Plantation Bay Resort & Spa is in the middle of a crisis, one that every other establishment on this planet needs to learn from. When a mother and her six-year-old child with special needs visited the Cebu resort last weekend, personnel asked them to tone their noise down. That by itself sounds harmless, so where did it all go wrong?
“I tried hushing him and at one point tried to cover his mouth. But then I realized this is so wrong? This isn’t right at all!” Pages wrote in her post.
“It’s a discriminating experience,” she continues. “My Fin is a happy child. He has autism. He is special. Very special! I will never consider staying here ever again. No luxury of this proportion can make this experience okay because that is not what we need.”
Plantation Bay owner’s insensitive replies to the negative review
Ay grabe ang Plantation Bay Resort And Spa! 🤬 pic.twitter.com/cL2LdoVkZP
— PinoyAkoBlog (@PinoyAkoBlog) December 8, 2020
Pages also posted the same thing on Plantation Bay’s Trip Advisor page. The resort’s resident shareholder, Manny Gonzales, replied to the negative review with a lengthy four-point post. “For your information, uncontrolled shouting is not a symptom of autism,” the comment began. “Google ‘Autism’ and verify this for yourself.”
“Therefore this parent is most likely deliberately lying, or has been given an incorrect diagnosis of autism when what the child merely has is a lack of discipline due to simple parental neglect,” he said, implying that he knows Pages’ son more than she does. This first part of his comment has been edited from the original as of writing.
Gonzales also reiterated the importance of the hotel’s noise-making policy. “You cannot relax if people around you are constantly screaming. Every customer should be respected, not just one parent and one child,” he wrote.
“While we are sorry that we are not the right resort for this parent and child, we hope that in the future other parents who want their children to scream constantly and bother other guests, will do their homework and choose another resort, one which doesn’t care about the 99% of guests who want to relax in peace and quiet,” he continued.
Gonzales tries to mansplain autism
Aminado si Manny Gonzalez na sya gumawa ng comment sa tripadvisor, at talaga hes trying so hard to back up his statement! Nakakahiya! Muhkang matalino nga, pero putangina pinag pipilitan nya yung AUTISTIC CHILDREN TEND TO BE SILENT AND NOW SHOW EMOTION. pic.twitter.com/vciu3GPEYH
— bonniever 👁👄👁 (@seamstressedt) December 8, 2020
Netizens were also left angered by a reply Gonzales left on a Facebook comment that said Plantation Bay’s response to the issue was “disgusting, immoral, and very ignorant.”
“I am not an expert on autism and neither are you,” he began. “What I do know is that [autism] is rare; if we hear about it a lot it’s because many parents would rather just put a lifelong brand on their child than do the hard work of paying parental attention.”
“Shouting has no relation to autism (on the contrary, autistic children tend to be silent and not show emotion),” said Gonzales.
“If this mother truly has a special child, shouldn’t she have done some research about the policies of a resort she planned to take her child to?”
What’s wrong with what he said?
The offense of Plantation Bay Resort @PBayCebu is not in the shushing of an autistic child squealing with delight. It’s in telling his mom she was lying when she said he was autistic. It’s very difficult to be parents of autistic children. To be accused of lying 🤬 @TourismPHL pic.twitter.com/lcBkzqmpJq
— Raissa Robles (@raissawriter) December 9, 2020
It’s perfectly understandable for hotels and resorts to request its guests to tone down their noise but Gonzales’ lack of empathy and blatant attempts to insult Pages was uncalled for. He not only generalized those with autism by saying he knows “autistic children tend to be silent and not show emotion,” he also told the mother she possibly misdiagnosed her child. Uhh, we’re pretty sure she knows her child very well without having to “Google autism.” And if his basis for all his knowledge on the matter is Google, what does he actually know?
After things went out of hand, Plantation Bay issues apology
Autism groups speak up
— Autism Strong Philippines (@AutismStrongPH) December 8, 2020
Netizens dig up Gonzales’ previous issues
remember how Plantation Bay’s Manny Gonzalez responded to a customer’s complaint about food poisoning?
yup, this “resident shareholder” really lacks empathy & reeks of arrogance. clear example of money can’t buy class. no matter how rich you are,
you can still be rude & tactless pic.twitter.com/zLHk1s5iVO
— Mayf | #ClimateJusticeNow! (@MayyFiel) December 8, 2020
Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), this isn’t the first time Gonzales shifted the blame to point it back to the person who made a complaint.
Netizens’ FBI skills undearthed his response last year to complaints of food poisoning at Plantation Bay. The snarky response even went as far as to suggest that the guests got food poisoning from their poor hygiene (the third point is too much to handle, honestly). As if the first four points aren’t enough for your eyes to bulge out of their sockets, Gonzales continues to say (we imagine him thumping his chest) they aren’t afraid of bad publicity and they’ve got millions to spare to defend their reputation. “Can you each afford to spend a few million defending against our defamation suit?”
We’re all for that tough-as-nails won’t-take-any-crap attitude he’s got going on but when it comes to customer service, he’s got it all wrong. The customer might not always be right, but it also isn’t the owner’s right to go insulting everyone who complains about their service. He’s running a business that capitalizes on hospitality! The least Gonzales could’ve done is settle the matter privately. Or enrolled himself in a training for customer service and hospitality years ago.
The wrath of the internet is unleashed
I stand up for all parents of kids with special needs. I understand our responsibility to manage the behaviour of our children, no parent deserves to be treated in this manner. A non apology apology just hurts even more.
— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) December 9, 2020
To be fair, not all of Plantation Bay needs to apologize, it is this Manny Gonzales dude. Holy shit mister, what did the world do to you that a mother who gives feedback on a resort the way she did received the response that you sent. How fucked up was your childhood?
— The Ilocano Palantir (@IlocanoPalantir) December 8, 2020
The place is called Plantation Bay, celebrates “colonial-plantation architecture”, and promises to “make you feel like a hacendero (plantation owner)” so maybe their outdated thinking is not really a surprise
— Jonathan de Santos (@desamting) December 9, 2020
A tip for business: BE PROFESSIONAL AND dont align your family/parent issues/bad childhood to your business. Clearly this what happened to Plantation Bay and to its shareholder. It shows where this Manny Gonzalez came from: rich yet toxic, verbally abusive family. 🤮 https://t.co/w9McJ35Bi3
— Pauperprincess (@Pauperprincess4) December 9, 2020
This horrible incident will serve as a lesson for other hotels and resorts on how to treat their guests with sensitivity. The internet also dug up Gonzales’ “impressive” resume which goes to show that you can get pretty far in your career but still remain ignorant and uneducated on the most important things in life.
That being said…
WHO WANTS TO GO TO PLANTATION BAY AND JUST SHOUT & SCREAM then exit hahahahaha
— Graciella (@instagragram) December 8, 2020
What do you think about Plantation Bay’s discrimination issue?