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VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

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Hong Kong, China
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VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

I am willing to be accounted among those who praise El Nido’s stunning islands and friendly population. However, I also want to warn all visitors about my awful experience with the Fernandez family who owes several cottages and hostel on El Nido’s seafront.


 From overseas, in Nov., I asked Gloria and her daughter Magda to make sure a van could bring us from Puerto to El Nido, elsewhere the stay in her cottage would simply not happen at all.

 All internet websites indicate van pickup price is PHP 600 or 700

 The PHP 600 or 700 was confirmed by Gloria over the phone

 When we arrived to Puerto Airport at 6.25pm on Dec. 25, all arrangements were good. Before we started, I asked Magda and her daughter Merle, twice and face-to-face, to reconfirm the PHP 600~700 price: they told me twice that “van shuttle is free of charge included in the price of the cottage”

 Magda’s husband brought 2 big groceries cartons and travelled with us in the van until a small village 10km before El Nido.

 Between Dec 27-29, Magda sent many SMS making new stories that now “van and cottage price should be separately paid” which of course I rejected

 In the meantime, the car and driver were stationed in El Nido for several days for Gloria’s family needs only. Between Dec 25~30 (i.e. peak season), no traveler ever required the van… which raised my suspicion.

 Dec 30, our last day in El Nido: Gloria Fernandez informed me for the very first time about the van price: PHP 14.000!!! (equiv. 240 EUR) Of course for such an extravagant price, anybody would stay in Puerto for the night and wait for the PHP 600 van.


After our islands tour at 5pm, on Dec. 30, Magda came to the our bungalow flanked by Gloria and a relative named Merlie. Madga was aggressive, in denial of her previous promises. Within 5 minutes, she started making threats of calling the police. Threats she eventually executed:

I briefly went to buy some refreshment in the store across the road. Wishing Madga would quiet down a bit. When I came back to the cottage a man she called introduced himself as a policeman, showed me his badge and a police ID. Merlie was there during the entire conversation, as we were both trying to explain the situation to this “policeman”. I was scared for our safety.

Gloria joined our conversation after 2 minutes and she partakes in the explanation for about 5 minutes. After which, she put few bank notes in the palm of that “policeman”. I reacted, shocked by such obvious bribery. Now, Gloria, Merlie and the “policeman” all agree to say the man was actually a “policeman under cover” who works as a tricycle driver!!!


Nobody in Palawan knew my surname except Philippine Airlines (office closes after 6pm). During the time we went away for dinner, our bedroom doors were opened and our luggage was searched. Cleaners never came inside the rooms during the 5 nights we stayed in the cottage. This intrusion was obvious when Madga wrote down properly my full name – that she had found in my passport deep in my backpack – in order to report to the police.


 Back from dinner around 8pm, two new policemen were waiting in front of the bungalow when we came. A Lady from the Office of Tourism, and Gloria’s family members were strolling – encircling the bungalow

 My mother (70 years old) and I were literally terrified by Magda and Merlie’s outbusts, in presence of the local Police.

 While the three Ladies were shouting as us, a male relative of Merlie insulted me in English “you are so stupid!” and I was also clearly being cursed in Tagalog

The local Police has been used to force my 70 y.o. mother and me to pay.

The Philippines Police treated us as criminal instead of protecting us.

Philippines Immigration and Customs in Manila airport would not have left us go home – because of this PHP 14.000 scam.

We were so saddened the wonderful impression left by local people and environment was all tarnished by this malicious scam, where we were held as hostages. We had no choice but to pay … to be free to fly back home

Of course, my mother and I would confirm any of the above mentioned information in front of any Court or Tribunal.

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1. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

Hi Nicolas,

I'm sorry to hear of your horrible experience. If you haven't done so already, I suggest you send a formal complaint to the Dept of Tourism and El Nido Tourism Board.

Here are the websites:



Edited: 1:23 am, January 19, 2011
Hong Kong, China
2 posts
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2. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

Thank you. Actually, I did send a similar message to the Philippines Office or Tourism. Honestly, neither the Office of Tourism nor the Philippines Police should partake in such scams.

Fake Police being used to scare my mother and me was also something I would never have imagined. I am willing to fight against such practice ... but the problems are not for me to resolve!

You have my story. I will stick to it, word by word. Regards, Nicolas

Cebu City
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60 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

What is the name of the resort that you stayed in so that we avoid doing transactions there.

Stirling, United...
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4. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

^^ Gloria Fernandez Cottage the name is in the thread title..

anyways thats absolutely shocking its ppl like these who give the philippines a bad name.. the lengths they went to scam even more money out of you is just disgusting..

5. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

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Removed on: 6:36 am, January 24, 2012
Puerto Princesa...
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6. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

its good that its only a year after I have read this blog of nicolas...if I have read this early, I might even brought his name in the Philippine Immigration office to be blacklisted. The way he treated my grandmother and mother...my!my!my!. and he is asking for respect as well... how you treat your 70 yrs old mother whould be how you have treated my 85 yrs old grandmother and my mother who is 66 yrs old at that time.

Its good that we Filipinos are still tolerable and patient with his kind..

I just hope that in case you still find him worthy of his words..please check our local tourism office of the published rate for Van Hire Puerto-El Nido-Puerto.. this is where his misfortune started. Him not paying for the van rental for the agreed price.

May Nicolas find it in his heart to accept his own misfortune by his own doing.

Edited: 11:03 am, January 22, 2012
Oslo, Norway
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15,123 posts
149 reviews
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7. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

this scam and your opinions should be written up under hotel reviews..that way it will be there forever..under this forum, it will eventually be lost but under reviews, its permanent...if that hotel or scam place is not listed under hotels, follow the procedure to review it.......

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5,334 posts
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8. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

leftover -this is from jan2011 -not sure how the operator was able to post reply as if thread deosnt have reply after 6 months -it will be closed by ta.

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9. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

you nicolas should have been brought to jail for all of the inconveniences have costs us during the christmas holidays , december 2010... -what inconveniences did he cause you? 14000 peso for 6 hrs? u can rent a van for a whole day in any other island for 3000 peso

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9,316 posts
12 reviews
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10. Re: VAN SCAM - Gloria Fernandez Cottage

Mjaye, P14000 is an obscene price for that van and you know it! No one in their right mind would agree to it, and you can't have made the amount clear to Nicolas. Not only that but your family were using the van for your own needs. Your father rode the van too. Shouldn't he share the cost of the van then, as he also used it? Gee, why not? And did you or did you not conduct an illegal search of the luggage of your guests?