In 2010, Residencia de Salvacion began as a five-bedroom lodging operation out of the home of Edgar and Myrna Nunez in barangay Salvacion.
When the French ‘Survivor’ TV series (Koh Lanta Caramoan) began filming in Caramoan town in 2008, Camarines Sur became a bewitching destination in Bicol eclipsing traditional hotspots Cebu and Manila and was in a close contest with Boracay.
Today, Residencia de Salvacion (RdS) is a popular resort in barangay Paniman with 17 rooms all with television, airconditioner, hot and cold shower, and all wi-fi capable. One steps out of the RdS sandy-beach compound and walks right into the clear island waters of Caramoan. Bancas and motorized boats can take visitors island-hopping, and there’s a dozen islands to take in, explore, and enjoy.
“Our aim is to make our guests happy,” said Edgar Nunez, a mechanical engineer who works in Abu Dhabi. He is an older brother of Sally Nunez, chair and CEO of the Saleaflor Foundation which organized the medical mission to Caramoan.
Taking advantage of his company’s generous vacation package, he has the time to come home six times a year to manage RdS with his wife Myrna.
“Caramoan is a very safe place, crime rate is next to nothing,” Edgar said beaming with pride. “Tourists are safe here.”
Despite the popularity of ‘Survivor,’ almost 90 percent of guests are Filipino. On TripAdvisor, RdS has 135 Excellent ratings, 16 Very Good, and two Terrible. The comments range from “affordable and convenient” to “stay away (from this place).” The Terrible rating does not seem to bother Edgar at all, as long as they have done their best to address the shortcomings. At least he does not take it personally.
In the RdS website, it is explained that facilities are vulnerable to power fluctuations that may affect air-conditioning and delivery of water heater. When one particularly unhappy guest gave his feedback, he was complaining about facilities that did not work as he expected. Edgar was not home when that tourist was all fired up, and ordered his staff to just charge for basic rates and never mind the profit.
“Our objective,” he reiterated, “is to make everyone happy.”
Feedback such as the ones left at TripAdvisor make him happy:
“I enjoyed my stay because of the spectacular, mouth-watering, delicious food that they serve.”
“The food was great as it was homemade, and the people there were very welcoming and friendly.”
“RdS is the best value for money…Staff members took care of all our needs. Everyone was friendly, courteous.”
Edgar is the first to warn travelers looking for luxury experience, RdS is “not the place you are looking for.” RdS has a staff of about 15 people, some with part-time duties, such as the boatmen, the tour guides and the folk singer. While no longer a traveler’s haven in barangay Salvacion, the name RdS remains very apt. Edgar’s mother is also named Salvacion.
One of his immediate plans is to create a waste treatment facility that will allow them to manage their waste in a sustainable way. Building a swimming pool is also being seriously considered. Once the pool is up, RdS would be the first lodging place around Barangay Paniman to be equipped with a swimming pool. The word going around is that RdS is a comfortable place to stay and reasonably priced at that. That alone makes Edgar and Myrna very happy.