Live in the moment. Be spontaneous. Don't over-plan.
All these we did, the weekend of the 17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark Field, Pampanga. We were supposed to book ourselves at Abe's Farm. But since it was a valentine weekend, it was fully booked. Just like the rest of the hotels in nearby out of town destinations.
Keeping our fingers crossed, we chanced upon Oxford Hotel, albeit on wait-list. Saturday, February 11, we arrived at Oxford with trepidation. True enough, the front desk man told us it isn't possible to check in because there are no more rooms! But we persisted, thinking there might just be one that will be freed up, if we just wait long enough. The guy was adamant in telling us to look elsewhere. In fact, he gave us the name of another hotel. But it was outside of Clarkfield. We didn't want to risk braving the bumper-to-bumper traffic, the hot air balloon event causes every year.
|It looks okay from afar but don't be fooled. It's a crumbling structure.|
After a while, this pretty front desk woman told us that hey, one room has freed up. Woot, woot! See, persistence works! We paid for the night's bill, P3,600 for a room for three. We didn't bother checking the room because we wanted to go somewhere and the room is not yet cleaned. No problem there.
We left the hotel with a smile. Then, we drove to the mall. We shopped, dined and talked and drank coffee.
We got back around 10 o'clock in the evening. Upon entering the elevator a scary crossed my mind. What if the room sucks. But I brushed it away hoping for the best. As we stepped out of the elevator, we saw that the lobby's carpeting looked like it hasn't been shampooed for a long time and it smelled funny.
Our room was near the exit. It took us forever to reach it. And it was really disappointing. Yes, it even looked the room is disappointed in itself. But beggars can't be choosers.
When Mei was about to take a shower, she shrieked! The shower head was spewing out dirty water with rusty looking elements.
So, on top of the sagging bed, dirty bathroom and dirty water, the air conditioner is barely working. We called the front desk to report the depressing condition of our room and request for a transfer to a better one.
Alas, there is no other available room. The front desk even intimated that a lot of guests have already complained. There is simply nothing they can do about it.
Eh? We slept lightly that night. And our minds were filled with dark thoughts that it invaded our consciousness. We believe it haunted. Ha ha ha.
The next morning, we headed to the "cafe" for our free breakfast. If the room was disappointing, the breakfast fare was even worse. The buffet station was dirty. There was barely anything left on the chafing dishes. And there are no waiters. Dirty tables aren't bussed simply because no one has the time.
On a very busy season, the hotel did not have enough manpower and the good sense to inspect the condition of its amenities. Of course, we demanded some form of appeasement. The hotel manager was very apologetic and embarrassed. She gave us a small discount.
So, if you find yourself in Clark Field, Pampanga and need a roof on your head for a night or two, don't ever entertain the thought of staying there. You're setting yourself for a big disappointment.