Dear Maria Clara,

I am writing to you because I believe that it’s time for you and every Filipina to be open in staying at hostels. Not only when they visit other Asian countries, but even in our own country. I see you checking out a lot of travel blogs. You keep on reading’s travel posts and I’m sure with the “punny” ads of our local low cost carrier, you’ve already booked your tickets! Next? Where to stay!
While your Cisostomo Ibarra is traveling around Europe, I think it’s only fair that you reward yourself with a trip too. It’s about time for you to open yourself to the world so that they can appreciate your beauty, grace and charm.
Here are some reasons why you should embrace the hostel culture either inside or outside our own country.

Your creativity comes out. I remember when I went to The Circle Hostel in Zambales they gave us the option to either learn how to play the Ukelele (which by the way is known as the happy instrument) or you can opt to paint on their walls inspiring quotes about life and even travel! If Juan Luna can paint, then so can you!  Best part is that no one will judge you on how crappy you sound or how messy your artwork is because the people you’re with will support you.
The Social Network. Maria Clara, since we’re already at the 21st century and globalization is in a whole new different level, majority of the people who travel and stay in hostels are usually soul searching and/or are in a certain crossroad in their career path.
Staying in hostels is actually a window of opportunity to boost your network in whatever business you’re in. If you check out We Are Soul Sister’s Blog , they have a page where you can collaborate and they’ll actually help you out in whatever venture or business you have connected to travel! Maybe it’s time to share you baro’t saya designs?
Find a place where you can rediscover and share your passion. This is somehow connected to number 8 but what I notice about hostels is that there’s always a common area. Let’s say it’s the living room or “sala.”
In MNL Beach Hostel in Boracay, their common area is transformed to the venue for movie night. They bring out the white screen, the projector and the bean bags so guests can opt to sit in and just watch oldies but goodies.
Some common areas also have book swapping or book exchange. I met a European couple in Sagada and they told me that they look forward to this in every hostel they meet. They always put a message at the back with the hope that maybe it will mean something to the future owner. You can put in your favorite version of “Noli Mi Tangere” and who knows it will eventually change the world.
It’s a good place to exchange stories. Who knows maybe that pain you’re feeling in your heart, the longing of Crisostomo Ibarra someone is experiencing it too? You’ll never know the places you’re heading and the tips the people you’re staying with can give you.
Who knows, you might meet also someone who lives where Crisostomo is right now and he or she can tell you more about the place and it will make you feel closer to him. Swapping anecdotes means new perspective on things for this so-called life.
It helps you be a little more time conscious. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of horror stories about common bathrooms in hostels.
My advice? Not all are that bad. ( Best advice would be to check out the reviews that you see in their Agoda hotel page).
So here’s the thing, since there are more than 20 people using the bathroom, you’ll be more conscious to not take forever in the bathroom because there are other people who also need to use it. When you think about it, it will help you in the long run–it only means you have more time to mingle, meet people and explore the city you’re in. And come on, Maria Clara you don’t need a lot of time to put on makeup, your natural beauty comes out anyway!
You’ll step out of your comfort zone. This is the part that you’ll be surprised about yourself. That it’s okay to sleep on a bunk bed, it’s okay to share a table at lunch, it’s okay to cook for or with other people and it’s okay to open yourself up to the world.
This is the part where you realize your own capability and that you can be very independent. You’re no longer that “helpless” girl.
You’ll meet friends for life. We’re lucky that we’re alive in this digital stage. You meet the most interesting people who can eventually be the sister you never had, your mentor for life or an all-around cheerleader/therapist.
You create a bond with these strangers/potential friends for life during your trip mainly because you’re all doing what you love–travelling! You’ll eventually want to visit them also from the home country and the best part? No need to stay in hostels because they’ll probably offer their place for you to stay in and you’ll do the same.
Maria Clara, your Facebook friends won’t be limited to people residing in the Philippines only, you’ll have more from different parts of the world and, thanks to technology, you can always stay connected.
The Boys. The Men. “Walang pilitan. Inggitan lamang.”
Okay, Maria Clara, if this doesn’t convince you I don’t know what will. There are a lot of cuties you’ll meet when you stay in a hostel.I am sure you’ll be able to see their hygiene right away (remember common bathrooms?), they’re adventure seekers, they’re trying to step out of their comfort zones and they know how to connect with people. What more could you ask for?
I know you love Crisostomo Ibarra, I’m just saying it wouldn’t hurt to have a little eye candy right? Just look and don’t touch.
If you guys break up, then good for you because it’s a bigger world out there. I’m not saying that every hot guy you mean in a hostel can be “the one” but it’s always a good story to keep and tell. For some couples, they meet again after several years and then get together.
C’mon Maria Clara, you’re the epitome of every Filipina lady. I’m not saying to throw away all your virtues nor to be as strong a Gabriella Silang. I’m just saying that it’s time for you to be that independent open-minded girl who knows how to have fun. Be the trendsetter–talo mo si Ate Kris Aquino dito, trust me.
Give me a text or a call. I’ll be your next travel buddy.

Char The Star

Charisse Vilchez

Char is a proud lefty, frustrated singer and the queen of booboos. Her ultimate dream in life, aside from traveling all over the world, is to open her own sari-sari store.

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