Having no Wi-Fi connection can jeopardize hotels, inns, and B&Bs' chances of being picked by potential guests, like srsly. I would bet my precious little (and imaginary) tiara that it is one of the first things that a considerable number of Pinoy bakasyonistas would look for when browsing a hotel's website. Whether we admit it or not, we always like to update our social media profiles with our whereabouts and be constantly connected to the virtual world. We like bringing our smartphones, tablets and laptops when we go out of town and we love defeating the purpose of taking a vacation. Yes? Does this look familiar or what: "Just finished island hopping here in Boracay. Best day everrr! #summer #islandhopping #boracay #bora2013 #swimsuit #ootd #tanline."
That's probably one of the reasons why products that promise fast Internet connection on the go are a big hit among Pinoys. Let's just take a moment to thank the heavens for tech geniuses and marketing strategists for creating a need - *drum roll please* - the mobile internet. Gone are the days of having to wait for your vacation to end so you could upload awesome pictures from your epic getaway using your home computer. Or having to hear your manager disapprove your vacation leave just because no other person was willing to back you up (fvck them). Now, with just the ever trusty laptop and mobile broadband, anyone can take a vacation leave and finish the day's deliverables at the same time (although quite honestly, it still sucks to do some work while on vacay).
I was skeptical to write a blog post about our stay in Court View Inn last November 29, 2012 because there was nothing spectacular about it nor did we experience something terrible. Besides, we were only here just to literally sleep because we spent the whole day around the city and checked-out early the next day to catch the outrigger boat bound for Pearl Farm. I guess what prompted me to write this review is its 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, a far cry from what I saw last year. In my honest opinion, this hotel is average at best.
When you're a newly opened hotel without any associations to the big names in the industry, good advertising (aside from excellent service!) is your best tool. Photos are a great way to market your hotel and the internet offers a strategic venue to lure customers. But photos on social networking sites can be deceiving. I chose to stay at Court View Inn because the hotel rooms looked clean and big in photos, the rates were affordable and it just opened three months before our travel dates. They are also one of the very few hotels that offer triple standard rooms.
Inasmuch as we want to spend the days lazing around Samal Island Huts, a speedboat in Babak port was already waiting to take us island hopping around Talicud island in the morning of December 1, 2012. Renting the speedboat for one day set us back P7,000 (whew!) so we really need to put on the sunscreen and see what Samal has to offer.
I didn't expect much from Samal Island, judging from most reviews in TripAdvisor calling the island "overrated" -- that the sands are not white and the beach far from fantastic. I've learned my lesson the hard way when we went to Puerto Galera. We visited Coron beforehand and the place set my standard for what a tourist spot should be. Coron was my first ever legit out-of-town trip and our visit was phenomenal. I have since compared every place I've been to with Coron and have been unconsciously setting myself up with some major disappointments. It was only later on that I realized how I've been sabotaging my own trips because of my high expectations.
Pearl Farm may probably look a lot better at night with pool lights and all ('coz it looked hella boring during the daytime) but we didn't have time to wait for the sun to set and act like star-crossed lovers groping each other by the iconic pagoda. While everyone was still in Malipano Island, we were already on our way out to look for habal-habal drivers who'd be willing to take our fat arses off to the northwestern part of the Island Garden City of Samal.
While planning for this holiday trip, I thought that going to Samal Island Huts from Pearl Farm would be as easy as 1-2-3 (or a-b-c if you fancy alphabets). We would just ride the habal-habal and pay P100 each. Actually, we could just take advantage of the free boat transfer from Pearl Farm back to the city, take a cab to Sassa Wharf, and then ride the barge from there to Babak Ferry Terminal and finally take the tryk to Samal Island Huts. But where's the fun in that, right? Besides, we didn't want to wait for the 4:30pm boat ride back to the city because I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to keep my sanity intact if we stayed for two more grueling hours in Pearl Farm doing, you guessed it right, nothing.