Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Planning your trip

I often ask myself why is it that the Philippines don't get as much or more tourist than other southeast asian countries when obviously we have a very beautiful country. The answer came to me as my husband and I were planning our next Philippine vacation for March, 2008. It's simple really. Booking and reserving anything is a nightmare. Just imagine if I am a European tourist and I have a choice between Thailand and the Philippines, the first thing I would do is contact different resorts, try to see how much the flights cost and how easy the connections would be between the different places I would like to see. If you are planning a vacation in the Philippines, this step is a nightmare! Imagine, we contacted several resorts in Boracay and Donsol and very few of them replied. Boracay Terraces took 2 weeks to reply to my email! Even when I called the resort directly, they told me to please email them instead. Then they didn't reply. I waited anyway because I had been there before and liked it's location but imagine if I would be a normal tourist who really couldn't care less if I go to the Philippines or Thailand, I would decide to go to whoever answers my mail faster and clearer! Donsol we decided not to go anymore because the resort where we wanted to go didn't reply to our email even after we called 3 times. Now, we decided to go to Coron but have a problem booking our flight with Asian Spirit. Their online booking site doesn't work. I called them this morning hoping that I could book the flight through the phone but it is not possible because if I book the flight this way I have to pay within 3 days and they don't accept that I give my credit card information over the phone. The only way to pay is to go to their ticketing office in Manila. Just one problem, I am in Switzerland! The woman who answered the phone said that I better use the online booking system. I protested that I cannot use it because it doesn't work! Only then I was informed that the site only works with Internet Explorer 6 and 7. Nowhere in their site this fact is written. Anyway, even after I used the suggested application it still didn't work! The whole thing is very tiring. Now, I understand why tourists just to go to Thailand.


. said...

hi! ur inputs are eye opener. honestly, i never thought booking and inquiry is a problem. it is something the local industry should focus on. good thing i read your post (very helpful)

if u need help with donsol - im from donsol. maybe you could also try caramoan too! please visit http://caramoan-paradise.blogspot.com

enjoy your stay in the philippines!!

Cathy said...

Thanks! I wanted to go to Caramoan for a few years now after seeing pictures of it in the internet. The problem is there is not much information about it in the internet or in the travel guides. I looked up possible accomodations once but came up with nothing (homestays but no phone number). It is very difficult to travel for 9 hours without knowing where you can stay after. Can you post the possible accomodations as well? Unfortunately, we have to pass up on Donsol this year. For sure we will go next year, I really want to see the whale sharks. Thanks for your website.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you are going through. I am an American living in Manila and every time I want to take a trip somewhere it is an absolute nightmare. I just went through this in booking a resort in Donsol to see the whalesharks. Which I am leaving for tomorrow. Getting in touch with the resorts is nearly impossible. Sometimes the phones don't work, sometimes the sites don’t work. Most of the time no one replies to your inquiry. It's very frustrating.

Cathy said...

Hi Andrew,

=)=) Actually, maybe the best way is just to take your chance and just go without reservations. You will always find a place to stay. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy,

I just got back fom my trip to Donsol. We had a great time! We had 3 butanding interactions. You're right about the reservations. It's probably better to just go and find a place to stay when you get there. We had a reservation with Amor Farm, but they were booked the first night so we ended up staying in town. Then we moved to Amor Farm Resort the second night. I hope you get to go there next season. It's a great experience.