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There was a time when the term “bakasyon” (or vacation) meant only one thing — leave your current residence and go to a place to experience a change in scenery. There was a time when it simply meant going to the province during summer. For a Tondo boy like myself it meant escaping the concrete jungle that is Metro Manila and enjoying the rustic vibes of the countryside. It could also mean going to Baguio City — the summer capital of the Philippines. 


But times have changed. Now, with the increased mobility of people and thanks to the invention of holiday economics, long weekends mean millions of people going to the same place. The Holy Week break is the perfect example. Everyone seems to be outside Metro Manila. Nowadays going out of town seems tiring and stressful. So a lot of folks would rather have a “staycation” rather than a vacation in the province or abroad. 


A staycation is defined as a “vacation spent at home or near home, doing enjoyable activities or visiting local attractions.” It is a combination of the words: “stay” and “vacation” and has become the go-to activities of people who want to relax but do not want to experience the hassle to traveling.


The key to a good staycation is to be able to create a break from the normal, even when staying local. Most Filipino families do this by going to a nice hotel nearby allowing them a change of scenery and avoiding the madness of planning, traveling and enjoying an out-of-town vacation. You want your experience to be stress-free so you can destress and relax, which, after all, is the whole point of a staycation.


Hotels are ideal sites for staycation because topnotch service and amenities allow families to have a relaxing time. This was my vision when we began conceptualizing Brittany Hotels. I wanted the Villar Group to come up with hotels that recreate the warmth and coziness of feeling “at home” away from home. Whenever we travel abroad and stay a hotel, I like accommodations that are both familiar and new. We are creatures of habit even when we are away from our natural habitat. 


We wanted to create hotels that provide “staycationeers” with luxurious and elegant experiences but at the same time enjoy the charm and coziness of the property. Have you ever felt uneasy in some hotels that you have stayed in simply because everything is just so unfamiliar? The key really is to balance the unexpected and the “at-home” feeling.


Another important consideration when we go to staycations, or even vacations, is the location. The new Brittany Hotel in Villar City is located in Las Piñas City, which is within a few minutes’ drive away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  It is also very easy to access the Makati Central Business District, Bonifacio Global City and the Mall of Asia. I remember when we went on a vacation to Japan and Europe, the hotels were very near places I wanted to go to. In Paris, it is nice to just walk from the hotel and find a cafe or a boulangerie or a patisserie where one can kill time. 


Many among us yearn for the simple times we have experienced before. But times have changed. There was a time when you can go to Baguio or Sagada with very few people. Boracay had very few tourists back then. But social media and the increased global mobility of people have made these destinations very popular. I remember watching a travel video creator explain why he felt conflicted about sharing his “discovery” of a good and cheap resort knowing that once he decides to post, travelers will swarm over the place and deprive him of his “sanctuary.”


But we need to cope with the changing times. We can always find a place which we can call a home away from home.




Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar