December 10, 2013

Beware of

My mom hired to do the legwork for our family reunion this year. She paid everything around June, but the travel date is December, last week.

On Airport Transfers

We spoke with someone named Amir Arzaga and it was such a headache for us. During the trip, he threatened to cancel our airport transfer (land only) because we refused to make a deposit for the boat transfer (which was optional and can be paid at a much cheaper price on the port itself - Amir was charging us 1500php/5pax but it was supposed to be 250php/5 pax only).

On Accommodation

We paid almost 30,000php for room accommodation, and airfare for 5pax. Upon arrival at the hotel, we found out that the room reserved for us was a single room. My mom ended up paying more to change to a much larger room. When we talked with the hotel staff, we found out that and Amir Arzaga is blocked in their hotel. They were just able to book because they used Agoda and our names to reserve the room.

On the Travel Agency itself aka Amir Arzaga /

He was very rude to my mother and I. When I called him to clarify why he would cancel our airport transfer that we already paid (just because we didn't want to avail of the boat transfer he was offering), he raised his voice and told me that he already explained everything to my mother. Also, his text messages were more than unprofessional, it was tacky, arrogant, and downright blood raising. I've never been so hassled by a "travel agency" before. And I'm posting this because I was very disappointed and annoyed with their service. 

Because of what happened, my mom doesn't want to arrange our annual family reunion anymore so the responsibility to organize the family trip has been suddenly passed down to me, mleh. 

Beware of them unethical business people!


Look! I found similar testimonials too:

-----UPDATE (February 2, 2015)----------------------------

Just got a message from another traveler:

Hi sis, recent victim of Amir here. he now goes by the name of Arkian Austria. same modus, and Travel Dotcom now uses Asia Travel agency to book with La Carmela.

A simple search in Google, and you'll find other testimonials. Currently, I'm still coordinating with the one who messaged me on how I can help in filing a complaint. Let me know if you have further information or if you'd like to help.

December 2, 2013

Tuguegarao Sounds Far

Whenever my friends and I are lost, we would say that we must be in Tuguegarao. We just "figured" Tuguegarao must be far, because it sounds so distant from civilization.

I guess, that was my only reason for wanting to see Tuguegarao. Not one of us knows where it is, we just say, "hey, this place is deserted, are we in Tuguegarao?" Sometimes when I'm lost, I also text my friends, hey... I think I'm in Tuguegarao... HAHAHA yes we are all geographically-challenged beings. 

There's not a lot to see in Tuguegarao itself, but it's a good jump off point for different nearby caves, and beaches. You could also head to Batanes or Aparri from Tuguegarao. 

Getting lost in Tuguegarao

December 1, 2013

What it's Like to Travel Solo as a Girl

I have never been a big guy so I don't know how it's like to travel as a big guy. I am, however, a puny looking, cute, little girl who frequently travels alone. HAHAHAHA okay, I may have overdone it a bit with my adjectives. Seriously though, I look fourteen:

Sometimes, I can also look like twelve.

In general traveling alone makes you thick-skinned, and you become desperate for human communication so much that you learn to talk to anyone about anything - from NBA fights to religions, from tricycle drivers to churchgoers. Hopefully, you also develop a habit of taking selfies, otherwise, you'll have no photos of yourself at all.

As a female though, traveling alone can be a bit more tricky. You see, when you look like a good girl, nice people will usually be ten times nicer to you - interviewing you about your travels, warning you of things, places, habits to avoid, telling the drivers where they should drop you off, or even going out of their way to walk you to the bus terminals or something. Usually, these good souls are old, grey haired people or mothers.

Conversely, assholes also become ten times more of an asshole to solo female travelers. They try to advance acts that will solicit your attention - even if you make it obvious to them that you dislike what they are doing. This doesn't happen often though, but when it happens, it can be traumatic. The regular culprit for this kind of actions are middle aged men. If you're in a public place, you can just make a scene (make it obvious that you are being bothered) and someone will surely ask what's going on and he or she will help you.

As for people who try to rip you off, they don't care about what your sex is. If they think they can make a living out of you, they will.

By the way, I think what makes me feel safer during my travels are (1) my whistle - I carry a whistle everywhere I go so when someone bothers me, I can easily make a scene. If no one is around to help, I can just then run as fast as I can to the nearest "help desk", offenders don't usually pursue a target that seem prepared as it could put them in a difficult situation (2) the fact that I'm relatively a fast runner too, and (3) I know self defense since I was a taekwondo player back in high school - I wouldn't count on it though, I'd rather blow my whistle, run and look for help.

So what is it like to travel solo as a girl?

Well, you get special treatment - it can be good or bad depending on who is giving you special treatment. HAHAHA don't worry, most people are nice if you're nice, and most people will try to look out after you if they see you alone.

Stay safe and see you around!