Hi y’all! I just got back from Manila 2 days ago (as of writing) and it feels great to be home. If you follow me on my social media accounts, you might have been hinted that I went to Solaire–an established hotel in the Metro–with my college friends. I haven’t posted much about the trip yet–aside from tweeting a few photos or updating my story on Instagram or my day on Messenger (well, I uninstalled Snapchat for good)–and it is evenhanded to write about the trip, through this entry obviously. Basically, I went there as a part of Dairen’s birthday celeb (and I am one lucky boy).

Before you read this entry, (I want to share to you that) I was supposed to title this entry with Dairen at 18 | 02 but I made way for the stated label to highlight that this entry is about travel. I’ve been through a couple of hotels already and I have to say that Solaire has given me the best check in experience so far–not to mention that this is a first time for me. #achievementunlocked My friends and I stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights (a luxury in itself) which is just the right time to chill and relax before a new semester begins. Let’s all revisit our first Solaire escapade in 3… 2… 1.

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011517 – 011717

After enrollment for the 2nd semester (12th, Thursday), I went out with my boo to see the film Nerve–which is based from the novel of the same name. I went home and since I was tired for 2 days in a row, going to school for enrollment and dormitory matters, I went to bed early. The following day (13th, Friday), I woke up to a myriad of new messages from our block’s group chat and a personal message from Dairen–who celebrated her birthday that week (11th, Wednesday)–informing me about an apparent trip to a hotel in Manila and asking me if I’ll join the squad.

It goes something like this: we’re invited to join her to Solaire as a part of her birthday celeb for 3 days and 2 nights with free accommodation and pool access although we’ll be staying only in a single room and will be bringing food with us. I was (quite, but not really) ambivalent towards it–first, that’ll be a long stay out of town; plus, I don’t think I have enough budget to survive in the city–but a part of me screams, ‘minsan lang to, grab the opportunity na!’ It is a treat from her elder sister’s aunt so we’ll be having everything for free (aside from transpo and food). Told you, I am one privileged boy.

I told my parents about the trip and they indirectly answered me by asking details about the stay. Technically, I did everything (take it literally, kailangan ng pampa-good shot) to make them say yes and so they did. I started packing my bags on Saturday night and to my excitement–mixed with anxiety–I wasn’t able to get a good night sleep but managed to get up early the next day. From time to time, I checked our group chat for reminders since I’m not used to packing my bags for long travels (especially this time that I’m vaulting to Manila without the parentals). There are 2 groups which traveled to Parañaque: first was our group–Dairen, Anne, Nica, T. Annie, Kuya Ariel, baby Xander and I; second was the Imus peeps–Tin, Cindy and baby Jacob. Our group left first thing in the morning on Sunday while the latter one arrived in the evening.

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Day 1 – 15th of January – Sunday

I was about to leave the house when my parents started a conflict on who will give me the pocket money (but my dad gave in eventually). I went to Robinsons Dasmariñas to meet my friends and before we take the ride, we heard mass at Victory. We catch the bus ride to Baclaran; took the shuttle to MoA (Mall of Asia)–where we stopped for a while to grab lunch but did not because the place is too crowded; grabbed a taxi to Solaire. It took us around 2 hours to reach Parañaque. We reached the hotel in time but we weren’t able to check in on time so we strolled for a while at the Casino and food court (where we met Dairen’s sister and her sister’s aunt).

We checked in and climbed to Room 914 only to see a breath-taking view of Manila Bay by the room’s glass windows. Everything is well crafted–from beds, to closet to the comfort room–and the hotel service is outstanding. I am impressed by the hotel’s grandiose interior design and every single detail is shaped to perfection (talk about picture-perfect relaxation). We unpacked our bags and dined for our late lunch meal–of course, we brought food. We spent the day watching TV, indulging in the place’s extravagance and enjoying each other’s company. The internet connection is as fast as the speed of light (no exaggerating) so I managed to post a couple of photos on Instagram during or first day of stay.

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Since we have not much of stuffs to do, Nica, Anne and I decided to try the pool–which is located at the 2nd floor–for a quick night swim (which is quite traumatic, as we felt unease by the waters). After a while, the Imus group arrived and we went back to the room to welcome them. #complete It is a part of our plan to have a movie marathon or play Uno cards on the first night but unfortunately, the TV unit is not cooperating with us (spoiler alert: there’s a not-so-big problem about the TV). #toberevealed To end our first day of stay, we talked to catch up on each other’s shenanigans instead–more like heart to heart talk, if that’s what you call it, with the help of spin the bottle.

We brought along an enough quantity of food for all of us so we managed to share what we have. We visit the Casino every once in a while to get water and drinks (discovered their iced tea and iced coffee–superb). I maximized my time–to take photos and videos of the place–and experience the elaborate structure of the place. I’m impressed in general (compared to my previous hotel experiences) and I’m the one who talks over the phone every time we ask for assistance and/or room service–much to my delight. I checked my blog before hitting the sheets; we arranged ourselves to maximize the room: T. Annie’s family on one bed, Cindy, Jacob and Nica on the other and Anne, Dairen, Tin and I on the floor. *snores*

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Day 2 – 16th of January – Monday

I woke up to a sound and light morning but for some odd reasons, I greeted the morning on a bad mood (well, I hate mornings in general). They gathered on the floor to play Uno but I didn’t join them for I’m out of (this world) character to begin with. Dairen’s sister brought us breakfast: hotdogs, shanghai rolls, adobong posit, *other masarsa and chicken-ish viands* and a lot of rice. We ate breakfast together and it is a pleasure to experience a morning with them. Our room became a bit messy–on the fact that we brought a lot of bags and foods with us–so we called for room service while some of us roamed around the hotel and others went out to dip in the pool.

Nica and I left to get water and coffee while T. Annie and Dairen also went to the ground level (nagkasalisi, ika nga). Since we can’t access the pool all at once, we went by batch; T. Annie, Kuya Ariel and Dairen swam in the morning while Cindy and Nica dropped by MoA to get swimwear for the 2 baby boys. Anne, Tin and I were left in the room to take care of Jacob and Xander–a time that made me feel excited for parenthood (pero hindi pa ngayon). I was lying on top of baby Jacob–with my elbows pressed on the bed by his sides–when he decided to pee (right on the bed! Haha). #bestfeeling The room service finally arrived and it turns out that we are using the wrong remote control for the TV unit; anyway, the service crew had it fixed and we saw Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Suicide Squad that afternoon.

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While seeing the movies on screen, the room service for cleaning arrived and Tin, Nica and I decided to try the pool. We did a bit of the habitual photo shoot before heading to the pool (may I just say: jetlag is real sa elevator from 9th floor to 5th floor and/or from 5th floor to pool mga bes–take it from me). We went down to the 2nd level only to find out that we can’t access the pool anymore–since some of us have tried it earlier and the crew is insisting that we have the wrong name of our room owner. (We got quite pissed so) We just decided to go back to our room and see movies. To take my stress away, I strung out on social media–updated snaps and blog and pulled my Instagram. T. Annie’s family left that night as well; they deserved the break and it’s glad to have them watch over Dairen. *smiles*

When the night came, Cindy, Tin, Nica and I gave the pool another try (as Cindy was also denied from the pool that morning) and luckily, the odds went on our favor. We arranged for a relaxing night swim–though the water is unexplainably cold–and went back to the room to wash ourselves. We grabbed dinner together and decided to push through with our movie night. We saw 3 more films that night: Mother’s Day, Insidious Chapter 3 and Now You See Me 2 (I’ve seen all of them before so I only managed to catch some scenes). We also had a series of Facebook Live videos where we got the chance to chat with our friends and let them know about how we are doing during the stay. Since we’re watching a horror movie that time, Dairen, Anne, Nica, Tin and I slept in one bed (with our bodies curled) and Cindy and baby Jacob slept comfortably on the other.

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Day 3 – 17th of January – Tuesday

I packed my bags the night before–with the nostalgic feeling despite being in the place still. I woke up to a great morning; turns out that I’m the last to wake up. The energy and vibes are all positive but the fact that we’ll be leaving Solaire distressed me (ang lala ng sepanx, tbh). I got up and grabbed some items that I could bring home like toiletries and instant coffee/tea. We saw Fifty Shades of Grey (yes, you read it right) and Ouija while some of us are prepping up, packing our bags and still sluggish on bed. Since we have finished out all the foods that we brought, we only had snacks and chocolates for breakfast. We are supposed to check out of our room by lunch time; taking the last look and glimpse of our room felt sore on my part.

We went down the lobby to find out that we have extra fees to pay–the telephone (which we have used for a limited time). We decided to leave our bags at the counter and strolled around the Casino and food court. We grabbed drinks and stayed until the time when the Solaire shuttle will be leaving for MoA. We got to the shuttle; seeing Solaire (and imagining our room on the 9th floor from the ground, slowly disapprearing in the background) felt surreal–our 3 day stay in Manila has come to an end. We reached MoA and ate lunch together at Mang Inasal where I had another legit Pork Sisig fix. We wandered around the mall in search for pasalubongs to our families.

We catch another ride home–a van this time–to The District Imus and back to Robinsons Dasmariñas where Dairen and I grabbed the bus ride. My friends were very reminiscent of our stay as they talked about all the funny (and epic) moments that we had during those 3 days–most of which are embarrassing. I was quiet during the entire 2 rides; guess I was sad (but extremely happy at the same time, di lang obvious!) since we’ll be parting and I could feel the exasperation from leaving Solaire until now. #nakakamiss Me: *texts EXTEND to 8888* Plus, I wasn’t able to try the bath tub (which my friends indulged in for long durations). Di bale na, may next time pa naman. *winks*

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That’s it! Our first ever Solaire escapade is indeed memorable; had a lot of first times and #achievementunclocked moments throughout the trip. The memories I had in the place will not drift away for a while and in fact, I miss the place already. What a good way it is to end the term break with a banger–a trip out of town. Now, it’s time to save more moolah for more travels and more kwento. #wheretonext In the meantime, a new semester is on its way. I can’t wait for the next travel with my friends, can’t wait to know where our feet will lead us together. I definitely missed home but leaving Solaire gave me a lot of feels–I shall return.

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Thank you Solaire for the good memories!

Thank you to Mr./Ms. Rolland and Rose Carreon (Dairen’s sister’s aunt) for the free accommodation!

Thank you to T. Annie’s family, to Cindy & baby Jacob, to Tin, Nica and Anne for accompanying me throughout the stay!

Thank you Dairen for inviting me to join the squad! Happy birthday!

Thank you Lord for guiding us all during the course of our stay!

PS. I hope you enjoyed reading this entry as much as I enjoyed writing it. But wait, here’s a video that I created to share with you how it feels to be in the place. Happy watching!

Till the next blog entry! – Bry. x 011917

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