi’s meter is running. The traveling time would take approximately 30 minutes to an hour maximum, depending on the traffic.
Also, ENSURE that you write the taxi’s plate number and driver information, if possible, so if there are any unexpected issues later on, you are able to contact the driver with no hassles.
While I totally recommend W2N for a stay in Manila, the Malate neighborhood takes some adjusting. I say this in the utmost respect to my friends and the hostel. It’s safe don’t get me wrong at all, but really the area leads itself to short stays. Unless you are there for other things like ladies or gambling then you are probably not going to want to stay in this hostel anyway. But the Orlando sisters have opened a new cafe downstairs where many of the guests hang in the evening time. A good business coupling for them. Plus there are a few decent clubs in the area and the staff have plenty of activities for different nights throughout the week.
Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is an artist developer focusing online on front end development and keeping up with new techonolgies. Photography has been his most recent and strongest passion. He’s shot thousands of photos throughout the years only recently display a larger portion of his library here on Joup.