MANILA — Homecoming means happy memories with family and friends. It also means carefully prepared dishes for loved ones from abroad, and this is what Filipinos have become known for – a warm and cheerful welcome for our guests.
Nestled within the quiet street of Ortigas in Pasay City, Mabuhay Manor is a sanctuary for the traveler, specially the balikbayan who seeks to experience and relive Filipino hospitality. “We have this Bisita Sa Bahay concept that connotes Filipino hospitality. We treat everyone the way Filipino families welcome their guests, specially balikbayans,” general manager James Lising says.
As the first hotel tailored to cater to balikbayans, guest rooms are designed to accommodate a large amount of luggage and visitors. Each room comes with complete accommodation amenities and families can also take full advantage of the hotel’s three function rooms and air-conditioned veranda for their special get-togethers.
The usual welcome drink at the lobby is given a unique twist, one that the balikbayan will remember –- freshly opened coconut and a choice of ice-candy or balut, a hard-boiled duck egg with embryo that is commonly sold in the streets at evening. The hotel staff in barong and Filipiniana dresses also practices traditional Filipino greetings and the hand-over-heart gesture.
More nostalgia is displayed at the lobby, with a life-sized replica of lechon and traditional games like dama and sungka for guests to play.
The barrio fiesta inspired decorations such as banderitas, bamboo poles and woven nipa compliment the warm color palates of both exterior and interior of the hotel.
“We want to bring to balikbayans the experience they missed while they’re abroad,” says Lising.
Dining at Mabuhay Manor is also something to look forward to, starting off with Lola Maria’ Restaurant that offers Filipino breakfast favorites and Sala for all-day dining with Filipino and International dishes. “Our best sellers are Filipino beefsteak, crispy pata and pansit, and bibingka for dessert,” adds.
Every Friday the hotel treats its guests with complimentary Filipino merienda favorites in Pistahan Day, “We hold Pistahan Day every Friday to celebrate God’s goodness and his greatness. We invite our guests to try our very own kakanins and sago’t gulaman and enjoy the afternoon with us. It’s also a way of giving our guests a chance to chat and know each other,” Lising says.
A push cart loaded with sapin-sapin – a layer of colored glutinous rice topped with toasted coconut flakes – and rice cakes like puto and biko is parked at the lobby, with a live band enlivening the afternoon.
Relive the simple joys of eating Pinoy street food – freshly cooked fish ball, kikiam and kwek-kwek – with a cup of sago’t gulaman at the hotel’s driveway while reminiscing with your family and friends.
Energized by all the kakanins, take off for a city adventure. A few meters away from the hotel is the neighborhood of Baclaran where its popular flea market is located. Items are usually cheaper here, but bring someone adept at the art of bargaining or at least learn how other shoppers do it – the fun usually starts here. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable footwear and light clothing as shopping here requires a lot of walking.
After the crowds of Baclaran, take some quiet time at the romanesque inspired National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help or Baclaran Church.
“Baclaran compliments the hotel, because it’s where most balikbayans buy their pasalubongs. For guests’ convenience, we offer our Mabuhay Manor pedicab to complete their experience,” Lising says.
Shuttle service to other tourist destinations and airport transfers are also available for guests’ convenience.
On their eleventh year of service, the management conducts worship services throughout the week, attended by their employees and guests. “Mabuhay Manor and the entire LIC (Legend International Corporation) is part of the work of God. Our business is anchored on Christian values and teachings and we want others to do the same,” Lising says.
- Price starts at ₱2,499
- Service: 9/10
- Bed comfort: 6/10
- Room: 7/10
- Dining: 8/10
- Cleanliness: 7.5/10
- Facilities: 7/10
- Nearby transportation options: LRT-line 1 and city jeepneys
- Ideal for: Couples, Groups and Families
Mabuhay Manor is located at 2933 FB Harrison corner Ortigas Street, Pasay City. For inquiries call (632) 702-2700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.mabuhaymanor.com.ph. Photos by FERNAN NEBRES.
ViajeroMNL (Viajero Manila) is a lifestyle blog site that features different pop culture, travel, and food destinations in the Philippines. This article was written by Gillian Gacuma.