Travel Stories, Visayas

Ridiculous! This Cebu Hostel is requiring 3 valid IDs,ONLY for Filipino travelers

It was already late at night when I arrived in Cebu.

I didn’t realize that it was hard to get a cab at the airport, so I used Grab. It was actually my first time to use the app. Yes, after years of making waves in the Philippines, it was only a few months ago that I’ve tried it. I didn’t even download the app on my phone. I sought the assistance of a Grab personnel at the airport to book a car for me. I know, I am so oldies. Hahaha!

So that’s it. I got on the car and told the driver my hostel and the address.

When I arrived at the hostel, it was already like a few minutes before 11PM. With all my huge backpack and all, I went straight to the reception. 

I told them that I booked online. While the reception dude was looking for my booking, he asked for my ID. So I gave him my company ID because my driver’s license is already expired and left it at home. You know, I wasn’t able to renew it since I don’t have a car anymore.

To my surprise, he told me about their policy of requiring 3 valid ID’s for guests availing the dorm type room. Oh my, they’re even worse than banks for requiring identification. Aside from my company ID, I only had another one which is invalid because it’s an ID for a membership. 

So I presented just one valid ID, but my company ID has all the details there. I even told them the address of our Cebu office, and he knew the place. But unfortunately, they’re strict of the 3 ID policy.

And he dropped the bomb, he said, they couldn’t accept me to their hostel.


“May confirmed booking ako dito, bayad na downpayment. Sa tingin mo san ako matutulog ngayong gabi?” (I already paid for my confirmed booking here. Where do you think am I going to sleep tonight?)  I asked him. He was just silent, and replied, “Sorry, this is our policy.”

I could lose my temper. I tried to be calm but by the tone of my voice, it was obvious that I wasn’t happy.

Cebu Budget Hostel
Credit: Hostelworld

Our conversation dragged longer and longer. I was pointing out that they should’ve put it on their page at the online booking site that they have a policy like that. It’s unbelievable, that he was serious at kicking me out of the hostel in the middle of the night.

Then I saw two white dudes, foreigners passed by and walked upstairs. So another question just popped up. I asked, “So for the foreigners? Do you also require 3 IDs?” And with so much confidence, he said, “No just one, passport is enough.”

I just lost it. I stopped talking and just raised my hands in disbelief, because the moment I utter another word, I might strangle him. Hahaha!

He picked up the phone, and talked to someone. I guess he was pretending that he was talking to someone just to cool down the situation. Tension was building up, and an attack was imminent. Hahaha!

“So if I have a passport? Would that be enough?”

“No, you have to present 3 valid IDs. That’s just one.” He replied.

Oh my! (pigilan niyo ko!)

That statement made everything clear to me. This is a clear discrimination of a Filipino hostel to their fellow Filipino! Thinking about it was more painful than being unbelievable. Mabuhay kayo!

At that point, all I wanted was to express my outburst and disbelief.  “So ano tingin niyo sa mga Pinoy? Ano tingin niyo sa akin? magnanakaw ako sa dorm?!”  I honestly didn’t want to sound rude, but I had to stand up for the Filipino travelers who have been treated this way.

At the end of the day, I won’t let them kick me out of the hostel for the sake of my pride and honor. I knew they were serious for not accepting me, so I had no choice but to be creative.

So again, I talked to him. I explained that if they doubt my identity, my personal stories and identity is actually open, wide open online. He seemed intrigued, then I gave him the url of my blog, check this website,

He checked the internet and I saw his eyes became wide open and his face changed to a mixture of shame and smile. “That’s me” I  told him. And seriously, If  I steal something in their hostel, they can easily track me.

“Ikaw po to? travel blogger po pala kayo.”

He excused himself and again pretended to be calling someone on his mobile phone. When he went back , he has this new aura and welcoming smile. “Sir, san po kayo nag book ulit? hahanapin ko lang po sa email.”

He finally decided to accept me in their hostel. But we went back to zero when he kept on looking for my booking confirmation. Another disappointing , bad service.


He apologized and reiterated that he was just an employee following the policy of their management. It’s sad. It’s just sad that there are establishments and businesses in our country who prefer foreigners despite the fact that we are all paying the same. Actually, I don’t care if they prefer foreigners, what’s infuriating is their policy that clearly discriminates their fellow Filipinos.

Before I went to the room, I just had one quick question to him. I got confused with the name of their hostel outside. I knew I booked for Tropical Hostel Cebu, but there’s another name there that says Cebu Budget Hotel. Maybe to make up with all the inconvenience they’ve given me, he was very honest with his reply. He said their hostel has two different names in many booking sites. Why would they do that? well, to get more bookings.  What a good business practice.

Same Address But Different Names

Tropical Hostel Cebu
Profile at  HOSTELWORLDCOM. Their name is Tropical Hostel Cebu
Cebu Budget Hotel
Hostel Profile at BOOKINGCOM. The name is Cebu Budget Hotel – Citycenter

To those who are planning to travel to Cebu, take note of this hostel with two names. If you’re a Filipino, prepare 3 valid IDs if you plan to stay here okay?

But I suggest that you look for other hostel and accommodation, there are a lot in Cebu. Because it’s clear that this hostel doesn’t want any business with their fellow Filipinos. Let’s just give them what they want.


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  1. I don’t think I could have exercised as much patience as you, but I chuckled at the receptionist’s change of tone when you mentioned ‘travel blogger’. I’m a foreigner so am never asked for more than one ID at hotels in the Philippines, but I’ve always wondered why many hotels ask for “two valid IDs” from Filipino guests (or three in this case). Surely if you have a passport or driver’s license, one should be sufficient to identify you?

  2. Ruben

    WTF! nakakaHB yan especially if you are travelling with family and kids and late night na yung arrival. Dapat i report ‘to sa kinauukulan. Regarding the names of the hostel, I have experienced the same thing in Hong Kong. One Hostel with 5 different names depending on the online booking site. Kaya panggulo talaga and took time retrieving their mails…ended up, nagkalito-lito na yung guest officer buti nalang she is also Pinoy..even the other nationalities who booked the place got confused.

  3. ann sollano

    me and my hubby was actually gonna book this hotel since its one of the cheapest in cebu and near to malls. gladly we booked the other hotel ” kiwi hotel”, thank God. our arrival in cebu last 3rd of august was almost 11pm, then we had experienced the same treatment if we choose this hotel.
    thanks for the info bro.
    Cheaper is not always a good choice.

  4. Kim

    I also booked the same place months before my travel date as it was cheaper. I showed them my booking confirmation but it took them a while to confirm it and asked so many other questions which can all be answered with the printout. I think they asked for 2 IDs that time. I feel that they’re really not organized when it comes to online bookings. What’s more is that their staff were not accommodating and appeared so uninterested! My room requests were also not followed as they gave me a room at the highest floor! Imagine dragging your things all the way to 4th floor! The facilities were also very bad. The shared room I booked was aircon but apparently it was just an “air cooler” that they only switched on a few hours a day and wasn’t even enough for 10 persons! As in it was very hot! There was only 1 other fan in the room and I was sweating inside. No water in the toilet and you have to go down to other floors just to take a bath. Such a hassle! I vowed to never return to this hostel ever again!

  5. Congratulations!! This is how they get FREE PUBLICITY for foreigners to SEE it so they will know this HOTEL is for them.- jo lim (Advertising Consultant)

  6. Ish

    This somehow happened to us in Moalboal, Cebu. Late night na rin. We were walk-in guests but this certain property refused to accept us even if they have availability. What did the employee tell us? “Ayaw po ng manager namin kasi mahilig daw po maligo ang mga Filipinos.” She was apologetic, but it was such a lame reason! Thankfully, we ended up staying in a place that was a few steps away but way more beautiful.

  7. Art

    Good thing I haven’t finalized my booking. Isa pa naman sa mga options ko ang napaka bulok na hostel nato. I admire you at napigilan mo pa ang sarili mo na sumabog. Kung ako iyon, Ora mismo, tatampalin ko ng maleta ang employee na yun at supervisor agad ako! Taena nila! Thank you for this write-up at nga boycott ang walang lwentang establishment nato.

  8. John Noen

    Wow! If it was me, i wouldve strangled that receptionist on the spot and burn the entire place down lol. I havent’t spent a night there but this is enough to give them a negative rating on their trip advisor account etc

  9. Katakot naman yung 3 IDs na yan. BTW, okay lang naman sana na i require nila pero dapat sa booking pa lang nakalagay na dun at dapat lahat required. Nakakapikon yung passport lang kapag foreigner ha – pati ba naman sa Pinas…

  10. I would also do the same. To think that they are hostel and not even a hotel …. Having two names s very dubious . Will not patronize this type of hostel . Thanks or sharing your experiences with us.

  11. I salute you for your patience for such rudeness. If I were on that situation, I can’t imagine what I’m gonna do. I’m might just go hysterical.

    This kind of businesses should reported and close.

    This is so sad.

  12. Dhess

    Grabe naman na policy yan. Passport is enough n nga kung tutuusin. Prestigious hotel in the Philippines isang I’d lang hinihingi e sila hostel lang.
    Going to share this. Dapat nirereport tong mga ganito eh. Sobrang discrimination.

  13. TropHostel

    Hi Jon,

    I am from the Tropical Hostel Management and I would like to apologize on behalf of our staff for what had happened. We saw your review of our property as we ourselves are followers of your blog. It is true that we have taken extra due diligence to vouch the identity of our guests of all nationalities staying at dormitories due to several incidences of theft. Should any criminal activity happened in our property, booking sites would not at all disclose with us the details of the guests who stayed with us as we tried before. As a context, there have been multiple incidences of thieves preying on our dorm rooms and infact it happened that the same thieces actually checked in with us using different names and in both cases he successfully stole the items of our guests. All these theft cases have been duly reported with the Mabolo Police Station and we have been advised but to be more stringent in vouching the identity for shared room accommodation. You may also look for “Joshua Kawatan” facebook page wherein you find details that there is in a fact a group of thieves roaming around and vicitmizing hostels around Philippines as they know very much the culture of shared rooms where guests would just put their items on the bed and leave there personal belongings carelessly. This group is so expert that they even have TSA key and get to open all tyoes of locks and bags of our guests! We do apologize for the seeming arrogance and discriminating behavior of our staff. We assume there should have been a better way to handle such issues with sensitivies without compromising security of course. I could assure you that that is the least intention of our intention and we are just a budget accommodation we are not in any position to say no to potential guests unless for security reasons. Rest assured that the staff will be given training. Also, as blogger yourself with good following, hopefully you may raise awareness about this syndicate who is victimizing alot travellers who are just in fact further tarnishing the prospectability of our country as a tourist destination.

    1. Robi

      Just wondering… are you refunding charges on your guest if you refused to accept it? (If they paid using credit card or so via agoda) because if not, that’s an estafa case against you!!! Stop operating shared rooms business if you can’t handle security well. Seriously, Your explanation is not really rectifying the descrimination problem.

  14. What a terrible practice for a hostel. This incident is something that must be taken note of. Discriminating fellow pinoys in our own country. Shame on them. Thank you for sharing your experience and I do hope that this post may provide awareness for other travelers as well. I’ll surely take note of this too!

  15. Jenny

    If you’re up to a much cheaper and safe place to stay you can use airbnb, there are lots of places to choose make sure to read the reviews and if you’re having a hard time for a ride maybe because you’re at the wrong place to wait for a cab.

  16. Reagan

    Hi sir , I would like to suggest Alicia’s residences next time you’ll be in Cebu. They are very accomodating and will only require 1 ID,

  17. Sam

    Kung yung 1 passport = 3 forms of ID rule e para sa lahat, matatanggap ko pa eh. (Sa ibang bansa, ganyan din actually, your passport is more than enough identification, otherwise you have to produce multiple forms of ID.)

    Kaso wala palang weight ang Philippine passport para sa kanila. Hay naman.

  18. Woah! grabe naman…I’m from and in Cebu but I’ve never heard accommodations like this. 5 stars nga eh tinatanggap yong postal ID ko. tapos sila 3 IDs? haha.. they’re hilarious!

  19. I stayed at Hey Fellas! when I went to Cebu last month. Dorm type din and they are the cheapest, 200/night, not bad eh? And OK yung service, very bahay lang. ☺

  20. Geralyn

    Thank’s for sharing this. This is totally unacceptable! I would never stay in that hotel. I also work in a hotel as Front desk, and I had never heard of such policy. You should report this.

  21. Nicefora A. Falloria

    Ka way batasan..murag nindot ilang hostel..3 id’s ahhh..ang mga 5star hotel diri cebu wa man gani nag ingon ana….e public post ning hostel ingon ani..aron aware ang uban way mo book ani..hinilas ra kaau..bisag 1 star wa nay anggay..sorry kaau sir jon sa imong bad experience aning hostila..dili man sab hinoon pareho ang uban anang cebu budget hotel..sana babalik ka pa rin dito sa cebu..salamat..

  22. AFAIK depende siguro sa type ng I.D ? baka pag passport yung na present mo di na siguro na nila required na 3 I.D’s ? or kahit credit card pasok agad…. based on my experience lang hehe

  23. mishia

    Ang chaka naman nian, eeewww… feeling 5-star hotel. Siguro kasi hindi ka mukhang yayamanin. You know, how Filipinos discriminate by the looks, just like when you go to a shopping mall wearing flip-flops. It happens everywhere in the Philippines, basta ‘puti’ kahit naka sando, tsinelas at shorts lang, kahit mineral water lang ang inorder, eh silbi to the max. Colonial mentality at its finest, kasuya.

  24. I know this because this is just near to our place. Gosh the staff changed his/her tone when he/she found out that your a travel blogger. Takot siguro ma-blog. Haha but yeah. Thanks for this info Sir!

  25. WTF! I could be creative as well did you get the name of that employee? He could just be being an ass powertripping. I don’t think there’s a company policy and he could lose his job for this kind of attitude. .

  26. Being treated as a second (or third) class citizen in your own country is totally unacceptable. Also, this hostel is in clear violation of Cebu City’s anti-discrimination ordinance which was approved last year. I-report yan!

  27. Jase Tiu

    I actually stayed there last first week of July for just a night since I just needed a place before heading out to South Cebu the next day. They just asked me for 1 ID or is it because I have a foreign sounding last name? I dunno, but the service of the place is not good, the attendants smelled drunk.

    1. Jon Espina Author

      Hi Jase,

      Did you avail the dorm type room? Sa dorm lang daw sila may 3 ID policy. (na pang Pinoy lang pala). Pakiramdam ko tuloy that time, tingin nila sakin eh nanakawin ko gamit ng mga ka-room mates ko hahaha! sakit sa puso pag naaalala ko.


  28. I would have reacted the same way. When you’re booked, you are booked. Usahay tarong kaayo ta sa foreigners, din to kapwa Pinoy, di jud. Ugh. A Cebuana here and I hope your experience in Cebu won’t make you not visit anymore.

  29. Grabe naman yan. Haha! Wag lang sana mangyari sakin yan at naku, lalapagan ko talaga sya ng sampung valid ID charot! Aynaku. Kagigil, dinaig pa nga naman ang bangko sa paghingi ng ID buti naman sana kung bonggang bongga yang dorm nila, chaka naman garod! Haha!

  30. What if u were not a “travel blogger” they will still be firm to their decision? That is just so rude of them! Good thing you posted their details so we all be aware. Thanks for this Jon.

    1. Jon Espina Author

      Grabe talaga experience ko nun, gabing gabi na. Seryoso talaga sila na wag ako tanggapin kahit may confirmed booking ako sa hostelworld. Hay nakakalungkot ang ganyang mga hostel

      1. Hello Sir, this was indeed a tragic Hostel experience. But with all the hostels in Cebu and Mactan islands, we at 1521 Hostel would like to redeem to you the fun, hip and exciting experience staying in a hostel. Please check us out in FB and IG or visit our website at and we will be more than happy to host you a complimentary trial stay. Please email us at if your interested. Because we believe you deserve a better hostel, and a home here in Cebu. Thank you


        I was there too! (first and last!)
        It’s true na klangan 3 IDs tlga present mo. Backpacking kasi cebu-boracay-iloilo trips ko so hanap ko budget hotel na malapit lng sa SM.
        OK nmn xa kng place to sleep for the night ang hanap mo and nagtitipid ka.
        Steep ang stairs at hihingalin ka tlga.
        Common room! Mix! As in pinoy/pinas/foreigner sama-sama sa isang room. No wonder need ng maraming IDs.
        Water? Hmmmm…
        Pero marami pang hostel sa Cebu where you can stay at a cheaper price and better ambiance hehehehee
        The following night sa SUGBUTEL nako natulog. ?

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