We’ve spent a fair bit of time exploring the Philippines without resting. After we had rested a good night and day at Georges Guesthouse (Tripadvisor review here), we were ready to get back on track again. There was just one problem… we were running out of cash. We didn’t cash enough money while in Baguio and there are no ATM’s in Sagada. Which meant two things; Not getting back to Manila or some scheme not to pay for anything. Since we’re not really the ‘dark’ type of traveller, we decided something else; be greedy as hell and find a cheaper place to stay – backpackers style.
‘Hello, we have a very important blog on the internet and we would like to see your cheapest room available’
We decided to pretend to be very important persons, with a fancy camera and a notebook, looking for the best place to stay in Sagada. We used the same sentence over and over again and after that the owners started to get really excited and friendly towards us. I (Johanna) asked them questions while Vincent was being the professional photographer. I asked them all sorts of questions like someone from Lonely Planet would, at least that’s what I thought while writing down prices and room names.
”What is the cheapest room available?”
”Do the prices differ in low- and high season?”
”Why would this place be the best one to stay in Sagada?”
And so on, and so on.
So we spent a whole morning photographing hostels and homestays trying to be perfectly serious at all times. There were times we really needed to hold in that burst of laughter while talking to the owner and taking photo’s. We didn’t want to be disrespectfull either, we were just having fun and looking for a cheap and neat place to stay in a creative way.
When you’re ‘important’ or when you make yourself important, you can really achieve so much more. We realised some people who really do this for a job (or pretending to be) get free nights in a hostel/hotel/homestay to review it. That’s not what we aimed for but it would have been a fun experience. After all we didn’t have to pretend to be someone else to ask for the cheapest rooms, but we kind of rolled in this situation and figured it was fun. We saw another view on things and had different interactions with owners and staff members. A mindset for the situation is all you need.
This roll-playing did show us the best place to stay in Sagada overall. The owner of Homestay’s Diner/Homestay Inn was the most enthouasiastic of all, showed us ALL her rooms.. literally all the rooms. She was so nice and had the best view of all the places we visited (and bonfires!). So she deserves a visit when you’re in Sagada someday ,because she has the best package overall and the prices do not differ that much from the other places. In the end prices were rated around P300-400 / €4,91-6,55* for a double room or dormitory per person per night.
We didn’t end up staying there because we found one place that was slightly cheaper and we really valued our time in Sagada more than a cuter place to stay.
So we ended up staying at Residential Lodge. There we met Nathan, an American travelling/living in the Philippines. When we met him he was already feeling sick for a while, but our short period of time with him was very inspirational. Our conversations were mostly about mindsets: you should never think that anything is impossible. Next to that we mostly talked about friendship, travelling and life itself. Nathan is a source of inspiration and he told us his ways of travelling, experiences and how he funded himself through smart ways. He also shoots awesome photos and has his own website: http://www.idreamedofthis.com It’s worth to check out, especially if you’re interested in the places he has been and in the stories he has to tell (and he has a big one to tell about the Philippines!)
After this acting and moving to another place to stay, we decided to go out for a walk… what happened then will be featured in the next post!
Stay tuned and see you then.
* Note: all the prizes are according to the exchange rate at the time of travelling
– Vincent & Johanna