Saturday, May 31, 2008

Asia Promo Fares from Philippine Airlines

Below are the applicable routes:

US$ 108
Manila-Hong Kong-Manila

US$ 168

US$ 268

As usual, the above fares are exclusive of taxes, fees and surcharges.

This promotion is valid for sale and ticketing from 01 to 30 June 2008 and for travel effective 01 July until 15 October 2008. Travel must be completed by 15 October 2008 only.

For more information and bookings, call PAL Reservations in Manila: (02) 855-8888, Cebu: (032) 340-0191, Davao: (082) 222-0366 or your favorite travel agent.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Free 4R Prints from Cebu Pacific & Picatoo

Travel with Cebu Pacific Air and get your prints developed for free!

Travel from Mar 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008 with Cebu Pacific and you can get 20 x 4R prints from Picatoo for free! Just email ( a copy of your boarding pass by either scanning it or taking a digital photo of it. Picatoo will email you back a voucher code that you can use to claim your free 20 prints online.

For more info about this promotion just visit

Friday, May 23, 2008

1 MILLION FREE Seats from Malaysia Airlines

I thought only budget airlines offer FREE SEATS (Philippine Airlines came close with its 8-peso seat sale) , I was wrong and here is the reason. Malaysia Airlines (MH) is now offering its version of FREE SEATS to its ASEAN and domestic destinations. A roundtrip ticket from Manila to Kuala Lumpur (KL) or Kota Kinabalu (KK) will only cost you U$125 as of course you need to pay for the taxes and fuel surcharge on top of the FREE fare. By the way, this promotion is cheaper than the FREE seats sale last offered by budget carrier Cebu Pacific as all MH tickets to Malaysia include the PHP1,620 travel tax. Not bad for a multi-awarded 5-star airline (according to Skytrax UK). In its truest sense, a return ticket to KL is less than PHP4,000.

If you want to go to KL to see the Petronas Twin Towers or KK to climb the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia or in any other city in Southeast Asia that you fancy then you will be ecstatic with this news. More than 1,000,000 seats are on sale which will only run up to June 3, 2008 for travel from July 1 to December 14, 2008. For example, if you want to go to Phuket, Bali or Cambodia you can make KL your stopover city and in the end you will save some extra cash rather than taking Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific and another booking another flight to those destinations.

Malaysia Airlines is a 5-star "legacy airline" so you can expect all the services and amenities that no budget airline in the world offers including the "best cabin staff in the world" (from the World Travel Awards). And besides, MH is a multi-awarded airline so this promotion is almost hard to be true. I already tried and tested MH on 4 occasions (KK-Brunei, Brunei-KK, KK-Labuan, Labuan-KK) and I'm satisfied with all of those trips.

this is me at Kota Kinabalu International Airport waiting for our Brunei flight via MH

For more information about this insane promotion and to see the list of awards given to MH just visit

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vietnam by the Numbers

The following are statistics I diligently compiled with only $150 as my tangible pocketmoney to spend for 4 days 3 nights in Hanoi, Vietnam.

I'm expecting to spend at least $100 but to my surprise I only need about $75 to decently tour Northern Vietnam in 3 full days. I have my international ATM card and 2 credit cards with me just in case of emergencies inlcuding "emergency shopping" like what I did at Vincom Tower supermarket. A supermarket near Hoan Kiem Lake does not accept plastic money so we have to go to a mall with a large supermarket. Additionally, my companion has more than enough $ to lasts us a few more days just in case we decide to extend our vacation, hahaha! ;p

I love Vietnam as it is one of the few places on earth where my hard-earned peso is worth a fortune. So in short, it will not hurt my savings that much.

I can't exclusively trust my memory so a few of the following might be just an estimate or assumption.

So much for the introduction, let's start adding:

1 month - time spent booking tickets, hotel, tours and looking for a personal tour guide
100 hrs. - total time spent researching about the culture and places to see in North Vietnam
4 hrs. - time spent at the office before going to the airport
$15 - cost of a taxi ride from Noi Bai International Airport to downtown Hanoi
at least 100- number of times the taxi driver honked at other motorists from our hotel until we reached Halong Bay
less than 15 - hours of total sleep in 4 days of travel
2 - number of taxi rides with a functioning legal meter
8 - number of times we crossed the streets fearing for our lives
6 - friends gained from other countries
2 - times I have been to Vietnam
1 - times I have been to Hanoi
1 - times I have been to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)
2 - malls/supemarkets visited
125 pesos - spent for my roaming SMS/calls
2 - number of souvenir t-shirts bought
10,000 dong - amount given to a buddhist monk as a donation
60,000 dong - total tips given to all the tour guides/hotel maid etc.
2 - hours spent leisurely rowing around Tam Coc
$1- tip given to the old woman boat rower in Tam Coc
815,500 dong - total credit card purchases
1 - t-shirt with a big yellow star in the middle design bought
0 - number of fellow Filipinos we met while touring Northern Vietnam
0 - ghosts appeared before me (you can't blame me as the room we stayed was a little bit old)
3 - bowls of Pho (Vietnamese noodles) devoured in under 5 minutes each
18 mins. - longest ride on a xe om (motorcycle)
4 hours 50 mins - total plane ride
2 - total bus ride around Northern Vietnam
3 - number of ice cream bars eaten. Our local ice cream brands are much better.
20+ - times I said "WOW" as I'm so impressed with the beauty of Halong Bay and Tam Coc.
4 - hours cruising the world famous Halong Bay
2 - hours spent rowing in Tam Coc

TOTAL: 1 unforgettable trip which I would like to do over and over again :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

500,000 Free Seats to All Destinations!

I'm just back from my Vietnam trip and what a perfect news this is... Cebu Pacific Air is offering 500,000 FREE Seats to all its domestic and international destinations for travel from June 9 to December 31, 2008. We all have until May 18 to buy our tickets. So much for the blabber, just go to now to see what I mean.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'm Off to Vietnam... I'll be Back in a Jiffy!

My long weekend will start tomorrow, Thursday, as I will set foot on Vietnamese soil for the second time but this will be my first time to be in the capital city of Hanoi. I enjoyed so much my first trip to the charming communist country Vietnam last August 2006 despite of the synchronize chaos of over 6 million people of Ho Chi Minh City (a.k.a. Saigon) that I can't wait to visit the country again. I'm expecting Hanoi to be less chaotic than Ho Chi Minh City merely based from the population which is only 3+ million.

I'm very excited to visit the famous Halong Bay which currently in top of the New 7 Wonders of Nature survey. I'm also excited to partake of the various noodles, vegetable wraps and other local delicacies as they are so cheap but very delicious and full of flavor.

As almost everything in Vietnam is cheap I'll bring an extra duffel bag which I intend to fill up with local groceries and of course souvenirs. The last time I was in that country I bought several packs of Vietnamese coffee, tea, Colgate herbal toothpaste, assorted candies, instant noodles, sausages and other preserved meat products, dried plums and fruits etc. etc. etc... I'm satisfied with all of them as the quality are mostly good.

This is all for this week... I'll be back in a jiffy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to Navigate the Dreadful NAIA

departure lobby (taken from )

It would be more pleasurable to have a root canal than to endure the torture of passing through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal I which is coincidentally the Philippines' premiere gateway. I have read countless of reviews of NAIA from different websites and the tone of the reviews are unanimous. They are all disappointed with the experience passing through NAIA. Well, I can't blame them. I'm not posting this to add fuel to the fire, rather I would like to "warn" first timers on what to expect so they will not have the shock of their life.

I'll be going to Vietnam in a few days so this post will also serve as a refresher for me on what to expect. I plan to arrive there 4 hours before my flight so I can access the Sampaguita Lounge to devour their famous arroz caldo and take a nap before my red-eye flight. If you have 400 pesos to spare it would be worth it to wait for your flight at the Sampaguita Lounge and partake of the mini buffet or just lie down on their several sleeper rooms rather than spending hours at those cold metal seats at the departure lounge.

To avoid any added inconvenience it would be advisable to go straight to the Travel Tax counter first after the first security check in case your ticket does not include the PHP1,620 fee before going to the check-in counters. As much as possible, prepare an exact amount as they sometimes having a hard time giving change to everyone who are paying PHP2,000.

After you checked your luggage and claimed your boarding pass you have to pay PHP750 for the terminal fee (It's free for Overseas Filipino Workers). For me it is the world's most expensive terminal fee given the current state of the airport. You can't even compare NAIA with some BUS terminals in Malaysia and Thailand so paying the amount twice of the current minimum wage here in the Philippines is an insult with robbery.

Be sure to keep your passport, plane ticket and other pertinent travel documents whenever you check-in to your flight and having your passport stamped at immigration to avoid being an inconvenience to those at the back of the queue. A friend told me to choose a young lady immigration officer as they are more nimble processing your passport than their male counterparts. For me I just choose the youngest of them all regardless of their gender as the "veterans" tend to take their time more.

It would be too easy to enumerate the facilities of the airport but it is very hard to list down what the airport lacks and the things to improve as you need a very long paper to write them all down. Maybe in my next post I will try very hard to write about the positive sides of NAIA. I just need to experience them this time.

Postscript: If you need more information about NAIA don't bother checking their website because it's useless. I'm trying to view the realtime arrivals and departure for each terminal and I keep on getting error messages and to add that it takes forever for the page to load even if I'm using a broadband Internet connection.