Masferre Inn

Star Travel Rating


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Date of travel

January, 2018

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Reasons for trip

Culture / Sightseeing

When you arrive at a hotel and there’s chaos all around, you get a sinking feeling.

As with the “Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel”:, our guide Carlos, had managed our expectations in terms of quality. This time, we were staying at the “Masferre Inn”: Masferre Inn in Sagada on the Philippine’s main island of North Luzon.

However, things improved as Carlos quickly arranged for our luggage to be transferred to our waiting room (at noon, despite a check in time of 2pm) and there was no paperwork to be done.

The rooms are very simple with no frills whatsoever: no safe, tea and coffee making facilities and unusually no complimentary bottled water. There was a double bed, tiled floor and turquoise walls, a small desk but no shelves and just three hooks on the wall each with a coat hanger. There was a small balcony and it was pleasant to sit out amongst the ramshackle buildings and back yards. At least we were high enough to see the landscape beyond as the hotel was on the side of a steep hill.

Whilst the room was a reasonable size, the bathroom was tiny with a step to hurdle in and out. The loo was lower than usual which was not helpful as my thighs ached from climbing the “Ifugao Rice Terraces”: The basin only had a cold water tap and the shower was basic. There was only one small towel each and a sachet of shower gel. Hairdryers were available on request, which was fine if you realised this before you got your hair wet.

On the first night, we discovered there was no hot water and eventually were given a screw driver to move a switch on the taps to turn on the hot. Thinking water and electricity weren’t a good mix, we abandoned showering and with the intervention of Carlos, moved to another room the following day. This was much bigger with two queen size beds and a larger balcony which caught the sun all day. However, this time, the water in the bathroom was scalding hot which served us right for complaining.

On the bathroom door was a sign with a list of 11 rules, including one which advised us to observe the 9pm curfew. Sagada generally observes a 10pm curfew, imposed during a communist insurgency in the 1980s, lifted and then imposed again with the advent of hippies who apparently brought love, sex and drugs to the community. Although you’re unlikely to be arrested, we didn’t try it out.

Staff were young and eager to help so said ‘yes’ when it wasn’t appropriate because they thought it was what you wanted to hear e.g. ‘is there wifi in the rooms?’, ‘yes’ – there wasn’t.

The small reception area had a piano, two wing-back chairs and open plan restaurant, but all the tables were laid for meals and there was a lack of general seating which caused problems when everyone was using it to access wifi. There wasn’t really a bar, but what looked like a shop front with unchilled wine and beer in the window.

The Inn was the former home of Eduardo Masferre who was considered the father of Philippine photography for showing how the traditional people of the Cordillera Province lived during the early 1900s. Carlos explained later that the place had been built over a long period of time and that the add-ons hadn’t been smooth. This explained a huge area downstairs from reception that was unused.

Breakfast was good with a serving of fresh mango, grapefruit juice, with tea or coffee and crema (no milk available). Orders were taken for either continental, Filipino or full breakfasts. We ordered the latter and having been given the choice of ham or bacon, plumped for ham but got bacon, along with a large home-made roll, two perfectly fried eggs, a fried banana, tomato, cucumber and a strawberry. However, service was painfully slow, and we ordered in advance for the following day. We decided to have lunch and dinner out.

All in all, it was a bit of disaster: their website design is by Imaginasyon and I think they have obviously got lots of imagination to make it sound so good.

Helen Jackson

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