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Inside Poblacion’s Art-Filled Hotel

See how Jodinand Aguillon infused Havitat’s rooms with unrestricted visuals by local artists, found objects and second hand furniture


Conveniently located in between Rockwell’s polished confines and Poblacion’s vibrant nightlife, Havitat Boutique Hotel entices guests seeking an authentic piece of the Filipino art scene. Havitat tapped a pioneer of Poblacion’s creative community and founder of Glorious Dias, Jodinand Aguillon to curate the rooms.


Passerby may get a glimpse of the lobby and immediately recognize Dex Fernandez’s Garapata on the wall and ceiling. The 26-room hotel boasts of having no two rooms alike with some rooms bearing murals from young artists such as Nelz Yumul, founder of Wee Will Doodle, Elle Batung, Ginoe Ojoy and Chelseigh Nofiel aka Alaga. “With Dex and Wee Will Doodle, I thought their styles were a fun fit for Havitat; Garapata and street art ‘taking over’ the spaces,” Aguillon shares.


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Murals by Dex Fernandez adorn the walls of Havitat Boutique Hotel | Jar Concengco
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Their Loft Room features a mural of tropical flora and fauna against a deep red by Chesleigh Nofiel. Elle Battung’s mural uses pinks and oranges and shapes to portray plants overlooking a crescent moon. Ginoe Ojoy’s murals takes cutouts of maps with ornate hearts silk screened on them and pasted on the wall. Aguillon was intentional in choosing which artists to work with. “I wanted to also bring in artists not from Makati like Elle (Laguna), Chesleigh (Cavite) and Ginoe (Silay), perhaps giving guests a little taste of the creative communities that make other destinations worth exploring.”


He continues, “Hotel room art can often feel generic or like an afterthought. It was fun to introduce unrestricted visuals to such intimate spaces.”


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Loft room with tropical flora and fauna art work by Chesleigh Nofiel. | Jar Concengco


Jay Magsaysay, CEO of Goodnight Inc. - which Havitat Boutique Hotel is part of - likens the rooms to a familiar coziness guests search for. “It’s your own living sanctuary that emphasizes our Filipino culture in a different way. If you notice in our rooms we have wooden and rattan furniture. Even the hangings on the walls are very Filipino and you have the murals of our artists that gives you a Filipino vibe with a twist.”


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Jay Magsaysay, CEO of Goodnight, Inc., owners and operators of Havitat Boutique Hotel. | Jar Concengco


The spaces’ use of found objects and secondhand furniture add warmth and story to the rooms. “My instincts often lead me to repurpose what’s on hand and incorporate found or vintage items. There’s a spicy mix of old and new within Havitat and it’s these little touches of one-of-a-kind peppered throughout that add personality to the rooms. At the forefront however, I wanted to highlight LOCAL - locally made wares like the reworked bottle lamps by @annexhousemanila and the works of local artists embracing the walls as a ‘welcome home’ for guests,” Aguillon explains.


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Magsaysay agrees that the use of art and vintage pieces gives the hotel an advantage over business hotels. “When you stay at a business hotel it’s cold and there’s no personality. All the rooms are the same. People who enjoy something different will love it here. It’s like staying at a guest room of a family’s home. You have that comfort level.”


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Vestibule of Executive Suite decorated with found objects and Filipino motifs. | Jar Concengco


Every room is also equipped modern touches such as a B Coffee Machine and an Alexa powered intercom (you can easily ask Alexa to connect you to the Front Desk for instance). On the premises, guests can dine at Lunes - a restaurant that gives Filipino dishes a fresh twist. Dear Adam Sweet Lucy is a cafe by day and cocktail lounge by night. Guests at Havitat enjoy a 10% discount at both of these establishments. Of course, for those who want to explore the neighborhood a bit, With Meraki Caffeteria is a short walk away for delicious salads that can help unblock certain chakras. Art gallery and restobar Kondwi is also in close proximity for a tasty bites and cocktails.


“It’s the locals that make a destination worth coming back to. It’s the creative communities that make any place feel like home,” Aguillon states. 


Photographs by Jar Concengco