Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Surot in One Tagaytay Place

I’m recounting my encounters with “Surots” at Room 511 of One Tagaytay Place to let the management realize the gravity of this event.  There is no compensation for a ruined weekend and going through a sleepless night feeling paranoid that “Surots” will come crawling again.

I have previously stayed at One Tagaytay Place before around 3 years ago and had a satisfactory experience.  So when a friend graciously invited me to spend the night using his vouchers, I accepted his invitation.  Along with 5 friends and a 2 year old baby, we drove to One Tagaytay Place on the afternoon of August 24, 2013.  Check-in was uneventful.  We had two vouchers for two rooms on double occupancy, hence requested for two additional beds.  Everything seemed to be going well.  We retired at around 1 AM.  

Not actual picture, but so readers can
compare with the insect in the
At around 2:30 AM, I woke up with an itchy sensation on my finger.  I tried to go back to sleep and ignore my itchy finger but I started to itch all over.  I went to the bathroom for a closer look at my finger which now had a swollen bump similar to an insect bite.  I also had bumps on my nape.  I decided to check my bed for an insect and was shocked to see what appeared to be a “Surot”.  Using the hotel WIFI, we confirmed that these insects were indeed “Surot”, commonly found in crowded and unclean beds but should NEVER be seen in hotels such as One Tagaytay Place (video attached  Crawling Surot One Tagaytay Place ).

I killed the insect with my fingernail which excreted blood.  So I woke my two other friends and was horrified to see multiple blood engorged “Surot” crawling on the other bed (attached video Surot and Bloodstains in One Tagaytay Place).

I called up the front desk to report the problem.  After around 10 minutes, a housekeeping crew knocked and transferred us to the room across.  By that time it was already around 3 am, I tried to go to sleep but sleep didn’t come until around 5 am as I still felt very itchy all over.  I also worried that the bed also had more “Surots” in it.

After breakfast, we talked to the GM who expressed disbelief at the occurrence and mentioned that this was the first time that “Surot” was being reported.  He was nice enough and promised to look into the matter.  He also mentioned about waiving our incidental charges and “titingnan nya kung paano sya makakabawi for the inconvenience.”  The GM also mentioned that “Surots” may hitch a ride in bags.  We talked to the GM again inside the room and showed him the dead insects of which the GM replied that it was too big to be “Surot” and that “Surot” are invisible to the naked eye (are you kidding me?!). Around 30 minutes later, my friend, who owned the vouchers, talked to the GM who mentioned that he will waive the room charges.

So it was to my classmate’s surprise that during the checkout, the receptionist asked him how we would like to settle the room charges, cash or credit card?!  My classmate retorted that their GM had already mentioned waiving the room charges.  The receptionist, without further instruction from anyone, immediately replied by saying we had two options either to waive the 2 extra pax charge of 2.4K Pesos or the return of the vouchers.  If management was really sincere about assuaging our discomforts, then why would the receptionist go through with the farce of asking how we would like to settle the room charges?  We chose the first option as we had no intentions of returning to One Tagaytay Place.  To make it worse, when we were leaving, the receptionist asked my friend if we came from out of the country.  This last comment made us feel as if they are insinuating that we may have carried the “Surots” into the hotel.

The six of us are a group of businessmen and professionals and know that unexpected incidents do happen during the course of any enterprise.  Having guests being bitten in two Surot infested hotel beds should have sent the management of One Tagaytay Place scampering into full alert instead of this underwhelming response and insulting farce at the checkout desk.

We would have chosen the offered options without any further comments and would have let this matter pass.  BUT the receptionist’s dishonest ruse of asking us the manner of payment right on the onset convinced us that management is half hearted with dealing with the incident.  We are a group of reasonable travelers and the management of One Tagaytay Place had their chance last Sunday to quietly close this matter but the final deceptive act during the checkout left us with an itching responsibility to let the travelling public know about this experience.  To the owners and management of One Tagaytay Place, please clean up your act and please please CLEAN YOUR SUROT INFESTED BEDS!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Preservation of the Hookien Culture

In the Philippines, when people typically meet new Chinese friends, they tend to ask the same few questions.  One of which is "Why do the Chinese only marry their own race?"  I've been asked this same question several times and would usually give a decrepit response without giving much thought.

Traditional Glutinous Rice also known as Tikoy   
Due to circumstances, I’ve stayed home to help out my mom and consequently spend a lot more time with her.  Like the general Chinese culture, the Hookien or Fujian Chinese culture is ingrained with a lot of traditions, an amalgamation of ancestor worship, peasant practices, Taoist and Buddhist festivals.  Most of the customs aim to protect and prolong the family line.  Similar to the Hookien dialect, the practice of such traditions are done through word of mouth and are never taught in school.  Most of the traditions I know, I learned by observing how my mom did it. 

This brings us back to the question, “Why do Chinese parents prefer Chinese partners for their children?” I don’t think it’s a racial thing but rather a collective effort to preserve a cultural heritage.  Traditionally, sons are expected to learn how to earn a livelihood while daughters are expected to practice and preserve family traditions.  In a way, marrying a non-Chinese bride threatens a way of life and a cultural heritage preserved through the centuries. 

Both of my sisters in law are non-Chinese and are clueless about most Hookien practices and will probably remain to be so.  Since I’m the one usually home, it falls unto me to help my mom prepare for festivals.  A cultural heritage ultimately defines a person’s identity.  It would be such a pity if centuries of traditions just die out.  I do hope that regardless of gender, more Hookien Chinese would learn and preserve their culture.

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Year, new reasons to write

I have since taken a hiatus from updating my blog.  But a friend encouraged me to take it up again, so here I am.  My primary reason for starting a blog then was to air my distaste at the underhanded way that Dusit Hotel Manila managed its promotional vouchers sold through Cashcashpinoy.com.  It highlighted the fact that even though honesty is the best policy, even the largest names in the business community have chosen not to do so.  Merchants approach voucher websites primarily because they want to promote their products and services.  As a business graduate and an entrepreneur, I know that honesty and good value is the only way to build a loyal customer base.  Unfortunately, by shortchanging and sugarcoating lame deals, merchants and voucher websites achieve the exact opposite.

I do believe that good value without the hefty price tag can still be found in the Metro.  So for the New Year, I would try to write more about finding good eats in the City.  I still purchase voucher deals now and then, but not from Cashcashpinoy.com.  One of the common problems I encounter is the lack of solid and reliable reviews about certain merchants.  I would try my best to write about every deal that I try as a way of paying it forward to other blog writers who took the time to write an honest review.

So thank you and stay tune.