I was invited to Camaya Coast this May 2019 with a few others to explore the resort and its facilities in order to promote the summer promo this year:
–Day-Trip with Boat Transfer: PHP 1,499/pax
–Day-Trip without Boat Transfer: PHP 699/pax (Mon-Thu) and PHP 899/pax (Fri-Sun)
*Inclusion: Use of beach, swimming pool, shower area, table with chairs, beach beds, 30 mins use of bike, and inflatable island
*Restriction: Guests are prohibited from bringing food and drinks to Camaya Coast.
To be honest, Camaya Coast’s facilities look great, but because of the services, I wouldn’t really recommend Camaya Coast to anyone. I’m disappointed myself, because I was always curious about Camaya resort. After my experience, I realized that there are a lot of other beaches within hours of Metro Manila that I could have gone to like the Zambales Coves to the north (Silanguin, Nagsasa and Talisayen), Cagbalete Island to the east, and Batangas or Puerto Galera to the south. Because they don’t promise water sports, comfort and a feast, you could say they can keep their promise.
Before I get started, I have to lay out the parties responsible and state whether the events were controllable or uncontrollable.
[CCO] Controllable by Camaya Operations (6 out of 13): Putting myself in the shoes of a paying customer, I would say that there are a lot of things that could have been done better. There were some uncontrollable factors like the weather, but that’s where contingency plans and speedy recovery response come in. I didn’t see either. It’s not easy running a resort, so I hope they take a lot of these points to their next governance meeting.
[CCM/SR] Controllable by Camaya Marketing/Sales Rep (3.5 out of 13) – The marketing/sales representative that our organizer liaised with seemed inexperienced and lost despite us being the second batch invited, but my primary qualm with her is her lack of hospitality. She disappeared on us several times and didn’t give us a way to contact her if we had questions or needed something. The second issue is that she didn’t deliver any of the things she mentioned during the expectation-setting or briefing. If she tried to, it was a little bit too late.
[CO] Controllable by the Organizer (1.5 out of 13): It was organized by a person who is infamous in the blogging world for making a lot of social faux pas and unethical choices. Honestly, his quirks isn’t what irks me but rather his lack of accountability and lack of leadership. In fact, my friend tried to verify the itinerary with him days before the trip, and he made it seem like he confirmed all the details with the resort, which I now doubt after-the-fact. We didn’t know he was involved in organizing this event until the night before the trip, so while I was inclined to back out at the last minute, I decided to push on because it was the right thing to do.
[UC] Uncontrollable (2 out of 13): Of course, there are foreseeable and unforeseeable things that you simply can’t control but you can manage with them somehow by lessening the blow.
Here are thirteen reasons why everything that could go wrong actually did, and who were responsible.
#1 Rough Seas. [UC]
In order to get to Camaya Coast, we had to take a 2-hour ferry ride from Seaside Terminal Esplanade. The first 75% of the ride was fine, but we encountered turgid waves in the last leg. A lot of people vomited on the boat and even after we alighted, myself included. In fairness to Camaya, the crew started handing out paper bags and anti-vertigo medication to people for free on the ride back.
The day was just beginning so I thought to myself, “I’ll feel better after throwing up a bit more. My day can only get better from here.” I was dead wrong.
#2 No Welcome Party. [CCM/SR]
From a PR point of view, it’s customary for the marketing or sales representative to greet us and discuss the agenda given the context that we were invited to come here. While the marketing/sales representative our organizer coordinated with did come to see us, it was only after 30 minutes since we arrived. I literally had time to take a nap, which I actually needed after throwing up what little breakfast I had that morning. On top of seeming unprepared, she seemed pretty lost too. We all hopped onto the shuttle and took a 10-second tour around the property. It was all too fast for us to retain anything. After that, she dropped us off at the dining area and we didn’t see her for another 5 hours.
#3 Measly Food Portions. [CCO]
The ticket stub for the boat ride includes the free meal. There are a lot of food chains on Camaya Coast like Potato Corner, Army Navy, Pancake House and Max’s Restaurant. The free meal rotates every day, like you get Army Navy from Mondays to Wednesdays and Pancake House or Max’s Restaurant for the rest of the week. We were unfortunate enough to have dry chicken for lunch from Max’s. We had to buy Army Navy and Potato Corner a couple hours later because we were still hungry, and found that some stuff were more expensive than the standard retail price outside the resort.
The one thing that made feel nice was the refreshing buko I bought for PHP 125, which I realized in retrospect to be a bit too expensive. The coconut meat inside was tough, so nobody bothered eating it.
#4 Questionable Hygiene. [CCO]
Sure, she had a plastic glove on but one of the girls preparing our meals went out back to get the garbage box and used the same hand to touch one of our chickens. She clearly lacks training.
#5 No Inflatable Island. No Banana Boat. [CCO]
We were supposed to do some water sports, which includes an Inflatable Island. Because of the strong winds, they couldn’t put up the Inflatable Island and it was too dangerous to go on a Banana Boat ride. There were no contingency plans. What did they expect their guests to do all day? They should have offered an alternative after years of experiencing Philippine weather, but their lack of business continuity plans is a mark of their unpreparedness or lack of thought. This is not a “sh*t happens” situation; it’s as controllable as the waterworks of an actor who can cry on cue.
#6 Crowded Pool. [CCO]
There was nothing to do but swim all day in a crowded “infinity” pool which wasn’t even really one. It was so hidden at the far end of the resort beyond the trees that you couldn’t even see the ocean from the pool. There is another pool, but it’s only for hotel guests. Besides this, we only had ourselves to entertain each other.
#7 Miscommunication on Boat Schedule. [CO]
Part of the reason why I agreed to come was because we were supposed to be back by 4:30 PM. Turns out that the boat was going to leave at 4:30 PM, though it ended up leaving around 5 PM. We arrived in Manila around 7 PM and got caught in a Friday rush hour traffic for 3 hours! The boat was supposed to leave at 2:30 PM according to the organizer, who I now assume never bothered to confirm with the resort. If he actually did, then this becomes [UC].
#8 False Expectation of a Tour. [CCM/SR]
The marketing/sales rep said she would take us on a tour to the residences and other parts of the property after lunch. That tour never came, so after lunch, we just took pictures, drank by the bar and went for another dip. #doubledipping
#9 Failed Attempt to See the Aqua Park. [CCM/SR and CO]
Turns out that Camaya Residences has an aqua park just up the hill. The Marketing/Sales Rep emerged at 3:15 PM to tell us that we’ve been approved for the aqua fun park on the other side of the property. At 3:30 PM, we tried to catch a shuttle to take us to the residences where the aqua park is, but every shuttle that came was close to being full, i.e. not enough seats to take all of us. The group unanimously agreed to ditch the tour because there simply isn’t enough time. Note: The boat was supposed to leave at 4:30 PM. Boarding time was 3 PM.
The contingency plan to bring us to the aqua fun park came a little too late. If the approval process was triggered in the morning, we could have gotten approved by lunch time and would have had enough time to travel to the aqua fun park. Instead, we attempted to squeeze the aqua park into a 30-minute time frame because we still had to shower, come back down the hill, and walk all the way to the pier by 4:30 PM.
This is partially on the organizer because he didn’t realize that our time was being wasted. Maybe he thought we would be perfectly happy to block an entire day off and travel 2 hours to hang out in a pool all day. We need pictures and information to blog about if we are to produce quality output!
#10 No Water. [CCO]
Probably one of the best 2-word horror stories, having no water in the shower area to rinse off all the chlorine and dead skin cells floating in the “infinity” pool is every person’s nightmare. Once again, whether it’s a plumbing issue or something else, there should always be a contingency plan or alternative to address foreseeable occasions such as this. Everyone–around 4 to 5 people–shared one tabo outside the bathroom because they were desperate.
#11 No Tissue. [CCO]
When I asked for tissue, I found the ate sitting in a corner watching something on her phone. She stood up and walked over the one of the cubicles with an “Out of Order” sign. Lo and behold, there was a glorious stack of tissue rolls piled on top of the toilet. I guess there is tissue, but the ate in charge of the toilets deliberately doesn’t refill it. Small things like this go a long way for customers.
#12 Confusion on the Boat Ride Back. [CCM/SR and CO]
When it was finally time for us to board the boat at 4:15 PM, our group was halted because we didn’t have tickets. Our organizer, who was traveling with us, didn’t know we needed tickets for the ride back despite this being his second time to Camaya in the past couple of weeks. He said he traveled by land the last time, but due diligence is key when you’re accountable for the travel!
The marketing/sales rep didn’t mention it either. In fact, she disappeared right after realizing that there was no water to shower with. It took the crew a while to sort things out, and when they finally did, not enough seats were left so we had to be seated upstairs, with half of us sitting in the exposed part of the deck. Honestly, I preferred it.
#13 …and then it Rained. [UC]
Yup, and we got wet.
In summary, we spent 2 hours to go to a resort only to swim in the crowded pool. No water activities or anything else. We couldn’t even swim in the beach (not white sand, by the way) because the murky water was dubious. I’ve got other friends who’ve had negative encounters recently with this resort, so I don’t think it’s an isolated incident.