10 Quirky, Quaint Stays in the Philippines

Although I have traveled around the Philippines, I just barely scratched the surface as there remains a big chunk of territory that is still left uncharted by this blogger. Work assignments have provided me with the opportunity to go to major cities within our 7,107-island nation. Plus, the cheapest flights and the most affordable hotels have made exploring the country even a lot easier for me nowadays.

[UPDATE 2023: Some of these establishments may have closed at this time or moved to a different location.]

Along the way, I came across with these quaint, quirky hotels which have captured my interest and have quite made a mark to me. Some of the hotels here I stayed for a night or more, while for others, I only visited them and explored their accommodations and amenities.

1.) Ponce Suites

More than a decade ago, I was assigned for work in Davao City in Mindanao, Philippines. The place was foreign to me and I knew only a few people, most of them were my colleagues at the non-profit organization that I served. Luckily, they also knew my sorority sister who owns Ponce Suites, along with her famous son, Mindanaoan artist Kublai Millan. I opted to stay in Ponce for reasons that: I knew the owners; it was affordable; the hotel was accessible to commercial centers but tucked in a village; and it was unique.

Ponce Suites
The facade. Photo taken from their official website.

From its façade to its interiors and from floor to ceiling were paintings and sculptures. The roof deck then featured a giant garden set. Walking through its halls strike some kind of creativity in me. Though it looked more like an art gallery and museum, I just felt at home in Ponce Suites.

Ponce Suites
The common area. Photo taken from their official website.

Through the years, a lot of changes have taken place. More amenities are added and more of Kublai’s artworks are showcased in this hotel. It is but fitting that it is called a gallery hotel. Now, it has 34 rooms and still has the al fresco roof deck. There are function rooms, air-conditioned café and bar, and wi-fi access in all rooms. It also has tours being offered.

Website: http://www.poncesuiteshotel.com/
Address: Corner Roads 3 & 4, Dona Vicenta Village, Bajada, Davao City
Tel: (+63 82) 227 9070
E-mail: [email protected]

Ponce Suites
Rows of paintings. Photo from their official website.

Enigmata Treehouse Ecolodge (No longer in operation.)

I wanted to add this in my list but I was met with sad news that while updating myself of this accommodation, I learned that it got burned down by fire during the wee hours of October 22, 2015. Still, I want to share this with you even if it can’t be part of the list anymore. The moment we got to Enigmata in Camiguin Island, the first thing I blurted out at the reception while waiting for our room key was “the artworks look like those of Kublai Millan’s!” The hotel manager smiled and confirmed that most of the artworks were indeed by Kublai.

Enigmata Treelodge
Our suite was at the third level.

Enigmata Treehouse Ecolodge Art Camp (the name has evolved over time) was run by a group of local artists. It still is a non-profit volunteer organization and they are doing their best to let the burnt land heal. And you read it right, it was a treehouse, and we stayed at the third level of this accommodation on a tree, which was like a suite. A hammock could be found on our terrace and our room had a mezzanine area. The large trunk served as a divider between our room and the common area. And we had a bathroom and toilet there on top! Plus, we had a grand time at the top of the tree, complete with a bird’s eye view deck at the roof. The lodge stayed off grid as much as possible, absent of air-conditioning, television or other electric devices in our suite. Materials were made of wood and native resources, a factor that probably made it susceptible to fire.

Enigmata Treelodge
Our porch.
Enigmata Treelodge
From our room to the common area and porch.

How it will rise from the ashes is something I wish to see. The people behind Enigmata believes that the fire incident has a purpose and they look forward for the best to come. And so am I.

Website: http://camiguinecolodge.org/
Address: National Highway, Balbagon, Maubog, Mambajao, 9100 Camiguin
Tel:(+63 88) 387 0273

Enigmata Treelodge
The Enigman at the road leading to the tree house. Sadly the lodge has been burned down.

2.) Campuestohan Highland Resort

Located at the mountains of Talisay City in Negros Occidental, Campuestohan Highland Resort is the nearest to my home, which is about 30 minutes away. From the highway, we can discern the structures of the resort because of its elevated area. Once you’re there, you get to see the plains of Bacolod City, Talisay City and Silay City.

The log cabin at Campuestohan Highland Resort.
There’s the shoe house.

It is a playful resort with lots of human-size movie characters. There are swimming pools, zip lines, and other fun facilities. A log cabin is available for overnight stays while there are also cottages that can be rented for a day. There’s a shoe house and some quirky cottages that you can seem to find in science fiction movies.

Website: http://campuestohanhighlandresort.com/
Office Address: Bacolod TP Truckers, Gonzaga St., Bacolod City
Resort Address: Sitio Campuestohan Brgy. Cabatangan with alternate route via brgy. Granada and Alangilan Talisay City 6100
Landline: (034) 702-0964; (034) 433-3335
Mobile: 0915-211-1406; 0917-300-5007; 0925-600-8088

Now, from which movie have I seen a house like this?

3.) Pension Ivatan Hometel Valugan Bay

Pension Ivatan’s main hometel is located right across the Batanes airport. But we didn’t stay there. Instead, we were billeted at the Pension Ivatan Hometel Valugan Bay, a two-room cottage with separate huts for the dining room or common room and the bath and toilet area. There was even a tiny swimming pool behind the eating area.

Pension Ivatan Valugan Bay
Our cottage at Valugan Bay.
Pension Ivatan Valugan Bay
The hut is our dining area. The swimming pool and shower area is behind this hut.

What made this cottage extra special was that we had no neighbors, only tall grasses surrounding us and cows that were grazing them. A few walk downhill leads to the Valugan Boulder Beach, so the sound of the waves could be heard loudly in our cottage. It was a picture of serenity, like we were stranded in an island, only that the staff of Pension Ivatan brought us food every morning.

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pensionivatanbatanes
Email: [email protected]
Tel: (+63 78) 373 0887
Mobile: +639175859288 or +639357697918

Pension Ivatan Valugan Bay
The tiny swimming pool.
Pension Ivatan Valugan Bay
The Boulder Beach can be viewed from our cottage.

4.) Fundacion Pacita Nature Lodge

We didn’t stay in this lodge when we were in Batanes, but we specifically asked our guide to bring us to this place. Fundacion Pacita Nature Lodge used to be a home studio of globally renowned artist Pacita Abad and it pays tribute to her art by putting some of her work on display. As the driver brought us there, we were enamored by the simplicity and beauty of the place, there perched on a hill, overlooking the sea. Though the lodge was small, it was elegant and spoke of refinement. No wonder so many people wanted to stay in this lodge.

Fundacion Pacita
The lodge perched on a hill overlooking the sea.
Fundacion Pacita
Jorge and Aurora Abad are immortalized through these statues. The lodge is seen in the background.

Similar to Enigmata, they also have projects for Ivatan artists, for the environment, and for the local community. These are done through The Jorge, Aurora, and Pacita Abad Memorial Foundation, Inc. (JAPAMFI). Proceeds from the lodge are use to fund these worthwhile initiatives.

Website: http://www.fundacionpacita.ph/
Address: Brgy. Chanarian, Tukon, Basco, Batanes 3900
Contact Numbers: 0939-9016353 (Smart) | 0917-8559364 (Globe)
Email: [email protected] | [email protected].

Fundacion Pacita
Inside Fundacion Pacita.
Fundacion Pacita
The gate to Fundacion Pacita.

5.) Peñalosa Farms

The first time I saw it, the immediate thing that came to mind was a burrow. But the ground floor looked like one of those old Filipino houses. There are several rooms that could accommodate up to a total of 60 persons in the three-story structure, with a viewing deck and mini-chapel at the top. But this is no hostel because not everyone can just stay here. The lodgings are intended primarily for those who want to avail of the seminars and workshops that the farm offers, wherein it involves a bit of immersion to farm life.

Peñalosa Farms
The structure reminded me of fantasy movies.
Peñalosa Farms
The ground floor of the house.

As advocates of farm tourism, Peñalosa Farms in Victorias City, Negros Occidental accept one-day farm tours or multiple days of passion training, where you will learn the intricacies of zero-waste farming. And, yes, setting an appointment is A MUST! The “burrow”, as I fondly call it, is surrounded by vegetable plots, hanging gardens, poultry, pig pens, fish pond, and what have you. It’s a small place but with complete amenities of a farm and a training center. How about you, do you want to learn how to become an agripreneur?

Website: http://penalosafarms.com/
Address: Bangga Daan, Victorias City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, 6119
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: (+63 34) 399 2706
Mobile: +63 925 8624500 | +63 917 3852611
FB Page: fb.com/visitpenalosafarms/

Peñalosa Farms
Inside the house has many rooms.
Peñalosa Farms
The porch that provides a good view of the property. There’s still a viewing are at the deck though.

6.) Casa MaRa

I consider Casa MaRa as my home whenever I go to Tagaytay City in Cavite. It’s a little secluded and private, located across the Tagaytay Public Market, near the highway that leads to the Sta. Rosa exit. Casa MaRa is a portmanteau of the names of the couple who own the place – Maribel and Raul Dizon. The Dizons are good friends and Casa MaRa was originally a weekend home for their family. But as friends, like us, frequented the place, often bringing other friends along, it has evolved into a home where you can rent their rooms whenever you stay in Tagaytay.

Casa MaRa
The rustic Casa MaRa in Tagaytay.
Casa MaRa
The lanai.

Eventually, Raul and Maribel has built additional cottages to accommodate more guests. Located on a sloping hill with the house opening to a pineapple plantation, Casa MaRa is truly like a home, serene, quiet and relaxing. It is rustic and made of excess Filipino materials that Raul, an architect, used to build the structures with plants that form a trellis at the porch. More importantly, it is love and determination that is the foundation of this casa.

Website: https://casamara.wordpress.com
E-mail: [email protected] (put Casa Mara reservation on the subject)
Mobile: 0922-8316341

Casa MaRa
There are other facilities and common areas where you can use for dining and other activities.

7.) Manjuyod White Sand Bar Villas

I think my friends and I were fortunate because one of our companion’s boss, who is a known businessman from Dumaguete City,  arranged for our Bais adventure. We rose early morning and took the van from Dumaguete to Bais City. Then we got on a boat that took us through the Bais Strait to the Manjuyod White Sand Bar. Dolphins swam with us along the way. I found out that the sand bar is really part of Manjuyod town but is closer and more accessible from Bais.

Manjuyod Sand Bar
The villas as seen from afar.

As our boat neared the Manjuyod White Sand Bar, villas on stilts appeared on the horizon, as if floating from the sea. It was the closest to Maldives that I’ve ever been to. The sand bar was submerged in water and it looked like a giant swimming pool. We had lunch at the villa, complete with porch, rooms and toilet. So if you also plan to visit the Manjuyod White Sand Bar, it is advisable that you contact the Bais City Tourism Office to book in advance a boat that will take you there. Boat rate is Php 2,500 (USD 53.20) for a group of 15 persons and Php 3,000 (USD 63.83) for a group of 20. You can spend a night in one of the villas or just stay there for a day. The tourism office can also arrange for your meals.

Website: https://www.dumagueteinfo.com/other-destinations/bais-city/manjuyod-white-sand-bar-bais-dumaguete/
The Bais City Tourism Office
Tel: (+63 35)541-5161 / 402-8174 Fax (+63 35)402-8181.
Johanna Burgos: 0917 300 5945
Sharon Arapoc: 0918 265 0474
Cindy Amas: 0907 258 5751
Email: [email protected]

Manjuyod Sand Bar
You can spend a night in this villa.

8.) Vigan Hotel

Most of the hotels in Vigan are old homes converted into inns or hostels. Vigan Hotel is an ancestral home of the Villanuevas. It’s a two-story structure with 16 rooms and 10 suites. Like Spanish-inspired homes in this city, the house is a typical “bahay na bato” which has a concrete ground floor and a semi-concrete or wooden upper floor. Some of the items of the original owner are still found in the house. It is accessible as it is just behind the Cathedral. You can basically walk from the hotel to the sought-after Crisologo St.

Vigan Hotel
The Vigan Hotel.

So walk along the cobblestone street and down memory lane as you get transported back in time when you visit Vigan and stay in Vigan Hotel. It is also affordable as you can choose air-conditioned rooms or rooms with fan.

Website: http://www.viganhotel.com/
Address: P. Burgos and V. delos Reyes Sts., Vigan City
Manila contact: Oscar Florentino Villanueva, Jr.
Tel: (+63 77) 722.19.06
Mobile: +63915 549.87.53
E-mail: [email protected]
Canada contact: Nick Villanueva
Mobile: 001416 616 31 68
E-mail: [email protected]

Vigan Hotel
The front door.
Vigan Hotel
The interiors of the hotel is still reminiscent of the original house.

9.) Dive and Trek

Dive and Trek is located along a cliff, with the resort opens to a snorkeling area. Beautiful and colorful corals and fishes are found in the marine sanctuary at the coast of Dive and Trek. There is a pool where divers can practice and train. Since the resort is PADI accredited, they also offer diving lessons with scuba equipment for rent. Boats are also available for rent to get to other fish sanctuaries and house reefs.

Dive and Trek
The pier and facilities of Dive and Trek as seen from the boat.
Dive and Trek
The pier as can be viewed from the reception area.

The reception, common area and restaurant are located at the resort’s pier while  rooms are found at the upper area. A new wing was constructed for more rooms. At the end of the day, after exploring the underwater world, you can have a relaxing drink at its dining area or common ground and watch the beautiful sunset at the horizon.

Website: http://www.diveandtrek.com/
Address: Bgy. San Pablo, Bauan, Batangas
Contact: J.A. M. Reaño
Tel: (+63 2) 938 1038
Mobile: +63 920 9064123
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

Dive and Trek
A school of fish at the Dive and Trek fish sanctuary area.

10.) Tam-awan Village

I have been to Tam-awan Village in Baguio City thrice and I never seem to get tired visiting the place. But I only spent a few hours here and never got to spend a night in this place. It is also an artist’s haven where paintings, sculptures and other artworks are displayed in this mini-village. It is run under the auspices of Chanum Foundation, Inc. which hopes to preserve the culture of the Ifugaos and the Cordillera region. Tribal huts that are usually found in Cordillera dot the hilly area where Tam-awan Village is located. There is even a viewing deck that provides a view of some parts of Baguio City.

Tam-awan Village
This common area has individual huts for the office, the gallery, and the restaurant. the open space at the center is used for bonfires and cultural shows.

The architecture of the Cordillera Huts are interesting as they show the ingenuity of the Ifugao craftsmanship. The huts may be rented for lodging with beddings and towels being provided. Toiletries have to be brought by the lodgers themselves though. Meals are available at the coffee shop but reservation is required. You can also join the art workshops that are provided in the village. A spring is found in the Tam-awan Village and a short hanging bridge can also be found in the compound. Someday, I’ll try to stay overnight in Tam-awan and experience tribal way of life by staying in one of the Cordillera huts and probably enjoy a bonfire in its common area.

Website: http://www.tam-awanvillage.com/
Address: 366-C Pinsao Proper, 2600 Baguio City
Tel: (+63 74) 446-2949
Fax: (+63 74) 442-5553
E-mail: [email protected]

Tam-awan Village
One of the huts near the common area.
Tam-awan Village
It would be interesting to spend a night in this place.


  1. There are so many amazing hotels in the Philippines and your list only goes to prove that! I’d definitely stay in one of those hotels! Great list!

  2. These places all look amazing. I would like to stay in the ecolodge treehouse one.

  3. What an awesome list of hotels. I want to stay in all of them, but the tree house looks like the most fun.

  4. really cool places. I’d like to stay at them all!:) #theweeklypostcard

  5. Wow! There are so many cool and interesting places to stay in Philippines! We are planning on heading here next year, will be sure to try stay in one of these 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard

  6. Oh wow, this looks absolutely gorgeous! There are so many things to look at and so many little details to appreciate! You make me want to travel 😛

  7. Quirky is so much fun, I add something quirky to every trip!

  8. wow. I never thought we had these kind of hotels in the country. Every time i travel, I always look for the cheapest and decent hotels only. But I think I should try to stay in these kind of hotels next time.

    • Most of the time, I also look for hotels that are just accessible and has the basic amenities. In fact, it was not easy for me to come up with this list as I feel they are just too few like this.

  9. Philippines is a huge country and so many wonderful attractions are there. Your post lists quaint places that are great to stay rather than the mainstream stereotype ones.

  10. This is spectacular. I always love cottages made of wood and surrounded by greenery. So sad that the ecolodge was burnt down. Hope they build it again. Yeah, that villa in the middle of the sea, I want to be there…

  11. These are hotels? Wow! I would love to stay there. Thanks for the tips!

  12. The place look indeed awesome,but it’s very sad that this got burned.

  13. I’ve never seen hotels like those before. I like the ones in the middle of the sea! They look so interesting and probably relaxing too since you don’t have anyone to disturb you. I love that there are open areas in some of the hotels.

  14. Dumaguete trip is in the offing. Hope to see the Manjuyod White Sand Bar Villas. Thanks fro your info about the price

  15. They may look quaint and charming, but from the pictures they look a bit scary. Hehe. I do not know if my family will want to stay in these places. The one exception here is Fundacion Pacita — looks really great.

  16. I want to see the Enigmata tree house. I was able to see Fundacion Pacita in Batanes.

  17. Wow! Ponce Suites is included..thanks so much. I am from Davao City and I like that hotel.

    The other hotels looks promising and relaxing!

  18. Wow, you’re so lucky. Getting into these places is such an amazing experience and a great opportunity. Nakakainggit! haha! It’s my dream to explore the Philippines. Such a big blessings.

  19. Now these are my types of lodgings. I have long since abandoned splurging on swanky hotels. Instead, I choose my them now based on the experience. Thanks for sharing. This list is really helpful. This is now my go-to list when looking for accommodations.
    -Gino of http://www.dropdeaddapper.com

  20. These places are so cool! Sayang the treehouse is no longer in operation 🙁 I read about Campuestuhan Resort and it really looks a great place to visit 🙂

  21. Batanes is my next dream vacation destination. Will definitely try Fundacion Pacita. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  22. Its really lucky of you, that you can do work and leisure at the same time

  23. wow, these are really unique and cute-lookin hotels to stay in!
    I love to stay in that shoe house too haha so cute and it feels like it will bring the inner kid in me
    thanks you for such an interesting compilation! Hopefully I can visit and stay in any of these hotels soon!

  24. These places are great!! I wanna stay at Manjuyod White Sand Bar Villas. It’s really more fun in the Philippines!!

  25. Such comprehensive list! Just shows how well-travelled you are. Vigan Hotel is one that caught my eye since I’m always fascinated with old colonial looking houses. Thanks for sharing!

    • There are lots of heritage homes in Silay City, Negros Occidental. I also blogged about them. But they’re not hotels. Only three are museums and the rest are still being used by the owners or their relatives.

  26. Such an informative post. You’ve given a good list, I suppose.

  27. You are so lucky, I wish I have a job too where I’m assigned to places, because I really love traveling. Anyway, I haven’t been to any of those lodgings, but out of everything, Iam most interested to Campuestohan. I love the cottage feel of it.

  28. Wow! Dive and Trek is on the list! Made me proud because i am fom Bauan, Batangas and this one is a great place to visit when you are into diving… especially for those who wanted to try out intro diving… Thanks for sharing!

  29. being able to see all these hotels is quite a feat, I’m so impressed!

  30. Awesome compilation!! I wish to try every single one of em. I just pike hotels with personality 😉

  31. I would like to check Campuestohan, Fundacion and Manjuyod, looks serene and safe.

  32. The old houses looks super scary to spend a night in. I’ve seen the Tam-Awan village and those are super small huts that would be very awesome to sleep at but I bet I wouldn’t fit inside.lol

  33. Great post Claire, very informative. No shortage of hotel options. Troy and I have to get to the Philippines!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.