We finally had our reunion! After so, so long, we finally got together last Monday, March 14, 2016. It's good to see my friends again after years of constant missed schedules and the like. We got to catch up with each other's lives and share stories—good ones and bad. We call our little circle of friends V2. We've been together since 2011, and the group consists of mostly couples. Haha. We would have summer outings annually. This year...well, I'll tell you all about it. Besides, this post will all be about our little stay in Judee's Vacations by the Beach. This is to warn future goers. This is OUR review.
I know, I know. The photos are beautiful and alluring. They must have taken a lot of photos, chose, and posted the beautiful ones. But don't be deceived. I will get to that later. I mean, come on! Overnight!? Swim!? Food!? With a price of Php599? That's already a whole package! You'd have so many grand expectations due to their advertising. And because of that, we were so excited. We quickly booked away for the said date, March 14-15 on February 22, 2016. So think about it. We had three weeks to wait in excitement.
Inclusions were the following:
So much love right there, am I right? So many inclusions for PHP599. So, Christine settled a down payment of Php1,500 to ensure our reservation. They asked her for one.
We were absolutely so excited. They had us fully pay on March 7 (I think that's a typo right there). So my friends and I began assigning each couple with food. For instance, Alfred and Yhannie were assigned with beef steak. Christine and Nikki were assigned with mango float and two lechon manok (or roasted chicken). Ara and John were assigned with lumpia (shanghai rolls) and leche flan (pudding). Mark and I were assigned with "juicy" grilled pork belly and a pack of tempura. Suna was assigned with two kilograms of rice and one pack of ham. And Micky was assigned with also two kilograms of rice and snacks. Each were to bring their own soft drinks.
As you can see, Mark was so pumped, making the pork belly juicy as possible. Haha.
Even Ara provided us a checklist so that we wouldn't forget. How thoughtful of her. ♥ So, yeah. Everyone was ready to hit the summer sun! But then on the day itself, Christine received a message. And a very long one at that.
So all of us speculated regarding this matter. This was just a privately owned business! They sent us this message on the day itself on purpose because they were afraid that we would back out if they had told us sooner. We thought of the countless of "cousins" that have fallen into this trickery and why hasn't the security guards wonder about that too (well, I bet they did). But it was now or never. Besides, we already paid in full! There was no backing out with this. I was so angry. In other words, they were telling us that we wouldn't be enjoying ourselves to the fullest because we had to "follow" their rules eventually. "You should be fine if you just follow"? Like, really? There are vernacular words there, but I'm too lazy to translate them all. It will be up to you to analyze and understand.
Moving on, when Mark and I arrived, we were stopped by two guards for checking. We followed the instructions, told them one of us is their cousin, and informed them we were their guests. They didn't let us in. I texted the condo owner's number to call me, and so she did. The worst thing about it all was there was no signal in the basement, so I had to go outside to have one or two bars for communication. I told her to fetch us in the basement. I even called her "tita" or aunt as to not raise suspicions. "Tita, kuhaa mi diri," I said. (Auntie, please fetch us.) She asked (in a very high and pissed tone) if Christine was able to orient us about the guidelines before going. I said yes (struggling to keep my cool). Before she could give a reply, the call was cut off due to the loss of signal. Luckily, Christine called to tell us if we got through and asked us how it went. We told her the guards wouldn't let us in. Minutes after, Suna, Christine, and Nikki arrived. So all five of us waited in the basement for any updates from the said condo owner. And believe me, it was already a bad experience on the outside, what more in the inside, yes? The guards were so strict. Like SUUUUPER strict. I kind of understand their situation since they were already having suspicions of the condo owners doing business of their condo unit. Nikki was able to have a decent call with her. What she wasn't able to do was to inform the guards in advance that they were having guests and to give them a list of our names. That easy! If she had done that earlier, we wouldn't be stuck there in the first place! After countless of guards radioing fellow guards to communicate with the owner on the fourth floor, we were finally able to get inside. We told them that we have friends who haven't arrived yet, and they told us not to worry.
We settled down inside the condo unit. One of the condo unit owners welcomed us inside. She had food prepared. We introduced ourselves to her. At first, I was wary around her because of our call earlier. To be honest, I was surprised that she was timid and welcoming (but I didn't let my guard down). The moment we got in, our eyes went straight to the table—on their said free food.
Their food wasn't even enough to feed all ten of us! There wasn't even any iced tea! The roasted chicken with gravy was cold (I think there was no gravy). The crispy bacon wasn't even crispy at all, plus it was served in a small bowl (just enough to feed three to four people). The pasta was the only thing that was okay. When we got there, the rice wasn't even cooked yet. Like, it wasn't even prepared! Her reason was that she wanted the rice to be hot when we would arrive. Hello? We we're so hungry already because of the basement incident with the guards. Food c/o The Experience Catering Company? Like, seriously? A catering company that would serve that kind of food? *rolls eyes* We asked a few questions about the pool and the amenities, and after, we bade our farewells. We all thought there would be this cold and hot dispenser, but there was none. The free drinking water they mentioned about was one gallon of water. So it would up to us to make it cold. We poured the water in the empty soft drink bottles to be placed inside the refrigerator's freezer. She also said that she was going to be back at eleven (I wasn't sure if it was eleven in the evening or eleven in the morning the next day). She told us that only eight of us could swim in the pool. EIGHT. There were TEN of us. We were all like, WHAT? HOW COME? WE PAID FOR THIS. Until now, I don't know what's the exact reason for that. Maybe I was still in shock that I wasn't able to focus on the reason she gave us. Since we didn't have a choice and that decision was so spontaneous, we all nodded in agreement.
We watched television for a while since the rice was still being cooked at that time. And after a few moments or so, when we opened the rice cooker, the rice was still uncooked because there wasn't even enough water to cook it. We were all like, "SERIOUSLY!?" Mark intervened and told Christine to add a few cups of water and cook it again because we were all starving. We didn't even have enough energy to complain.
We all got our packages of food out and placed them all on the table. We even thought to ourselves, "It's better to cook our food ourselves." I was so excited to eat their desserts though. I mean, come on. We had high expectations of this place, and they all went down the drain. Since it was still early and we still haven't been to the pool, we thought to ourselves Maybe it isn't that bad. We all hurriedly changed to our bikinis and headed for the pool.
Before we were able to enjoy the pool, we were greeted by three to four guards. And believe it or not, they all asked us the same questions: "What building? What unit? What's the name of the condo unit owner? How many of you are swimming?" To be honest, it was getting pretty annoying. All of us knew that we wouldn't be able to enjoy ourselves to the fullest. As my friends took their first dip in the pool, Suna and I had noticed this one security guard who was always keeping watch (because the two of us were the last ones to swim). Since there was a previous incident regarding the group before us who, according to them, was noisy, we were cautious of our voices and actions. So when Suna and I would think that our friends were getting a bit rowdy, we would tell them to hush down.
Suna and I initially planned to go night swimming. That day was extremely hot and both Suna and I have sensitive skin, so we couldn't take the risk. At around three in the afternoon, a bit of shade was already mostly over the pool, and Christine told us to swim in the shade. And so we did. To be honest, we had fun. We bonded and chatted like there's no tomorrow. We even exchanged stories to catch up with each other's lives.
We spent two to three hours in the pool. The chlorine in the pool was so strong that it made Suna's skin dry and even gave me a sunburn (even though we swam in the shade!). So all in all, we eventually got tired and hungry and eventually called it quits. When we were about to head back, one security guard informed us that all of us went swimming in the pool (we planned this because duh? What else are we paying for?) and there will be an additional payment. We told him that we would inform "Tita." We headed for the condo unit, ate dinner, and played jenga.
It was a night full of laughter, stories, and friendship. We were so stuffed with the food we brought. Like I said, it's been so long since we last bonded. We had trouble with the Wi-Fi though. It was so freaking slow, and there was barely any signal at all. To compensate their Wi-Fi's lousy net connection, we decided to sing, using their karaoke. And boy were we surprised when we found out their microphone doesn't work. My god. In the end, we continued playing jenga. We turned on the T.V. to provide us some background noise. Micky went home ahead since he had work that dawn at 3:00 a.m. Suna slept around eight and so did John. I slept around ten. And the others... They slept around four in the morning.
The thing about the rooms is that it can only accomodate four people inside. The bed can only accomodate two. Two people on the bed, and two people on the floor. So eight people for the two rooms. How about the remaining two people, you ask? Suna was sleeping in the living room's couch. Fortunately, Micky had gone home. We would have had trouble regarding the sleeping space. With that condo unit space (keeping the rooms' estimated space in mind), it can only accomodate six to eight people. Eight max! But hey. Money is money. Adding extra heads means money. You all know that.
I woke up seven in the morning, and everyone was still asleep. I started preparing breakfast and even cooked rice. Suna was the second one to wake up, followed by Christine and Nikki. We cooked and reheated food.
Since we were expecting them to arrive at eleven (because the woman said that they're going to arrive at that time), we were about to eat breakfast. Someone knocked on our door at 10:30 a.m. Suna opened the door, and it was the other owner of the condo unit—the husband. He told us that it's "check out time." We exchanged glances (we knew this, but we were expecting they would arrive at eleven. We didn't even get to eat our breakfast) and Suna told him "Cge, Kuya. Mangaon sa mi. (Okay, sir. We will eat first.)," but he was like, "It's already 10:30 a.m." So our eyes widened, and we all hurriedly packed our things and our supposed breakfast, cleaned, and made our bed. From his statement alone, we could tell that he wanted us out. We all decided to head for Yhannie's condo for us to have a decent and peaceful brunch (brunch now since it was nearing noon).The man was waiting outside for us to finish. No conversation at all. I mean, we were their clients. He could have started up a conversation. Trust me, it would have made things less awkward. After packing everything, we went outside the condo with our bags and one of us thanked him. I forgot who. I caught a glimpse of him smiling.
So off we went. We all had a hard time calling a cab through Grab, a mobile application wherein you could call a cab using the Internet because their Wi-Fi was so slow. We only managed to call one for Yhannie, Alfred, Ara, and John. They would head out first since they needed to clean their condo and prepare. So it was Suna, Nikki, Christine, Mark, and I left. Since Mark and I have a ride (Mark's motorcycle), we decided to wait with them. It was hot, and we took shade near the villa's basement. The condo unit owner drove his car past us. HE JUST DROVE PAST US! For us, it was VERY rude. I mean, he could've offered Nikki, Christine, and Suna a ride and dropped them off in the highway (taxis barely go to where we were). As their clients, they would've offered us even a bit of friendly and sincere customer service. I mean, we were their clients in the first place despite their spontaneous message of rules, the implication that it was a privately owned business, the trouble that we had to go through with the security guards, the food, the constant watch, the problem of only eight people allowed to swim—EVERYTHING! In the end, Mark had to drive Nikki, Christine, and Suna to the highway for them to call a cab. This review is from all of us.
WE WILL NEVER GO BACK EVER AGAIN.
Never mess with your clients. Especially when you don't know if there's a blogger among them.
So if you guys ever hear "Judee's Vacations by the Beach," never avail it. There wasn't even a beach nearby. If they're referring to the sea beside SRP, then it's preposterous. We availed their Php599 promo and regret most of it. The only good thing that happened was the fact that we got to bond and enjoy each other's company. Only that!
Be wary of the place. Do your research. If ever they plan to change their name (because of this or to some other circumstance), please ask them to send you photos of the pool or the condo unit. Compare them with mine, and eventually, you'll get the bigger picture that it's them.
I rarely post a review. But their customer service, them hiding the truth, was beyond horrible. It left me no choice.
If you have any questions or remarks, please post a comment below. I'll reply to them as soon as I can.
review by V2
photos taken from me, Micky, Ara, and Christine