It was a last minute plan nevertheless we made sure that our accommodations are in place.I personally chose Ocean 101 Beach Resort since it was near Cloud9 and we were hoping to see a real surfing action.
Along with our friends/tour guide JR and Jenny and honeymooners Arnel and Nana, we hopped on the bus to Surigao for a 9PM trip last Friday(April 18, 2014).We arrived at 12 midnight and was accommodated by Sir Ricky Amores in his house.
Sir Ricky who owns a travel agency in Surigao suggested that for first timers we should do the island hopping for us to have an appreciation for the island. He suggested to call owner of Traveller's Pension House and avail of a pumpboat for the island hopping. JR called her up and introduced himself as JR from DOT(Department of Tourism)at 3AM and arranged for the pumpboat ride @ P 1,500 and we were offered a lunch package of P 170/pax to which we all agreed of availing.
The only available trip was that of Montenegro Shipping Lines which was a 5-hour trip. Good thing the accommodation was air conditioned so we were able to sleep and refuel ourselves for our island adventure!
It was raining when we arrived in the Port of Dapa but nothing can't stop us from being excited. Finally we were in Siargao!It was a dream come true!(At least for me that is) We need to make most of our time since it was just an overnight stay.We checked in our bags at Ocean101 and proceeded directly to boulevard for our scheduled island hopping.
We went to Naked, Daku and Guiyan Island. Naked Island is the best among the three for its super fine white sand and crystal clear waters!We finished our trip at around 3PM and freshened up at Ocean101 to prepare for our motorbike rides to catch surfers in action and try surfing if the available hours will allow it.
And this happened...
JR was furious and I don't blame him. The husband of the owner of Traveller's Pension House called him up and was very angry because we did not stay at their pension house.He told us that since we booked an island hopping package and lunch then it is ASSUMED that we will stay at their pension house specially because the one who called is from DOT.He said they reserved one room for us and denied other guests. He was shouting over the phone and he said, " Mga Jawa Kamo!!!" in English F*ck you. I'm not sure if that is the correct translation.
And he was not yet satisfied with that, he barged in at Ocean101 while we were having snacks and just chillin' and repeated his "Mga Jawa Kamo Performance" in his very loud voice. All along he THOUGHT that we did not pay for the island hopping and did not pay for lunch! And ended his speech with, "May lang mo manugo sa ako asawa!Wala mi nanginahanglan sa inyong kwarta!(Who are you to command my wife. We don't need your money!)And walked out on us without hearing our explaination. And I was like,WTH?!? Artista to?!?
My contentions to wit:
- The booking records of Ocean101 would show that we have made our reservations with them last Tuesday(April 15,2014) 3 Waterfront View Air-conditioned Rooms so there is no possible way that we have made reservations to be at Traveller's Pension House at exactly the same dates. Who are we Naruto?
- It was made very clear that we ONLY inquired about the island hopping package and never asked about the rooms.Even if JR is from DOT, you have no right to assume otherwise because we were clear with what we needed and of course we are not from DOT so why would we stay at your place. We have the right to choose our accommodations as long as we can afford it,right? Traveller's Pension if at all made reservations for us could have asked for the number of guests, length of stay, which accommodation,etc.I'm betting they don't have a single document which could prove that we booked with them. Nada!None!Wala!Puff!
- We paid P1500 for the island hopping package and P1,020 for lunch immediately after the tour. We gave it to Manong Bangkero and he told us he will remit it to owner of the Pension House.We had lunch together with Manong Bangkero. We even shared the fresh coconuts with them! The bangkero did not remit the money to owner and that is not our problem. The bangkero was their contact so I'm pretty sure they can vouch for his behavior.
- To make an assumption is making an ASS of U and ME. We've asked around and there was no written rule that when you avail of an island hopping package you should stay with the resort providing that service. It was a choice to be made by a PAYING CUSTOMER.So don't tell us of an unwritten code you made out of thin air.We belong to a thinking class so please don't treat us as if we are monkeys from the Paleolithic Era!(Sorry monkeys just emphasizing a point)
- And make the owner come and fight her battles and not you Mister because you don't have all the details, your accusations have not been verified and you don't have manners.
It was a simple case of mis-communication but the husband of the owner was utterly rude and highly unprofessional and very bastos with how he handled the situation.
We are professionals too. We are not in the business of fooling anyone at the expense of another. Unless you are our parent then you have no right to shout at us and treat us like shit in a public place.Oh wait even our parents won't do that to us.
I will never regret choosing Ocean101 over your pension house. And mind you Sir, you belong in the service industry. We called your wife to avail of your service and paid for it. We did not just gave her an errand.So stop accusing us when you don't have the facts to prove it. We RESPECT people even if we don't know who they are and what their backgrounds maybe.
And since YOU CLEARLY STATED THAT YOU DON'T NEED OUR MONEY, I'll make sure to spread the word to our friends, to the friends of our friends, to the owner of the travel agency who recommended your services. Hope this gets to your Governor whom I've heard is pushing for the enhancement of your island being a tourism destination. If that's how you define Siargao hospitality then I'd gladly chose Boracay any time of the day.
I have high respects for his driver and their cook who spoke with diplomacy and listened to our side of the story. Because the owner did not listened to us anymore, we just apologized profusely to his driver and the cook. We explained everything clearly and I guess if both parties would have listened then there was no need for shouting and cursing.
Have we been foreigners I suppose we could have been treated better. But even if we look ordinary and poor, I believe we deserve the RESPECT any paying customer deserves.
Friends,I cannot stop you from going to Siargao because YES it is very nice place and a laid back one fit for rest and relaxation. But please make sure that you have clearly made your reservations beforehand and inquire of specific policies which might affect your reservations.
During the heated argument,we have made our apologies to the owner over the phone and in person for the mis-communication and yet somehow our explanation was not given due credit. Hence, I wrote about our experience here so that others may hear about it and come to understand.