Boracay hotel scam victimizes tourists

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ILOILO CITY—The offer was hard to resist.

For P6,500, vacationists going to Boracay Island can rent the “Olivero’s Transient House,” a two-room house for three days and three nights.

Imee (not her name) paid P5,000 in advance through a cash transfer outlet and was looking forward to going to the popular island-resort along with 14 family members.

But she became suspicious when the travel agent, who identified herself as Mary Hope Pascua, insisted on getting the full payment in advance.

After checking with the local government of Malay and the Department of Tourism (DOT), Imee found out that the Olivero’s Transient House did not exist as well as the address given.

“We were not able to go there because I discovered that it was a sham,” Imee told the Inquirer in a telephone interview. She requested that her identity be withheld for security reasons.

The nonexistent hotel is different from the Oliveros Place in the capital town of Kalibo which is a legitimate business.

Imee repeatedly tried calling Pascua through mobile phone but there was no response.

She said she found the online offer under the name of “mhpascua” at www.sulit.com.ph, a popular Philippine buy and sell website.

Aside from the details of the offer, the advertisement provided a contact number for bookings. The advertisement has since been taken down.

Pascua asked Imee to deposit the payment through a cash transfer outlet in Quezon City. She also sent scanned copies of the business permit and mayor’s permit, but Imee said she later found out that these too were fake.

The Boracay Tourist Assistance Center (BTAC), Boracay’s police office and the DOT-Boracay said the scam had victimized at least two groups of tourists who went to the island on March 27.

Tim Ticar, DOT-Boracay officer in charge, said a group of

10 tourists arrived in Caticlan, the jump-off point to Boracay, and found out that there was no such hotel on Boracay. Another group which booked to stay at the “Capuli Transient House” also  suffered the same fate.

The tourists paid P6,000 in advance also through cash transfer outlets.

The DOT and the BTAC assisted the two groups of tourists in finding accommodations in Caticlan because hotels were fully booked and expensive especially during Holy Week.

Ticar said the scam was apparently operated by the same group because the two hotels have the same addresses.

The address—Road 2, Manoc-Manoc, Caticlan, Boracay Island—is  obviously fake for those familiar with Boracay because Caticlan is not on Boracay but in the mainland.

Ticar said they had issued advisories to warn tourists.  He also advised vacationers to book directly with the hotel.

He said tourists could also call the DOT office on Boracay (036 288 3689) to check information on accommodations.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Horst Manure

    Should be caught , given a fair trial and de-caffeinated , people give the tourist ism business a bad name.

  • speedstream2

    Bummer. Moral lesson: These days, trust no one. Put another way: Better sure than sorry. We would be well-advised to do our homework first before letting go of hard-earned money. Check and double check. Obviously this applies not only to hotel reservations but all other transactions.

  • Pio Pusli

    in pinas, you can’t even trust your relatives or neighbours when it comes to money, much more to a total stranger via internet. you got a lot to learn my dear

    • xxxriainxxx

      You shouldn’t trust anyone even overseas. Hindi lang sa Pilipinas yan.

    • MikeCrisologo

      Not only in Pinas any nationality all around the world . when it comes to money .

  • ernesto

    mga kawatan talaga walang hiya

  • WeAry_Bat

    The older Philippine law on computers can apply here. Investigators can track this person down with adequate legality.

  • Trudy Allen

    The Mayor’s Permit given to Imee is a genuine permit for a legitimate Online Travel Agency for 2012. But it was issued by Mary Hope Pascua as their own, when it is not, and Imee was told that they were in the process of securing their 2013 Permit. Imee contacted the genuine agency, chasing a receipt for her payments and it was then that she learned that the accommodation did not exist

  • klepto

    The government should be extremely proud of this. The person who did this scam is just imitating the government, which is the number 1 thief.

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