The Facebook Resort on Boracay Island, Philippines: An unexpected move by the social media giant?
While there have been constant rumors for years about Facebook building its own phone, in a possibly-surprising move the social media powerhouse appears to have taken over a modest resort on the tourist hotspot of Boracay Island in the Philippines. I'm staying there right now in fact, after booking a hotel called Villa Criselda, only to learn that it recently changed its official name to the Facebook Resort.
At first I thought it might be a coincidence because it's not like the word “facebook” was actually invented by the tech giant, but upon further inspection I noticed that the font and style (including the lower-case F) was identical to the ubiquitous web company. So far there have been no Mark Zuckerburg sightings (unless he's using a kick-ass disguise), but that's not really surprising when you really think about it.
Fast internet speeds as a sign?
One of the hints that it's the real deal is that the Facebook Resort somehow seems to have the only decent wi-fi speed on the whole island. I've tried quite a few others, including at another hotel I stayed in while the Facebook Resort was fully booked last weekend. Most of the others struggle at well under 1Mbps, while the Facebook sometimes speeds along at close to 4Mbps. Did the company secretly lay in some fiber direct to the hotel? Certainly not, but it's still an interesting little fact.
Interesting social features of the resort
More signs of this being real can be found when looking at the features and layout of the resort. There's a very large grassy courtyard in the center of the main section of rooms, and it seems to be used as a social space by many of the Filipino families and groups that are staying here. However, since it's totally out in the open, everyone can see what's going on, including those walking down the dirt path who aren't even staying here.
Each room also comes with its own “private” terrace, as you might see in a typical hotel description online, but the boundaries are more implied than real. Many guests give in to the temptation to lounge about in their private area, yet in doing so you are more or less forced into socializing with your neighbors, or even the neighbors of your neighbors.
All rooms appear to come with two double beds, even if you've only booked and paid for a single. With this entire island soaked in cheap beer and even cheaper local rum, what could be more social than that?
Honestly, it's quite a nice place with a very good location only about a 3-minute walk to one of the most beautiful and tourist-friendly beaches in Asia. With room rates under US$60 per night even in high season, it's not a bad deal whether it's owned by the social media giant or not.