AFTER THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT called off the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to a much downgraded General Community Quarantine (GCQ), a deluge of inquiries from Facebook and text messages flooded Crossroads Hostel Manila. This after the said property launched an information campaign on social media. The campaign centered on informing front liners and healthcare workers of its viability to serve as a place to stay.

The hostel’s Facebook Page is lit up with numerous inquiries but it’s not what the owner initially expected it to be.

The calls were overwhelming as inquiries poured in mostly in the morning and late at night asking for details. “At any given day, we’re receiving and answering about 40-50 messages a day,” said Kristoffer Atienza who owns and manages the 30-bed property along with his wife, Malou. “Sadly, however, 90% of those inquiring are asking for short-time or overnight stay with their significant partners,” Atienza lamented after sharing that under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) those kinds of customers are not what the place is for.

Crossroads Hostel is a backpackers’ accommodation serving travelers across the country and in the region. But that was before the lockdown happened on March 15th.

“The Administrative Order (AO 2020-002) issued by the Tourism Department to accommodation establishments bar any guests checking-in to stay leisurely,” the owner explained as he also said that even without the AO, city ordinance bars hostels to welcome individuals staying in intentionally for only short periods of time.

From commentaries to inbox messages, there are a lot of interested parties asking for space.

“I mean, I welcome the business and the interest coming our way but we have to work honorably and Crossroads Hostel’s character is nothing like that. It was built on the premise that it would help budget travelers have an affordable place to stay in a very busy and very commercial area like Ortigas Center. I mean there are either 3-5-star hotels, there are motels, nothing in-between and that’s where we come in.” the owner shared as he went on to say that Crossroads Hostel is an alternative place to stay for budget travelers both locally and internationally but trust was given to it by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to serve only what the AO has stated. “It’s easy to pretend and say we’ll abide by the AO but on the other hands receive any customers we want throughout this community quarantine period but at what cost? There are already insurmountable challenges keeping the number down as far as COVID-19 cases are concerned, so there’s no value not keeping our word to the trust that was given us by the government agency” he said.

“It was a blessing that we have our DOT accreditation since 2016 and that’s why we keep functioning because the good men and women of the tourism board acted swiftly and with care giving properties like Crossroads Hostel, the opportunity to serve the country this way.” Atienza said.

Are they as afraid as the rest about getting infected by the infectious disease? “Oh yes we are,” he said, “and that’s why we’re super strict with our registration policies that a mere hint of sniffles or sight of the person sweating without proper reason or logic would make us turndown their booking even if they paid it through online travel agencies like hostelworld, booking, traveloka, and the likes.”

So what about the 90% that continues to inquire for Crossroads’ services that continuously get turned down?

“We’ll welcome it. I mean people will contact you, they made an effort and that’s already an opportunity to share what Crossroads is and what a hostel is. The opportunity is a win-win situation because the moment you share what your accommodation-business is, it’s in their messenger inbox for life and you give them the option of contacting you back knowing you have a decent place to stay in and an affordable price to complete the package,” the owner said.

Note: Balikbayans, OFWs, Front line workers, Healthcare workers, Government personnel, stranded passengers, and employees of companies offering essential services within 2-kilometer radius of the hostel are allowed to use and stay in Crossroads as it may deem necessary.

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