Our family had a terrible experience on Christmas. Neighbors in Barra, Opol held a loud karaoke session on the street until 3 am. So, on New Year's Eve, expecting another racket, we went to Ridgeview Chalets, known to be a quiet hotel in Xavier Estates, Cagayan de Oro.
As our car entered this tightly-guarded subdivision at 7 pm, we saw numerous other vehicles quietly and slowly coming from the direction of the chapel. Apparently, a mass had ended and people were returning to their homes.
I thought we would be in one of the four separate chalets that we saw in 2007. Instead, a guide brought us to a motel-style longhouse with several rooms.
Surprise: The walls were made of red bricks -- snug, country-feely, clean.
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We rented room 515 and the adjoining 517. Each had a small refrigerator, a large wall TV, a quiet digital air-conditioning unit, a nice cabinet with multiple containers, and a wooden, rustic table spacious enough for four plates and glasses. The rooms were separated by doors, which could be left opened if you like.
Something new to me and quite convenient: In all other hotels I’ve been to, the toilet, the bathroom and the basin were placed in one room, but in Ridgeview Chalets they were separate – a healthier option. The basin had extra space for cups and an electric pitcher. Easy to make tea or coffee.
My bed was too soft for me, however, too bouncy. Guests with back problems usually prefer firm mattresses and ergonomic pillows.
Around 10 pm, we heard explosions, just like in Barra; we had not escaped from the noise after all. I could see fireworks outside Xavier Estates, but an employee later told me that some Xavier Estates residents defy instructions not to use firecrackers. There was no way of telling if the explosions came from the dreaded "Goodbye Philippines" or "Super Yolanda" but they were so loud you could feel the vibration.
But, unlike in Barra, Xavier Estates had no street party, no public music, no carolers, no drunks -- at least, none that I could see on this visit. The blasts stopped at 1 am.
In the morning, we had a nice view of the wide green field. It had a small playground and populated only by two animals from the African savanah -- a concrete giraffe and a zebra. The ground was dry. No water containers of any kind for mosquitoes to breed.
The parking lot was about 80 meters away, partly blocked by trees, so when you leave the room you see lots of space and vegetation, instead of the industrial gathering of cars.
Another asset of Ridgeview Chalets is Annabelle’s Restaurant -- that's fine dining -- and the large swim pools. Food, upon request, was delivered to our rooms. We had fried eggs, beef, and bangus. Then a long dip in the children's pool. The kids just loved it. That day was the most refreshing New Year we had. If not for the massive explosions, everything at Ridgeview Chalets would have been superb.