Cebu resort owner lambasted for harsh remark about guest’s special needs child

Plantation Bay in Cebu. Photo: Plantation Bay/FB
Plantation Bay in Cebu. Photo: Plantation Bay/FB

The owner of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, a luxury resort in Cebu, has been lambasted by netizens for making insensitive remarks about a guest’s special needs child.

The controversy started when a guest named Mai Pages left a negative review of the resort on Trip Advisor a few days ago. She complained that lifeguards stationed near the pool repeatedly told her to shush her son Fin when the boy was squealing with excitement.

“Every time Fin jumps in the water he’d be so happy that he’d laugh and squeal again. 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!” she wrote.

“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,” she added.

Read: NGO calls out netizens who make fun of people with disabilities in ‘Boyet Challenge’

Instead of apologizing, however, resort owner Manny Gonzalez responded negatively to Pages’ Trip Advisor review. In a now-edited post, Gonzales, using the account of general manager Efren Belarmino, said that “uncontrolled shouting is not a symptom of autism.” He also said Pages could be “deliberately lying” or was given an “incorrect diagnosis of autism.”

He also urged Pages to Google the word “autism” so she could verify that what he said was true.

“[W]hat the child most likely has is a lack of discipline due to simple parental neglect. If their parents would pay attention to them and would refrain from screaming at each other, there would be no need for the child to scream. In our experience, one word from a responsible parent is enough to make a child quiet down,” Gonzalez wrote.

After attracting critics online, Gonzalez issued a statement on Plantation Bay’s social media account last night, saying that he was “wrong to question the mother’s motives” for posting her negative review of the resort. He added that he “deeply regret[s]” leaving the impression that his company is not supportive of children with special needs.

However, he insisted that keeping children quiet is “geared towards the safety and relaxation for all guests.”

“As a result of that policy, in almost 25 years we have never had a child die here. A mother’s pride is important, but more important are the lives of the children who come here,” Gonzalez said in the statement, which has been shared almost 4,000 times since it appeared.


Do you think Gonzalez was being reasonable? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.




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