The rise in the number of blogs in recent years has given rise to one concern: how credible and authoritative are bloggers in writing about places and things to the point of recommending them to anybody googling the internet in search of so-and-so?
If I had my way, blog entries should come with a fine print: TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK, the disclaimer being that: everything written in a blog is based on the author’s subjective standards and tastes, and may not necessarily suit that of the reader’s. I might rave about a Lonely Planet hostel but it may not be for somebody like you who desires a plasma TV and a water bed, if you know what I mean.
The truth is, most bloggers feel they are the kings and queens of their domains even if they are not jaded world travellers or seasoned food critics. Hell, I would not even be able to tell it’s a 1968 Shiraz even if you shoved it to my face. It is not my fault if I landed on top of the search page when you googled “uncircumcised men” and “cheap motels in Manila.” These are the wonders of internet search engine results and do not necessarily reflect on my expertise on the subject.
Yes, the difference between newspaper writing and blogging is that most of the time, articles involving the former adhere to certain standards and are well thought about (or at least edited). Not unlike blogging where some entries are haphazardly written and quality is sacrificed for the sake of updating. I am still amazed that some bloggers can bloghop like a rabbit and treat the whole thing like some form of electoral campaign or popularity contest. The point here is that most bloggers just do it for fun. If you desire more substance, evaluate a blog for substance and if it fails you, better to look in the New York Times or something.
I am expressing my opinion on this matter because of what reader Jocelyn Neri experienced in Tahanan ni Aling Meding. Even though she was swayed to try this hotel because of the good things that were written about it in another blog, I still feel responsible because after all, I also had good things to say about Tahanan when I visited there last April. Here’s what she had to say:
“We would just like to share with you our unfortunate experience with Tahanan ni Aling Meding where we stayed overnight at room 203(the room they called Narra)
Taken by good reviews of the place, we decided to try it out in the hope of finding a nice place to recommend to our family and friends who may wish to visit us from Manila.
However, much to our disappointment, we felt shortchanged for an accommodation that delivered less of what was promised in their brochures and their website.
For starters, guests are supposedly given welcome drinks upon checking in. Yes, we were asked whether we want it in the lobby or sent up to our room…we chose that it be sent to our room. Need I say they weren’t sent? So when we went down for dinner, I jokingly pointed it out to the receptionist and she apologized saying they were busy with another function that night (UAP San Pablo chapter induction of officers) but promised to serve the drink to us the next day before we check out. Fine…like having been explained to that we are non-priority clients since they have a function to attend to that night was supposed to appease us!
Anyway, we were asked if we wanted to eat our dinner in our room veranda so we said ok…the dining place looked abandoned and gloomy anyway…BUT…you guessed it…about 10minutes into waiting for our food, an attendant knocks to say we can’t eat inside the room…well, ok…beats eating outside a veranda in full view of barong clad Architects to be inducted that night, anyway. So, we went down (3 floors down) and were served cold chopsuey (I specifically ordered this as per recommendation…it was not exceptional as expected and definetely not worth the waitâ€¦no trace of pork or clams were seen as opposed to what was shown in the brochure) and so-so inihaw na liempo (my mom’s version tasted better). We were asked for our drinks…I went for green tea and my husband ordered red tea. Again, the waiter came back to say they only have green tea. Haaah!!!! The “function” used up all the red iced tea and there was none left for us second class customers! Ok, then I asked about our welcome drinks…it was Tropicana…so we just retained we’d get that in the morning before checking out.
After dinner, with not much to do…we wanted to watch some TV…BUT…cable’s dead…network problems which they said should clear up in a few minutes…never did!
I was to take a pee and noticed, there was no toilet seat! Ahhh!!! Then I saw a large cockroach creeping inside the shower room! OMG!!!!! Where did that come from??
As I looked up the ceiling, part was broken and was haphazardly fixed by patching the hole up with some pieces of wood and cardboard…but you could still see the space between the ceiling and the roof…if you were the “praning” type, you would think someone could easily do a peeping tom on you while you’re doing your thing in the bathroom! Or worse, a rat could just jump on you!
So, we are stuck with no TV…and there’s this large fly (bangaw) that buzzed so loud I thought it was some big insect! We had to squish it so the sheets got soiled… we had to make do with the sheets of the smaller bed instead. (I must say though that the sheets are particularly nice…though there are stains on one pillow…and another smelled of roach!) Considering, we had a good night sleep.
We were looking forward to breakfast…the brochure boasted that thay serve brewed Batangas coffee and to me, that could well save the day. Well, we were served Cafe Puro instant coffee (i’m guessing since it’s not even Nescafe!) and when I asked if they have brewed coffee, the waiter apologized and said the coffeemakers broken.
I was sooo frustrated and was ready to take it up with the manager!
Check out time was 12nn so we made use of the remaining time to take pictures of the view (the place does command a nice view of the Sampaloc lake and Mt. Banahaw…such a pity)
When we were checking out, I jokingly reminded the receptionist of our welcome drinks…na goodbye drinks na…she asked…”Ay, di po ba na-serve? Sabi ko po i-serve sa inyo.” And you would think she’d go ask someone to get them for us? NO!!!! It was just left at that! Nakalimutan na…Fine.
There was this lady at the counter (I think she might be the manager) who asked where we’re from and I said we live nearby and just wanted to check out their place because of the good reviews I read in one blog. But I quickly added I never found them to be true. I explained to her how I expected the coffee to be brewed as it was stated in their brochure. Guess what she did? She took out a brochure and started scanning for the words that said we were entitled to free brewed coffee! Having seen none, she tells me so. OMG! I could not even begin to explain myself to her! It was the first time in my entire life to be treated as a seemingly clueless, stupid paying customer! Of course it need not be said! It was implied! It was stated as a come-on that they serve Batangas coffee! Was she telling me that as hotel guests, we are not entitled to brewed coffee? And it is only available upon request? To walk-in diners? Ganon ba kamahal ang brewed coffee at hindi pwede isama sa complimentary breakfast??? The waiterâ€™s broken coffeemaker alibi was better! At least he never made me feel I donâ€™t deserve the coffee! So I asked, (for lack of words to say to her unexpected response) and what about the complimentary drinks? Is it not written in your brochure??? She dismissed this question.
Anyway, I was fuming mad but I decided to hold my piece until I am composed with what I have to say. I decided expecting customers deserve to know about this more than anyone. I still can’t get over the fact that I did not speak my mind right there and then. I was just so taken aback by how i was treated as a customer that I was speechless! All I could say to her was that it was disappointing and it was not worth the price we had to pay! Does she really expect me to return? Or even recommend the place to friends???
The place is really nice…and the attendants are polite and would greet you with “goodmorning ma’ams”. But should you decide to stay for a night, make sure your stay won’t coincide with a function they are having…and make sure you bring books to read should the cable break down again…and don’t expect to be served everything the brochure promised.
Having said these, I hope the place’s admin and marketing people do something to improve their service and their marketing skills. We did not expect much from our stay…but we never expected less than what was promised! And having to be told you were wrong in assuming you deserve what was beautifully painted in that deceiving brochureâ€¦and your complaints be set aside on a technicality of wordsâ€¦ those are sure ways to lose your business.”
Dear Jocelyn, I did have a great experience with Tahanan ni Aling Meding when I went there last summer, so much so that I would like to go there again and recommended the place to all my friends.
I don’t know what’s happened. I did meet one of the owners, Mrs. Escriva, and the last time she told me she was scouting for a good managers after replacing the people who previously ran the place. The owners are based in the US, you see, and really need a reliable caretaker. I’ve forwarded your email to her but she hasn’t replied yet. Hopefully, Tahanan ni Aling Meding will get back on its feet soon.before it gets more flak that is. Regards. – Ajay