In my never-ending exploration of hostels in Southeast Asia, I stumbled across a recently opened hotspot in my next destination of the Philippines — Pink Manila. My first week in the Philippines I was flying solo, and so I was eager to meet other travelers to explore what I considered a somewhat intimidating city.
I had no idea how blown away I was about to be by the warm welcome I would receive at Pink.
I didn’t realize it when I first arrived as Manila was my first destination in the country, but true “backpacker scenes” are quite rare in the Philippines. It makes Pink all the more special — if you’re looking for travel buddies to team up with or bump into throughout a trip through this archipelago — this is the place to do it.
In my short time at Pink I met a wide variety of travelers, from English teachers in Korea on holiday to dive nuts chasing the next great reef. The very social atmosphere and variety of communal chill out areas made friend-finding easy.
Taking up the fifth through seventh floors of a former residential building, Pink is a high-rise backpacker hideaway in the heart of the Vito Cruz area.
Vito Cruz is connected to the other areas of Manila by a nearby metro stop, an efficient and affordable way to way to get around the city. Taxis, if they aren’t being driven by scammers, are also quite affordable. A ride from the airport cost less than $5USD.
Pink offers both six and twelve bed dorms, each with an ensuite bathroom. Each dorm features large lockable shelves large enough to store an entire medium-sized backpack — a very welcome touch. Otherwise rooms are basic, save for touches of signature pink!
Air conditioning turns on automatically in the evenings and off in the mornings.
Pink’s greatest asset is obvious the moment you step through the door. The pool that wraps across the first floor of the hostel is responsible for many guests’ lack of exploration of the city. But who can blame them? Manila can be overwhelming, and lazing around in the pool with fellow travelers provides the perfect oasis from the heat and chaos. Floating in a yellow raft, Instagramming away thanks to my waterproof iPhone case, and listening to music… I was in heaven.
Additionally, Pink boasts a kitchen and extremely affordable breakfast options, free internet and computer use, and frequent group activities like shisha nights on the roof and unique walking tours of the city. There is also some very basic exercise equipment in the ground-level common area of the building.
The roof is strewn with hammocks overlooking the Makati skyline. At night, the staff often sets up blankets and pillows under a tent for shisha parties.
Room for Improvement
The area of Vito Cruz is not necessarily the most ideal — there is little to do within walking distance. Still, it is very close to a subway line and I found the hostel itself to be a worthy destination. I suggested that Pink provide a local map with more information about where to eat, shop, drink, etc.
Pink is still a very new hostel and so most taxi drivers do not know the location. Before arriving be sure to have a clear map or description of directions.
At the time of my stay, internet was only available in the common areas though there were plans to extend it to the rooms.
I said before that the greatest asset of Pink was the pool, but there is actually another feature that stood out in my mind long after I left. The staff at Pink Manila, and the hospitality that they fill the hostel with, absolutely blew me away. Marianne, the manager, was like a Filipino mom to me while I was there. “Our guests are family,” she told me with a smile. And I was treated as such, with Marianne going as far as to set her own alarm for 2am to make sure that I woke up and got into a taxi safely for a middle-of-the-night flight. I’ve never felt a warmer welcome or goodbye at a hostel.
I truly loved my time at Pink Manila, so much so that on my way out of the country I scheduled a long layover so that I could head back one more time to say hi to the staff and have one last dip in that lovely pool. I can’t imagine a better place to start or end a trip to the Philippines.
Location: 2551 Pablo Ocampo and Bautista Boulevard, Vito Cruz, Manila
Price: Six bed dorms are $14 per night, while 12 bed dorms are $11
Amenities: A lovely pool, free internet and computer use, kitchen use, exercise equipment available, occasional tours and pub crawls organized
Book Here: Pink Manila Hostel
Have you ever stayed in a hostel with a pool? I’m hoping this trend catches on!
Alex, this is an amazing place to stay! Definitely, adding this to my list of places to stay in Manila. One concern- IS THAT A SCULL OF ONE OF THE BACKPACKERS ON A COMPUTER DESK?
Sacrifices must be made 🙂
This looks awesome, those hammocks and a pool, I probably wouldn’t leave the Hostel! Will definitely check it out whilst in Manila. How much time in Manila would you recommend for someone who is more keen on beaches and jungle adventures and only has three weeks?
Well, I fit that description pretty perfectly! I had three weeks exactly but was very keen to dive and hike. I spent three days in Manila — one on a work obligation, one touring the city, and one chilling in the hostel. Left on a night bus on the final night! It was a good amount for me.
Booked 3 nights at the Pink Manila, so I have 2 or 3 days in the capital. I arrive the night before their independence day, a nice coincidence 🙂
Looks like a hostel I could handle!
All that pink definitely made me think of you!
I so hope to be one of those holidaying teachers by the end of the year when I’ll be teaching in South Korea! I’ll be sure to check this place out!
I think the availability of amazing nearby vacation spots must be the number one perk of the job for teaching English in Korea 🙂 You’ll have so many places to explore, it will be hard to chose!
Alex, you never fail to make me reconsider hostels as a viable option while traveling 🙂
Aw, thanks Rika! I actually do stay in many more than I feature here, and some are merely adequate. But then there are the true standouts… and those are the ones I love to share here!
What a burst of color! Love it. It looks nice, bright and clean. The pool. Great touch and I don’t think anyone that knows you can not envision you on a float in that pool. Thank goodness the iphone is waterproof.
Well, I was using a pretty flimsy looking waterproof bag actually! Luckily I have a beautiful hard-shell waterproof case waiting for me at home… can’t wait to test it out and review it!
Wow! What a lovely hostel, I think they are going to see an influx of visitors after this post!
I hope so 🙂 I was disappointed by the lack of online info about backpacking in the Philippines when I was researching my trip, so I’m going to try to give as many practical tips as possible!
Great to see a hostel making an effort for their guests! (I’ve had mixed experiences in the past) D&D on Khoa San Road has a pool but I’ve not been to another hostel that does.
I’ve been to Rikka Inn on Khao San Road, which does have a lovely pool on the roof but it’s more of a boutique hotel than a hostel. Will have to finally check out the infamous D&D one of these days!
I’ll take a note for that if I ever dare myself to go back to Thailand (I didn’t have the best experience…) D and D was nice but the pool made your skin turn a little wrinkly…maybe worth spending a few extra bhat to get a nicer pool! 😛
That pool! Holy heck. Yes please. The Philippines look amazing x
Just wait till I start posting about the islands 🙂
This hostel is a gajillion times nicer than the place we stayed in Manila—we chose a chain of hotels known as SoGo, which purportedly stands for “So Clean, So Good”. It was neither! In fact, we’re pretty sure it was a brothel… first time on our trip that the sleep sheets have come out! 😉
Next time we’re in Manila, we’ll definitely check this place out. I think it’s a bit pricier than the place we stayed, but obviously you get what you pay for!
Oh, ick… I’ve accidentally gotten a massage in a brothel so I can sympathize with you accidentally staying in one! Definitely this is a pricier option than some hotels or guesthouses, which tends to surprise people sometimes. But I think in this case the amenities and customer service makes it worthwhile!
Hostel with a pool! I am in!
Love the hammocks and the pool!
This place is TOO CUTE.
First time to hear about Pink Manila Hostel! Will do a marathon of your Philippines posts 😀
I just posted a round up of all of them… that might be a good way to marathon through 🙂
The place looks so cute. I haven’t seen this in Makati. Will definitely try this place. Thanks for sharing!
You’re so welcome Esther! Glad you enjoyed!