Sunday, July 27, 2008

Roaming Ilocos: Hotel Tiffany & Macy's Diner

Alright, the trip going back from Vigan to Laoag was uneventful. Beautiful sunset amidst the countryside as we passed along those many towns in between. This was my last day in Ilocandia and departure back for Manila was set for the night. You may be wondering why I still had to go back to Laoag which is farther north, when I was already in Vigan that should have been a bit nearer to Manila. The reason, I made Laoag as my base, where I left my things in the hotel as I roamed. Why did I do so? I knew my roam of the Ilocandia involved a lot of combination rides like jeeps, trikes and buses. The backpack, small as it may be, would have been a bit cumbersome in many situations ESPECIALLY that this region seems to have the smallest and lowest of tricycles. When the driver stands on the ground, his trike’s roof is just by his chest, so imagine where you would be hehe!

I was back at Hotel Tiffany by early evening, taking my grand time to repack everything prior to dinner and eventual departure via Maria De Leon. So let’s do this hotel, the place that became my home for this Ilocos visit. Why Hotel Tiffany? I was looking for a central location, nearer to all the rides and the things to see around Laoag. None of my friends and family even knew about this hotel. I just happened by it on the web, checked some info and a few reviews, and decided I’d go for it. Note: this hotel was not even mentioned by my Lonely Planet book. I have lately been discovering anyway that many good finds in this country are not in that book, that I still use anyway, for lack of any better handy reference hehe!

From the outside, the hotel looks like a delectable block of cake and candy. It’s a ridiculously lovely colorful building you’d think it’s a playland for little children. Very visible and attractive even from a distance both day and night. Oh, its from 2nd floor up to 4th since ground level is Macy’s Diner. Front desk is on second floor and if you are assigned a room on 4th level, you’d be climbing the whole height of this building hehe. Not that exciting if you have granny and grappa in tow as there are no elevators! The interiors are nothing elegant as you would imagine most hotels trying to be. This one is more on the dainty side. Cheerful and helpful young crews at front desk but equally jolly manongs and manangs for a housekeeping crew!

Rooms are basic too but always clean and bright. What with all those pastel and candy colors all over the place hehe. Its too colorful you’d think you were a little tyke inside some playhouse! While there is no food outlet, there is a counter at the lobby (second floor) for basic toiletries and souvenirs. Then again, Macy’s Diner is down at ground level and they’re the ones who deliver room service if you want to eat in your room. This is more of a businessman’s hotel where folks just go home to for the sack and nothing else. No pools, no gardens or anything like that. Its just a fantasy colored building with a fantasy restaurant down at ground level.

Fantasy restaurant? Well, this Macy’s Diner – am not sure if its also owned by the hotel – is one place of note. It’s a ‘60s inspired diner and really one of a kind. In the past I remember there was a place like this in Makati, but as for now, I think it remains to be the only one remaining. Remember the American “diners” of yesteryears? That’s the theme in this place. Fun to be in really. Again, you’d feel like a youngster. The colors, the fixtures, the lights and those black and white pictures of artists like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and so on. Hey even the chessboard-like floor is really in that era. I started looking out if their crews run around in roller skates, but no hehe! And there is even a real functioning juke box just about the height of my thigh, and its for sale! Nice cozy place, really. Uhm, aside from the steaks, burgers, pancakes and fries, they also serve Chinese and Filipino fare. What did I have for dinner? Pares and mami hehehe! In an “American” diner!

Oh well, I enjoyed “the life” roaming Ilocos. But time to go, so I started out walking towards the capitol, the city hall and eventually the Maria De Leon bus station.

An interesting night trip to Manila will be my last entry on this “Roaming Ilocos” series. That’s coming up next!

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