Manila House club slammed for embarrassing Honasan's wife

MANILA, Philippines – Manila House, an exclusive club in Bonifacio Global City, is again facing criticism for supposedly “embarrassing” the wife of Senator Gregorio Honasan II.

In a Facebook post, the senator’s sister, Alya, slammed the members-only club for offending her sister-in-law Jane Honasan, who was invited to a bridal shower lunch in the club on Tuesday, October 2.

The event was organized by the spouses of senators for Senator Aquilino Pimentel III’s fiancée, Kathryna Yu. The two are set to wed on October 18.

View this post on Instagram Senate Spouses Bridal shower for @foodlover_kath - soon to be Mrs @kokopimentel couldnt stop giggling listening to the wise words from Tita Kate Gordon and Tita @miladrilon A post shared by tootsyangara (@tootsyangara) on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:00am PDT 

According to Alya, the host informed Jane that she could bring her 5-year-old granddaughter and yaya (babysitter), whom she picked up from school in the area. But upon arrival at Manila House, they were not allowed entry because of the “yaya’s heeled sandals.”

Jane was even not allowed to sit down.

The staff supposedly told Jane that guests wearing sandals are not allowed in the club because “the business people who dine might be offended.”

“For a place with foul-mouthed managers and that serves pathetic half-servings of salmon, Manila House sure doesn’t learn its lessons… She wasn’t allowed in because of the yaya’s sandals. Not [tsinelas] or fit-flops; heeled sandals,” Alya wrote on Facebook.

“The people at the entrance, littered with santos (saint figures), oh the irony, said the rules don’t allow sandals because ‘the business people who dine might be offended.’ Jane didn’t see any dress code signs. She was not asked to sit because ‘ipapaalam pa namin, Ma’am, yung sandals (we have to ask permission first for the sandals).' One manager even asked her 'ano po ang gagawin niyo dito? (what are you going to do here?)' she added.

In the end, Jane, who supposedly “did not identify herself other than as guest,” decided to just leave and “convey her regrets” to Pimentel’s fiancée.

We asked Manila House for comment, and this is their statement on Wednesday, October 3: 

"Manila House regrets that our receptionist, in explaining the house rules over dress codes, may have unintentionally embarrassed an important guest of a member and may have given an impression that Manila House is not an inclusive club. Manila House's purpose for being is to bring people from as diverse sectors of our society together to learn from each other through the many programs we offer our members and and their guests. Like many clubs, our handbook states house rules. In response to this unfortunate incident, we shall endeavor to make these rules more visible so that we avoid potential negative experiences in the future."

Making amends

Alya said Manila House got word about the incident involving the senator’s wife and has been trying to make amends by sending an apology letter and a cake, which Jane refused.

“Now Manila House has heard about it, that Jane is a senator’s wife and a guest, and is asking for an address so they can send Jane a letter of apology and a cake. My family and I had a good laugh about it over dinner; really, we can live without such a stuck-up, entitled establishment. But I am pretty pissed that my sister-in-law was embarrassed, my 5-year-old grandniece was puzzled that they didn’t make it to the “party,” and this bastion of hypocrisy and its minions feel they have the right to judge people, and are equating footwear with income tax return and your value as a human being,” Alya said.

“It makes me sick. 
Exclusivity is your prerogative. Just make sure your food, your personnel, your systems are commensurate to your overblown image. 
As for that cake, Jane declined. For MY opinion, meanwhile, just play the Ricco Ocampo video again, and imagine me yelling all that sweet stuff to YOU, our dear, sweet, gracious Manila House.
I really hope you close soon. Really,” she added.

Alya was referring to the infamous viral video of club director Ocampo shouting at an assistant of Sun Life Canada’s executive.

In the video, Ocampo was seen snatching the phone from the assistant, while the latter is in the middle of a phone call, as he demanded the latter to pay for their order – which were served in full servings during food tasting but were reportedly served in half on the actual day. All throughout the video, expletives could be heard from Ocampo.

Manila House and Sun Life later released a joint statement about that incident, saying “the situation had already been amicably settled.” They asked the public to refrain fom sharing the video “to avoid misinformation.”

The office of Senator Honasan has so far refused to comment on Alya Honasan's post. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email