Readers may recall that Marketman & Family did an “Ilocos sojourn” last summer and spent a night at Sitio Remedios. I wrote several posts about our stay, one looking at the positive sides of the resort, one detailing some fairly negative reactions to the stay, and one covering the meals we enjoyed there during our stay. The post entitled “Sitio Remedios, Part II: The Glass Half (or More) Empty” received a lot of reader attention, and many comments, mostly aghast at the issues detailed in the post. A few readers felt I was harsh on the hotel, but many felt I was objective or even possibly too kind to have stayed despite the issues raised. I wrote that review trying to be factual, and provided photos to prove it. At the time, Sitio Management obviously read the post, but did not respond directly other than to say they would try to improve.
Yesterday, I was pleased to read, Dr. Joven Cuanang, the owner of the resort, sent a lengthy comment detailing many of the improvements that they have done in the past few months, a lot of them addressing the issues I raised in my earlier post. Here is Dr. Cuanang’s comment in full:
“Dear readers, Happy new year to everyone. I am Dr. Joven cuanang and I would like to give you an update on the ongoings in sitio . As I posted in the blog last time, I really appreciate comments that are constructive because that is the only way to improve, thus we addressed the concerns one by one in the last two months prior to the coming of the guests last december. the bathroom in the big house were tiled to replace the cement flooring styled by an artist friend. We realized that it could look dirty coz the application of the material placed was uneven, so we did away with that. We assessed the other bathrooms and changed those which we thought needed to be tiled. The other houses where we thought the artist”s concept worked we kept. Hot and cold water is now available in the showers in all of the houses. One guest thought that the previous situation where the househelp asks whether one needed hot water at the end of the day ws charming. However the chill of December was thetipping point. We had the hot wter installed and I am glad I did as most of the guests in December appreciated it. So did I. The architect reviewed all the details that needed to be improved and That is all done. The perimeter fence is now properly coated with cement covering the Hollow=block look. The fence is properly topped and hope that all the cadena de amor we planted willcover it. The chapel is a working one as the parish priest comes to sy mass the last Sunday of every month. The community comes to hear mass and that is great coz it must be shared with the people who were there earlier than me. Besides their children who compose the choir, can now sing a full misa ilocana. The old people are now teaching the kids to sing the pasyon and that is great because this ritual must be passed on. A benevolent guest offerred togive tham a complete set of choir uniform and they are gaining a lot of confidence in their singing. They were invited to sing in the museo pambata but that will take sometime. We cleared the houses with some of my junk and placed the books in a small corner in the restaurant for those who maybe interested to read them I did not mean to impose my reading material to our guestsm andI apologize for that. The goat. My friends in Ilocos thought unthinkable for an Ilocano village not to have a goat. It is now outside the fence but dont be surprised if it loiters into the yard. I have commissioned a sculptor to make a pregnant goat that could be the mascot of sitio. Expect that in a few months. I am also asking Zac Sarian, the agri writer whocomes from Batac to advise me with the best breed of goat which we can milk and make goat cheese from. That will also give livelihood for the folks in the barrio when fish is scarce due to the overfishing in the high waters. We also have finished putting up a dormitory typoe of accomodation in a one story building with a twenty year old bougainvillea in front. The simple accomodations were all that we could offer a group of four religious brothers presiding over a fine manila university whopromised they will bring the whole congregation next time. It can accomodate ten males and ten females. We are updating our website and these will be described.
Needless to say, the feedback of the marketman is very much appreciated. We aim to become the best destination in Ilocos Norte for a restful and satisfying stay. My friends and my family who conceived of this madness that we are doing to showcase an Ilocos Norte experience the way we know it: towels made of inabel, bagnet, longganisa, puki-puki, tupig, miki, real honest to goodness pinakbet, katuray flower salad goats and goat meat and seaweeds– all will stay because we are proud of all of it. We discussed this with all our staff and we are all determined to make a difference in our small way.
Add: we have ordered egyptian cotton towels for those who will not like the roughness of abel towels, they are ready at the end of january, We have made available bathrobes for those coming out of the pool and the newly installed jacuzzi,made of inabel.We are going to install intercoms to the office from the houses and for those who wnt to have their wedding in this unique place, the chapel has been granted by the bishop that honor. Raymond the manager is
arranging a few weddings this year. The bishop says the priest can also officiate baptisms.
Thank you for your time and hope to see you in Sitio Remedios.”
It’s nice to see that the hotel owners/managers have responded to many of the issues raised in the earlier post. Constructive criticism can indeed yield positive results. I hope that the hotel will continue to improve and that future guests will find their stays increasingly more comfortable and good value for their money. Thank you Dr. Cuanang for taking the time to read through my posts and for taking positive steps to address many of the issues raised. I really appreciate it, but more than that, the many readers of this blog and any potential guests at your hotel who surf the net prior to booking a stay, will appreciate it as well.
This is an appropriate time for me to point out that when I write a review – good, middling, bad or scathing about a hotel stay or meal we have experienced, it is very much a personal opinion. However, I do try to document bad or scathing experiences with facts and photos. Folks who cringe at my posts that are less than positive, feel I breach the boundaries of more traditional “Pinoyness” (read, don’t be confrontational, don’t rock the boat) and to them I say, without someone pointing out legitimate issues or raising the bar, how will we ever improve? And this comment doesn’t just apply to Sitio Remedios, it applies to posts I have done on real estate companies, credit card companies, restaurants, hotels, airlines, etc. I am very happy to say that in almost ALL cases, management of the companies in question have taken note of the issues raised on this blog and in private letters sent to them, and have tried to respond in a manner that improves service that will yield benefits for hundreds if not thousands of other consumers. Credible and objective reviews often get the most results (or complaints grounded in FACT, not opinion)… and this is just another instance where my steadfastly holding to that belief is completely reinforced.