Tambayan Capsule Hostel, Manila – A Love Affair to Remember!
Goodbye Beaches, Hello Manila!
Our time in the Philippines was about to end when we decided to spend a day in Manila. After many days of island hopping, camping and staying in dirty hostels, San and I needed one day of comfort and good food. Our few attempts to eat local Filipino food had ended horribly after realizing most of the food was either fried or filled with pork fat. Don’t get me wrong, the Filipino islands do have good food but we didn’t find a lot of variety and had to survive on barbecued meat and rice with soy sauce. Although it was delicious in the beginning, we got really sick of eating the same thing for every meal. We wanted some veggies or curry!
Anyway, tired as hell we got out of our metro at Manila’s Pedro Gil LRT Station and decided to walk to Tambayan Capsule Hostel, our hostel in Manila. It appeared to be an upmarket area with a massive mall called Robinson Place Manila on one side and little dance bars on the other side.
The SURPRISE – and love at first sight with our Hostel
We reached a Victorian looking building with a rooftop restaurant that appeared to be full and buzzing with activity. The sign did say “Tambayan” but we were sure this was not our hostel because it was quite swanky!
Ten steps later we realized that it was the same building with a bar, a restaurant, and a hostel – OUR HOSTEL. A chat with an extremely pretty and smiling receptionist confirmed our guesses, Tambayan Capsule Hostel & Bar and Tambayan Gastrobar were different parts of the same establishment. While the atmosphere outside was filled with sounds of laughter and clinks of glasses, inside was surprisingly calm and peaceful – just like a lobby of a high-end hotel.
After having spent many days in simple island rooms and bunk beds we were happy to see a luxurious private room with wall mural and an attached toilet. The room had everything we needed – a powerful (but silent) air conditioner, a desk, hangers, a flat screen television which we were not going to use and a hair dryer! The bathroom was swanky with gold fittings, hot water, and sufficient toiletries. Just outside our room was a section for tea and coffee and a water station.
Curious about the capsule beds, we decided to check out the rest of the hostel. True to their description, these were capsule like bunk beds with total privacy because of shutter like blinds that could be pulled down. Each capsule was super spacious and had its own fan, reading lamp, plug point, and a little mirror. If we had a few more days in Manila, we would have loved to stay in one of the capsules for the experience.
The dorm rooms were extremely clean, airy and well lit due to natural light that came entering from big windows. The walls were stark white with subtle wall art and the floor was completely wooden. The shared toilets were separate for men and women had many spacious stalls inside. There was a little sitting area upstairs with board games that overlooked the restaurant.
The Mouthorgasm.. Mmm
With the thought of skipping local food and grabbing burgers, we entered Tambayan Gastrobar. A smiling staff member, who introduced himself as Chef Charlie recommended we try the house specialty – Slow Cooked Braised Soy Vinegar Pork Belly Pot or simply put – Pork Adobo! Since it was our last night in the Philippines, we decided to give a last try to experience local food and agreed. Best decision ever.
The first thing on our table was a plate of fresh Oriental Salad that San and I were delighted to eat because of fresh veggies. This salad was crunchy because of nuts and a little tangy because of mango and had a generous amount of shrimps.
A few minutes later, a ceramic pot followed the salad which filled our noses with an aroma as soon as the cover was removed. What we saw inside made our jaws drop! This pot had a big chunk of pork meat with dark sauce with fried onions on top and an entire garlic inside that was apparently cooked with the pork in the same sauce. This was our Slow Cooked Braised Soy Vinegar Pork Belly Pot. The base of the curry was soy sauce and it had flavors of vinegar, pepper and of course garlic. The best part? Juicy chunks of pork that were so tender that they melted in our mouths! Mmmm mouthorgasm!
We finished our meal with Halo-Halo, which was a massive portion of purple dessert that had something called “Ube” with a lot of fresh fruits, sweet beans, ice cream, milk and a lot of goodies. Ube (or purple yam) is a flavor that I only got to eat in the Philippines. It’s delicious!
We ended our evening with a few beers on Tambayan’s roof top bar that overlooked Robinson Mall and a few dance bars. The atmosphere upstairs was lively and gave us our dose of Manila’s hipster night lift.
We came here to stay but they made us fall in love with Filipino food and “WOW”ed us with their hospitality. The food was so delicious that we went back next morning to eat the same thing for our brunch and tried their pulled pork burger which was also made with pork adobo. If you’re heading to Manila, then do stay at Tambayan Capsule Hostel. Seriously, we can’t recommend this place enough! Click here to book yourself a stay to remember at this lovely hostel.
Have you ever slept in a capsule? If yes, do share your experience with us in the comments!
Note: our stay and dinner at Tambayan Capsule Hostel and Tambayan Gastrobar were complimentary but the opinions in this article are honest. We were so impressed with this place that we spent most of our time in Manila in Tambayan. We also went to their bar and ate the same things next day because it was the best meal that we had in the Philippines. Seriously, their Slow Cooked Braised Soy Vinegar Pork Belly Pot was unbelievably good.
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A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.Sonal Kwatra Paladini