Reader’s Travel Story

Short Note: still editing the photos from Cambodia, a lot wei~! *Sweat* Patience~


Last year, I threw this contest which I've totally forgotten to select a winner from.

There were numerous entries sent in during the period but only few really caught my attention, after ONE LONG YEAR of tedious selection and narrowing down, I've finally chosen a winner?! :D

Ok fine, I was just slacking and kept putting off the decision to finally sit down and really make a decision.

But I have chosen a winner! That’s what it counts right? RIGHT??

Here is Travel Kaki’s story on his amazing tale in the Philippines. It’s really fascinating and I did enjoy reading the article. Hope you do too, as for the rest of the readers who sent their entries in (if you are still reading this blog that is, lol), I thoroughly enjoyed each and every entry. :D :D :D

Anyway, here’s the story:

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Last year, I was in Manila, Philippines (on business, not on vacation...sob! sob!)
It was July, right in the middle of hurricane season. So on the day I was supposed to go back, Typhoon Milenyo hit Manila. As my luck would have it, Typhoon Milenyo was the MOST SEVERE to hit the Philippines in 15 years!

It's quite a shock for a Malaysian, because to us, rain is rain right? I mean, the worse we get is floods in Kay-El, some branches fall down and that's it.

BUT THAT'S NOT HOW A REAL TYPHOON IS!

I'm telling u....trees were falling down, cars were being moved down the road, billboards were ripped and roofs were flying all over the place.

So picture this, my friends and I were in the car trying to drive to the airport in the crazy weather. We would be driving down the road, then have to stop because the road was blocked (by a tree, then by a car, then by another tree) We'd then have to reverse and try to find another way.

When I finally reached the airport, my frens dropped me off and went home (they were worried for their family)

Only then, i found out that the airport was closed! (seriously, all flights cancelled)

Aaaaarggghh!

oh man, it was chaotic becos the airport was full of people standing outside (the doors were closed, can you believe that???!!! I mean, they could at least let us inside for shelter)

It was STILL raining like crazy and....

the phone lines were down (mobile phones) see, the typhoon was so strong it knocked out the power lines, telephone lines...EVERYTHING! so i couldn't call my frens.

n here's the kicker.....

I was out of money! (seriously, no more cash! empty! broke!) (It was my last day in the Phils rite, so I had spend all my budget already)

the airport was only going to open the next day, so i needed to get a taxi and go to a hotel. but what to do, no money and no way to call my frens.

well, so I was stuck at the airport with the rain still pouring down (it would finally stop raining the next day, that's how much water a typhoon contains)

I looked at my handphone again and again....no luck though, the system was still down.

I guess it must have been the look on my face (a mixture of puzzlement and irritation) but a man approached me.

(Background : Now at Ninoy Aquino Airport, there is no official taxi or limo service. You get out of the departure hall and then get one of several taxi counters there)

So this guy came and talked to me; asking

"Wat's wrong, sir? Need a taxi?"
(Nice thing abuot the Phils, is that they will call u a sir or ma'am, its kinda polite)

Anyways, I wasn't sure of what to do since I was out of money. I debated for a moment, then decided that I had nothing to lose.

So I told him, how this was totally unplanned, how I couldn't call my friends and how I was out of money. Surprisingly, he smiled and nod his head vigorously.

"Yes, its too bad. Even the electrical power supply has been cut to Manila city. How about I take you to a hotel, sir? Which hotel you like?"

Sheeshhh, didn't this guy hear me? I'm out of money!

"That's ok sir, I run a small service for temporary loans. You have a credit card?"

Well, yeah, I do.....but isn't the phone lines down? How am I going to swipe my card then????

"Don't worry sir, you come with me, I take you to a good hotel"

Anyway, I was getting quite wet and miserable, well, what the heck, I thought, so I followed him to his car. He got into the driver's seat and I got in the back.

(By the way, the guy's name was Tito)

Immediately, another guy came, opened the door and got on the car with me. He smiled at him, obviously he was a partner of Tito. In my mind, I was thinking already, headlines of the Philipines Inquirer tomorrow

Malaysian Man's Body Found In the Pasig River

With my heart thumping, Tito drove and we once again braved the streets of Manila and the after effects of the typhoon.

So we drove to Tito's office, it was a just plain ordinary Ground Floor of a office shoplot kinda thing. In his office was 2 young Pinays (in Phils, a lady is called a Pinay, whereas a guy is called a Pin oy)

One was a secretary or adminstrator of some sort.
The other was obviously a lady of the night *ahem*
(Yes, it was obvious to me, don't ask...)

So anyways, Tito bade me to sit down and asked his secretary to get me some coffee (not brewed lar, just 3-in-1) Then we got down to business.

First, he made a copy of my passport, then took a picture of me. Then he took my credit card (Thank god I use Citibank, it's recognized everywhere) Anyway, do you remember when the old credit card machines? You put your card on it, and then with a swipe, a copy is made on carbon paper.

So that's how he could do it, even with the phone lines down. Basically, he was keeping all my data, numbers etc etc. so that when the phone lines came back on, he could do then debit my card. And since he knew which hotel I was going to stay in as well as my flight tomorrow, there was no place for me to run.

"All done Mr. Tan! Thank you very much! So I have booked you into the Palmville Hotel (I hope I remembered it correctly, it's a 3-star hotel in Malate) for the night. I've also included the fees for today's taxi ride as well as the fare from the hotel to the airport tomorrow."

"Will there be anything else?"

So Tito and his partner was smiling at me and well, the other Pinay was also smiling at me. Well, you know......

....

....

No lar, I didn't go for it!


Anyways, to cut a long story short, that's how I managed
to get a room for the night and made it till my flight tomorrow.

*******

It was my first time dealing with a Filipino without any guides or frens around. Overall, I think they are honest folk, very friendly and polite. I don't think they are as warm as say the Thais for example, but still if you are straightforward and firm with them, no worries.

When I checked my credit card when I got back to Malaysia, it was debitted exactly as Tito said. I also got his mobile phone number, just in case I ever needed his services again. *wink*

Well, that's my story, hope you like it!


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Hahahaha.. briliant~!

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11 kissed Nicole

  1. Sacred adventure!
    It took a lot of luck to meet this person
    This could have turned the nightmare.
    It reminds me of some tricky situations that I could live at the mission.
    Indeed I can assure you that the local population is not always as friendly.

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  2. Seriously, that was a good Story. It made me anxious to know what's the outcome and all.Total mind-gripping narration. Bravo! A rare find indeed

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  3. Erm..Why did he call you Sir? and Mr. Tan?

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  4. That's an interesting story, Nicole. It's nice to hear about your travels. What is next on your itinerary?

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  5. Errrr.. that was close...

    Wow... lucky... There are still nice people in the world...~!!!

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  6. It is nice to hear that there are nice people living in this planet...:)

    U are lucky girl...(^_^)

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  7. Hey there..
    I'm selling this lovely cupcakes for RM2.50 a piece, it's home-baked, if you're intrested and planning a small farewell gathering for a friend at your office, a birthday party or even a wedding, I do take big orders and if you want more information, u can call me at my number 012-2987347.
    Check out my blog at..
    http://ezrazlin.blogspot.com/2008/05/cupcakes-theme-happy.html
    tQ for your support..

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  8. Can't wait too see your column in the star. Go Go nicole...

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  9. Very nice story indeed, I enjoyed reading it.

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  10. That wasn't too brilliant if it turns out another way, like you getting kidnapped. Don't you know you are not supposed to get on stranger's car? Don't you know Phil famous for kidnapping people through cab services? Good thing this is a legit one. Don't do that again!

    H

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  11. Man, you guys need to read it carefully.

    It wasn't Nic who was involved, it was me.

    And besides, it is only by taking risks that one can truly see the world

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