The ruins was supposed to be the last agenda on our itinerary and because of our unfortunate delays going to the site, we had no time to spare and rushed to the airport. Travelling throughout the province is quite easy pretty much everywhere, with the exception of the airport! Yes, there are shuttle services to Bacolod-Silay Airport, but they take ages to leave the terminal and time was a luxury we can’t afford.
The most logical way of getting to the airport in the fastest way possible is of course with a taxi. Taxi is of course scarce in the provinces so it’s only logical that we hailed one from a mall, so from the ruins of Talisay City we headed straight for Robinsons Bacolod. Just our luck that of all the honest people in Negros, we had to deal with a greedy taxi driver!
Taxis are supposed to be metered. When we told our driver we were going to the airport I thought I saw peso signs in his eyes as he told us that they don’t use meters to the airport and was asking for a fixed rate of ₱500. He was insistent that it is normal and no one uses meters to the airport. I gave him a firm “no” but apparently we got lost in translation and so when we thought he had agreed to use the meter, he understood us well—apparently not!
He agreed to use his taxi meter because he thought we asked to be brought instead to the terminal where there are shuttle services to the airport! I was very, very infuriated and if I wasn’t pressed for time I would’ve called a police and had him arrested! From where I came from, taxis are supposed to be metered, so I would like to ask anyone from Bacolod if taxis are not metered when going to the airport, as our driver claims. This was a very, very bad experience, and as we talked with other drivers in the area, when we mention the word “airport” everyone looks like they’re ready to rob us. They knew we were in a hurry and they were offering their services with preposterous rates!
I’m actually not complaining about the expenses, just as long as it is rightfully due. If our taxi meter goes to ₱1,000, I won’t mind because that’s how it is. If taxis to the airport not using meters are the standard in Bacolod City, I would comply, but my instincts are telling me otherwise, and I don’t want to encourage corrupt practices even if it would cost me more in following what I believe is right. At the back of mind it was becoming apparent that we’d miss our flight costing us much more than what these scoundrels were asking, but I stood firm on my principles and kept an optimistic mind. Fortunately, my companion and I are on the same page with this, and we found ourselves on the way back to Silay City with no guaranteed commute after.
We were desperate when we arrived at Silay City so any idea, as long as it could work, is a plan. Isn’t it crazy to ask a tricycle driver to take you to the airport? Crazy, yes, but it’s the only one readily available, and one driver agreed!
I’d give ourselves A+ for effort in our attempt to get to the airport in time. The tricycle ride to the airport was crazy, but feasible, if only we had more time! A tricycle painfully goes around 20 to 25 kilometers per hour (I had my GF405 monitoring our speed to compute our estimated time of arrival) so we were very much aware of every minute and kilometer that passed.
Finally, we arrived at the airport (in style if I do say so myself). Tricycles are only allowed at the airport’s gate for obvious reasons, and we did arrive before our scheduled departure. But, we’re not riding a bus, we’re riding a plane! So even if our plane was still on the airport, checking in was already closed!
The Battle of the Airlines
I’m not too proud to mention that our flight back to Manila was with a budget airline because the customer service that I got was also “budget.” When I approached Cebu Pacific’s counter about our situation, the attendant told us we have to pay ₱11,000++. What? Why do I have to pay that amount? Is that a penalty? Are you kidding me?
Apparently he just wasn’t good with his communicating skills. Upon further explanation, what he meant was since our ticket was budget fare, it’s non-rebookable, non-refundable, and all the “nons” you can think of, and their next flight costs more than ₱5,600 each. We’re already in a bad predicament and a bad communicator isn’t making it better. I felt like a cash cow being milked for money! Quite harassing. Fortunately, the office of Philippine Airlines was still open so we had another option and someone much better to talk to. (And I could feel the honest concern from the lady attendant that I talked to in PAL’s office, and everything was handled professionally)
After discussing the matter, we had decided that the best option for us was the PAL flight the following day. The next and final flight available for the day was with Cebu Pacific, but their fare (without any checked in baggage) is more than that of PAL’s (with 15 kg allowed checked in baggage) even with an overnight hotel stay combined! If I had known that we’d be flying back via PAL I would’ve carried my tripod and umbrella! Again, it’s PAL that saved our vacation. I’m starting to get concerned with some budget airlines because of the bad customer services and dissatisfaction that we get. We may all want cheaper fares, but it doesn’t mean we don’t want to be treated better. I’m not against all budget airlines but I’m all against poor customer service.
And so with that, our vacation was extended for another day.
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The Piaya Chronicles: