When we reached Subic Bay and realized we weren’t going to find an accommodation in Subic, we had to find articles on where to stay in Bataan. It had been in our original plans to go through Bataan because we wanted to visit Mt. Samat and go through the historical marks around the place, but we expected it to happen on Sunday, or at least on our way home.
After having lunch at Subic, instead of finding a hotel, we ended up going straight to Bataan where we were lucky enough to find availability at La Primera Playa. The room was P4000, but my dad was tired and we wanted to rest too before my parents changed their minds and decide to go straight home which was only another 3 more hours away.
We got lost a bit finding our way to La Primera Playa because they didn’t have posters on the main road like other accommodations in Bataan. When we finally arrived at La Primera Playa, I was actually satisfied with the place.
La Primera Playa is a white, 2 storey apartment style hotel with a small space for parking and a nice pool visible from the parking lot. They had no proper front desk, just small room that had a desk and a chair and it looked more like a stockroom than a front desk. The staffs of the hotel were quite young; in fact, they looked like OJTs to me. When we inquired about our room, they said it was in the other side, their extension resort which was only about 2 minutes walk away from the main resort – or so they said. Since we don’t know where their extension hotel was, we asked the girl at the front desk for directions. She said it was just visible around the corner and that she’d have someone that could show us where we were supposed to go. We agreed and she introduced us to a young boy *(also too young) and said the man would show us to the extension.
It had been an unsaid courtesy that when someone is just showing your family around in a hotel (as in the case of our time at Batis Aramin), the staff would refuse to ride in the car with us and will walk the way, or, out of respect, wait to be invited into the car.
However, my eyebrow rose when I opened the door to get inside, he made a sudden gesture that immediately meant he was going to ride in the car with us. To avoid further embarrassment from both of us, I opened the back door (which was the only free space, because there were already 4 of us at the second row) for him to climb in. I like to look at everything positively, so I dismissed this.
What they said was a 2 minute walk from the main hotel was about a 5 minute drive from the main hotel. When we parked in front of their extension hotel, I was already feeling a major sense of disappointment. During the ride, I was asking the boy more about Bataan and about La Primera Playa, their pool, their corkage fees, the rooms and the rates. He knew nothing. I mean, literally. His answer was – “ewan ko po, extra lang po ako jan” which in translation was “I have no idea, I’m just an extra.” He repeated this after every question and it was getting really offending for me as a guest.
Our car had pulled into a nice parking lot. The width of the lot was large enough and it was cemented. However, one look at the whole establishment and I was already disappointed. I wasn’t the only one. I had my lips tight before I could really make any comments, but I was already bent on finding another place to stay even if I knew my dad was getting pissed already at me as he was just looking forward to sleeping.
The extension of La Primera Playa wasn’t a resort. In fact, it looked like any ordinary house that was just on its way to being built with materials, cement and even hung clothes along the uncemented half of the property opposite to the main areas with the rooms. There was no gate around the extension hotel and no front desk. The establishment was painted white and it looked really new. Each room was hoisted on stairs along two columns and two rooms in every row, divided by a main corridor. Between a few rows of rooms was a set of toilets in portable styles and as I passed through one of them, a staff was cleaning the toilet. It wasn’t a sight to see and even if the beds, sheets and the room was undoubtedly brand new, it was also clear how unfurnished this side of the resort was.
I walked all the way across the hall into the beach area where there were a set of tables and benches for picnickers.
Except for the nice beach front, nothing impressed me. I walked back to my family and the staff (again, very young, clueless women) who was showing my family our room. Before I could climb the short steps up to my room, I was already very distracted by the very visible storage area located right in front of our room. There were paint cans, brushes, old rags, cement, wood and other materials that nobody would miss. That was the last straw. I wasn’t going to pay P4000 for a room that looked part of a storage area.
I took a quick look at the room. It was very ordinary and small with white sheets, small bathroom, two double beds, small television hoisted above and an air con. No tables, chairs, no refrigerator.
Did I mention there were additional fees for extra person? Because there are 6 of us, we were going to pay an extra P500 as well as corkage fees for food and drinks. WTF? I also asked them about the security of the resort as unlike most other resorts in the area, the extension resort of La Primera had no gates, no security desks, no guard wandering around. The young staff answered – “May dalawang babae naman na nakabantay dun,” pointing to the entrance of the hall where two young women, both probably younger than I am, sitting on chairs and chitchatting. I wanted to do that jaw dropping scene on television because I really couldn’t believe I just heard that. These girls didn’t seem capable of protecting me more than I could protect myself.
I found a better accommodation after about 10 – 20 minutes of walking around the area but unfortunately, my mom had paid the downpayment of P2000 as they required a downpayment before checking in. We talked to their again, very clueless staff to ask if we could have the downpayment back as it hasn’t been more than 5 minutes after my mom paid. According to their staff, it was against their policies to refund. We talked to their boss, Mr. Pineda and we explained that we had another accommodation lined up and because we didn’t feel secure in their hotel, we asked if we could get our refund back. He said he could only give back P1000. My mom agreed, although grudgingly and requested from the staff a receipt of the downpayment. They said okay and promised to give us our receipt and bring it to us in our new accommodation.
They didn’t. We didn’t get a receipt, we didn’t get an apology and the inexperienced staff and their ignorance was not just annoying but very offensive. They didn’t even know how to get around Bataan or about the island hopping in Bataan that we had to find out from the boatmen.
We were bound to pay P4500 for a less than average room with no amenities, no security, and no customer service and if we pushed through, we would have lost money for additional corkage and for the amount of services we were getting out of the resort.
*This is not a hate post. I have nothing against these young women and men. However, if they were to work in a hotel or resort, they should be prepared to provide the customer service they are being paid for and that includes answering questions, learning things about the hotel and the area and being polite to the guests. Trust me, there is a difference between being polite and being ignorant. I believe when you work for a hotel, you have to actually work for the hotel, meaning you are representing the hotel. These women, once we were complaining, were more like excusing themselves for working there rather than explaining the actual situation. It was very, very, very disappointing.*
So, my overall rate for this resort is 1/5 and if you’re looking for resorts in Bataan, I do not recommend La Primera Playa especially when you’re assigned to their extension resort.
You may notice my lack of pictures. I was so intent on leaving the hotel that I didn’t have time to take pictures of the horrid surroundings. I sincerely do hope that they fix this resort and decide to train their employees.
Here are other hotels in Bataan you can try.