CEBU'S Sinulog festival has become one of the notorious seasons for unscrupulous entrepreneurs, especially hotels, inns, and lodging house owners.
For instance, on normal days, the hotel room rates of Cebu’s middle-class hotels are pegged at P 600.00 to P 800.00 per day. During Sinulog, the hotel rates of middle-class hotels and Inns are up four times from its original rates. Thus, the P 600 per day room rates becomes P 2,400 more or less per day.
A new rate for the 2020 Sinulog is now also adopted by the calloused hotelier in Cebu City. There are reports that the daily Sinulog rates of P 600.00 have been increased to P 4,000.00. The hotel and Inn owners would no longer accept a daily stay – take note, a daily stay. Instead, the hotel has imposed a three-day stay for prospective visitors.
In other words, the visitor would now pay a total of P 12,000 before they could stay in the hotel during the duration of the Sinulog. Blasphemous!
There are many complaints, least the Cebu media about the exorbitant rates. Isn’t it a sacrilege?
A Cebu journalist confided that their complaints were turned on deaf ears by hoteliers, inns, and lodging house owners. “The hotel and restaurant owners have reportedly agreed about the notorious Sinulog rates,” he said. Incredulous!
While these rates are adopted in the city’s downtown areas, it is also lamentable that the Cebu city government is turning a blind eye about the scandalous hotel rates.
More often, one could not but admit the thoughts that the Filipino traits are actually “shrewd,” “opportunists,” and “insensitive.”
The Cebuano hoteliers appear to demonstrate the Filipino’s negative values, in stark contrast to the much ballyhooed “hospitable” Filipino character.
However, there are exceptions. There few decent and unknown hotels, inns, and middle-class lodging houses in Cebu City. The owners and management of these hotels and inns still maintain the daily room rates on ordinary days.
Hotels in the neighboring outskirts of Mabolo, Mandaue, and Talisay are still on normal daily rates. Considering the traffic and the distance, the visitors prefer to stay in the city’s downtown district. Here the hotel owners make a killing. Others are for members only. Discriminatory!
Since the Sinulog festival is basically a tourism-oriented event, the Cebu City’s Tourism Office must innovate to resolve the issue. One, is allowing “tent visitors” to utilize the Plaza Independencia. The Plaza Independencia is ideal because it is within walking distance to the Santo Niño de Basilica, home of the venerated Santo Niño and Magellan Cross.
Making Plaza Independencia a “tent city” during Sinulog would be an added revenue to the city’s tourism. They could collect a maximum of P 500.00 per day to tent owners -regardless of the number of occupants. However, the city’s tourism office must secure the area from possible intruders by hiring security personnel and police to secure the area.
Latrines for bathing and relieving could be installed in the plaza’s safe corner. Here at P 10.00 for each who relieves and another P 10.00 for bathing would be fair. For those without tents, the tourism office could rent some. With this, the unscrupulous hotels, inns, and lodging house owners will ultimately return the room rates to ordinary day.
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