It was a disturbing report. A highly reliable source informed me yesterday that Olivia’s Kitchen is no longer welcoming expats. Foreigners that frequent this Guimaras eatery have been tagged as “complaining and too aggressive.”
Guimaras is the island province my Filipina wife of over 18 years and I call home. We retired to my asawa’s home base almost nine years ago. If this information I have received is true, and I have no reason to doubt its veracity, my better half and I will no longer visit a place where we are no longer welcome.
“Complaining?” Yes, I recall a recent visit to Olivia’s where we requested music blaring from their outside speakers be turned down. The request was made politely and the speakers on our side of the restaurant were turned off.
The majority of male expats gather outside after our meals. It’s difficult to carry on a conversation with extremely loud music being played. Some of the foreigners are old geezers like myself and somewhat hard of hearing, a polite way of saying they’re deaf.
Nevertheless, none of my expat friends have a hard time in hearing me since I usually speak quite loud.
Some of the foreigner crew have also been known to “complain” about their dish, especially the fish and chips. The fish and chips are quite often more batter than fish, and not being shy, some expats express their views to the wait staff.
While complaining about our food or loud music might not be the “Filipino way” it is standard operating procedure for many expatriates that I know.
I’m at a loss to explain why we’re being tagged as “aggressive.” For the most part, I’ve seen the staff at Olivia’s Kitchen treated with respect. We’re not pushing people around or engaging in any obnoxious behavior that I’ve witnessed.
Therefore, if Olivia’s Kitchen is no longer welcoming expats we get the message. You probably won’t see many of the core group of expats on Guimaras dining at Olivia’s anymore.
Frankly, the number of foreigners at Olivia’s on a Friday night have numbered 30 or more (including their Filipina wives or girlfriends.) Conservatively, the eatery could possibly lose 25,000 pesos, 500 US dollars, in revenue each Friday evening with our departure.
Currently, we’re looking for an alternative dining spot on Guimaras. While some of us had high hopes for a new establishment, Café Conchita’s, this new venue still only stays open until 3:00 pm. Our group of foreigners meet for dinner around 5:30 pr 6:00 pm.
Construction at The “old” Shirven Hotel for a new two-story coffee shop has been ongoing for months. The proposed opening for the new business was said to be this June 2018. However, progress has been slow at the new site and June 2019 seems a more realistic opening date at this time.
However, management at the “Old” Shirven informs me that the new coffee shop will open this August. Frankly, though I like the staff at the “Shirven,” I remain skeptical about their projected opening date.
Olivia’s Kitchen No Longer Welcoming Expats?
It’s too bad that Olivia’s Kitchen in Guimaras seems to now have xenophobic tendencies. The food is generally good as is the service. Nevertheless, the acoustics inside the restaurant are horrific and it’s difficult to carry on a conversation there. Parking is extremely limited which poses a problems for many expats who own private vehicles. The food is fairly expensive by Guimaras standards.
Therefore, the search is on for a new expat hangout on our island province of Guimaras. Hopefully, we’ll find a reasonably quiet place with cold beer, decent food, and management that doesn’t mind “complaining and aggressive” foreigners.
We have now received word that the management at Olivia’s Kitchen has issued a formal written apology and is certainly welcoming all foreigners.
It seems that a few members of the wait staff had expressed some concerns about the expats. Nevertheless, management has now addressed those issues. We dined at Olivia’s recently and enjoyed some delicious cuisine. My asawa had a pork rib dish with Jade rice which was extremely tasty.
However, we did have to leave the establishment later in the evening due to some noise issues. We gather outside to quaff a few beers after our meal and exchange our usual dose of carabao crap. In true Amish fashion our wives also sit outside but in a separate area. They wisely have no interest in watching their menfolk drink beer.
Graphic courtesy of Captain Tom
Nevertheless, our wives were subjected to loud music blaring from speakers overhead. There was also a noisy group of locals seated next to them. Whether our group returns or not is undecided at this time. That said, we do sincerely appreciate the efforts of Olivia’s management to make us feel welcome again.