Tuesday, December 8, 2009

La Planta Hotel and Restaurant

My Negros Oriental Tour: Bais City
Let’s float back to some 3 days ago. Of the five lodging places suggested by the visitbaiscity website that I happened to have surfed through while on the bus from Dumaguete, this one hotel had the greatest pull. Thanks to the web really. It is now as easy to look and see where is a bit central, where is commercial area or business center and so on. Considering all the criteria in my head, La Planta Hotel & Restaurant emerged as my best choice. And I can say now, I was never wrong – I think. You already know how I got to this place, so let’s get to how is this place and make the rounds, aight?!

First on the plate must be why the name. I actually suspected so, and I was never wrong. La Planta is Spanish for ‘The Power Plant’. No this is not the mall over at JP Rizal in Makati. They both just have the same history – previously a power plant. The real power plant area of La Planta Hotel and Restaurant is actually just the restaurant and function rooms in that beautiful old wooden house front of the hotel. Rooms are on a more modern concrete building behind it separated by a garden. That setting alone is already a winner for me! Btw, they don’t even mention in their website (yes they have a website) that the restaurant (the whole area actually) was previously a power plant compound. I think that is to avoid would-be patrons to being alarmed or having second thoughts about staying there hehe. No there are no big engines or transformers or anything power plant there. Not anymore!

The restaurant is finely maintained and a cozy place to have meals. The ceiling is way high up, the way it was with houses of long ago, so it is airy. There is even a loft above the kitchen area and that potion is divided by partitions to serve as function rooms. Oh, kitchen I said? You can see everyone whipping up your food as they are separated from the main dining area by just a wall of square wood framed transparent glass. The most ideal kitchen set-up for me, as you can see how clean they are or how busy they are as you wait for your yummy fare. The tables and chairs of this restaurant won’t be easy to cart away. They’re all made of heavy dark wood you’ll have to take extra effort just to nudge your chair hehe. Oh yes, there is a television high up above an old dresser that now serves as cabinet sitting between the two big side doors that is the guests’ way to their rooms. The TV is probably a 14-inch or a bit bigger – but I think they could use something bigger and better hehe!

The menu is not a dizzying litany of hundreds of things like most restaurants do. At La Planta, theirs is just a few but an array enough of choices that for sure will have something that you like. AND everything is relatively affordable from cover to cover – meaning from appetizers to the drinks. Examples? Well, buffalo wings P120, San Miguel Light P30, Spaghetti Bolognese P80, Crepe Samurai P60 and Pancit Molo P60. Take note on the last dish, that is not you regular pancit or noodles. It is a delectable soup and has been my favourite ever since I was a kid. Yeah, the clear soup (broth) that has misua-like noodles and meatballs with a lot of floating fried garlic. Ah yummy yum yum… slurrrrrp! Mind you, this restaurant (I learned) is where most of the well-to-do folks in the city come to dine if they feel like eating out.

The rooms. There are less than 30 rooms when I counted just looking at the doors. The hotel is two levels in a building that is shaped like an overly open letter V, so you fairly see most of the rooms in your floor from wherever you are. Reception is at ground level by the corner of the two wings. I think all rooms are of the same size and they differ only in amenities provided. Some of the rooms (mine had) connect to each other via adjoining doors – good for families or groups. Size, ah well, I think the rooms are bigger in terms of square meters than a typical modern 5-star hotel. My room had twin beds but there was still space to dance around hehe. And I like it that there is no carpet, just wood parquet. Good for my nose! Even the toilet and shower areas are spacious. Best part is that there is a small window by the shower that serves as exhaust, so that everywhere in the room is airy. Very clean everywhere. I have this habit of running my fingers at little hidden nooks or corners when in a hotel, and by far La Planta will easily topple Cebu’s Waterfront Lahug in terms of being spic-and-span. But, yes I don't like flowery designs anywhere in my life! Oh well hehe!

Oh there are other semi-permanent residents of the hotel and it looks like they are well-provided. They’re a flock of birds called balinsasayaw. For some reason, these cute and swift black little birds have opted to nest or build their home at one corner of the ceiling just above the hotel’s reception area. Fun watching them come and go so swiftly. Some go straight into the garden up front and up in the sky, while others even go by the stairway and choose to exit from second level. I think they’re like other animals too – in that they take a bit of time before they trust humans. Why do I say that? Well, everytime I go near their nest they’d all fly away. But when the crews would be passing by or making brisk movements even noises at the front desk, they seemed to be unperturbed! Yeah their nest looks yucky at first, reason why the crews made that cardboard contraption to catch their droppings and serve as birdhouse at the same time. But when you see them birds seemingly at home, the amazement starts to override the aghast. I’d say this one is another for my list of memorable finds!

Am not done with this hotel so keep on reading hehe! All rooms have a porch each and all rooms have a view of the garden (and the restaurant). Why so? Because that is how the building is done. The way to all rooms is via a spacious hallway that is a patio whether you are at ground floor or up at second level. Tables and chairs can be placed in front of your room (at your request) and there is still enough space for other people to pass. Nice to sit around in this area looking at the garden and the birds and butterflies. Ah, while my room had three ash trays at various places, I opted for the patio front of my door as smoking area. Like the occupants of two other rooms on my floor, I can walk around barefoot as the area is always kept clean where crews sweep the tiled floor every now and then. Nice to hang around there day or night – esp over at the right end as it also overlooks the swimming pool.

Oh there’s a swimming pool?! Yes there is, though I did not had a chance to wade around, for which, you of course know the reason – it kept raining hehe! The pool area/garden is also a function area in itself. There is a big canopy that connects to the restaurant so that those who want to stay outdoors can still do so even when it rains. I saw at least two separate meetings held by the poolside - by folks who wore the same color of t-shirts. Probably political parties or the likes hehe! On one of the nights during my stay, a party was also held there (I heard a happy birthday song) and they used more more of the tent-like structures on one side of the pool in addition to the permanent canopy. Nice place.

Lastly, and this is probably why I enjoyed my stay at La Planta… the crews. They are very friendly, very cordial… too caring in fact! I have already theorized about this a bit long ago that hotel crews are at their best during of peak seasons, right? Why, probably to keep away from the boredom of looking at each other, they are so eager to help the few or lone guests around. Imagine… on arrival (evening, remember?) I was so surprised to stumble at front desk where my check-in form was already laid out on top of the counter with a pen waiting for me to sign it! All infos they got about me when I called were already written. AND I liked it that they have made blank the second letter of my surname because the lady was not sure if she got it right during my call haha! And because of the season, they seemed to be all armed with umbrellas ready to protect me from the rain whether I’d be coming from the hotel building or the restaurant or alighting from a ride!

Add in about a dozen jolly pack of interns from the local university. Ah they were fun to be around with. At times I would pretend to be angry and they’d all be alarmed or frightened. Then I would recover with ‘you don’t have to show that you are scared if you know you are doing the right thing, just explain it to your guests’! Then we’d laugh around. There was a time I would criticize them for removing their footwear when entering my room. But one smart girl got me amazed with an answer. ‘Sir, the room is your home away from home… and we all remove our shoes when we enter someone’s home, right?’ that is what she said and I literally clapped on hearing that. Smart girl really! I watched them make my bed and they’re quick and efficient ha! I watched them listen and learn from the lone manang (real housekeeping lady of the hotel) on what not to miss while cleaning the bathrooms.

"Sir, can we move your backpack" came a question one afternoon as I was out on the porch with a hamburger and surfing the web while they made up my room. I snapped with a terse "why, is it bothering you?!" Then she said "oh sorry sir. I’m sorry". When she was about to return inside the room I laughed and told her of course they can move everything if only for them to do what needs to be done. (They wanted to move my things from one of the beds, so they can put that bed to its neat and crisp appearance). I told her I was not really mad, I was just acting. Her reply was "si sir talaga, kahilakon na baya ko" and yes tears were lining her eyes hehe. I repeated I was just pretending to be grumpy and that they should be prepared for all kinds of guests since there really are a lot of unreasonable assholes who become hotel guests. Her classmates were laughing and giggling while she wiped her eyes.

I recovered with telling them stories about my experiences as an airline employee in the past. That they should not take any sentence that comes from a customer’s mouth to heart – even if it was a positive remark. Hey I even divulged one of my secrets when answering a verbal compliment or refusing a ‘monetary’ tip "thank you ma’am/sir, but I hope you can write your appreciation to our customer service office, here is their email address… and so on" hahaha! AND discovering that I was the last of three rooms they needed to make up for the afternoon… and discovering further that one of the guys was wondering why I kept touching the screen of my netbook, I invited them to surf the web, log in to their facebook accounts from my notebook. Ah they had fun, but since I am not myself a tech guy, I had a hard time explaining what a touch-screen is, what’s the difference between a laptop and a tablet; the difference of a finger tap and a stylus tap; the mechanics of a swiveling screen; and how handwriting recognition happens hehe. OMG I discovered it was their first time to see a touch-screen and a tablet!

Hah, I really hope I helped a bit in educating those jolly kids and I hope they move on to succeed and make the tourism industry in this country grow more. Now I credit La Planta for that, and all other hotels or resorts in this country that take students in to do their practicum. There are just a lot of little but significant things that students wouldn’t learn in their classrooms. Oh, some of those kids are now monitoring this blog so I better be prim hehehe! Peace mga inday dodong, peace!

Okay, I checked out of La Planta Hotel and Restaurant on a Wednesday afternoon to move further northwards of the province. Ah, the intern kids on duty gathered at the restaurant area to bid me goodbye. A heartwarming experience really. And who said Bais City is all about dolphins, whales or sandbars?!

Let's go to Manjuyod! And if you are unsure how to pronounce that... wait for my next entry, k?!

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65


  1. yes we went there yesterday with my fiance actually we stayed in Dumaguete city and 1day we got bored and planned to visit Bais since we never been there and we just wondered how Bais looks like. so,to make a long story short we ate our lunch at La Planta restaurant and the lady (Bitch)approached us and gave the (sucks)menu food..the food came like an hour but,i ordered CPA (CHICKEN PORK ADOBO)with rice and my fiancee ordered burger with french fries..that bitch brought burger to my fiancee and CALAMARES wich we not ordered a CALAMARES!? we said hey we didnt ordered this calamares?she said ''oh really?ok i just take this (charged for her)and she looked like mad or something! honestly we did not ordered calamares! what got into her fucking mine?! ok so while im waiting my CPA like 15 minutes she came back and told me they dont have pork and chiken available.i said, what? i mean why didnt u tell me this earlier?i mean she already brought my finacee's burger and why she tel me late so i should have had ordered another food,right?now there was a trick goin on! my fiancee said oh just odered another food and she said ''ma'am why dont u get the CALAMARES?''and i was like..booomm!so since i was very hungry and i was just forced to eat the calamares which is not my type to eat that day.so i got the calamares and i cup of rice then i get 1bot of coke 8oz and it's old coke i mean real old and bad taste! i was so pissed and trying not to fight that bitch cuz i didnt want trouble though.so,hope u bitch could read this my comments if u remember me! and take note, she charged us like 500plus all. the food was bad aint good at all! she played us dirty tricked or game so she could not get charged the fucking sucks CALAMARES! why they ddint have pork and chicken?i mean a restaurant like that runs out of chikcen and pork?and it was a lunch time they have also some foreigners guests?U Bitch who are u U played trick to us yesterday! i was almost to fought u and smashed ur fucking ugly face! that RESTAURANT IS SUCKS!NEVER GO BACK THAT PLACE IN MY LIFE ANYMORE!

  2. wait, i have still have something to say i forgot.. my fiancee got sick now cuz of eating ur sucks burger! wen we got back to our room he vomitting and had dehydration. POOR RESTAURANT LA PLANTA! SUCKS CANT STAND IT!