KEEPING its promise to make the resort’s services more inclusive, 55 employees of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa (PBRS) have undergone its first autism sensitivity training hosted by the Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP).
“We aim to learn more about Inclusive Tourism in 2021, which is why we kickstarted the year by attending this training. From this, we can better understand and create a resort that is more inclusive through continued design and service improvements,” said Plantation Bay general manager Cherry Allego in a statement.
The autism-inclusive tourism training was held on Jan. 21, 2021.
Several employees have expressed understanding and appreciation of the importance of undergoing the training.
“We must consider each person as unique. Patience and proper understanding are the best tools in dealing with all our guests,” said Jenyfer Villagonzalo, the resort’s head nurse.
“We need to understand the unique sensory and social needs of our guests who have autism,” added Maria Rebecca Martinez, Plantation Bay’s executive housekeeper.
According to Ma. Cristina Makilan, Plantation Bay’s laundry manager, “by knowing more about autism, we can make our resort spaces and facilities more inclusive for the different needs of guests.”
Employees also felt that the training helped address the gap between common misperceptions and what they should know to better interact and serve guests with special needs.
“While we are aware of the word autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), not everyone is well equipped with the right knowledge on how to handle each level of ASD,” added William Gupit Jr., the resort’s bell captain.
“Respect is one value we must remember in dealing with all our guests,” noted Jasper Cadeliña, the training officer.
Moreover, Plantation Bay enrolled 14 employees in a sign language training by the Philippine Accessible Disability Services Inc. Resort staff and department managers will attend 12 sessions in February 2021.
“We appreciate the decision of the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa management to enroll select staff for sign language training. We hope to see more institutions, especially in the tourism industry, do the same,” said John Paul Ecarma Maunes, chief executive officer of Philippine Accessibility Disability Services.
In December 2020, the resort modified its booking and reservations procedures and remodeled one of its freshwater swimming pools to allow an unlimited noise level. It also promised to engage in various inclusivity training sessions.
The luxury resort had faced national backlash over the handling of guests with special needs. Plantation Bay’s former resident shareholder Manny Gonzalez resigned over the public outcry after his scathing replies in a TripAdvisor review of Mai Pages, regarding the actions of the resort’s lifeguards against her son with special needs. (KOC)