It is not a secret that I love going to Aninuan/Tamaraw Beach in Puerto Galera. It is definitely not the best beach you can find in the Philippines, but it is a convenient and relaxing destination. Last year alone, I went there three times. The area never fails to rejuvenate me.
I spent the New Year at Tamaraw Beach Resort as usual and have no complaints about it. However, I had an unpleasant experience at the resort next door - Sunset at Aninuan. While I stay at Tamaraw each time I go to Puerto Galera, I always make it a point to pay Sunset a visit for their brewed coffee, which is the most decent I can find in the area. Their outdoor bar is quite pleasant, with just as pleasant serving staff. This trip was no different in that we went for coffee next door. While having coffee, the thought of trying out the resort - actually stay there - for once came up, and we decided to inquire about reserving rooms for May. We didn't do it then and there as plans were quite uncertain.
The next day - New Year's Eve - we decided to walk over once again for coffee and New Year's Eve lunch (their menu is not bad, actually). Little did we know that we were in for an unpleasant surprise. The moment we set foot on the premises - just inside the "gate" - we saw a serving person being hurriedly sent to meet us. He came running to meet us, and we didn't have a clue of what it was all about until he said something about "outsiders not being allowed" as they were fully booked.
At first, it didn't sink in, but after he repeated his words, we took a look at the premises - which was practically empty - and stated that we were only there for food and coffee. That apparently did not matter.
You see, I totally understand that an establishment like Sunset may not be open to those who are not in-house guests, especially on a holiday night. Supplies may be scarce and they may want to ensure that they have enough to cater to their in-house guests.
My problem is how the whole thing was handled.
I have been going there for a while as an "outsider" and had never once been told that they only serve in-house guests. Now if that were a policy - even a special one for New Year's Eve - then I would understand. They could have placed a sign or something to let us know, instead of having a guy run to intercept us as if we were intruders. They could have waited till we got to the bar area and explained the situation to us courteously.
Needless to say, when I go back to Puerto for a short break, I shall NOT be trying out Sunset. I know my custom probably doesn't mean anything to them, but I will take Tamaraw Beach Resort any day - with its uber helpful staff that does not discriminate.