I went together with my mom, my friend and her mom for some Mother-Daughter bonding last November 29 2012. Staying in Balay de la Rama has been an AWESOME experience. Apart from the fact that its easily accessible to all the tourist attractions, they are really true to their word that you will feel at home when you stay with them.
The rooms are really spacious and have a homey vibe to it. We stayed in their Deluxe room in the 3rd floor. You can lounge on their common rooms at any time and the view of the Mayon Volcano in their 3rd floor is really picturesque. The staff here is really accommodating and they will help you get around Legazpi and beyond like a local. This is the hotel that you should consider staying if you're in Bicol for fun and adventure.
There are no TVs in the room that we stayed (which is completely fine with us as we are always on the go). Rates are really budget friendly (which is priced at 850/night last time we stayed here). You can also check in earlier! Just let Jess know in advance. The bathroom looks new and well maintained. There are no mirrors inside though. Overall cleanliness is average as I kept on seeing ant trails (we must be too sweet for them to come around). But overall, the place is well kept and service is very prompt if you ask me.
The food is good as they will offer you complimentary breakfast as part of the package. Most of their foods come from their very own farm. My only suggestion would be for them to also have complimentary chocolate drinks available (like Milo aside from coffee that is for kids or kids-at-heart) as I am not a coffee drinker.
You could also request to eat there should you decide to "dine-in" (just ask Jess and Caren). There's a friendly cat around too. Sadly I wasn't able to stay that long to get some pictures of the kitty and her kittys.
We truly had lots of fun getting around Bicol during this trip, moving around the area is quite easy thanks to the constant guidance and instructions of Jess, Caren and Clarissa. You will be entertained by their charming daughter Anina who, during our last day, kept giving me her toys.
We got to ride jeeps, tricycles and we even saw a bus going back to Manila (should you really decide to get back to Manila by land). We also got around to eat at good restaurants like First Colonial Grill (that will take you one jeep ride only to get there) and Small Talk Cafe (you should ride a tricycle to get there as its a lil' bit far from here).
Overall, I would say that this is an AWESOME experience and I am recommending you (yes you, fellow reader) to stay at their place when you're in Legazpi, Albay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the Bicolano language, "Balay" means house, and we strive to be just that, your home away from home but with the backyard view of Mayon Volcano, to add a bit of spice to it. Balay de la Rama is a six-room family house, with six spacious rooms available for short-term homestay. Like any provincial home, it has big windows to promote natural ventilation, and indeed, the gentle, or sometimes stalwart breezes are enough to lull you to sleep as you take your afternoon siesta by the wooden sofa, or better yet, on the hammock by the balcony. If by any chance it is summer, and the mango tree is in full bloom, you can spend afternoons picking mango, or if that is too much effort, you can wait for them to fall, so you can eat them with hot bagoong (shrimp paste). If you’d rather read than be hit by falling mangoes, then the owner’s personal collections are free for you to browse. Come dinnertime, you can join the family meal to sample that spicy Bicolano cooking, such as "pinangat," or "ginantaang gulay," or you can request for that poor man’s fare, such as tinapa (smoked fish) or "tuyo" (salted fish), if you suddenly crave for them. We won't force you to eat "balut" (fertilized duck egg), but would love to see your priceless expression as you try. If you came to Bicol to see moody, fiery Mayon, all you need to do is cast a sideways glance by the window, and there it is. But we know you may want to swim with the whale sharks in Donsol, wakeboard in CWC or island-hop in Caramoan, then this is a great jump-off point with easy access to all kinds of transport to your destination. The land at which Balay de la Rama stands has been with the dela Rama family for more than a century. While Balay itself isn't ancient, the warm family spirit and hospitality is. Your Bicolana host is herself an avid backpacker, but knows that indeed, there is no place like home. ... more less
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