Instagram snaps: 5 fun hostels in the Philippines

Whether you're a hardcore party person or prefer the quiet, we've got the budget bed for you

by Amanda Lago

For around P500 (about $11)  a night you get a decent bed (or hammock) to sleep in, the full hostel experience (read: new friends to share beers with), and photos that are sure to get you more Instagram likes. If that doesn’t deserve a #blessed, we don’t know what does.

MNL Boutique Hostel, Makati


In bustling Makati, next door to the red light district and upcoming nighttime hangouts like El Chupacabra and Café Curieux, MNL Boutique Hostel is hard to miss. Its boxy facade is painted in mind-bending geometric pink, orange, purple, green, and grey. Put on your skinny jeans and Doc Martens and take a Hipsters-of-Manila #ootd   with the walls as background. The reception carries the same vibrant theme with a handpainted word map  on the wall. You can book beds with shared toilet and shower in airconditioned dorms, and private rooms with ensuite bathroom. Free Wi-Fi, 24/7 security, no curfew, self-catering kitchen, TV in the lounge, and luggage storage. 

How much? A bed in the 8-bed mixed dorm, around P470 a night; in the 6-bed mixed dorm, around P500 a night; in the 4-bed dorm, around P570 a night; in the 2-bed dorm around P600 a night; and in the 4-bed all-female dorm around P630 a night. Private rooms for two people are at around P730 a night per person. Beds and rooms come with a complementary breakfast.
Get in touch 4468 Valdez corner Santiago Street, Poblacion, Makati City; Tel +632 511 7514;

The Circle, Zambales, La Union and Baler


A budget chain of three charming hostels for the artsy and the adventurous – where guests are encouraged to express themselves on the walls. With paint, that is. Accommodation is in thatched roof cottages built with wood, cogon and bamboo. Catering to a young backpacking crowd, accommoda-tion is a hammock or bunk bed in mixed or all-female dorms. Private rooms with shared bathroom are also available in the Baler hostel. Tents are in Zambales only. Amenities include lockers, hot and cold showers, grill house for cooking food, complimentary toast and bananas for breakfast, free Wi-Fi (La Union hostel only), common area with hammocks, books, and speakers.

How much? Beds start at around P500 a night, while hammocks and tents are at P400 a night.
Get in touch Tel +63 917 861 1929 for Zambales; +63 917 832 6253 for La Union; and +63 917 501 0235 for Baler;

Enigmata Treehouse Ecolodge, Camiguin


Tune in, drop out of love #travel #camiguin

A photo posted by Amanda Lago (@holidaywinkle) on


If you feel like reliving your treehouse days and have got time for a few days on beautiful Camiguin island, book Enigmata’s Eagle Nest Suite, the top floor room in a three-storey treehouse in an Acacia tree. True to the lodge’s eco-friendly mission, manmade creations and nature’s own handi-work are displayed side by side: vines and dream catchers both hanging from the ceilings, woodwork next to a tree trunk, paintings and leaves as canopy. The photo ops are endless – though at some point, staying in a tree might just compel you to put down your smartphone and be one with na-ture. Stay in the Eagle’s Nest – the highest point in the tree house – for a great view of surrounding forest and the sea (and yes, a #selfie with the treetops!). 
Free Wi-Fi (if a bit spotty), fan (and natural breeze), mosquito nets, electric fans, bucket bathing area and toilets, living room and meditation nook (in Eagle’s Nest), restaurant, lounge area with hammocks, books and games.

How much? Beds in backpacker’s dorm, P300 per person. The Shell Garden double suite on the second level is P1,050 a night; Eagle’s Nest suite on the top level is P1,050 a night for a maximum of four people.
Get in touch Maubog, Balbagon, Mambajao, Camiguin Island; Tel: +63 88 3870273, +63 919 999 9877 or +63 917 326 4474; [email protected]

Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel, La Union


quick getaway with the wifey @reesefernandez. really awesome place @flotsamandjetsamhostel :-) #LaUnion

A photo posted by Mark Ruiz (@markruiz) on


Charming artists’ hangout with patterned beanbag chairs strewn over a bright green lawn, woven mats, and mosaic lanterns. Flotsam & Jetsam combines nautical style with quirky bohemian charm. Think Woodstock with a dash of the Hamptons. The main building, decked out in navy blue with an assortment of windows arranged in a kind of collage, makes an awesome background for your beach #ootd. The interiors are just as Insta-gramable: the Kubo dorm has a laidback vibe, with furnishings crafted by locals using locally sourced bamboo, while the Shophouse dorm brings to mind a first class aircraft cabin. Mine’s a gin and tonic. The only problem you’ll have is how to fit all the prettiness into Instagram’s square frame. 
Free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, private lockers, privacy curtains, full service res-taurant and bar, common room.

How much? A bed in the 8-bed fan Kubo dorm is P780 a night weekends and P680 a night weekdays. A bed in the 8-bed ShopHouse dorm is P880 a night weekends and P780 a night weekdays. Private room with ensuite bath P3,200 a night for two people, with an additional P680 per person for up to four.
Get in touch Surf Town, San Juan, La Union; Tel: +63 917 802 1328; Email: [email protected]

Paglaom Hostel, Siargao


Photo by: @kyracanumay #paglaomhostel

A photo posted by Paglaom Hostel (Sanne) (@paglaomhostel) on


With its bahay kubo (nipa hut) structure, plant-lined pathways, dirt floors, and surrounding jungle, Paglaom hostel in southern Mindanao province has a rural feel that’s the perfect cure for urban overdose. And it’s a three-minute walk from the beach and not much further from Cloud 9, the popu-lar surfing spot. Express yourself on the walls with the chalk provided by staff. It might not be Confucius, but ‘Live to love, love to live and love your life’, scrawled on one of the bedframes, sounds about right. If you’re lucky, some deranged hostel-initiated activity will be going on during your stay – they once held a carabao race – so you’ll have even more cool Instagram opportunities.
Fully-equipped kitchen, common toilets and showers, outdoor washing area, outdoor showers, lockers, free Wi-Fi, common area with hammocks. Surfing lessons, island hopping, and motorbike rentals. 

How much? Bunk bed P250 per person per night.
Get in touch Purok 5, General Luna, Surigao del Norte, Philippines; Tel: +63 999 990 0308; Email: [email protected]

Published July 2015

(cover photo: Krista Ricafort)