Joy-Nostalg owner Jack Ng and Bernd Schneider of Accor
This Christmas we prepaid 13 nights for a studio and one-bedroom at Joy Nostalg in Ortigas because they gave us a lower quote than nearby Westin and Discovery. We checked in on December 23 and checked out on December 26 to go to Balesin. We turned over seven pieces of our locked luggage to Joy Nostalg’s concierge for storage. As a precaution, we secured our valuables offsite.
When we checked back in on December 29 at room 1012, we discovered that there were items missing: my favorite Puma sneakers with a pink logo; my favorite black pants with pocket flaps, a Georgia Tech navy polo shirt; two DKNY bras; a striped brown towel; and five light green plates from Target. All items can only be bought in the US.
Not wanting to make accusations, the next day I reopened and searched all our luggage and belongings to see if I had misplaced the missing items. I even asked Manager Czarina Shaine Fernando to ask Housekeeping if we left any items at our original suite 1211. I first wanted to make sure, but the items were definitely gone.
Nature of this theft
It’s scary to consider how the items were stolen from our luggage. Our luggage were all brand new with TSA locks. I even packed my Puma in an opaque bag, then placed it inside the zippered compartment of the suitcase. We also folded all the clothes and packed it neatly in stacks, so the thief likely had to take out each piece of clothing to see what it was then steal only items that fit a female who shared my dress size.
It seems that the thief had uninterrupted access to our stored luggage. The thief likely had the time and space to lay down our suitcases on the floor, open it, rummage, choose what to steal, then return everything back so it doesn’t look like anything was taken. This theft seems highly premeditated.
The thief likely had the authority to access the luggage without suspicion, was not the type to be questioned, and had the seniority not to be subject to a search and frisk.
Maybe the thief thought that we would retrieve our luggage, depart Manila, and only realize that items were stolen when we reached our destination. Then it can be expected that we wouldn’t bother to report the theft nor seek its recovery. Could it be that this has happened before?
On December 31 at 4 pm, I quietly informed Manager Czarina Shaine Fernando about the theft and told her, “Just return the items. No questions asked.” I then followed up our conversation with an email. I thought this would be resolved quickly. But I never heard from Shaine again.
At 11:44 pm of December 31, a Loss Complaint Sheet was slipped under my door that I had to fill out SEVEN HOURS AFTER I had already reported the theft to Shaine. I was upset because this seemed like a stalling tactic, but amidst the fireworks outside, I quickly emailed the completed form and copy furnished my dad and husband as back up.
On January 1, 2024, Joy Nostalg sent an email without an apology , just appreciation.
x x x
x x x
On January 4, Joy Nostalg Manager Odette Huang sent another no apology letter, beginning with, “We hope you are having an enjoyable trip with your family.” Uh, obviously no! Our possessions were stolen!
Odette continues, “ I have been informed of your concerns during the holidays. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. ” If the crime of theft is a mere concern, I wonder what is considered a problem?
I take offense that Joy Nostalg Manager Huang wrote “some items that are allegedly missing” as if I need to prove they’re gone or I might be making it up. The fact of disappearance is proof itself. If a child disappeared today and is nowhere to be found, I don’t need to prove the child is gone before we alert authorities.
Theft under the Penal Code
Joy Nostalg Manager Huang wrote, “ The hotel has put all its resources and efforts into finding the items, unfortunately, all investigations yielded a negative result.”
Negative? Is this a pregnancy test? If a pregnancy test is negative, that means there is no pregnancy. Is Joy Nostalg saying that since they did not find the stolen items then there is no theft? What a novel idea.
Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code states: Theft is committed by any person who, with intent to gain, takes personal property of another without the latter’s consent. I definitely did not agree to having our property stolen.
We contacted Joy Nostalg owner Jack Ng and Accor GM Bernd Schneider for help, but they ignored us.
We checked out to go to Boracay on January 2 and again turned over our luggage to Joy Nostalg for storage until our return. This time, we zip tied all the zippers and removed anything remotely valuable or beloved. My daughter was worried when she packed, “I don’t want my things to get stolen.”
We returned on January 6 and received our luggage in our new room 1813. We dreaded going back to Joy Nostalg but we were prepaid. I couldn’t stand to look at the hotel staff smiles while I wondered if they were in cahoots with the thief.
Closets and drawers opened in our absence
For the duration of our 13-night stay at Joy Nostalg, we kept the Do Not Disturb button on because we didn’t want to risk any theft. We only had Housekeeping services near the end of our stay on January 9 and 10. Not wanting another theft, we locked all our luggage and stowed all our belongings inside the closets before we left the rooms. I placed certain things around the room and closets so I would know if anything was touched. On both days, there were signs that our closets and drawers had been opened and some items inside were moved.
We were distraught by this invasion, so we reported the Joy Nostalg theft to the police. They are still conducting an investigation and has visited Joy Nostalg twice.
This theft at Joy Nostalg has caused me so much anxiety, stress, inconvenience, and sleepless nights. After the theft, we felt agitated and unsafe for the rest of our stay.
Our lawyers have advised us that we have several years to decide if we want to sue.
Wait, there’s more
Oh, and the best part? Turns out when Joy Nostalg gave us a low quote, we were only prepaid for the studio, not the one-bedroom. So Joy Nostalg charged us for six nights on a one-bedroom though they never offered to reimburse us for the theft that occurred while our luggage was in their sole custody.
I will summarize what I surmised. I gave Joy Nostalg our luggage for safekeeping. Our luggage was pilfered under their watch inside hotel premises wherein they insist only authorized hotel personnel had access to our stored luggage. Joy Nostalg claims they can’t find the stolen items, therefore they seem to think they are not accountable for our loss. Maybe that’s why they don’t feel the need to apologize for the theft, nor offer to reimburse us, nor seek to recover their goodwill.
I told Manager Rajino Santos that if he was entrusted to babysit a child for a few days and the child disappears, is he going to tell the mother that the child’s alleged disappearance remains to be proven? And that since he made every effort to look for the child but the results of his investigation were negative, then the child didn’t actually disappear? Therefore, Rajino is not liable and cannot be held accountable and is not obliged to apologize to the mother nor seek to compensate her for her loss?
Joy Nostalg is now inhospitable to me. To me, their name means, you come in with Joy but leave with Nostalgia for your stolen belongings.
— Ivy Lopez (@IvyDigest)
Ivy is a lawyer turned columnist who writes comedy on YouTube @HumorMeIvy.