How to Choose the Right Seaman’s Boarding House

by | Last updated Nov 24, 2023 | How-to Guide | 0 comments

Seamen from different provinces usually stay in boarding houses or seaman’s boarding house dormitories when reporting to their offices.

When it comes to choosing a boarding house, I always go for the amenities in relation to the rate they charge.

Experience tells me that expensive doesn’t always mean the best, and cheap, the worst service. I have found affordable boarding houses with better facilities than the more costly ones.

Here are the things that I’m always looking out for when choosing a boarding house to stay in the city.

Seaman’s Boarding House Tips

1. Affordable

If you are a bit tight on your budget because of training, certifications, and a long, uncertain vacation, you may want to opt for an affordable boarding house.

In my experience, the most cost-friendly boarding house is priced at Php4,000.00 a month all in. Per day basis is at Php150.00

The facility may include an air-conditioned room from 6 pm to 6 am with most amenities mentioned here.

2. FREE High-Speed Wi-Fi Internet Connection.

Having a strong and free Wi-Fi connection creates enormous savings on your phone bills.

Calls, texts, chats, games, payments, and many others can be done over the internet so pick a boarding house that offers 27/high-speed internet for free.

I find this helpful in getting my COP through MISMO, and NBI clearance as well as browsing the internet for fun and information.

3. No Bed Bugs.

Bed bugs, rats, cockroaches, and other insects are signs of uncleanness. They carry and spread certain diseases so be very particular when choosing a bed space.

4. Exclusive for Seamen.

It is recommendable to be in a seaman’s dorm or boarding house exclusively for seafarers.

Everyone can relate and share the latest news within the maritime industry. You can ask fellow boarders for tips on training centers, urgent hirings, yellow fever applications licensure exams, MISMO, passport, latest seafaring news, seaman’s book, etc.

5. Air-conditioned.

Day or night, cities are usually hot, especially in summer. However, there are air-conditioned rooms which fit your budget.

If you are in training centers from 8am to 5pm, a twelve-hour aircon schedule may be suitable for you. The air-conditioner will be activated from 6pm to 6am- which is most important for a comfortable sleep.

You won’t be around the room the whole day since you’re in training or review centers.

A white air-conditioner installed on the wall.

6. Enough Toilets and Sinks.

As a rule of thumb, there should be 1 toilet and sink for every 10 to 15 persons. However, if the occupants jump between 36 to 55, there must be at least 4 toilets.

It should be functional, without clogs, and always maintained.

7. FREE 24/7 Water and Electricity.

These are very important for our day-to-day living. Paying less for a boarding house but suffering water shortage is an inconvenience you don’t want to have.

However, paying more but having these issues is a disaster.

Immediately pack up and find a better seaman’s boarding house.

8. No Curfew.

Some of us like to enjoy the nightlife of the city. Concerts, overnight gigs, and early morning travels can’t be avoided.

Having a curfew in your boarding house limits your freedom of movement especially if you’re attending seminars with heavy traffic between each destination.

9. Disciplined Borders.

Back in the day, I was in a boarding house where gambling and smoking were promoted. Some months before I came there, the place was raided by police forces due to reports of illegal drugs.

This is a total red flag so before checking in a boarding house, ask the owner or boarders about smoking, drinking, and gambling house rules.

10. Refunds and Come-Backs.

Unfortunately, seafarers mostly don’t have exact clues about how long they’re going to stay in the city.

With this, it’s best to go to a boarding house where you’re refunded when under-staying. If they don’t have any refund policy, they should at least preserve your payment until the time of your return.

I have been in a boarding house where some of the seafarers are very close to the owners and when they are financially constrained, they are able to extend payments until they get on board.
They told me that they had known the owner for more than five years and were a regular at that place.

11. FREE Drinking Water.

I myself like to drink water, especially during sunny days and scheduled PEME exams.

However, there would be times when my mineral bottle would run out in the middle of the night.

Going out just to buy drinking water may destroy your sleep’s momentum. Thus, it’s best when your boarding house is offering free potable water.

It helps save your money, too.

12. Safe and Accessible.

Seamen are mostly busy during the day. Your boarding house should be near your training center, MARINA, malls, company offices, or any places of interest.

If they’re not within walking distance, they should be at least accessible by transport systems like jeepneys, trains, buses, taxis, etc.

It should also be safe and well-lit, especially during the night.

There are lots of boarding house near Kalaw Street, Manila.
There are lots of boarding houses near Kalaw Street, Manila. You must choose the right one for you.

13. Clean and Well-maintained.

We are always looking forward to passing our seaman’s medical exam. However, having a dirty boarding house could be a factor in your failure.

Your rooms and all the facilities should be cleaned regularly with at least one general cleaning every week with minor touch-ups before it.

The management must also provide clean replacements of old bedding free of charge.

14. With Own Locker.

Some things are used regularly and are better placed in a locker with a locking mechanism.

Toothbrush, perfumes, gel, shampoo, and many personal effects can be stored there.

This frees up your bed from those small stuffs that can be safely placed somewhere.

If you are an owner who wants to promote your boarding house offering these facilities, kindly send me a message through my Facebook Page. You can also send me an email at

15. Recreational Facilities.

Other seaman’s dorm in Manila offers a gym, TV rooms, internet rooms, study rooms, gym and many other recreational facilities.

Some on the other hand have guitars free to use for their boarders.

Your boarding house should have these kinds of amenities where boarders and owners can freely interact.

16. Cooking Possible.

Spaces for seafarers are often filled with fun when a cooking facility is offered. It helps create a stronger bond between boarders who never knew each other in the first place.

It’s also a good way to save money instead of buying food directly from “karenderia”.

The best part is when an offsigner decides to share his blessing and buys food for the whole boarders!

17. Laundry Facility.

Doing your laundry is also a good way to save money. If you prefer to wash your own clothes, your boarding house should have this facility offered for free.

Otherwise, there are laundry shops in the metro that do that for you in less than 3 hours.

18. Friendly and Decent Staffs

The staff running the boarding house must be accommodating and hospitable.

I had a bad experience with one of the boarding houses I ran into. The criteria mentioned here were mostly met. However, one of the keepers started telling sad stories about her family.

Soon, she started borrowing money from me. Then I found out that she also borrowed some more from my roommates.

I never returned to that place after finishing my stay.

A room staff in a boarding house wearing her clean uniform.

19. CCTV Enabled.

CCTV promotes security and deters future security threats. It is good to have your boarding space equipped with such.

However, this is really not one of the best on my list. Rooms are mostly not installed with cameras due to privacy reasons.

As long as you secure your precious belongings with locks, they won’t get easily stolen.

20. Seamen’s Room Should Be Spacious.

One of the main reasons I don’t return to a boarding house or seaman’s dorm for a second or third stay is overcrowding.

When you bump into each other more often or you can’t bend your body without hitting something, then your boarding house is overcrowded.

If a one-bed spacer gets a cough, COVID-19, cold, flu, or other airborne illness, overcrowding may easily spread to others.

Hope this helps in choosing your next boarding house for seafarers. With the aid of social media today, it’s easy to ask the owners if they offer these amenities.

Price is also crucial especially if you’re planning to stay for quite some time in the city, especially for new grads applying to shipping agencies. Some if not, all of these can be met at very reasonable rates.

May the winds be in your favor.



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