A Tourist in your Own Country

A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Bohol for a wedding. It was like hitting two birds with one stone – it was a break from work, and we got to witness one of my closest friend’s Ate get married. It was also the first time that I paid for all of my expenses on a trip, and it was quite the big girl milestone for me. I just wish that my savings was happy for me too, but that’s not exactly the case.

Almost everything about the trip was great. The hotel my friend and I booked ended up being nicer than what we saw in pictures when we booked, the wedding festivities was filled with love, food, and lots of wine, and I got to discover for myself the beauty of Panglao’s white sand beaches. The only issue we encountered – the cost of transportation around the island.

Thankfully, the new Panglao airport opened the same week as the wedding as a way for Tagbilaran to decongest the traffic. We didn’t spend as much money as we thought we had to, to get to our resort in Panglao. When we arrived and retrieved our check-in luggages, we hired a car to get to our resort, and it costed us Php 300. Not bad. Reasonable. But things took an interesting turn when a tricycle charged us Php 100 to get to Amorita Resort, which was only about 3km away from our resort. It’s ridiculous! We were told that it was a fixed rate.

I quickly realized that these drivers took advantage of how we were tourists, and that we didn’t speak the local language. I also realized that it could be just my friend and I being gullible to think that that was normal, only to find out when we got to Amorita that it shouldn’t have costed more than Php 50 to get there.

On the day of the wedding, we thought that it would be best to get a cab to get to the church that was on the other side of the island. It sounded like a good idea instead of taking a tricycle, but our eyes widened and my brain almost exploded when the receptionist told us that the standard rate for hiring a car – since there were no taxis on the island – was Php 600. Ridiculous! It’s probably how much I would pay if I were to take a GrabCar from Katipunan to NAIA, but the distance from our resort to the church was only around 10km. I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t have reached Php 600, but we just reluctantly paid for the car, and comforted ourselves knowing that there would be a shuttle from the church to Amorita where the reception was going to be held.

It’s crazy to think that your own fellowmen would charge you a ridiculous amount simply because you don’t speak their language, or that they would take advantage of the fact that you can afford to get to that destination. It’s probably just as crazy for us to be so gullible to the overpriced transportation, but it’s still not nice to think that they were so quick to milk us off of our money.

A lot would say, “Ganun talaga eh”, but it’s disappointing to think that you could actually feel like a tourist in your own country where people are ready to accommodate you to the best of their abilities but at a price that is double than the actual cost.

At the end of the trip, I was just thankful that I had enough money to get me through all the unforeseen expenses. I still cringe at the thought of the bulk, of not majority of my expenses went into paying for overpriced transportation. Nevertheless, I just try to focus on how I’m very fortunate to live a life like I do now. While I do have to work hard to earn my money in order to sustain myself, I’m glad that my source of income doesn’t have to be at the expense gullible people like me.

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