Shangrila Hotel Incident

 
 
 This incident happened at the Shangrila Hotel to Emylene Jacinto-de Jesus and her daughter.

 
 Please pass this on to your family and friends so they will be aware
 of what's happening in our so called first class hotel in Makati. This
 is not a  joke and should be taken seriously. Perhaps if anyone in our class has
 contact with the department of tourism, they should make them aware
 of this incident. It can happen to any of us.
 
  

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My daughter and I departed from San Francisco Intl. Airport on January
14, 2005 and arrived in Manila at 5:15 am., Sunday Jan. 16. 2005.   Prior
arrangements were made for us to be picked up from the airport by
Shangrila  Hotel Makati.   Upon arrival, we were met by an unmarked Shangrila car.
 
We checked in at 5:50 am. We were assigned Room 2704. Our luggage(4
Pcs) were brought to our room a few minutes laterSince this was a
Sunday, we  had the day to just rest and visit with some friends. We ordered

room  service (light breakfast) and got dressed. We left the hotel to attend
Sunday Mass at 9:30 am and returned to our hotel room at 4 pmWe were
then picked up by relatives from the hotel for dinner at 6:30 pmWe
were back at the hotel room at around 9:45 pm. As soon as we retired to
bed, the nightmare began. At approximately 10 pm the telephone rang,
in the dark, I crawled to answer the phone and on the other line the
operator asked me if I knew a certain Abdul something and that there
were 7 men wanting to go up to our roomI told her in an emphatic
way that I did not want anyone coming up and that I did not know
anyone by that name and that I was not expecting anyone that evening.
She then told me to call the head of Security (a woman named Lourdes) from
my cell phone while she waited on the other line. As soon as I
connected to this Lourdes, she said she was a hotel employee connected
with the Abu Sayaf  and that all of the employees were in this together

and it will not do me any good if I attempted to call for helpThat they do this to a
lot of hotel guests and that they take care of the Makati police, politicians, etc.


At this time, fear had set in.   She knew my name, and said that we should
have been kidnapped earlier but if I just followed everything she  ordered me to do, we

would not be harmed. At this point, the main  thing that occurred in my mind was the

recent warnings to travelers  especially American citizens to be aware of our surroundings

for fear that we may be kidnapped for ransomShe also told me that our room was being

monitored  by housekeeping and securityThere were instances wherein I raised my voice, and

she was quick in warning me to calm down or I would get hurt! She also told me that if we

attempted to leave the room, they would spray our roomI was basically trapped with this

woman using my own cell phone.


I was worried for our livesShe asked me how much cash and jewelry we had.

She ordered me to go out of the hotel and catch a taxi not from the front of the

hotel but to walk out to the street and catch a cabThere was a cab waiting in the

corner, we got in, was ordered to go to a 7-11 store, have the cab wait, purchase

several thousand pesos of Globe and Smart phone cards. She had me read each

and every number and pin number over the phoneWe rode the cab again, this time,

she ordered us to withdraw some more cash from a 24-hour CitiBank ATM machine. 

Since I did not remember my pin number, my daughter used her card.

We rode the cab again and was ordered to let the driver drive
to another city(did not realize how seedy the area was until we got there) to

F.B. Harrison, and goto another mini store and order the taxi to leave.

A woman by the name of Lisa will pick up the money and phone cards.

Upon reaching the mini store, my daughter heard the driver say, do you want me to stay for your
security? Taking a chance, I shushed the driver to be quiet. I signaled for him to wait.
 
We then entered the store, and I asked this Lourdes, where this Lisa
is. She then asked me why I told the taxi driver to waitShe obviously knew
I had asked the driver to wait because she told me that was their driver!
So we went out and told him to leaveWhile waiting for this Lisa, Lourdes

ordered me again to purchase more phone cards., did the same routine
of reading off all the numbers and pin numbersAfter this process, she

ordered us to step out of the store, turn left in a dark alley, and walk until

we see this woman Lisa. We were walking but decided to stop because it

was getting darker. I demanded where this woman was, so this Lourdes in

a sarcastic voice, told me how do you expect to see her if you stopped walking?

(They were obviously watching us). Before we handed over the cash,

she instructed us to go back to the hotel and wait for her call. Then she

ordered me to hand over my "Philippine" cell phone to this woman.
 
We hailed another cab and returned to the hotel.   As we were packing
since we wanted to leave the hotel immediately, the phone rang again, and
this time she told us the cash was not enough and handed over the phone

to their "Commandant". He sounded very scary and demandingHe ordered

us to call the front desk and have more phone cards charged to our room

and brought upOnce we had the cards, I read all these numbers and pin

numbers again and was ordered to flush all these in the toiletIn the meantime,

she warned us that if we told anyone about this, they knew our flight schedule

and that they would kidnap usThen she ordered that we open another suitcase

to look for cash

Obviously, we did not have any cashShe told us to check out of the hotel before the

5 am shift because this shift could do this to us again. Even without her telling us this,

 we were so scared, we just wanted to get out of that hotel. We checked out at 1:03 am

and took a cab to go to our relative's residence at
Rockwell Makati.
 
We were both trembling all the way to our relative's place. We were
both trying to be brave for each other but in reality, we were so
traumatized by this event. We consoled each other and thanked God that we are

alive. It could have been worse. My daughter was so traumatized that she
wanted for us to take the next flight out in the morning, but because I had several

important meetings to attend to, she agreed to stay a couple of days.

Under the advise of my client, we booked ourselves to return to the States
on January 19, 2005, Wednesday instead of the original date of January
21, 2005. The next day, we mentioned this to our lawyer friend, and he did a
little investigation of Shangrila Hotel, and apparently there were three other

victims the same day and all of us were picked up by the Shangrila Hotel.
 
We were still so scared of taking the ride to theNAIA Airport, but  fortunately,

our lawyer friend provided us with top security all the  way to  our airplane.
 

 

Footnote: This story came as an email message from one of the relatives. Then it

appeared in whole in one of the Filipino publications. As to its veracity, no one knows!

Is it possible? It could be and it can happen anywhere to anyone. Be a smart traveler!