Bohol authorities said they were investigating alleged overpriced meals for tourists after photos of a P26,100 dinner spread went viral.
The food, which was divided among 13 people at P2,000 per head consisted of kinilaw na isda at P3,000, P900 worth bananas, and scallops, according to Vilma Uy, who posted the viral photo on behalf of a friend, who had the meal on Panglao's Virgin Island.
"Just airing the sentiments of my friend who recently enjoying their vacation in Bohol.. pero na-shock sila sa ila (sa kanilang) bill.. mahal pa sa buffet sa Hennann resort," Uy said in her viral post, which garnered mostly "haha" reaction and more than 17,000 shares as of Wednesday morning.
Uy was comparing the per-head price of the meal to a buffet meal at a popular Boracay resort.
Bohol Governor Aris Aumentado said Tuesday he suspended motorbanca trips to Virgin Island pending an investigation into the matter. The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is also investigating the "excessive charging of food meals by vendors" there, according to a statement Aumentado posted on Facebook.
Vendors denied overpricing, said Panglao Mayor Edgardo Arcay, who visited the island after the post went viral.
"Sabi nila 'yun talaga ang presyo. Nakita ko rin na meron talagang kamahalan kasi 'yung mga sinabi nila, marami daw silang kumain, mga 20 personas kasama na boatman tapos lumabas sa imbestigasyon na magbigay daw sila sa boatman ng komisyon kaya tinataasan pa nila konti," Arcay told TeleRadyo.
Arcay said he scheduled a meeting between vendors and local government officials to come up with a "win-win" solution for tourists and businesses.
"I don't want to eliminate the source of income of the people around to ensure sustainability of their lifelihood but it must be balanced."
The Department of Tourism said Tuesday it was coordinating with local government units to provide guidance on standard practice. Frontline tourism workers and stakeholders will also be trained "to safeguard the overall tourist experience in the Island."
"I believe that due care must always be given to the overall experience of tourists whether it concerns upholding the quality of accommodations, attaining a certain level of service, or ensuring the reasonable pricing of products," said Tourism Sec. Christina Frasco in a statement.