“What’s your plan this weekend?” was the going question asked in our Friday meeting. My teammates are in South Australia, one of the rare places in the world where people handled COVID, not the other way around. I, on the other hand, live in Metro Manila, where COVID handled people, not the other way around. So when my turn came I told them that I got no weekend plans. I wish that when I say I don’t have a plan it means I am being spontaneous and will have an adventure, sadly, this one takes a literal meaning. Anyway, Saturday morning, my friend, Che, suddenly called and invited me to join her on a staycation at Selah Garden Hotel. I think I was desperate to have a vacation in whatever form that I didn’t think twice about going. And that’s how I ended up at Selah Pods Hotel; I didn’t mistype that, I do mean, Selah Pods not Selah Garden and it’s kind of a long story.
Selah Pods Hotel is a budget hotel in Pasay owned by the same people behind Selah Garden. Che (Magdalene Tolosa) is currently managing this hotel and from time to time, I get a free staycation courtesy of her. So here’s the long story, her friends were leaving Saturday morning (not sure where), but they have a booking at Selah Garden. They asked Che to use the room on their behalf, that’s why Che invited me. I asked her if it’s okay to take my brother with me as he has been staying at my house since the quarantine began and never had a chance to go out. She said that it’s cool so around 2:00 in the afternoon, bro and I left my place.
We were already riding a Grab car when Che messaged that her friend returned to Selah Garden due to a canceled flight. I replied that we were on our way already, should we turn back? She said that we would be staying at Selah Pods instead and advised that I change the destination on the Grab app. Now, this is the part that stressed me out a little bit. You see, the fare rate from my house to Selah Garden is 496 pesos, but if I change it to Selah Pods, the fare estimate hiked up considerably to around 600 pesos. I looked at my Grab wallet, the credit is not enough so I topped up. The whole process took longer than it should because the signal was bad. But when I tried to change the destination, the app says that the credit is not enough. I was like,If the new price is about 600 pesos shouldn’t they be asking for only 200 bucks? It was awfully frustrating that I seriously considered turning back.
The driver, sensing my frustration, suggested that once we reach the original destination, he’d end the trip then take us to Selah Pods. No need to rebook, we just have to check the Grab app to see how much the fare would be then I’d pay him in cash.
For some reason, the driver took the Bicutan route and we had to pass through a toll gate. I had to pay for this toll gate fee on top of the fare rate. Would it have killed him to inform me first that we’re passing through a toll gate? I was getting more and more stressed but I held it all in. When we reached Pasay, he ended the trip then I checked the Grab app to see how much it’d be to get us to Selah Pods, it’s 132. That’s definitely overpriced considering it didn’t take more than 10 minutes to reach the hotel. I didn’t want to worry about getting a cab anymore so I decided to just let the driver take us there. I had no loose change so I paid the driver a hundred bucks and fifty, fully expecting an 18-peso change because we agreed we’d base the fare on Grab’s rate, but no, the driver only gave me 10 bucks. That means I spent a total amount of 677 pesos from Pasig to Pasay for a trip that didn’t even take an hour. Oh, the stress!
That’s the end of the long story.
I messaged Che that we were already in the lobby, but she didn’t reply. We were there for half an hour, I waited until all guests have cleared up the front desk so I could ask the staff to call Che. There were a few uniformed personnel in the lobby, probably the police, and I wondered why they seemed like they’ve been put there on duty. Then I remembered that Selah Pods has been accepting people who need to be quarantined either from being COVID positive but asymptomatic or being a person under investigation (PUI). I should have been paranoid but I couldn’t be bothered. My brother and I were both wearing a mask and face shield anyway.
When the queue has cleared, I went up to the front desk and asked for Che. Turns out, my friend has already alerted them of my arrival so the receptionist just asked me to fill out a form that includes the standard contact tracing Q&A, e.g., are you feeling COVID symptoms, have you traveled out of Metro Manila. Then he gave me a card key to room 1006.
This, in fact, was the third time I’ve stayed at Selah Pods. I was supposed to blog about my first visit but it got buried under my procrastination. Hence, some photos that I’ve used here were taken from those previous visits.
We stayed at a standard double room with a window with a queen-size bed.
The room is very small, about a 12-square meter, but it has its own shower and toilet. It’s fitted with a flat TV screen, coffee and tea making facilities, mini-fridge, work desk, and a safety box. There’s a weird part of this room and that’s the sin; it’s outside the bathroom and is placed near the work desk. When you use it, you gotta be careful about splashing water everywhere.
The most unique feature of this hotel is the air/sky pods (hence the name, Selah Pods). They hang about the ceiling on the top floors. If you’re afraid of heights, it could be a little scary but it still makes for a memorable insta-worthy experience. I’ve had a chance to go into these air pods twice before and it was pretty awesome.
Other Selah Pods facilities that guests may enjoy are the lounge area with furniture made of Eco-friendly materials, the SkyBar restaurant, Ark Cafe, function hall, and the infinity swimming pool, which to this day I haven’t swum in because I never brought a swimsuit. If you’re curious, the swimming pool is not available for use for now.
I don’t have TV at home so my brother, who clearly missed it, spent the better part of our stay watching television. However, he only tuned in to a local network as the channel options are limited.
We didn’t meet Che until the next morning at the roof deck restaurant for brunch. She sat on a different table because she learned yesterday that a few people with whom she had a meeting recently tested COVID positive. She shared that she has been suffering from anxiety since the quarantine began and it has gotten worse lately. I suggested that maybe she needs to consult a therapist to help her deal with anxiety, she said that she is considering it but not sure where to find one when the pandemic is not yet over.
She also told me that our common friend, who is also my former supervisor at PSG, had COVID and just recently recovered from it. It wasn’t a mere case of being asymptomatic, apparently our friend were hospitalized for it and didn’t get to see her kids for a month or two. Having deleted my personal Facebook account years before, I stopped getting updates from most of my friends and acquaintances that I was really shocked to hear about this. I don’t think I know anyone who has ever contacted COVID until this one.
I immediately sent a text to our friend to ask how she’s been. She replied that she has fully recovered and is back to work. She didn’t provide much information and instead asked about my staycation at Selah Pods Hotel.
I wish we could have stayed longer but hotels don’t allow long staycations yet. It’s okay, I’ll take what I can get. While working from home has been good, it has also blurred the line between my professional and personal life. There were moments when I didn’t really know how to handle the stress anymore when it felt like I’m a prisoner in my own home. And so these little outings, give me some relief.
Selah Pods Hotel Contact Information
Address: 2004-224 David Street Corner FB Harrison, Pasay City 1305
Telephone number: +63-2-8962-67-96
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org