Casa Linda Inn – A Beautiful House
September 7, 2006
By Angie Mendoza
Aptly named and translating to “beautiful house” in Spanish, the eponymous Casa Linda Inn started out in 1962 as a four-room affair. It doubled at the same time the family home of owners Linda and Buddy of the respected Mendoza clan of Palawan. The four rooms were on the second level of the Filipino-style house while the family occupied three rooms at the ground floor.
Puerto Princesa City, then still a sleepy town, was used as base for helicopter pilots of various oil and exploration rigs around Palawan. When these foreign companies such as Okanagan Oil Co., AAOP and PADC to cite a few, fielded their mostly American pilots to Palawan, the inn of choice had to be Casa Linda. It was also during this time that the US Peace Corps started fielding volunteers to Puerto Princesa, as well as the United Nations volunteers and visiting diplomats working on the Vietnamese refugee camp which was only a few meters down the road from the Inn.
It was a motto of matriarch Linda Mendoza to have a place which a guest could well consider as home. This iconic character and tradition has persisted amidst the boom of commercialization the City saw as it grew, and the arrival of big hotels. Thanks to the dedicated management of the inn by no less than the Mendoza children, Casa Linda has built itself a cozy niche in the bourgeoning tourism that Palawan is now facing.
Designed by the owner after whom the inn was named, Casa Linda presents a structure both pleasing to the eye and embodies the laid back Palawan island lifestyle. It is a raised structure featuring 12 very spacious rooms with sawali walls, wooden floors and shutters, each with toilet and bath. Currently, of the 12 rooms, 10 are air-conditioned and 3 are fan rooms. To maintain the laidback atmosphere in the rooms there are no televisions. However, a set is located at the cozy lobby. Hot water may be requested from the kitchen.
The central feature of the inn is the garden with the thatched roof gazebo flanked by the rooms on either side. The materials are mostly indigenous and are made up of sawali walls, sakot columns and the spotless ipil –hardwood floors.
Casa Linda Inn is noted for its cleanliness and efficient staff. The food served in its restaurant is a range of homemade fare featuring savory entrees.
A garden of local flora is dwarfed by a couple of coconut trees, an image found in the Inn’s logo. It is enhanced by the Filipino feel of the place. One wakes up to a serene surrounding, with squirrels and birds playing around the property from the surrounding acacia trees.
Casa Linda is more than a place to stay in Puerto Princesa. It is an intimate and serene inn in the middle of the city, an accessible and quiet place where one can relax and read. It is conveniently located within walking distance to restaurants, internet cafes and Puerto Princesa’s commercial district. The airport and wharf are only five minutes away by tricycle.
The Inn caters to a clientele of mostly Europeans and Asians. It is also a favorite of scientists, researchers, NGOs, volunteers and other expat resort owners from all over Palawan. Regulars come back year after year and have fond memories of conversations and vacations. It is a favorite of Backpackers for its value-for-money services and facilities.
The Inn’s staff has also been commended numerous times by satisfied guests for their friendliness and efficiency and helpfulness. The staff is trained to go out of their way to cater to the guests’ request. Management style is personalized, with the staff and owners treating clients as family guests. Casa Linda Inn staff strives to make the Guests feel like they are staying in their own rest house or vacation home with friends around.
The Inn’s restaurant has 6 tables and a bar area. You may also take your meals in the Gazebo. Not a few Guests have raved about the restaurants’ pancakes and omelettes. One Guest even said the Pancake was the best in town.
The restaurants breakfast menu is complete including Continental, American and Filipino Breakfasts, at very reasonable prices. The Kitchen opens at 6a.m. and closes at 9p.m. The Staff also accommodates special meal requests and they also allow guests to cook in the kitchen for a minimum charge.
Casa Linda is more than an inn. It is an experience.
Casa Linda is a beautiful experience in a Beautiful House.
TARIFF RATES and AMENITIES
For a rate of pesos650 (around $13) for single occupancy and pesos750 (around $15) for double occupancy per night, the Inn is good value for money. Extra bed is 150pesos.
Other amenities include laundry, safety deposit, tour information and assistance, transportation hiring assistance, fax services and long distance calls.
A small book stand is located at the foyer, here guests can borrow or exchange books. There is also a small souvenir shop with Filipino handicrafts and t-shirts available for sale.