Skip to main content

Missing Tagbilaran


It’s but normal that when you are somewhere else, you miss nothing but home.

I (together with 3 others) was facilitating a workshop for DISOP Philippines yesterday in Tacloban City and I was appalled by the striking contrast between private service providers (e.g. hotels, transport companies, etc.) in Tacloban and Tagbilaran. We arrived in Tacloban via Ormoc on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon. We were billeted at the conference resort, VicMar Beach Resort at Baybay, San Jose, Tacloban City and the moment we arrived at the venue, we went to the restaurant right away to order food as we were hungry.

The alfresco restaurant was located facing the beach, a stone throw across the reception desk. Three service ladies were watching TV when we got in. We sat down and they never minded us as if not a single soul arrived, though how noisy we were. It was only when I called them to ask if we could order food that they stopped their recreation time. (tsk, tsk, tsk).

While waiting for the food, I went to reception desk to ask for transport arrangements. I told them we need to be picked up by the van-for-hire at 530 pm the following day as I wanted to make sure we will be in Ormoc a night before our trip back to Cebu. They said it was already arranged, and we will pay P2000 directly to the driver. I also asked how much we will pay for our stay, and they said its P1000 per room per night, excluding food. It rained hard outside so I asked for an umbrella to go back to the restaurant, they said, they did not have one. (Tsk, tsk, tsk).

I was soaked in rain while eating pancit bihon and bread. I must be very hungry because I did not mind and the pancit tasted very good. After eating, I went again to the reception to ask when was buffet dinner scheduled for the night. They said at 9 pm, as the participants were still on field.

We worked from 5 to 9. At 9, I called the organizer if they have already eaten and he told me that all of them had, and that the service crew was already cleaning the tables. (Tsk, tsk, tsk). We were left with no choice but to brave the rain and go to nearest restaurant (around 12 minute-ride from the resort).

Tacloban City Convention Center, the one where we went was a gymnasium of some sort with resto bars in the ground floor area. When we arrived there, we surveyed the place and looked for a resto where we could possibly be served fast and found one with only a single table occupied. The place was nice and cozy so we liked it right away. We ordered for food but almost all that we liked in the menu were out of stock that we ended up eating what the service crew suggested (Tsk, tsk, tsk).

The training went well. The sessions were well appreciated. After saying a few goodbyes, we hurried to our rooms to pack. An associate settled our bills and we were told we had to pay P5200, because the rate was P1300 per person per night and that what the front desk told us was not right. Though the price was unbelievable, we paid. The manager told us that the cost of the room per night is P1000, and that the package rate of P1300 included P600 for the room and P700 for the 3 meals and 2 snacks. I objected, asking why we had to pay for the room at P1200 (as two of us were sharing a room) when its rate was only P1000. My associate was also objecting because what we ate did not deserve the P700. The manager only told us that the rate was 5 years old and nobody complained except us. Lousy excuse. (Tsk, tsk, tsk).

I passed by the front desk to ask for the phone number of Vanvans so that we can be picked up earlier. They said they do not have the number as the one arranging the transport was already off duty. I ended up looking for the number myself. (Tsk, tsk, tsk.). I called up Vanvans, they said they could not pick us up earlier but at 530. We were at the lobby at 5. The van did not arrive at 530. I called up Vanvans again. They said it will be around at 6. At 6, the van did not arrive. And they said it will arrive at 630. It was already too much. We cancelled the reservation. The organizer drove us to the bus terminal where we were able to get a van. We arrived in Ormoc safe and sound, but I was so disappointed.

At least in Tagbilaran, service restaurants charge you a good rate for your money’s value. At least in Bohol Tropics, there are available umbrellas when the rain is tough. At least Lugod Rent a Car, Varescon Taxi, or NF, honour your travel arrangements even when made through phone. At least conference package rates are reasonable when compared to the kind of service you get. At least hotel staff are helpful to get you the phone numbers that you need. At least waiters greet you with a smile when you enter a restaurant and not glue their eyes on the screen. At least most, if not all of the menu items are available for ordering. At least you get good and not misleading information when you ask people. Though the service may not be perfect, but at least, it came to a point that professionalism is part of the game.

Over the years, Tagbilaran service establishments have improved greatly. It should, if it wants to be a competitive tourism destination. I just hope that with development, some essential values remain the same – the willingness to help, the service with a smile, the walking the extra mile.

It’s the people that make a place, and not the other way around.

Comments

Unknown said…
welcome to tacloban miko. it was not the worst yet. hahahaha.
Anonymous said…
The coming of international standards will only improve Bohol.

We are doing our bit to promote Bohol Philippines. Please add your blog in our Bohol Directory.
Unknown said…
The service I received in Tagbilaran in Sept / Oct 2008 in the hotels, the restaurants and shops was always very good. Staff were always friendly and willing to help. A definite positive step towards international tourism.

Popular posts from this blog

4 Reasons Why Following Bishop Abet on FB is a Good Thing To Do in this Time of Crisis

I met Bishop Abet Uy for the first time online.
Some three years ago, at the suggestion of a good friend of mine, Fr. Harold Anthony Parilla, I sent Bishop Abet a direct message via FB messenger. He replied, within a day or two and told me how I could proceed with something I wanted to do.I did as was instructed, and some few weeks later, he sent me, via messenger again, a thank-you note.
Such tech-savviness impressed me, especially for a prelate his age. I was not surprised that some weeks later, I learned that the Bishop was using social media to spread God’s message, in very accessible terms. I also personally witnessed events he presided where online footprint was created almost in real-time (or at least a few hours after the event concluded), making us aware of where he was, what he was doing in building God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Currently, his various Facebook accounts have thousands of followers (Teba Yu has 11,744 followers, Abet Uy has 63,337, while the Bishop Abet page h…

5 Things To Love about Joseph Gara's Songs

- Full disclaimer here – I am a huge Joseph Gara fan.
I saw him for the first time in a wedding party of a dear friend, unmindfully singing as guests were entering the ballroom of a hotel. Apart from his guitar, he was his own prop, tucked neatly at one side of the stage, almost unseen as a massive bouquet of giant white lilies and carnations stood beside his guitar stand.Right there and then I thought that this guy would go places, because it was quite clear that he liked his music, and while he sang covers of popular acoustic ballads, he seemed to claim them as his own, making the music sound fresh, and the words as if they were freshly minted.
I am an avid spectator of his shows – at South Palms Resort,one of our favourite staycation spots in Bohol, where he seemed to be a regular; at the many weddings that he was contracted to serenade; at the many cultural events in the province where he was a part of or was the sole reason for its convening.I also follow his Spotify releases, his Y…

What is the Church's Business in the Dauis Renaissance Program?

Introduction

This paper presents an analysis, in financial perspective, of the details of the agreement entered into by parties 1) The Bishop of Tagbilaran, 2) Beatriz Susanna Zobel de Ayala, 3) Dauis Renaissance Company, Inc. and signed on June 24, 2008 in Dauis, Bohol, Philippines. As the agreement is vague in some respects, figure computations were interpreted on the basis of its implications to financial statements of the “Dauis Renaissance Company”, both currently and prospectively.

The paper is structured in three parts. The first section analyses the facts of the agreement and its implication on assets, equities, and net income projections. The relevant provisions of the agreement are cited side by side with the analysis. The second section represents the general independent appraisal of the author on the “Dauis Renaissance Company”, taking collectively all the facts mentioned in the first section. The annex section presents a list of important financial terms which are defined w…