Press Room

The Mabuhay Manor: The First Balikbayan Hotel

Editor -in-chief
Tribune USA
May 18-24, 2007

PASAY CITY, Philippines—There are hotels and there are hotels.

And in this suburban city just outside Manila, one such property—total: 115 rooms—distinguishes itself with a unique emphasis on family, kin, and friends’ bonding, especially among balikbayans (vacationing Filipinos from overseas) and everyone else, such as domestic tourists and the broad genre of leisure travelers, in quest of a home away from home while in Metro Manila.

The Mabuhay Manor (“TMM”, or “The Manor”, for purposes of this article) strengthens the time-honored Filipino traditions of kinship and hospitality, celebrating life, Filipino style, as “The First Balikbayan Hotel”.

Located only 15 minutes away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the hotel is at 2933 Ortigas Street, Pasay City, with access to the varied amenities of city living, in a lively section of Metro Manila.

On my recent arrival at TMM for a three-day stay, I sat down with Hotel Property Manager Rowena “Weng” M. Eliscupides and Media/PR Officer Elynor Anne “Lynette” M. Matencio for a first-hand, upclose look at a property that Filipino-Americans talk about in my occupational base in America.

“’Mabuhay’, which translates to ‘Long Live’, is also a Filipino greeting for welcome and good wishes. It also is a Filipino expression of endearment,” explain Ms. Eliscupides and Ms. Matencio during our interview at the Lobby Lounge coffeeshop.

The two officers provided me a four-color publication of The Manor’s profile.

“The hotel’s 115 rooms offers varying features to accommodate the balikbayans,” the profile says. “Some of these unique rooms consist of the Manor Suite, a bi-level poolside room with a dining area, jacuzzi, and kitchenette.” People on the staff are gracious and always look after your safe and pleasant stay, just as they make sure you have a memorable, productive meeting with your kin and friends.

Rooms are just what guests look for.

The Junior Suite, the brochure also explains, “has a private bedroom and two full-size beds, while the De Luxe Room has two queen-size beds with a sofa bed which can be used as a reception area for visitors. TMM also has three dining areas and function rooms for intimate reunions.” Room rates: Superior, US$65; Premium, US$70; De Luxe, US$75; Junior Suite, US$85; Executive Suite, US$95; Team Room, US$131; Manor Suite, US$110.

Inclusions are buffet breakfast for two; airport transfers; free one-hour Internet use; complimentary 30-minute massage; free local calls; late check-out (6 p.m.), depending on room availability; in-room coffee or tea; at-cost laundry and cleaning charges; 20% discount on food and beverage; and 60% discount on second room. Room rates as currently listed are valid until December 31, 2007.

A mark of The Manor is the easy, casual atmosphere within.

At the Lobby Lounge, I had an order of original Filipino Bibingkang Galapong with a cup of hot freshly-brewed coffee. Spending some free time before I E-mailed a Manila headline story to the Tribune U.S.A. production headquarters in Glendale, California, I competed with another guest at The Manor’s Lobby Lounge in a round of popular Philippine board games known as “sungka” and “dama”.

Unpacking or packing the familiar Filipino balikbayan boxes with those endless lists of “pasalubongs” (gifts or souvenirs) can be a drudgery, “especially if you’ve come from a long trip, or too busy getting ready for one. Leave the matter to us. We’re masters of the art,” says the TMM statement.

Precision also is a leverage for TMM.

I asked for a 3 a.m. wake-up call on April 25, 2007, as I needed to be at the NAIA [Manila] Domestic Airport at 6 a.m. for my travel-story assignment in Catbalogan, Samar, via a PAL flight to the Tacloban City Airport. The Reception/Registration Desk called me up exactly 3 a.m., not a minute more, not a minute less. As I got to the lobby, a hotel airport transfer car was ready.

On my return from my Samar-Leyte journey afternoon of April 27, I had time to witness a Manila Bulletin story coverage/photo shoot of The Manor’s Sutukil feast of exotic cuisine, at the poolside, featuring SUgba (grilled), TUla (simmered in a tasty broth), and KILaw (drenched in vinegar). Covering for the Bulletin, and very thorough to the detail were Joseph Tanchee, a Writer of the Bulletin’s “Taste” section, and Ronald G. Jayme, section editor of the Bulletin’s “Picture Perfect” page.

The Manor belongs to a 100% Filipino-owned/managed group of super value hotels, the Legend Hotels International Corporation (LHIC). The LHIC operates the Legend Villas (Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila) and the Legend Palawan (in Puerto Princesa, Palawan), as well as three Kabayan Hotels (one each in Cubao, Caloocan City, and Pasay City, Metro Manila).

The Mabuhay Manor Hotel, truly like home, the warm welcome never ending, is at (632) 831-4641 to 45; toll free 1-800-896-3061, fax (632) 831-4646.

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