A day and a half more before…

So here we are, just a day and a half more before my scheduled flight to Taipei. You know my struggles, and you’re about to read more.

The good news is, I have my passport! The bad news is, i had to let go of and will (still) soon shell out a few more bucks for: 1. having my passport shipped from Manila to Cebu via express shipping; 2. my return ticket from Taipei to Cebu; 3. shipping my passport from Cebu back to Manila.

So much for my future “Taipei on a Budget” blog post.

One of the reasons I booked that ticket to Taipei in the first place was because I thought it was relatively cheap, considering that I saw it so near to my desired day of flight. No point in dwelling on that now though; as my mom said, “what’s the point of money if you can’t enjoy it?” uhm. to use it to survive this cruel and corrupt world, for one? But I saw her point and – seeing that I am pushing through with this trip – I loved it.

Let’s backtrack a bit to Monday, April 3. I took a call from the person in-charge of submitting our Japan visa applications to a travel agency in manila, which was, in turn, responsible for submitting said docs to the Embassy of Japan. I was told that someone in the group, whom I don’t know, was lacking a few documents so our passports might not be released to us within that week yet. I thought, I guess I could reschedule my flight. So, without thinking it through, that’s what I told him. But! I had hope. I had hope that I’d still receive my passport before the day of my flight. See, I’m doing this thing called “thinking positive to attract positive,” and because of this I was feeling good about the situation for two days. I was so sure that I’d get my passport back, with another Japan visa meticulously attached inside, right before April 12. I was so wrong.

There was a misunderstanding. I was so optimistic because I thought that my application had already been submitted to the Embassy and was ready for release. Apparently, the entire group’s passports were still with the travel agency; not even reviewed by the Embassy yet. I found out about this on April 5. I panicked. After much consideration, I DID NOT WANT TO RESCHEDULE. I get so much complaints from my mom whenever I travel during work days; this was my chance to leave without having to worry about missing work.

I called so many numbers to ask what I could do with my situation. Thankfully, the travel agent I last talked to was nice enough to assure me that he would send me back my passport, hold my application, wait for the passport once I get back from my trip, and submit my papers to the Embassy. I only had to pay 200 PHP for the MNL-CEB shipment (and probably another 200 for sending it back to Manila).

That’s what I did, and now I have my passport minus 200 PHP.

Since I was already assured that I would get my passport back, the next thing to do was to book my flight from TPE to CEB. Remember in my previous post, when I said that the ticket that I was eyeing went down to 2,000+ Taiwan dollars? Let’s say it was at 2,840 TWD, I would have bought it at 4,970 PHP but I didn’t, because I couldn’t stand wasting 4,000+ PHP without knowing if I’d be able to fly. I am the definition of smart because the ticket went up to 4,238 TWD, which is roughly 7,416.50 TWD. That’s how much I charged my credit card with. This one; I can’t let go.

I really should have bought that cheaper ticket, and left it all to fate, immediately after I saw it. But no. I. Had. To. Make. Sure. Such are the risks that come with not being carefree enough.

In conclusion, I am with a passport, an itinerary, a plane ticket. I am also without 11,846.50 PHP total (round trip tickets from CEB-TPE, and shipping fees), in my wallet, just so I could be in another country by April 12. As one great and anonymous poet once said, “the struggle is real.”

Cebuana Adventures: The Struggles of Last Minute Flight Booking

On March 30, 2017, without any precursor, I decided that I was going to travel for the Holy Week. Alone. This, despite the fact that my mom already has plans for the family.

While I was driving to work, my mind was quite empty until the thought popped up. So when I arrived in the office a few minutes before 9 a.m., the first thing I did was check for flights on random destinations – Bali? Coron? Malaysia? – any place that didn’t require Filipinos to get Visas. Then I remembered reading about Taiwan allowing visa free entries for Philippine passport holders with a valid US Visa. Immediately I searched for flights to Taipei and, surprisingly, the fare was still cheap for my desired date of travel which was April 12. Thank goodness for budget airlines like Airasia!

I took this as a go signal from the universe because I only had 13 days till the flight (now 11 days). I thought the that price would have already soared through the roof! Fortunately, it was only a couple of thousands higher than the average price of 2,000 PHP. The price coming back to the Philippines is a different story.

In my excitement, I hurriedly booked the 4,030 PHP ticket to Taipei without much thought. I had no idea how much my lodging, land transportation, and food expenses would be (by now, of course, I’ve had enough time to research on it). This is the most spontaneous I’ve ever been. How exciting…

What’s even more exciting is the fact that I do not have my passport with me. This dawned on me right after I received my flight confirmation email. I submitted my passport to the Embassy of Japan last week!  Who forgets something like that? Me, apparently.

And so, the following narrative ensued:

  • “Thank goodness I bought Travel Insurance! Maybe I can cancel my flight to Taipei for free, otherwise I’ll have to pay a fee to change it :(“
  • “But does my travel insurance cover cancelled trips for reasons other than death of a family member and natural disasters? I have look it up”
  • “The travel insurance website can’t find my policy! I gotta contact the airline.”
  • “Well this customer representative doesn’t seem happy to help me. Okay, I’ll just email the travel insurance company.” *sends email*
  • *receives reply attached with full insurance policy*
  • “NOOO! My insurance won’t cover it.”
  • “Oh wells, at least I didn’t buy a ticket coming back yet… Bye bye, 4,030 pesos.
  • “My passport should be back in a week, just a few days before my ticket’s departure date. I should just look for a return ticket” *Goes to Airasia website*
  • “Oh damn, it’s 10,000+ PHP coming back.” *searches for ticket from Cebu Pacific*
  • “Cool. Around 6,000 PHP, but still too expensive. I wonder how much it is a week from today?”
  • “Wow… only 2,000+ for a flight from Taipei to Cebu on April 9. Maybe tickets will get cheaper if I wait it out?”
  • *at 12 m.n.* Nice. that 10,000+ PHP ticket came down to 8,000+. I’m so sure that it’ll still go down.
  • *the next day* Dammit the ticket went up.

There you have it. All that trouble in the span of a day. Oh well, hopefully my passport will arrive within this week because if it doesn’t, I’ll have to watch my booked ticket go down the drain. We’ll see how it goes. Follow my blog to keep updated!