Saturday, October 20, 2012

A displeasing review of Ong Bun Pension House, Iloilo

Rubel and I were working on a certain budget, so when I found Ong Bun Pension House's website, I knew that it was the perfect place -- or so I thought. Anyway, prior to our trip and booking, I read up on several of Ong Bun's reviews online. I was able to see that several noted bloggers have already stayed in their accommodations. So I told myself that if they liked it there, we would probably do too. But I later on realized that certain lodgings weren't always fit for everybody's preferences.

Ong Bun was just a P70 cab ride from the Parola Wharf. So you can say that it was nearby. But other than the old and unkept look of the buildings exterior, you will also get to see different types of guests coming in and out of the pension house (from senior citizens to very young couples).


The pension house actually follows a strict check-in, which was 12 nn. So when we got there at 11 am, we just had our backpacks stored inside their safe-keeping area (just behind the lobby counter), and then went straight to Robinson's Place to kill some time (5-minute walk from Ong Bun).


We went back at exactly 12 nn, and was immediately given a key to our room on the 2nd floor. For a rate of P580/night (for a Deluxe 2 room), the space that was offered to us was big, but had a lot of unwanted stuff. There was a big cabinet for storing our bags and clothes (no hangers though but plenty of drawers), a desk, chair, some not-so-clean-looking glass cups, water containers and a towel each.


I actually wanted to lie in bed and watch a little TV while waiting for our friend to pick us up. But I was awakened by this pungent smell coming from both the bed and the pillows (the smell stuck on my clothes!). If you know what wet clothes that haven't been dried properly under the sun smelled like, then you can imagine the stench on our bed and pillows. Good thing, we were given a brown and thick blanket, which we used to cover the whole bed from the smell. We just had to turn down the aircon so that we wouldn't have to freeze to death without a blanket to cover us.


Now, a few more things that I look forward to when staying at any lodging is hot water from the shower, and some windows for airing out the smell of the room. Unfortunately, we didn't have both. Well, we did have two windows (one in the CR and room). But it was scary to open them since they were situated near a wall. Someone can actually climb into our room from that area if we left it open. And as for the water --- I think I died a little from having endured an ice cold shower that first night. 


Sad to say, I didn't like what we've experienced in Ong Bun. Sure the rate was low. But they would've at least given us clean (yes we saw some stains too!) and fresh-smelling bed linens and pillows. They could've just taken out the cabinets, desk, chair, glasses, AC unit and even the TV if they wanted. I just really wanted my basics. :(

How about you? Have you experienced any lodging horror stories lately?

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

64 comments:

michymichymoo said...

Now I'm getting nervous about lodging at Ong Bun. :( Any other cheap accommodations that you can suggest?

Mai_Flores said...

Hello dear! Why? Did you book with them na? Unfortunately, I don't have other recommendations since I didn't ask around for other accommodations. But you can probably try Jaro Bellevue Pensionne.. Nasabi kasi sa amin ng Ilongga friend namin na it's nice there. We saw it kasi nung pumunta kami sa Biscocho Haus. Here's the link for more info on Jaro Bellevue: http://www.stayiniloilo.com/pension.php?stay=32&accommodation=Jaro-Bellevue-Pensionne =) Hope this helps! =)

Gay Emami said...

Have not stayed here and yes I've read reviews from other travel bloggers too, which didn't sound so bad. I have heaps of 'lodging horror stories', one of which was when I got bed bug bites in a musty room at some cheap guesthouse in Sarawak, Borneo.

Mai_Flores said...

Ong Bun was a horror story for me.. sayang lang! And bed bugs.. now that's nasty! Maybe the bed hasn't been cleaned or dried under the sun.. Yun lang talaga ang disadvantage when we try to book in cheap inns. :(

www.blissfulguro.com said...

you can ask for the newly renovated rooms at around 700++ for 3 pax in a room. our experience was nice :)

Mai_Flores said...

Glad that you were able to have a comfy stay with them. I wasn't able to think about upgrading anymore since we had the room booked prior to our trip.. :/

Jonathan Diesta said...

It looks like an ordinary building outside but it is amazingly clean and comfortable inside.

Mai_Flores said...

HI Jonathan.. It's not actually clean in our standards. The pillows and sheets smelled awful. We didn't enjoy our stay.

Rizza Javier said...

Looks so Chinese, sis. The building looks a bit old, too. For under 600bucks, pde na for an over-night stay... :)

Vonn Angelie David said...

o, well at least now you know which place not to stay... it's really a hit and miss sometimes even if you do heavy research... u will only get to know once you actually stayed

Donald Pagulong said...

Seems a decent place to stay. Pero, medyo na-turn off ako reading your honest review on the place.

Carizza Chua said...

i didnt know that we have this in the phil! sad to hear that you didnt enjoy your stay

Jerome Ibuyan said...

That pension looks clean but the place's smell is necessary.

Franc Ramon said...

The exterior look real old and classic but looks like the inside of the hotel is not well maintained which led to unhappy experience on your part.

gRaSyAh said...

Smelly room for me sucks.. But I guess that's what you'll get for a very cheap accommodation. At first akala ko ok ang review mo.. but reading along, nakaka-disappoint somehow.. :(

Mai_Flores said...

Naku sis.. I can find pensions/inns much lower than Ong Bun's na better smelling ang bed sheets and pillows. :P

R.O.M.E.L.O. said...

yeah, I agree... the place looks clean but if it smells then it's worst because you can't shut off your sense of smell... if it's ugly then you can always close your eyes... hehehe

Edmaration said...

for you. Oh no. I feel mad for you. I know traveling is also tiring so we deserve comfort in the long run. Hope they can correct some issues here :)

Adeline Yuboco said...

Yikes! For the price that you paid, doesn't seem to be worth it.

Pal Raine said...

Eow! What a bad experience you have there. I am disappointed at what other bloggers told about the place. They should blog the real thing. Anyway, we do have different preferences as what you have said lately.

Mai_Flores said...

Hi Pal! Well, the bloggers were probably given nicer rooms. I guess we really just had a bad one at that time. Sana lang talaga di minadali yung pag prepare sa kwarto namin, especially on the sheets and pillow. That just shows an establishment na walang cleaning standards.

Mai_Flores said...

"That pension looks clean but the place's smell is necessary." --- Didn't get this one, Jerome. What did you mean by this? :)

Mai_Flores said...

So true!

Mai_Flores said...

Hahahah! Correct! Grabe.. if it was just a visual thing.. kaso ang lakas talaga nung amoy! :(

Mai_Flores said...

Correct ka jan friend.. the smell could've killed us.. Yet, I lived to tell my story.. lol!

Sky Summer said...

This is an honest to goodness review Mai! Yeah people have different preferences in travelling, but what you're asking were only the basics for an accommodation. You guys deserve more than that! Sometimes online reviews are misleading, you have to see it for yourself by then you can judge. Then you have your verdict! Ennk Failed for Ong bun Pension House. I hope their management will able to read this and highlight what's missing.

dimaks said...

Horrible. I could have showered the desk people with a lot of complaints about their lousy management and care taking. But on the side note, I think this scene has been becoming so common when you say "Pension House". Nevertheless, basic sanitary requirements must be looked into. ~ http://the-urban-walker.blogspot.com/

Itsberyllicious said...

Awww.. Sana you asked if they could transfer tou to another room.. Or everything is the same? Haha.. I could do away without the hot water but maybe not the smelly sheets.. Haha!

Mai_Flores said...

Hi Beryl! :) We actually thought about asking for a room transfer.. But we were about to go out and meet a friend. And when we came back, we were too tired to do anything na.. good thing there was the thick brown blanket that we used to cover the smelly sheets and pillows.

Wreyzza Swift said...

That's a very bad experience for first-timers like you but at least now we know that Ong Bun Pension House is not good place to stay in. =)
http://fashionmoto.blogspot.com/

Jason Cruz said...

Smelling the pillows and finding them 'weird' - I would have just switched inns. I hope you find better luck/deals next time!

Ricky Bernardino said...

My point of view about accommodations are like this:

If the price is less than 500 = I expect nothing or expect the worse (like a boarding house he he he )
If the price is 501 - 1K = I expect simple accommodation with some or no amenities
If the price is 1001 - 2K = I expect something more =)

When I am looking for accommodations in the internet I always look for the most recent comments coming from foreigners because they are straight forward in commenting. And I also look for management's replies/reactions to the comments if they take corrective actions or engaged in word wars. It helped me a lot =)

And with your experience at Ung Bon then I will not be booking in this place when I get back to Ilo-ilo. The last time we were there we checked in at Highway 21 Hotel, its a nice decent place actually =)

Itsberyllicious said...

Yup good thing u have something to cover the sheets nlg.. For me as long as clean kahit maliit lg ung room ok lang hehe :) judging by the photos mikhang clean nman ung room :)

ChrisAir Abenes said...

oh I hope they focused more on the cleanliness and sanitation I also like inn that is not only clean in the eye but also clean in naked eye

Mai_Flores said...

SAme here sis.. small room or what, basta malinis at mabango, okay na okay sa akin! :) And yes, ok naman yung room.. mabaho at kulob lang talaga sa loob.

Mai_Flores said...

*CLAP CLAP* Awesome points, RIcky! :) Actually, I really didn't expect much from the room since it was just P598. I could actually stand a cold shower. But the smell was something I really couldn't tolerate. :( It really spells *low sanitary standards* :( Pag mabaho, ibig sabihin may bacteria din. :(



Anyway, I can see myself going back to Iloilo. So I'll make sure to try out Highway 21 Hotel! Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Mai_Flores said...

Gosh, I would've done the same if we weren't in a hurry to meet a friend.. and if were weren't that tired from all the walking that we did when we got back. Anyway, I've actually stayed in a lot of Pension House/Inns that were really nice naman. Pero higher rate nga lang.

yaniconquistadora said...

So far I have not experienced any lodging horror stories. I agree that rates are low but this place should've delivered to at least meet your expectation.

ralph marcuss Manarang said...

i agree with @facebook-100004220082720:disqus. Looking at the pictures specially the comfort room.

Ness Mercader said...

I had an experience like this when me and my husband were in Baguio. We decided to try this pension house because we were on a budget that time. But, like you, I didn't like it. The place smells really old. The linens were I think moist, which made them really yucky. My god! And from that day, I would not like to consider pension houses in our vacays specially if I'm prepared. Its always to read about the place online like forums and the likes. Tsk!

Blog Makes Money said...

nice! i will definitely stay here when i will visit ilo ilo someday. thank you so much for this review.

Che said...

Though there can be accommodations that offer good service despite low in rate, sometimes we still have to be cautious in getting one. We really do not know what we're getting in to until we're there. I hope you still had a memorable vacay despite this horrible experience.

mark pogi said...

I have yet to experience a bad encounter with pension houses but the management should take a look into this or they will lose their customers.

Ellen Bernardino said...

This is okay for me to stay in, the bedroom looks good and comfortable. When we're traveling we don't stay in the hotel we would rather like to explore the city and nice places outside that's why we go for budget hotels. This one will be in my list. Thanks for sharing.

Marri Bermudez said...

Another horrifying experience Mai?? I said, horrifying because if I were in your shoes that moment when the smell seemingly stuck into my olfactory epithelium. Hahaha!! I would never find myself lying on that bed. I'd rather sit and wait for our time to check out. :(

Jerome Ibuyan said...

sorry for that, hehe. I mean the smell of the place is still necessary even it looks clean, visually. =)

Mai_Flores said...

Hi Jason! You probably got my review wrong.. I actually do not want to stay in Ong Bun Pension House if given the chance to visit Iloilo again. We had a bad experience. But I'm really not sure as to what your preference is.. maybe you'd like to try the pension house still.

michelle banayo said...

I don't have any bad experiences in pension houses yet. But it's good to read stories like this so we (the readers) know what to expect on places mentioned in the article and avoid.

Janese Binaobao-Halabaso said...

It was nice of you to write about this and maybe people from Ong Bun will take note of this and improve their service soon

Mary jane Tauyan Fitzsimmons said...

well so far i haven't been to a place thats like yours though It is horrible not to have hot water haha!

Mai_Flores said...

I know, right? :) Haha!

manyel said...

we nearly stayed here, but upon inspection, it just smelled funky. next time you're in Ilo-ilo, stay in Highway 21 na lang.

Mai_Flores said...

Paano kayo nag-inspect? :)

manyel said...

We asked to see the place first, so umakyat kami. :) Eto yung Highway 21, backpacker friendly din. Such a far cry from Ong Bun.

Mai_Flores said...

Grrrr.... promise, the sheets and the pillow cases smelled kulob! Haaay... naaamoy ko pa din! :(

manyel said...

Nakita ko yung website, deceptive nga naman kasi.

Mai_Flores said...

I know, right? I find their place.. low-grade. I know low yung rate.. pero at least man lang mabango yung sheets ng kama, right? I wouldn't mind not having the cabinets, tv, tables and all... basta't matino ang resting place ko... lol! :P

JC said...

experiencing ongbuan pension house? yacky...ang baho ng bed sheet at pillow case nila...

JC said...

may mas cheap pa ba sa rate ng ongbuan pension house?

Mai_Flores said...

You experienced it too? Actually, ong bun's rates are really low already. But if you're looking for better places to stay-in while in Iloilo, I can ask around. :)

Mai Flores said...

I've yet to experience such terrible accommodations. I only choose budget hostels with dorm rooms if I'm traveling solo and these were really cheap so I really didn't expect much.
-Wanderer Juan (http://www.thewanderingjuan.net)

Mai Flores said...

Best budget hotel i have stayed at. Friendly helpfull staff and security.
I have seen some furniture and plumbing in need of repair but this was
overlooked due to the type of hotel it is. I found your review petty
and unfair. You seemed to be in a bad mood that day. There is the
Grande Central if you do return to Iloilo

Mai Flores said...

Hi Andrew,

First of all, thank you for leaving a comment on this particular post. I respect your opinion. I hope you'll also respect mine.

As for your view of me and my experience in Ong Bun, I agree with you on on the friendly staff and security. No questions with that. But my view of the room itself was very disappointing. My review wasn't petty since I wrote only the truth. I don't think it's unfair too. Plus, I wasn't in a bad mood before checking in since I just came from an awesome trip in Guimaras.

Anyhow, I appreciate your sentiments. To each his own. God bless!

Mai Flores said...

Hi Joshua! I actually didn't expect much with Ong Bun, especially after seeing how unkept it was. Then again, can you sleep in a bed that smells really bad? I for one, had a very uncomfortable stay because of that.