Day 5: Home seemed so far!!!

Reminder: Make sure you’ve read Day 4 before you proceed! D

The following took place on Monday, 20th October 2008:-

After going back to our room in the wee-hours, I was too tired to do much and immediately turned in. However, we had a visitor as early as 6am! It was none other than Jobert, our Pinoy buddy from F.A.B. He just got off work and came to visit us (although actually he came to see ONE of us in particular 😉 ) since we were leaving that day.

I forgot to mention this earlier (haha!) but the six of us stayed in TWO rooms (3 persons to a room). I was rooming in with Mie and Say while Chele roomied with the guys. Since we were all girls (and we were still enjoying our sleep) he crashed at the other room before he took Mie out for a table-for-two breakfast…And now you know. 🙂

Finally, after we got up, bathed and packed, Jobert escorted us to breakfast. Since we were short of cash (fortunately we were leaving that day) Chele told him to bring us to a place with “cheap local food” that’s “like a canteen”…so he took us here:

Day5 (75) by you.

Between me and Jobert is Mie. 🙂

The food was cheap (only 35PHP), local and the place was indeed a canteen – it had a school just opposite it. LOL! 😀

After breakfast, we walked back to our hotel and checked out…

Day5 (82) by you.

At our hotel lobby, ready to go…

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At the little garden in front of the hotel entrance…

Each of us took a pic with our sole Pinoy buddy. He was a really funny guy. Haha.

Day5 (17) by you.

“Kuya” – that’s “Bro” in Tagalog. 🙂

Now, compared to a real Pinoy, do I look like a local to you? 😉

Oh yes, I asked you to guess the famous cafe at the front of our hotel on the very 1st day right…Let’s see if you guessed right!

Day5 (27) by you.

Did you? It’s Starbucks…hehe…

Anyways, our flight was at 5pm but we left the hotel at 10.30am. We wanted to be at the airport early just to be safe. One never knows if the flight could suddenly be retimed…

As I mentioned, the Diasdadao Macapagal International Airport, Clark was a 2-hour’s drive from Malate but unlike when we arrived, it was daylight so we could finally take in the sights while on the way there. Though for most part of the journey, we mostly slept but on arrival into Clark we all woke up and to our amazement, Clark was a very “active” U.S. Military base! I had thought that it used to be a military base but not anymore. Guess I was wrong…hehe.

On the way to the airport we passed by the base and we could see the Army dogs and their training grounds and lotsa Army jeeps! No wonder the night we arrived I saw Army helicopters in the sky…

We arrived at the airport at 12.30pm. The airport wasn’t the main airport so it had mostly, nothing much. (Which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we couldn’t spend!) There was no air-conditioned area to wait while waiting to check-in and it had no souvenirs or duty free shops. It didn’t even have any place to buy food (except for 2 small Pizzahut and Jolibee kiosks). It was gonna be a long wait…so I thought.

But then, when the AirAsia counter opened at 2pm it was whole different story…No, we didn’t miss our flight nor was it retimed or anything. We were safe there. But what was NOT expected was that we had to pay AIRPORT TAX of 600PHP PER PERSON. CASH! What makes it worse, we had no idea and thus NONE of us had 600PHP!!! And without paying that 600PHP each, we can’t leave The Philippines!!!

Home seemed so far then….

So between that time until we checked-in at 4pm, you can imagine our feelings…

How are we gonna get 600PHP each?!

I only had 237PHP. Chele had the most and that was only 1610PHP and Fab had the least (80PHP)…between all six of us, we only had 1320PHP.

We needed 3600PHP for all six…we were short by 2280PHP

Where were we gonna get 2280PHP?!

There was a money changer at the airport so we collected all the Ringgits we had on us and hoped that if we converted that, we could come up with enough PHPs to get us through…

Alas, we could only come up with RM160 and even with a favourable exchange rate (RM1:13.3333PHP) that would only give us 2133PHP. We needed 2280PHP!!!

We were completely at a lost at that time…

It was over…We were never gonna go back to Malaysia…

Needless to say, we were desperate…

And when one is desperate, one will have to swallow one’s pride…Our last resort was to ask for money from fellow Malaysian passengers on our flight. We just needed to borrow enough to get us home. Once we’re home, we would immediately pay them back…

That was the our last resort…

But before we headed down that path, we tried our luck at the ATMs. Ours were Malaysian banks’ ATM cards so we were very sceptic that we would be able to withdraw. But we tried anyways. We tried all the ATM cards, debit cards and those who had credit cards even tried to get cash advance from their cards, but to no avail…

We were done for…

Only sceptic Michele hadn’t tried her ATM card. It was a Standard Chartered ATM card. Seeing that the rest of us failed, she felt hers would too but when she asked if she should try, I told her to do so. What more had we to lose??? But we were all sceptic and she went to try just for the sake of trying…

Unxpectedly, but in a very good way!, she could withdraw! 1500PHP!!!

We had enough for airport tax and inflight meals!

Needless to say we were all truly, madly, deeply relieved and only then stopped to laugh at ourselves knowing how crazy we must have looked to the other people waiting at the airport. The sight of us emptying our pockets…counting out the cash on the floor as if they were Poker cards…endless trips to the ATM machine and not being able to withdraw…I can imagine what the others thought of us! 😉

Day5 (57) by you.

Relieved faces: We finally successfully checked-in and was waiting for our plane.

And even that was not uneventful!

We checked-in at 4pm (2 hours after we found out about the airport tax thingy and barely half-an-hour after we obtained enough cash) and being already frazzled thinking we couldn’t go home, the airport staff at the scanners told Fab (he was at the front of our line) to quickly board as the plane was about to leave!!!

We could immediately see the plane in the horizon and there seemed to be no one else checking in except us. After all our efforts in getting enough cash to get us through, we were NOT gonna let the plane leave without us!!! So Fab dashed towards the plane…towards the gate…and BAM!

He rams the purely, clean and transparent glass doors…

Everyone at the airport stopped to look, bedazzled.

It turned out that that was NOT our flight. That was a flight to Singapore…

Our flight was retimed to 6pm…

And if you think that was the end of our misadventures, think again!

Even onboard our flight, we made history!

Mie, Say and Chele sat in the row in front of me and Ted and Fab sat alone at the row behind us.

The AirAsia stewardess came and asked them if they wanted to buy food and the THREE girls in the front row answered: “SIX rice please.”

The stewardess was confused. I was certain she was shocked that they could eat so much! So she counted them out to make sure: “One. Two. Three.”

“Four. Five. Six.” they counted for her. 😉

“Owh!” she exclaimed when she saw the rest of us. LOL! 😉

So they ordered SIX rice and SIX bottled water and said they would pay in Pesos.

The stewardess counted and it totalled 1300PHP.

After the airport tax, we only had a balance of about 1000PHP+. -_-”

So we had to return TWO bottled water…and add another RM12 ‘cos we were still short.

Fortunately, we still had leftover RMs since the exchange rate was favourable so we didn’t change them all…

Oh, the memories…the laughter…the tears…

Day5 (71) by you.

Finally home: We have landed in KKIA…

Upon arrival, our friends Ben, Young and Demeion (who was supposed to join our Pinoy trip but didn’t) fetched us and we went back to Ben’s house to wind-down and bath before we all went out for supper (after we all ambushed the local ATMs as were completely cashless).

~To be continued~

Next: Epilogue (aka EpiPinoy)

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4 responses to “Day 5: Home seemed so far!!!

  1. Pingback: Day 4: Walking the Streets « Perfect Imperfections

  2. Pingback: Epilogue (aka EpiPinoy) « Perfect Imperfections

  3. I really enjoyed reading your posts on ur Pinoy trip…especially the part when you all did not have 600PHP. Gee! Ur guide should have warned you…probably he was distracted! LOL!! How I wish I could go to Manila again! Loved the place, the people, the music…

    Yea,that airport tax thingy was really d most ‘adventurous’ thing that happened to us during the trip! 😉 As for d tourguide,that’s the thing..We x hv any tourguide!That Jorji Porji was conveniently part of our horse carriage ride and that was it..But yes,he was distracted by us girls..One of us in particular.Lol! Bah,jomla go Manila.I x mind going again. 🙂 Haha.

  4. hehehe.. next time, before you leave for a holiday at another country, make sure your atm card can be used overseas 🙂 Who says Malaysian’s banks atm cards cannot be used overseas, u just have to get them activated 😉 and.. bring some backup money, in USD!

    Looking forward for our holiday to Manila this coming May/June.. hopefully everything goes well as planned though.. with AirAsia, though it’s affordable, there’s always a probability that the flights being cancelled etc *touch wood*

    Yea,at dat time they juz activated their credit card but d machine dat allowed credit card cash advance was out of order.Only d ATM was working but none of our Malaysian cards were activated.Hehe.Lesson learnt.My card is permanently activated dy since I am working ‘overseas’. 😉

    And as for AirAsia..Our flight was retimed on our trip.Off to Manila eh?Enjoy.. 😀

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