How We Got Started
We get a lot of queries from people looking for a hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental. Inquiries are usually concerning our hotel or other types of accommodation or a place to stay here.
Once they find our hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental the questions range from:
- The structure itself
- Why not advertise it more
- How come we never knew it existed
- Why we built it in this location
- Is the upper floor being used for something
- Etc., Etc.
Let’s look at these questions
Well, I will try to give a kind of overview of the whole concept from the very beginning. We wanted to build a hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental or some kind of accommodation here.
We wanted a place which would offer a quality type of hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental. Also we needed a restaurant which would cater to the requirements of foreign and local visitors. Each of these was in short supply, even non-existent during our first visit to Calamba Misamis Occidental. We decided we would try to fill these needs. This was the start of the Jconfarm accommodation but not the end of it by any means.
My 1990 Visit to the Philippines
I came to the Philippines first around 1990 and tried to find a hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental. Some other kind of accommodation would also have done. Not being able to find any, we stayed in a Resort in Dipolog. I wanted to see more than just the inside of the resort which, didn’t really have much. But it has grown a lot since the time I was there. So I came here to Calaran which is a Barangay of Calamba. A Barangay is like a village that has its own Barangay Captain. The Barangay Captain answers to the Mayor of the town.
Seeing where my wife came from
I wanted to see the place where my wife is from. As I said there was no hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental at that time as far as we knew.
My wife had been working away from the Philippines for some years. She was not familiar with what hotel was available in Calamba Misamis Occidental. We were told there was none. I think that even if there was a hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental, they would not have told us anyway. Local people may have thought it would not be to a Foreigner’s standard.
We chose other arrangements
Anyway, we stayed with a friend of my wife for one or two days. I needed to be more independent and free to do what I wanted. So we stayed in a hotel which was some distance away in Oroquieta City. Oroquieta is about fifty minutes drive from here.
A friend of my wife insisted that her driver would be the one to collect us and bring us back each day. Also he would bring us anywhere we wanted to go at any time.
I was really very much surprised as to the friendliness, openness, caring attitude, humility, respectfulness of the people here.
My Wife owned some land
She and I spoke about building a hotel and being the first hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental.
We discussed this at length and eventually decided that, because both of us were working overseas we should wait. The idea of a hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental was put on hold. We would consider it again when one of us either came home for good or retired. At that point at least one of us would be here to oversee the work.
Our agreement on how to start JConFarm
So the agreement was that the first thing to do was to build a house here.
We were very lucky in the fact that the daughter of my wife is a civil engineer. She took on all the work of planning, design, approvals etc under her wing. Her army of tradesmen went to work and the house was built to the way we planned it.
But not a hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental yet
So now we had our very own accommodation even though not a hotel (yet) whenever we came home on vacation. However, the idea of a hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental was never far from our discussions. We lived in this house for maybe ten years.
After moving out of the old house it remained idle for a long period of time and instead of demolishing it altogether we decided we had to do something with it rather than wipe it off the face of the earth. The hotel issue bubbled to the surface again, so we decided first to turn the ground floor into a guest house, just to see what the business end of the plan would be like.
We did have to make major renovations, but we did it in sections rather than bulldoze the lot in one go. My wife’s daughter, the civil engineer once again threw her herself into this project with the planning, design, and approvals. She and her army of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, masons etc, started the work on the new Jconfarm accommodation building.
When designing the rooms I drew on my own experience of staying in hotels during my travelling days. I have been working overseas for almost forty years and during this time I have experienced good hotels, bad, and also in between. I really believe that this type of experience has been invaluably to Jconfarm while planning the hotel in Calmba Misamis Occidental.
Department of Tourism
Thinking of the Department of Tourism, surely they have requirements hotels apart from what we had decided we wanted. I remember a long time ago back in Ireland when there was a big push towards tourism. The Department of Tourism there brought out a set of guidelines which would form the basic requirements for hotels. These regulations would be required in order for them to get approval to carry out their business.
So with this in mind I decided to go and find out what, if any, requirements were in place in the Philippines.
As it turns out the Philippines are embarking on the same path for tourism as Ireland did all those years back. So, of course there would have to requirements or guidelines put in place for hotels, including our hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental.
Researching on the Internet
The internet is a great tool for finding information. There it was, all the requirements to have a Hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental accredited by the Philippine Department of Tourism.
- Rooms had to be a minimum size, yes we have exceeded that requirement.
- Furnishings had to be so-so, yes we are ok there also.
- Bathrooms must be so-so, yes got that also.
- The restaurant had to be available, yes we had.
- We also had a bar but that was not one of the requirements
- So all is in order. Let the building or demolishing begin.
We renovated all the rooms. Then added some extension bathrooms. Now all the new accommodation rooms had on-suite toilets and showers. The hotel requirements were also not far away when all this work started.
Next, we demolished the front walls, section by section replacing them with block-works as we went, by doing it this way saved us from removing the roof which was still in good condition.
Both internal and external walls were constructed so that they were tied in together. I have been in the construction business (albeit not house building) for so many years. I never realized that so much re-bar would be required in a house. But we don’t get earthquakes here I thought to myself, but ok whatever way it’s done here is ok by me.
Time for furnishings
The furniture required included:
- Air Conditioning
- and others
We wanted everything to be completed and eventually, all was ready to accept guests.
Department of Tourism Application
We applied for the Department of Tourism accreditation were granted approval. Unfortunately, we could not apply for hotel accreditation as we did not have the requirements in place, (but we will soon).
One of the requirements of the Department of Tourism is that a complimentary breakfast must be served to guests, as in any good hotel or accommodation, this we offer, but have found that a lot of guests come here to visit friends and family, girlfriends, and boyfriends. They only want accommodation, they prefer to have breakfast with those they are visiting, so they will normally go to their house early in the morning. However, some also invite those they visit back to our restaurant to dine.
With this in mind, we were able to reduce the room rate by deducting the cost of the breakfast for those who don’t partake, so we are able to offer two rates now instead of one.
Jconfarm are still moving toward the first Hotel in Calamba Misamis Occidental
We still have not lost the idea to be the first hotel in Calamba and for this reason, we are soon going to start developing the upstairs of the present accommodation.
This work is on hold in order that we could determine the likes and dislikes of our patrons.
We are here to serve our guests
To date, we are happy to report we have not had one single dislike. We intend to carry this type of survey result into the far future. Saying that, there is no harm or objection in guests putting forward constructive criticism. No matter how small or insignificant they may find it. Once we know what it is, we will be able to act on it. We invite this so we may improve on what we already have to offer.
We received the Department of Tourism quality seal for our accommodation and the Jconfarm restaurant. The restaurant has to be an integral part of the accreditation overall requirement.
We will arrange a local Department of Tourism guide for guests who want to see all the interesting sites and walks available in our area.
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Until next time Salamat and remember “without u s_ccess means nothing to us”