Former beauty queen and television personality Maggie Wilson-Consunji created an online firestorm last April 4 when she revealed that in the exclusive Balesin Island Club Resort, house helps and the like can only order food categorized as “yaya’s meal.”
“My mom, Connor, and his nanny, Nanay Belen went to have breakfast this morning. Our nanny ordered her meal and my mom wanted the same thing. The waiter said ‘Oh, hindi pwede ma’am, kasi that’s a ‘yaya’s meal,'” she shared in her Facebook page last April 4. Connor is the name of her only child.
“Yayas, nannies, drivers, (and helpers) – they are all people too and they should also have a choice with what they want to eat! I was so shocked that the management actually allowed such a rule! I am disappointed, Balesin!” the wife of construction magnate Victor Consunji further wrote.
In succeeding posts, she appeared to soften her stance after being told that the discriminatory policy was in fact requested by some of the club’s members.
“I would like to know which of the members insisted on it! It was however their fault on how they trained their staff. What was said was rude and offensive, especially since the comment was made in front of my mom, our nanny Nanay Belen, and our son,” she said, adding: “Shame on the people that treat their help, the people who make their live so much easier, like crap!”
Balesin Island Club was developed by real estate company Alphaland Corporation. According to a 2013 article in Malaya, membership in this exclusive resort starts at P 3 million.
Commentary – This issue made me recall a Facebook post made by a friend last June 2014. Back then, she uploaded a photo of four middle-aged women (all Chinese Filipinos, according to her) having dinner in a five-star hotel while their helper sits nearby without anything to eat. More infuriatingly, the poor woman is still donning her “uniform,” which in itself is totally demeaning.
It’s been three years since we had the so-called “Kasambahay Law,” but for too many people, the days when they can consider their house helpers as mere possessions are not yet over.