Just got off the phone with the office staff of Camella in Lipa City, Batangas, and I’m shaking and crying with dry tears.  My world is in shambles, and the only way I can stay sane is to write.  Writing is a balm.  A refuge from the storm of emotions raging through me right now, so I’ll just write.

Let me share with you my story from the beginning.

Back in July 2016, we decided to avail of a house and lot package with Camella.  I requested for a quotation on the bigger house models they have available, particularly the Drina and the Elaisa. The Elaisa home is bigger than Drina, with five bedrooms and three baths, compared to Drina’s four bedrooms and three baths.  But what made us want the Elaisa more was the fact that it has the master’s bedroom downstairs.  We are investing on a house in the city to prepare for our retirement.

We already have a house in the town just next to Lipa, but we thought that having another house in the city will be beneficial to us when we grow old, as the location is right at the center of everything.  It’s just a tricycle ride away from Mary Mediatrix Hospital (and whether we want it or not, growing old means going to the doctor more often than we are comfortable doing); it’s near De La Salle Lipa, where our eldest is attending college, and where our two younger kids might go, too; it’s near a mall where we usually shop, and traffic is not as bad coming and going from that area.

So the Elaisa model is what we have agreed to avail of, and we communicated this to our agent.  We wanted to get the Elaisa model, but we were afraid that if we applied for that particular model, we would not be comfortable with sudden spike on our monthly financial obligations. We wanted to have time to adjust to the new financial responsibility.

Upon the advise of our agents, we then decided to avail of the Drina, which, like Elaisa, was also being offered with free tiles. Drina is less expensive, and would be deemed to be more comfortable to pay. Our plan was to live the next 17 months like we are paying for Elaisa, saving the difference, and pay the difference of the downpayment cost in lumpsum at the end of the downpayment period. Having decided that we would upgrade to the Elaisa house before the turnover for construction, we made sure that the lot we paid for would accommodate Elaisa. We have also added the cost of provision for a garage/terrace in the dowpayment so the contractor will include it in the construction.

All of these were discussed during the orientation.  Everyone in that office were aware that we were going to upgrade to Elaisa before the end of the downpayment period.  Even at the time that I was signing the blank contracts, I was asking my agent if there won’t be problems with the upgrade.  I was assured there won’t be.

I even posted this floor plan on my social media account back then.  See the carport?

January 2017, we learned that the lot adjacent to ours, with the same cut, was still available.  By this time, we were already confident with our cash flow,  So we inquired if we could also avail of that lot, but lot only, no house.  They were more than happy to accommodate us.

July 2017, nearing the end of our downpayment period, we learned that Elaisa is now Ella, and that Ella is no longer offered with free tiles. We have also been told that the terrace will no longer be part of the construction. And Ella is now more than 200K more expensive than Elaisa.  The new computation they gave me was 3.8M.

Ouch!  Now talk about being blindsided, huh?

It is really disheartening that a developer would change the terms of their packages in a way that is detrimental to the financial capacity of the customer who is already paying for the downpayment.   So I wrote them a letter of request.  I appealed for them to consider extending the free tiles to the Ella model.  Because the Ella model is now more expensive than what we have prepared for, I was hoping they could give us some consideration.  Add to that is the fact that we are twice their customer, having also started paying for the lot adjacent to us.

So here comes the nightmare.

The letter I sent them was in July 27, 2017.  I received a call tonight from their office in Lipa, telling me that hey, the request for free tiles was approved, but the Ella model is now 4.2M.

But no, that was not the nightmare.

After some lengthy back and forth with the office staff, me telling her that it does not feel like they have actually granted me the free tiles.  I still have to pay for it with 400K.  And all she could say was, it was what came from Marketing.  She cannot do anything about it.

That was still not the nightmare.

After a few more minutes, I finally conceded that I cannot do anything about it.  So I asked the lady on the other end to please send me new monthly computations for the cost of the house.

This is where the nightmare starts.

She asked if I was still pursuing the Ella.

Hello?  Isn’t this what the long conversation has been about?  The emails, the text messages, the appeal?  We are doing our best to get the Ella.

This is the nightmare, folks.

They have started construction of the Drina.  On our lot.  

I couldn’t breathe.  I was crying, but no tears came out.

After all the back and forth, I was doing it for nothing.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

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