(Author’s note: It looks like Our Melting Pot has finally made the big move to another location. So all my information in the original article below would be outdated. Anyway, go here for the information of the new location:
Besides the new location is relatively near the old location so all the other tips still stand.)
Though Malate in Manila, would be backpacker central in Metro Manila, I would like to suggest Makati as an alternative place. Besides probably the best malls in the country and the central business district, there is a burgeoning alternative scene in Makati. It began with SaGuijo in, well, Guijo St. Now there is The Collective on Malugay St., and the reopened Penguin Cafe on Penguin St., nah, just kidding, it’s on Kamagong St. (And is now somewhere else, I’ll update ,12/11/11) For those of you who don’t know Penguin Cafe, it is the historic artsty-fartsy bar that used to be in Remedios Circle in Malate, and now it’s in Makati (And it might be back there). Here also will perform the band formerly known as Pinikpikan, Kalayo.
Anyway, why am I writing all this? Because today I visited the hostel that would be your easiest connection to all this activity, Our Melting Pot on Polaris St., Makati. Located in the Azotea Bldg., Our Melting Pot first caught my eye because it seemed to augur something different. It’s a simple, 7 dorm bed hostel, but the ambiance is cozy. Started by friends who backpack, they envisioned a place that would be ideal to backpackers worldwide. The place has heart as soon as you enter it. You are greeted by Jess and Mae, two very accomodating staff, and are struck by the clean but very tastefully decorated place. Footwear should be left at the door, which is a plus for me, and while you are registering, house rules are given to you to read. No smoking, no drinking (but if you come in a little tipsy, it’s understandable), no ladies (or ladyboys) of the night, but there is free wifi, a computer, breakfast of pandesal and filling (the Philippine national breakfast), comfy bunkbeds, a shared bathroom, and lockers. And if you want some privacy, there is a single or a double room in a building nearby. There are plans to expand the place eventually. There is also a clearbook compiled by Ronald, which lists all the possible itineraries if you are going to stay a day, two days, or more. And if you’re lucky, Ronald himself will be there to give you more itineraries of where to go and how to get there or even just where to eat.
Across Azotea Bldg., is the friendly biker bar, Handlebar (best weekend barbecue, imo), and that’s not an oxymoron. Down Polaris St., is Beers Paradise, all kinds of Belgian Beer, and Heckle and Jeckle, another popular dive bar. Turn left from Polaris, down Jupiter, and you will come across the young and trendy bars of Fiamma and Distillery. Walk up Felipe Street and cross Kalayaan Ave., you will bump into Howzat Sports Bar. Turn right on Kalayaan Ave. and left on Algier St., and you will find Soms, the best Thai restaurant this side of Bangkok. Turn right on Kalayaan Ave. and turn left on Rockwell Drive, and you will come to Power Plant, in my opinion, the best mall in Makati. Here you will find Fully Booked, Kabisera (for Philippine food), and Myron’s steak (full disclosure, my cousin owns this one). I guess what I’m trying to say is that Our Melting Pot is pretty central.
So that’s it. If you’re planning to stay in Makati (which I recommend), I suggest you stay in Our Melting Pot. I’m going to start reviewing other places to stay in Makati or Manila, but this was my first. 🙂
600-750 pesos per person a night (or around 15 US dollars) for an aircon dorm bed
1000 pesos (around 20 dollars) for a an aircon room for one
1700 pesos (around 34 dollars) for an aircon room for two