Friday, September 26, 2008

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

cover of the in-flight magazine of Philippine Airlines featuring Camsur Watersports Complex

I hope that the weather forecasts of local weather bureau PAGASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency will be very accurate this time as it looks like typhoon Ofel will not be visiting Bicol, rather people of the Cagayan Valley Region should make the necessary precautions as the typhoon is on her way to Northern Luzon. Me and my friends will be taking a Cebu Pacific flight to Naga and no one wants our trip cancelled due to the bad weather as this will be the second time that we planned to try kneeboarding/wakeboarding at the world-class Camsur Watersports Complex. I know that no one can stop the force of mother nature but we are more than ready to face whatever the weather situation in Camarines Sur in the next few days. If you are in company of good friends there will be never a dull moment regardless of the weather outside. Right?

The track of Typhoon Ofel as forecasted by PAGASA

The track of Typhoon Ofel as forecasted by the Japan Meteorological Agency

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Love FREE Tickets!

First of all... Thank you Cebu Pacific!

I don't call myself a Cebu Pacific fan or loyalist eventhough I first rode their jurassic DC-9 aircraft to Iloilo when they are just less than a month old airline flying only few routes from Manila. There are only I think less than 10 passengers then including me, my dad and sister. If given a choice I would still love to fly with full-service carriers.

I'm so happy that I took advantage of the absolutely FREE seats which Cebu Pacific Air offered last weekend. I booked several flights to Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. By the way, I want to congratulate the airline which gave me many free tickets for being the recent No. 1 domestic airline in the Philippines. I mostly booked just 2 days/1 night trips so I don't need to file for a vacation leave and it will also lessen my overhead expenses, anyway I will be just revisting the places that I explored before.

I even booked 7 FREE roundtrip tickets for me and my friends and we will be going to Butuan City in December. My friends hesitated a little but "beggars can't be choosers" so I didn't had a difficult time convincing them to go with me, besides all 7 of us haven't been to Butuan. I'm also planning to make our Bicol trip with my family and our househelp in December to be my gift to all of them. I will save a lot as I will only need to spend for our hotel and transportation as my dad always spend for our food whenever we are on a trip. I don't even want to reveal that our airfare is free so they will think that I am so generous, hahaha!

What I like the most about this FREE tickets are my Cebu, Davao and General Santos trips. I don't need to spend for my hotel stays as I will be just spending a day in those destinations. I already been to those cities before so there's no need to stop and smell the roses anymore. I only plan to buy some souvenir t-shirts and maybe some delicacies which I can make as Christmas gifts to my friends and relatives. I know that souvenir t-shirts are always cheaper than those branded ones and most people like to receive a souvenir shirt rather than those which were bought in a department store.

Because of this history first FREE ticket frenzy I now consider my 2 nights Boracay package for only 4,430 pesos as very expensive. Eventhough it is still cheap as I got them from the PAL Express booth at the 19th Philippine Travel Mart I still consider them a waste because I could have just booked the tickets and got them for free. I even thought of selling them at a discounted price (the lowest Boracay package price that you can get in any airline or travel agency is about 8,000 bucks per person which includes airfare, airport transfers, 2 nights accommodation and daily breakfast).

So now, with all those horror stories which you can read in a number of blogs about the services of Cebu Pacific maybe this time I'll be a little bit tolerant as I am a non-revenue passenger although it is not an excuse to inconvenience me with whatever instances that may arise in my future flights. I know my rights, privileges and responsibilities as a passenger very well. By the mere possession of a ticket, any airlines would be bound to transport me from point A to point B in a safe manner and without delay as the ticket serves as an implied contract between the passenger and the airline. Believe me, I have my share of horror stories after multitude of flights with them since April 1996 but I consider them just part of the joys & pains of travelling so it is not enough for me to boycott them as what other bloggers advocate (I love that I live in a country that advocates free speech!).

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Witnessed a Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia!

view from seat 18A of Mandala Airlines flight 565

These pictures were taken while I was on board a Mandala Airlines flight 565 bound for Jakarta from Bali. I am going back to Jakarta after a very wonderful vacation in the island of Bali but the flight had a 30-minute layover in Surabaya to drop-off and pick-up passengers. I took the pictures about 10 minutes before landing at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya when the captain announced that a volcano is erupting, luckily I was seated on the left side of the plane where I can witness the splendor and perils of mother nature. This is my first time to see an erupting volcano and I can say that it was totally cool!

Eventhough the pilot is speaking in English I cannot fully understand his Indonesian accent plus I was so preoccupied setting my camera to take some photos so I blew the chance to know the volcano's name. I asked a flight attendant for the volcano's name but I guess she didn't totally comprehend what I said. If you look closely at the second photograph it looks like Mt. Fuji of Japan because of the white to greyish thing enveloping the volcano's mouth.

I have also a very "cool" bird's eyeview picture of our very own Mayon Volcano which I took several months ago on my flight back to Manila from Legazpi City. Well, I like my erupting volcano photos more than the gentle, smoke spewing Mayon volcano ;)

top view of Mayon volcano

the picturesque Legazpi Airport in Albay

Free Tickets... $0.00 (INCLUSIVE of all taxes & surcharge)

I never thought this would be coming. Go to the official website of Cebu Pacific Air for absolutely FREE Seats for all domestic flights. You will pay $0.00 plus $0.00 taxes and fuel surcharge. Hahaha! I am refering to the U.S. dollar because it doesn't matter whether you want to pay in pesos, $ or euro ;)

No further details. Just go to now!!!! You have until tomorrow (September 19) to avail of this absolutely FREE Seats.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Balikbayan Gear and other travel stuff

When I attended the 19th Philippine Travel Mart for 2 consecutive days last week, I noticed the booth of the company called Balikbayan Gear in the middle of the hustle & bustle of the busy hotel, airline and other travel booths. I know that I have seen their products before featured in a lifestyle television show so I was curious on what they are offering.

Not only balikbayans can benefit from their products but also they are targeting jetsetters and the humble backpackers like you and me. Who would know that the ubiquitous balikbayan box has now a cover to protect it from the rain and wear and tear (genius indeed!). They even have a "jewelry wallet" for the lady travellers out there which will secure all your earrings, necklaces ang watches.

I got myself their belt bag called "Travel Hip Pack" which I intend to use to keep my passport, ticket or even my cellphone safe and within reach.

For all the backpackers they have many designs of tote bags and backpacks for your handcarry and even contain pockets for water bottles or other accessories. According to their company literature, their products are available at SM, Rustan's, Tesoro's and other retailers in the metro and beyond.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm off to the 19th Philippine Travel Mart

This is to all travel junkies out there and for those who would like to take a long deserving vacation in the next months. The 19th edition of the Philippine Travel Mart exposition will commence tomorrow, September 12 and ends on September 14 at the Mega Trade Hall of SM Megamall. You should expect for discounted airline tickets, hotels and travel packages which are only exclusive for the event.

This year's theme is "Triple X: Xtreme Adventure, Xtreme Wellness and Xtreme Leisure in the Philippines." I am not a fan of extreme sports and adventure activities but if the price is right I might buy a package which will make me climb a mountain, jump off a waterfall or even sail in a deserted island.

For more information about the 19th Philippine Travel Mart, you may contact the organizer Philippine Tour Operators Association at (02) 812-4513.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cebu Pacific Will Commence Int'l Flights from Clark

Cebu Pacific (CEB) will start operating international flights out of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga starting November 8, 2008.

“Airline service will play a pivotal role in economic growth in Clark and CEB is committed to being a catalyst for this growth. Trade and tourism, among other things, generally prosper with increased accessibility,” according to CEO Lance Gokongwei.

CEB will base an Airbus A319 aircraft in Clark and will operate daily flights from Clark to Hong Kong and Singapore; four times weekly to Macau; and three times weekly to Bangkok. CEB will also operate its Cebu-Clark flights daily starting October 1, 2008 using its ATR 72-500 aircraft.

The new international services are introduced with a zero fare. The seat sale will run from September 4 to 10, 2008 and is valid for travel from November 8 to December 17, 2008. Passengers will only pay for the applicable taxes and surcharges, which are nonrefundable. More than 10,000 seats have been allocated for the Clark hub seat sale.

CEB is the only Filipino carrier operating international flights out of Clark and is the only airline offering a direct Clark-Hong Kong and Clark-Bangkok service.