Sunday time is mooching time after a weekend of mischief and debauchery takes its toll.
I was nodding my head, agreeing with the handwritten note posted on one of Red Carabao’s wall. It cannot be more true, I said to myself as I lay sprawled on the hostel’s bean bag, chugging a cold bottle of Red Horse while swapping travel tales and opinions with kindred souls from around the globe.
What I was doing inside a hostel in the heart of Manila was beyond me.
I live in Malabon City, which is just three jeepney rides away from the Red Carabao. I mean, a hostel isn’t even something one will consider for a staycation; but there I was with a couple of other travel bloggers, mingling with an international crowd of backpackers.
Going to Red Carabao was a breeze. The hostel is accessible thru the old LRT-1 line. Alight at the Abad Santos station, ride a tricycle and ask to be dropped at the Chateau de Elizabeth building which is just a few meters before the South Gate of the Manila Chinese Cemetery (which we also visited, by the way).
Us, we chose to walk instead; taking in the full grime of downtown Manila with gusto.
As I was walking along the dirty sidewalks of Rizal Avenue, the first thought that came to my mind was how bad the location of Red Carabao was.
I was totally wrong on that aspect however as I started talking with the travelers holed up at the hostel. They absolutely love the fact that they’re in the middle of the real unsugarcoated part of Manila. It was exactly the experience they were looking for.
We were warmly greeted by Aldrich, Red Carabao’s moustached host, as soon we entered its ochre-colored halls. Posters, graffiti, photographs, flags, maps, happenings and what-nots fill its walls. It’s my first time to enter a hostel and it is uber cool compared to the usual hotel rooms I’m used to.
Most if not all the people staying here are foreigners out to discover what the Philippines is all about. More than half of them are Europeans and its quite nice seeing them learn the basic quirks of the Filipino language through the notes posted on the walls.
The hostel is fitted with a kitchen complete with a fridge, gas range, toaster and whatever else you might need in a normal kitchen. It has two spacious, full-service toilet and bath with modern amenities. It was quite clean when we got there but one of the two CR’s got really messed up after everyone took their turns taking a bath.
My favorite part of Red Carabao is their roof deck where the game hall is located. They have a billiard and table-tennis for sporty peeps, but it’s not really why I love it here. Step outside into the outdoor balcony and you’d witness an awesome view of Manila with the electric skyline of Makati at the horizon.
It is actually where we ate our communal dinner of pancit and roasted chicken before wasting the night away playing games to get boozed up. I’m usually a straight beer-drinker, not needing any games to get wasted, but it was actually fun playing with these guys, inventing tall stories and whatevers.
Wanting to even get more wasted, the group eventually transferred to a bar near the place, renting a full jeepney to get there.
Red Carabao can bed a total of fourteen people through its mixed dorm rooms. The beds are comfy and the rooms are air-conditioned so we had a very restful sleep after all that partying. Well, we got too much sleep in fact, that it was almost mid-morning when we got up and as we later found, some of the UK kids even missed their flights.
The rest of Sunday was spent lounging around the common area. We were so wasted the night before that it was decided that Chillax Sunday was gonna be imposed for the rest of the day. We did nothing but swap stories, drink a few more bottles of beer and trade more stories.
It sounds boring, but I tell you, it is one of the more interesting Sundays I had while in Manila. I love the vibes of Red Carabao Hostel so much, I feel like hanging out there until our great mustached host decides to kicks us out. Haha.
Red Carabao Hostel
Address: 2819 Felix Huertas Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila
Contact Number: (02) 740-3211
Facebook: Click Here
Rates and Booking: Click Here
GPS Coordinates: 14°37'41.4"N 120°59'05.9"E
How to Get There: See the post above