The Philippines is at the top of any decent must-visit list, with its tourist destinations teeming with culture. I grew up in two of them. Parts of the year were spent celebrating the Masskara Festival, enjoying the scenery at The Ruins, and reveling in music and organic eats at Negros Weekend Market. Others were spent admiring the Giant Lanterns, watching Hot Air Balloons, and of course, feasting on authentic Pampanga cuisine. But I couldn’t share the sense of wonder felt by friends and family visiting from out of town. To me, it’s home—familiar, comfortable, and admittedly, not that special.
I ended up carrying this attitude to a place well-known for its natural beauty and the warmth of its people: Cagayan De Oro. Four years ago, I started my current job with a company headquartered there. The work allows me to travel to CDO several times a year. On my first trip there, I figured I’d familiarize first with the workplace, my colleagues, and then I’d do the touristy part. Guess what? Now that I can somewhat call CDO home, I have yet to travel farther than the local mall.
Going Travel Loca with the Traveloka App
One of my resolutions for 2017 is to try and see my own Philippines through a traveler’s eyes. Tourist at Home will be a new section on my blog where I will revisit familiar places from a foreign perspective. My first two posts will be the easy ones, Angeles and Bacolod, since they need minimal prep. On to planning my third destination, Cagayan De Oro!
My flight’s taken care of, since I scheduled it on the tail-end of my next trip to CDO. A weekend of fun to cap a week of work! All that’s left is my hotel booking. As a techie with a penchant for efficiency, I know there’s an app for that, and I lucked out with Traveloka.
Traveloka works just like a physical travel agency, except all transactions are online—you can finish booking for your trip with a few clicks. They’re relatively young here in the Philippines, but elsewhere in Southeast Asia, they’re pretty prominent in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The Traveloka App already has over 10 million downloads overall! When I saw that they’ve partnered with the top hotel chains and airlines, I was even more excited.
I’m particular with where I stay while traveling. I know some can make do with any kind of place to sleep in, so long as there’s a bed and running water, but I prefer someplace with a sleek, minimal design, lots of natural light, greens, and open air—while also being friendly on the budget. I was delighted to find something that meets all these in CDO: Primavera Residences. Take a look!
The design was supposedly inspired by the traditional bahay-kubo—a stilt house made of organic materials like bamboo, coconut leaves, and grass, the quintessential sustainable house.
As soon as I saw the bedrooms, I was sold.
Look at how spacious and bright this apartment is! It’s pure Instagram bait.
I like swimming but not the sun, so this indoor saltwater swimming pool is perfect. Other amenities include a jacuzzi, gym, and multi-purpose hall where they sometimes hold Zumba and yoga classes. On the ground floor are an inner courtyard, shops, and restaurants.
I like that Primavera Residences is eco-friendly and abides by concepts of sustainable architecture and biomimicry (emulating nature and adopting its processes). The first of its kind in Cagayan De Oro, it generates its own energy, minimizes power usage, and maximizes natural light and air ventilation. I was so thrilled to find Primavera Residences on the Traveloka App! I knew I had to book right then and there. Let me walk you through the booking process.
Traveloka App walk-through
You can sign up for a Traveloka account using your email, mobile number, Facebook, or Google account. It took me all of 3 minutes, after which I began my search.
It didn’t take long for me to find Primavera Residences among the beige and taupe hotel thumbnails yielded by the search results. Even better was that little blue notification that appeared on top: “Cheaper if you book through app now.”
Time to continue the booking process on my phone! Screen caps are in threes for easier viewing.
Now all I have to do is show the voucher when I check in. That was not only easy and fast, it was also a lot of fun! The huge discount didn’t hurt, either. I bet it won’t be long before Traveloka is considered as much a travel tech essential as a selfie stick.
Download the Traveloka App from your App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android). Upon signing in, you will need to verify with a code, and then you’re in.
I can’t wait to begin my Tourist at Home series with such a handy app! Until then, feel free to share in the comments below your own experiences with Traveloka. Hope this little guide helps you along the way!