After deciding to attend the 17th International Hot Air Balloon Festival, we started looking for a reasonable place to stay in. And thanks to my friends, we found it at Prism Apartelle.
A first look may turn off the traveler used to white concrete and glass since the façade of Prism Apartelle is extremely colorful.
Being an apartelle means that you can cook inside the room as it is furnished with a kitchen sink and refrigerator to help budget conscious travelers save money by preparing their own food. A microwave oven can be used with the permission of the front desk for quick meals.
Prism Apartelle is not very far from Clark Air Force Base. It is close enough that you will pass through the perimeter road, or the street bordering the air base, to get to the apartelle.
Coming from Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway, or NLEX, get off the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, or SCTEX, and head in the direction of Clark. Once you get off the South Clark Exit, turn right at on Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, or DMIA, Gateway road.
Turn right on the NAIA Gateway and take this all the way to Manuel A. Roxas Highway. Turn right at the highway to enter Clark Air Force Base.
Remain on Manuel A. Roxas Highway while inside Clark Air Force Base and look for the Friendship Road Exit. This intersection will have a traffic light to allow you to make an orderly left turn.
Follow this road as it curves on back in the direction of Clark. When you get to the fork, take a left. This will take you to Don Juico Avenue, which is also known as the Perimeter Road.
Once on Don Juico Avenue go straight past the first main intersection, which is Fil-Am Friendship Highway. After this, slow down so you can turn right at Clark Avenue.
You will then find the colorful front of Prism Apartelle on your right.
Two rows of parking are available in front of the apartelle to fit sixteen vehicles in total.
There is a guard at the entrance of the apartelle who has a line of sight on all the parked vehicles, so you don’t need to worry about any thefts. However, I would still recommend that you lock all doors as a precaution.
The parking is bit covered so I suggest keeping all windows closed during your stay. Tempting as it may be to leave a small crack open to vent out hot air, your seats will end up being drenched if it rains.
I wasn’t exactly blown away by the front because it was extremely colorful. I guess I’m used to seeing a simple white frontage or something with native designs during my trips. It didn’t help that the power lines and cables were on this side of the street to make the front look cluttered.
But after spending some time looking up and down the street, the front actually grew on me. Instead of looking like it was haphazardly painted by a bunch of fifth graders, it looked playful and cheerful compared to the other buildings on Clark Avenue.
Once I got over the façade, I was pleasantly surprised by the rooms’ size and furnishings. Each room was furnished with a queen-sized bed, a couch for three, a dresser, and two night tables. There was also a split-type air conditioner near the ceiling, a flat screen television on a table in front of a wall, and refrigerator beside it.
And since the place is more of an apartelle, each room had a small dinner table with three chairs, and a kitchen sink. If you need a microwave oven to heat food, you can approach the front desk to borrow the one in their office.
Chopping and other food preparations can be done on the small table space beside the sink. Dry foodstuff can be stored in brown wooden cabinets overhead. There was even a bar to hang a kitchen towel directly above the sink.
The room’s lighting was quite good. It was bright without being harsh so you won’t end up with a headache from any glare.
The cheapest rooms are the ones on the ground floor, which have a walled off area in the back. If you have a house back in Manila, this can be compared to an open air laundry space. This is not a shared space since it is walled off so only the rooms on the ground floor have access to it.
This open room is perfect for to dry off stuff overnight. Things like salbabidas, or life savers, kick boards, and other inflatable pool toys can be scattered here. And though there is no place to hang wet clothes, you can leave them on your pool toys so they don’t gather dust. Not only that, but this is the perfect place for wet slippers and shoes so they don’t dampen the room with that pool smell.
I expected the bathroom to be tiny so it was quite a surprise that it was roomy.
The left side had a shower behind an aluminum partition. The shower head was big and had a heater built in to it. The water was hot and the pressure was strong even after several people used it in succession.
The right side was a wall of mirrors that hid cabinets behind them. Clothes can be hung on a bar on the left half and folded clothes can be neatly piled on a top shelf. The right half of the wall was dedicated to drawers and a modern safe.
The middle wall was devoted to the sink and toilet. Above the sink was a mirror and over the toilet was a metal shelf for towels.
I’ve been using the word apartelle quite a lot because the place is actually designed for people who like to cook their own food.
And since the rooms were furnished this way, there is no hotel kitchen to serve food. Yes, you heard that right; they do not cook or serve food here.
Now if you find that disappointing, you need to keep things in perspective. Remember that you are in Pampanga, a place that is known for its food. Eating food that you cooked yourself would be a travesty because you need to experience the delicacies the province has to offer.
In our case, we decided to have dinner at Bale Capampangan and eat lunch at Abe’s Farm. Both are great places to sample the local delicacies.
Now if you aren’t in the mood to drive out, the staff will be more than happy to assist you in getting food delivered. Just approach the front desk and they will provide you with a bunch of flyers of restaurants to choose from.
Even after a hearty buffet at Bale Capampangan, we succumbed to the temptation of ordering out and eating by the pool. Somehow eating on lounge chairs under the soft light of the moon makes even the lousiest fast food taste good.
Though the word prism conjures thoughts of a triangle, think of it as a rectangle with the longer sides being the rooms. One short side will be the entrance. The empty space in the center was where the pool was located.
At the far end, or the area farthest from the entrance, had a small, round bath tub. It had water jets shooting from the rim and bubbles being blown from underneath the water.
Since the pool is in the middle of the structure, it is perfect for summer. The only time the sun falls on swimmers is during noon when the sun is directly above. For the rest of the day, people get the opportunity to enjoy the cool waters all day long without having to worry about putting on sun block since the pool is shaded.
Unfortunately, when we were there, the cool rains were still fighting the warm summer weather. In fact, it actually poured as we went home so the temperature was cool throughout our stay.
You’d think this was a good thing as it was pleasantly cool to hang around the pool. But if you decide to get in the water, your teeth would be clattering in no time as it was freezing. Some of us adults braved the cold waters but the only ones that stayed in it were kids driven by their boundless energy.
The maximum use of space did make the area look a bit tight as there wasn’t much space between the door and the water. But one gets used to it after spending a couple of hours on the lounge chairs.
Other amenities include cable television that had a ton of channels to choose from. There was also Wi-Fi for those of who just can’t stay disconnected from the digital world.
We chose the cheapest room that included all the amenities I mentioned above for just PhP1,950. And since there was a promotion of 20% off, we just paid a little over PhP1,500 for an overnight stay!
My friends got a Studio with a Balcony Pool View. This is a slightly bigger room on the second floor for just PhP2,200. And when the 20% discount was applied, it just cost a little over PhP1,700. Not bad, not bad at all.
Other rooms include a Luxury Suite with Balcony and Pool View. Located on the second floor, it has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It also has a bathtub which comes in handy if you can’t handle the cold water in the pool. This room costs PhP4,500, which is very competitive.
The most expensive room is a Luxury Suite with Balcony. This has three rooms and three bathrooms for only PhP5,850. Actually, if you do a little computation, it is exactly the same as getting three Studio Deluxe rooms.
So why get separate rooms when you could all get one gigantic one that shares a common space for the same price? It’s no wonder this room get booked first.
Overall, the rates are one of the most reasonable I have come across is quite a while. I’d definitely consider going back when I am in Pampanga again.
Prism Apartelle is one of those big surprises. Just when I thought it would be a run-of-the-mill place from the outside, it turns things completely around from the inside.
The rooms are new, clean, and large. The furnishings go beyond the usual. And the bathrooms are roomy, with the water being hot and strong.
While the apartelle doesn’t offer food, guests have the option of cooking food within the privacy of their own rooms. But that doesn’t mean that if you don’t cook, you won’t eat. The staff is on hand with a list of restaurants that deliver with just a phone call.
The pool is inviting and designed in such a way that swimmers won’t be under the sun for most of the day. And while the pool area may feel a bit tight, it’s not claustrophobic.
So if you happen to be in Pampanga and are looking for a good place to stay at a very reasonable price, check out Prism Apartelle. You just may end up extending your stay.
|Studio Deluxe||PhP 1,950|
|Studio with Balcony Pool view||PhP 2,200|
|Studio Executive||PhP 2,500|
|Premium Suite 1 bedroom and 1 bath||PhP 2,900|
|Premium Suite with Balcom Pool view 1 bedroom and 2 baths||PhP 3,200|
|Luxury Suite with Balcony Pool view 2 bedrooms and 2 baths||PhP 4,500|
|Luxury Suite with Balcony Pool view 3 bedrooms and 3 baths||PhP 4,500|
|Addres||121 Clark Ave, Angeles City, Philippines|
|Telephone||+63 (45) 624-7248|
|Fax||+63 (2) 624-5158|
We would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Winefredo Rodriguez for helping us with our Pampanga itinerary.
We would like to thank Anything Under the Sun for contributing pictures and videos for this article.