Just as I promised in the first part of the Puerto Princesa series, I have returned to tell you about what happened with the latter part of our first day and the dinner at Tiki Resto Bar. Just a word of caution though: This one’s a pretty LONG read, so if you have extra time to spare, please proceed. 🙂
In between all the photo taking and waiting for dinner, the entire group was seriously in relaxed mode, especially after Mike has caught up a bit with his sleep. Dinner was scheduled at 7pm, where Casa Fuerte’s van was supposed to bring us to the restaurant and was at our disposal. Apparently, Tiki Resto Bar is the sister establishment of the bed and breakfast where we were staying, so the dinner was part of the package.
All six of us were ready before 7pm since all the photo taking made us pretty hungry again ( 🙂 ) and when we were advised that the van’s driver has already been notified of our schedule, we decided to hang out at the lobby area to wait. It wasn’t very long until 7pm was going to strike so waiting at the lobby wasn’t a problem for us. We were mostly engrossed in watching the news that night because of an unfortunate event that happened in Manila during that day, but we were also aware that time was quickly passing by and we still have not caught any sight of the van. When The Best Friend asked the lady who’s in charge of the evening operations in Casa Fuerte what happened since it was already way past 7pm, the only response she received was that the driver has already been sent an SMS.
More minutes passed by and at one point, tempers were starting to rise and it was attributable to both hunger and the lady’s very apparent lack of providing satisfactory customer service. At around 8pm or so (guys, correct me if I’m wrong please), the van finally arrived and out came the driver with bags of vegetables for the bed and breakfast place. After watching them transfer the things hurriedly, the six of us were ushered into the van. During the few minutes of driving from Casa Fuerte to Tiki, the driver made some friendly chit-chat, repeating that he just got back from assisting another group with their souvenir shopping. Upon arrival at the restaurant, I asked if the driver will wait for us to finish dinner and then take us back to the Casa since, again, the dinner is part of the package given by Casa Fuerte. I received the most fantastic response of all time: He was NOT going to wait for us because he was already tired; he told us to take the public transport (tricycle) back to the Casa instead. With that, he left the six of us there in front of Tiki. I was honestly too stunned to even answer back because none of us expected that answer and definitely not that type of service. We don’t mind commuting from one place to another since it’s part of experiencing the local lifestyle, but obviously not when the van was supposed to be reserved for our use that evening.
Once we were finally seated, we were not informed that the Casa already ordered food for us. It was A LOT of food but sadly, despite our hunger and the appearance of my favorite Pork Sinigang (Pork in Tamarind Soup) that evening, we were not exactly thrilled with the things we ate. Here’s a rundown of what was served to us:
Pork Sinigang (The Milkfish version was also served so we had two huge serving bowls of soup that night)
Some fried chicken dish, which some say was the only pretty decent thing to be served. I wasn’t able to take a bite of this so I can’t verify.
Fish in Sweet & Sour sauce
BBQ Chicken (I really dislike this photo, but it’s the only one I have so please bear with it.)
Pancit Bihon, or basically stir-fried rice noodles with vegetables and some other stuff thrown in. I didn’t eat this either, but the friends say that it was too salty.
Along with these, we were also given three pitchers of iced tea and three huge plates filled with rice. It was really a meal fit for almost twice the size of our group, methinks. There were an awful lot of leftovers, and we thought that things could have been better if we were allowed to choose our own entrees while working with a fixed budget from the Casa.
To add to the bewilderment of all things that has been happening that night, when I called one of the servers and asked if there was something we should sign since it was a complimentary meal from the Casa, he responded that he was going to get the bill for us to settle. We reacted quickly and pointed out that we were here because of the complimentary dinner, so we weren’t supposed to pay for anything (well, I wasn’t going to pay for anything that’s for sure!). The server’s expression went blank for a second and he then said he’d check that piece of information first. Again, tempers were flaring within our group because there was seriously something wrong going on with everyone’s communication and it was putting a permanent dent on our view of Casa Fuerte’s capabilities. A couple of minutes later, the server came back and, thankfully, said that everything has been taken care of and we may leave when we’re done. We did exactly that.
So basically, what transpired next was just a quick trip to a grocery store to buy some necessities and we headed back to the Casa (via trike) to get some rest. We have no complaints about Casa Fuerte in general, with the exception of some of their staff (night people, specifically) and the rampant miscommunication between these people. Hopefully they’ll do much, much better when they deal with future guests. It was a good thing that despite some disappointing moments, the group was still able to bounce back and have a ridiculously fun time! The next part will be a run through of our second day at Puerto Princesa. I promise it won’t be as whiny as this one. 🙂