Beware of Deceitful Promos!

I should have blogged about this weeks ago but  I only had time to do this now. Still, I think it's never too late to warn people to be careful when dealing with questionable practices. Please read and be warned ...

Every time I attend expos, there are booths where people are encouraged to fill out "raffle coupons" that might win the person a free stay in a hotel or resort. I've filled out my share a few times and would get almost daily calls and texts the week after from agents telling me that I won or I was chosen as one of few who are entitled to claim a gift certificate for a 3-days, 2-nights stay at blah-blah-blah resort.

However, due to my busy schedule plus the fact that some of the claiming venues are too far from our place, I haven't been able to go. Until I finally had time to attend one last month ... which turned out to be a bad experience :(

For three weeks, THREE WEEKS!, I kept receiving calls and texts almost everyday from  either a Ms. Vangie or a Ms. Liza Perez who said they're the confirmation managers of Pearl of the Pacific Boracay and that it's "sayang" if I don't claim my GC for a free 3-days, 2-nights stay at the famous Station 1 resort.

Last Feb. 19, I was at a brunch media event in Makati when, yet again, my cell phone rang (tsk, Sun Cellular's unlimited calls have made these people's lives easier). It was Liza again calling to ask if I could drop by that afternoon and claim my GC. I figured, since I have to be at EDSA Shang at 4 p.m. for another event, I could make a detour to the Raffles Bldg. in Ortigas around 2 p.m.

Once there, someone named Cel talked to me one-on-one and gave me an almost 60-minute talk about the advantages of timesharing. I didn't mind listening, actually, because I wanted to learn if it could really be advantageous to me and my family. In between our conversations, she kept asking me if I think I'd be interested in this kind of arrangement. I said it's worth considering but, in my mind, I was thinking, "Half a million pesos?! They should approach millionaires instead of regular people like me!"

After "the talk", I was led to a small room where Cel showed me a video about Pearl of the Pacific Boracay and the international company (I forgot the name) they belong to. I wasn't able to concentrate much on what I was supposed to watch because she kept asking me if I think I'd be interested in signing up for their timeshare program. I replied that something like that is not mine to decide alone. I would have to talk this over with my husband first. Upon hearing that, she stood up, turned off the TV without waiting for the video to finish, and ushered me out saying, "Anyway Ma'am, I've explained about it to you so please think about it."

She pointed me to the reception area (no friendly smiles anymore by this time) where she said I will be receiving the GC shortly. She then proceeded to enthusiastically greet a man who waiting there and led him inside. I wondered what her face would look like if the guy also declined to sign up after they talked.

Anyway, a woman handed me an envelope and explained that the GC is not transferable as it is made out in my name. I took the GC out, examined it, and turned it over. I was bemused when I saw this: "Confirmation Voucher shall be issued for every confirmed reservation and pay the non-refundable reservation fee of PHP 3,900 until option date." (click the photo to enlarge and read what's printed there)

"Oh," I said, "So I'm supposed to pay P3,900 to reserve a slot?" The woman confirmed that, yes, that is how it's done and after that, I'll be able to enjoy a wonderful stay at Pearl of the Pacific Boracay for free. Duh?! And that doesn't even include airfare yet!

I left the office fuming, "They shouldn't advertise something as free when it's not!" As it is, I won't be using that GC because if I do, it would mean I'm affirming the actions of these people that it's okay to use deceit to lure people to avail of their "promo". And there I was, even planning earlier that if I get to go and enjoy my stay at the resort, I'll make sure to write about it and pitch the article to one of the print and online publications I write for.

Sure, a "free" 3-days, 2 nights stay at Pearl of the Pacific Boracay would probably be great. But going there under such circumstances? Thanks, but no thanks.

What's doubly odd about all these is that when I looked closely at the contact details on the GC, I saw several discrepancies:

1. The GC indicates as the company's website (it doesn't have any substantial content!) and as their email address. When I went online, I found out that the real website of Pearl of the Pacific Boracay is at and their email address is

2. The address I went to was at the 14/F Unit 1401 Raffles Corporate Center, F. Ortigas Jr. Rd. Ortigas Ctr. Pasig City. But printed on the GC was the real address of the sales and marketing office of the resort which is at the R&G Tirol Building, 831 EDSA corner Eugenio Lopez St., Quezon City.

I am not accusing the people at the Raffles Building that they are scamming people. For all I know, everyone who went there for a presentation and who paid the P3900 reservation fee did get that free stay in Boracay. I am, however, very turned off at the way they are promoting Pearl of the Pacific especially now that they seem to be just a timeshare company and not really directly connected with the resort.

If I didn't investigate further online, I would probably still have a negative view of Pearl of the Pacific Boracay  and discourage friends from dealing with their people. But, as you've read above, it seems that the real resort is not aware of the bad publicity that the people at the Raffles Building are generating for them :( 

Just a warning to everybody ...
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