arriving at the New Bacolod Silay Airport
It was a month ago when we went to Bacolod. I'm not really into crowds so I made sure that we go there at least a month before the very noisy and crowded Masskara Festival (which is actually this weekend!). My friends Koryn and Joan were inviting me to go in October but big celebrations are just no longer my kind of fun. I guess it ended on that trip we had for the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio back in 2007. I may have developed agoraphobia since then coz big, noisy crowds tend to scare me now. That and the many pickpockets, disease you could pick up along the way, etc. LOL!
view of Bacolod from the clouds
Anyway, September was perfect. It wasn't as rainy nor as stormy as October and Bacolod was looking very quiet and quaint. Arriving there felt like I went back into time with the many old houses that lined up Silay City.
This one above is the "pink house" actually, which we visited the next day
Our flight was at 5am so by 6am we were already in Bacolod Airport. It was actually our second time there. But the first time was when we went to Guimaras via Bacolod so that doesn't really count.
The driver of the FX we rode tricked us into thinking that Saltimboca Inn is far from the main road of Lacson when it fact it's just a few feet away from it.
Outside the airport, there were cab agents who would approach passengers asking them to ride their cab or their van. We were thinking of commuting our way out (like riding jeepneys or tricycles to save on fare) but hearing them say it only costs Php100 per person and we would be riding an FX was good enough for me. I clarified this a few times with the cab agent and she said yes. It took us about half an hour from Silay airport to reach Saltimboca Inn which is located in 15th Street Lacson, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. When the driver brought us to Saltimboca Inn, he asked us Php150.00 each. I was astounded! What happened to what the lady said that it's only Php100 per person? The driver said that it costs additional Php50.00 to bring each passenger straight to the hotel gate.
Calea is just right outside Saltimboca Inn
Had I known that Saltimboca Inn is just a few feet away from the main road, we would've gotten off on the main road to save Php100. I know I'm being very frugal here but that driver was really cunning and greedy. All of a sudden I remember all those negative reviews I read about the Masskara festival, about having too many pickpockets and the likes. In that case, this type of behavior by the driver is probably "normal".
We headed straight to the front desk to see if we can have our bags stored before we go off to our first Bacolod tourist destination. First thing we noticed about Saltimboca Inn was its interior design.
It looked homey and quaint with all those colorful home decor and wooden furniture. It almost felt like we were just inside our own house. BUT...
...when we talked to the receptionists, they didn't seem very welcoming and friendly. I mean they look like regular people bored out of their wits. Shouldn't receptionists be a little bit more friendly? Even at those cheap hotels and guesthouses we've stayed in before, the staff were usually very friendly.
Anyway, little did we know that this is just one of those little signs why we wouldn't be liking to come back here in Saltimboca Inn the next time we go to Bacolod (which is in March for Jayvee Fernandez's wedding).
Good thing they agreed to store our bags at first. We also asked them if they know how we can go to Mambukal Resort (where we planned to spend our morning). They didn't know but they did offer to get us a van and a driver for Php1,500 excluding the entrance fees of the resort (we later found out that we can go to Mambukal for only Php172... I'll blog about Mambukal next). Php1,500 was too steep for us so we decided to take a jeepney and commute.
When we were about to go, all of a sudden, one of the receptionists said that they already have a clean room and that we can check-in early. I thought, great! Or maybe they just didn't want us to find a better place since we'd be gone all day. Then they had a bellboy bring us to our room.
The room was okay. Aircon was not that strong. TV had limited channels. But it's okay. This is usually what a room is like for Php900 per night + a security deposit of Php200 refundable upon check-out.
The bellboy left and we fixed our stuff, got the things we need for the Mambukal Trip, when my tummy got a bit achy and I had to do #2.... only to find out AFTER I did #2 that the toilet wasn't working! Argh.
Toilets are one of my pet peeves. I'm not a high-maintenance person, I can basically live under a tree (which I did back in college during our Gabaldon Trip and even did #2 amidst the tall grasses on top of a mountain) but paying Php1,100 for a room where the toilet doesn't work just won't cut it for me. I know, I know... I was stressing a little more than I'd expected. Oh did I mention that I went straight to the airport from working all day? So yeah, as usual, I was zombified and a bit cranky that morning. Of course I didn't show it. I figured I'll just blog about it all when I have the chance. And now here I am.
Anyway, Peter, being the more diplomatic of us two, went down to tell the bellboy, the receptionist, the hotel manager if there was any, about our toilet situation.
This is Saltimboca Inn's reception area
Apparently, we checked in too early and the one in charge of the toilets, or even the person who has the key to the room with the pails was still not around. So I guess that's that. I showered and they promised to fix it so by the time we come back in the afternoon, everything would be okay.
I still wasn't very happy about it. I mean, just knowing that someone will be going inside our room while we were gone, was sending me into paranoia land. Plus, what if by the time we get back, the toilet hasn't yet been fixed?! Finally, I calmed down and off we went to Mambukal Resort.
When we came back in the afternoon, the flush was still not as smooth as it should be but at least by then it was working.
The next hiccup we experienced at Saltimboca Inn was during the next morning before we checked-out. You see, Saltimboca has this cute little swimming pool and jacuzzi inside its premises.
The rooms overlook the pool and along the corridor, there's a balustrade where, typically, like in any cheap resort/inn/hotel, we'd normally hang our wet clothes and towels there. They didn't provide any place for hanging clothes inside the room so we figured we'd just hang them there.
So the next morning, I woke up with a tummy ache coz I was so hungry (Bacolod food made my tummy larger so I had to fill it up like every few hours, lol). We rushed to the dining area, which is near the reception area so we can avail our free breakfast.
On the way there, the bellboy we had yesterday approached us, looking so apologetic but scared at the same time. Apparently, the owner of Saltimboca Inn scolded him when she (the owner I think is a lady but we never saw her) saw our clothes hanging there outside our room on the balustrade. I mean, fine, we didn't know these were the rules. But to force us to come back upstairs to our room to fix our clothes immediately when we were already near the dining area (our room is far from the dining area) was just too much and simply poor customer service! We pleaded if we could do it after breakfast because my tummy was already aching. I've been suffering from peptic ulcer since I was 14 years old and letting myself go hungry is really not good for me. But no, the bellboy kept insisting that we go back to our clothes right then and there and take them out of the balustrade! I think that was the last straw. We don't care anymore if the rest of Saltimboca Inn looks nice. Their customer service sucks!
We couldn't wait to check out of Saltimboca Inn. The atmosphere there and the level of their customer service was just not what we expected. Were we wrong? Have we become too pampered and too obnoxious? I think not. God, when we were in Bohol after our Siargao trip, we stayed in this PhpP800/night hotel room near the pier with bed sheets that have holes in it, and broken windows and bathroom smelling like the 1900's but because the receptionist was more than kind to us, we didn't mind at all. In fact, we liked our stay there better than our stay here in Saltimboca.
Anyway, that's enough ranting for now. It's good to blow off steam I've been keeping since September. I thought I'd forget about it after more than a month, that my feelings about it may have subsided, but I guess not.
Perhaps, it's just that one time that their customer service sucks. Hopefully, the owner or the manager gets to read this so they'd know that they need to get some sort of customer service training, not just for their staff, but for them as well. Staying at a friend's house in Bicol was more welcoming than this paid inn. Oh my goodness!
Nevertheless, we made the most of our stay, took some more photos, hoping that the happy pictures will somehow mask the stress we went through with this place.
Sayonara, Saltimboca Inn. May we never experience you again.