A Good Hostel in Cebu, Philippines 🇵🇭

Fitness, fun, food, and travel… It’s what my blog and my Instagram account (Tiffany_The_Happy_RD) are all about. I don’t always get to fuse all components though but today I can.
I found a hostel on Cebu. Somebody on one of my FB travel groups actually recommended it. I was interested in the “private beach.” Not having to walk somewhere for the main reason you visit an island is a convenience. Nordzee Hostel is located in Boljoon, along the east coast of Cebu. It takes about 3 hours to get there from Cebu City, depending on traffic. The bus ride costs about $2.50 from the South Bus Terminal. The hostel has its own private beach and the selling point for me was one of the Booking.com reviews: “The best western food on the island.” I was sold, looking for a break from rice and noodles these days.


I checked into my 6 bed dorm with a private balcony and met another traveler. We went down to the restaurant on premises for a late lunch. There were some western style offerings on the menu: chicken salad, pizza, calzone, pasta, and a few other things. Chicken salad it was. Sometimes I’m just so thankful for some raw, fresh chopped vegetables and some lean protein.
I was excited to see some makeshift workout equipment. There was a wooden bench and a homemade rack that held some homemade dumbbells. They, along with a couple of bar bells were made with a simple metal bar with concrete moulds at each one. A smaller one was a water bottle, and the largest appeared to be from a planter. Ingenious and fairly functional.

Homemade Gym equipment
Homemade Gym equipment.

I hooked my TRX up to a tree and ended up working out all three days that I was there.

TRX in paradise!
TRX in paradise!

The hostel also rents snorkel equipment, has a small pool, cushioned beach loungers, a beach side bar, and hammocks, none of which I really used (sadly). Unfortunately, most of my time in Cebu was met with rain, apparently from a typhoon that was headed towards Japan.

Cebu, Philippines during the rain
Cloudy skies and rainy days. Balcony view.

I attempted to visit Kawasan Falls, but by the time I arrived, they were closed due to high water levels. I’d taken the local bus so at least I didn’t spend a lot of money, but it really felt like a waste of a day.

Near Kawasan Falls
The walkway to Kawasan Falls, Just before I was told they were closed.

The other thing to do on Cebu is go swimming with the whale sharks, the biggest shark there is, yet like manta rays, they are very docile and gentle animals. I opted to skip this excursion as I heard it’s quite “unethical,” but I’m regretting it so! I love large see creatures so this was my chance to see them up close and personal. They do get fed, which messes up migratory patterns, but you’re not allowed to swim after or touch them. There are steep fines and you could even end up in jail. So while feeding them isn’t best practice, the sharks are protected to an extent.
Unfortunately, my time in Cebu was short and wet. I didn’t end up doing anything the island is known for but at least I found a hostel with some decent food (although, I will say it was a bit pricey but at least serving sizes were decent). I was able to workout with a beautiful backdrop despite the gloom, and I got to see a lot of the island considering all of the bus rides I took.
If you’re looking for a chill place to stay on Cebu, check out Nordzee. The beds are adequately comfortable, there’s plenty of areas to relax on the property, and you can even get in a workout in a really beautiful setting. And of course, when the weather is nice, you can go swimming and snorkeling in the Bohol Sea. Oh, and they have a Pet turkey and a few chickens that hang out!!

If you go, let me know because I ended up taking my room key with me! 😂

Hotel Fitness Centers

Did you know there are over 1 million luxury hotels in Bangkok?!  I made up that statistic, but it really seems possible, they are everywhere, and that’s not including the cheaper hotels and hostels that cover the city.  I recently read somewhere that Bangkok was the most visited city in the world in 2016 and with all those people coming and going, the staff at large luxury hotels can’t possibly know all their guests, right?  With that in mind, I’ve been experimenting with “crashing” some hotel fitness centers and pools, and it works.

It first started at the Sofitel. Another traveler gave me a day pass to use the amenities on their 10th floor spa area overlooking Lumpini Park. When we arrived, nobody asked for the passes (given by the MOD the night before). I used the fitness area and spent the afternoon by the infinity pool. Not a bad way to spend the day when you can’t walk much! I then went to the Grand Sheraton because I know somebody who stays there. I asked if I could sit by the pool, so he walked me over and I stayed, lounging on a chair under the natural trees, a little oasis in the heart of Bangkok.

Doing what I can when it comes to lifting.

I went back to the Sofitel, feeling “safe” that I still had the guest pass, and again, no questions asked.  I worked out, swam laps, and showered in their immaculate facility with shiny off white marble like floors. Because that visit was a success, I decided to be a little more adventurous. I hit up the JW Marriott, just across from my hostel. I did some recon and was directed to the pool. The staff even opened the doors for me.  I did order a salad so as to not draw any attention to the fact that I was ultimately stealing real estate there. For the price I paid, it’s worth it because you cannot get a one day pass to a fitness center here in the city, much less one with a pool that’s within walking distance to me.

This is how I “paid” for my day at the Marriott- a huge Cobb Salad.

I love the pool and ambiance at the Sofitel, but I have to take a taxi there, so that costs me a few bhat. The fitness center is definitely doable with a variety of machines and free weights, but I have to say, the JW Marriott wins in that regard. It has more equipment than many small gyms and for my purposes, it is very practical.  The pool area is set up to look like a garden and doesn’t offer the views that the Sofitel does, but hey, swimming is swimming and I need it! The Pool at the Sheraton is quite nice too, but I didn’t go to their fitness center, it is on a different floor.

The pool at the Sheraton surrounded by a well manicured garden.

For now, it’s fun crashing hotel fitness centers and pools, and it saves money! If I were to stay in Bangkok longer, however, I’d pay for a gym membership. In the meantime, it is a good tactic to get in some exercise while traveling and I definitely love being able to lift weights! Do you have any stories of sneaking into hotels? Any attempts gone wrong?

Working one leg on the quad extension at the JW Marriott.

Work Flow Fusion


The Gym Crew in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I wrote this blog post on December 22, 2016. It’s January 22, 2017. Exactly one month later and I never posted it. How ironic. Now I need to follow up on this topic!

I’ve been on the road for over 5.5 months and I’m not planning on coming home anytime soon. I want to find a way to generate income while I travel and although I’ve done some freelance writing, it doesn’t generate much income. I have a few things in the works, but I have ideas, and hopes… Hopes that the perfect opportunity or something like that will fall into my lap. I feel like I could market myself here in Thailand as someone who works in wellness to the resorts and spas and whatnot, but I don’t want to commit myself to staying put in any one place for too long.

Does this mean to repackage your weights?

I’ve wanted to fuse travel, fitness, and components of a healthy lifestyle into one, but I don’t know how. My blog doesn’t get much traffic (and I don’t keep up with it), people don’t engage much on my FB fitness page, and I don’t have a large enough following on IG to have an impact on that form of social media.

The owner of a small gym in Ulan Batar, Mongolia.

How do I market myself as a traveling RD? How can I appeal to different companies for sponsorship in exchange for social media postings, reviews, and write ups? For example, I’d love to get a free nights stay in a hotel, workout in the fitness facility, and blog about it. There has to be an interest out there and this is just one example. Gym reviews… I’ve worked out all over so far- China, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand…

Body weight workout in the Gobi Desert.

I met a woman last night at the hotel restaurant. She recognized my American accent and we got to talking. Shortly after I left with another group to go get dinner. When I got back, I wanted to go hangout in my room, but it was pretty early. I stopped by the restaurant, the American couple was still there, but kept walking past. Finally I turned around and joined them. We shared stories and told them why and how I ended up doing what I’m doing. She told me her sister has a website and blog related to fitness. She said large companies like Nike and Adidas pick up the articles and publish them- the contributors get paid. She said she’d connect me. Fitness from all corners of the globe! Just what I want to do! Is this even real? I’d say it sounds too good to be true, or too impossible, but I almost went back to my room so maybe there’s a reason I turned back! I really want to go further with my travel endeavors, not only travel, but do something more with it… Any ideas? Connections? Recommendations? I’ve always had the travel bug and now I do it and feel like

Hitting the weights at Elite Gm, on Ko Samui in Thailand.

I can’t ever give it up!
Help me!