Monday, February 28, 2011

Philippine Tourism as it's finest... or NOT!

At the Hong Kong Airport
My whole family travelled to Hong Kong last February.  I booked the tickets online through Cebu Pacific's seat sale promo last October 2010.  Got the tickets for just about PhP3k/per person round trip.  Pretty neat price, right?

As we were travelling on very tight budget, I prepared a detailed budget.  It was the first time my whole family will be travelling together, a group of 6 people.  Needless to say, it was a difficult task and I horrifyingly forgot to include the Travel Tax that travellers on budget airlines are required to pay.  As I went to pay the travel tax, each person had to pay P1.6k.  That's already the equivalent to a one way fare!  And seriously, where does this travel tax go?  Only Terminal 3 is working fine.  But Terminal 1 is still awful.  I mean, seriously?  What was I supposed to do but pay.  Grudgingly.  Plus we had to pay Terminal Fee of P750.  What for?

Anyway, we got to HK airport.  We were travelling with child, so we went to the immigration officer together and he was pleasant.  My son couldn't reach the counter, so the HK officer stood up, and asked my son his name, again very pleasant.  What a way to great a visitor to their country. 

When we went home to Pinas, we lined up for immigration counter for more than 30 minutes.  It was around 4am, we didn't have any good sleep and still we had to line up for a very long time.  The special counter opened up, so we moved there.  My son was so tired by then, so he was sitting on my feet.  The Philippine immigration officer, asked us very rudely, where my son is.  I replied, he's sitting down on the feet.  He answered, again very rudely "Ipatayo nyo.".  Whoa!  Is that how you get treated in your own country?  Welcome back Pinoys!  I stared at him, at his name plate so I wouldn't forget his face or name - Officer Domiguez.  I remember you.

My mom came here over the week to attend a seminar, and dropped by our home last Friday.  On Saturday, we brought her to the airport.  Before going to the airport, we passed by Rustan's where she got a wallet.  We didn't have much time, so she just shoved the little Rustan's package inside a bigger paper bag.  After going throug the first set of Xray machine, she noticed that her Rustan's package was missing from the paper bag.  She went back to the Xray people, and they all said they gave it to a Pinay with a foreigner husband.  Mama saw the Pinay and asked her, she said she gave it back to the Xray folks because it wasn't hers.  But the Xray folks at Gate 2 of Terminal 3 denied it and wouldn't even answer my Mom anymore.  She reported it to the Police, but they couldn't do a thing.  Lesson this time?  Be careful with all your belongings, if they Xray folks like it, it becomes their belonging.

We all brag about our wonderful country.  And it is a wonderful country, but our airport show a diffirent story.  It's not lovable at all.  We locals don't always have good experiences, what more if you're a foreigner?  The airport is the first impression a traveller has of a country or a place.  Why don't we improve it so travellers feel welcomed and ultimately, someday return to visit.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

4 months?

The majestic Disneyland castle
It has been four long months since I last posted here.  Life just took over.  I posted about our problems with the Registry of Deeds (Calamba) in my previous post in October.  We finally were lucky enough to get all the papers prepared come December, so we were able to move to our (relatively) new house in less than 7 days.  Frenzy of activity, stress levels were so high!  We had to look for a carpenter to do a few minor repairs, get the screens changed and have a screen door installed in just 3 days.  But we did it, we moved in and spent our first holidays in our new home!

January came banging with piles of work.  School vacation is over, my Yayas came back from their annual trip home and my Mom went back home.  Then we had to prepare again for a trip to Hong Kong in February.  I spent practically the whole of January planning that trip, booking our hostel (thanks to, working on the schedule and the budget.  I'll write another post on that trip.

Then we went home again to Cagayan de Oro after our Hong Kong trip for my cousin's wedding.  It was an awesome, intimate wedding.  It was good to be with family again, to laugh, eat and chikka.

And now February is almost over - just one more day left.  Imagine that!  One thing's for sure this 2011.  I'm gonna be more active in blogging.  Swear! haha