I just put the wife and kids on a plane back to Hong Kong from this dump that they call the Philippines. Probably the worst vacation that we ever took, the family arrived just afterManila got hit by a bad hurricane. But unfortunately, this is not a place that seems to bounce back with good humor and smiling faces that other places seem to. We stayed in the 5-star Hyatt Casino in Malate for a couple of days and there the people all had these grimicing smiles. Maybe they were short staffed because of the typhoon but it just didn't work out too well.
One little note: The hotel spa had no electricity and my wife wasn't feeling so well, so she stopped in and asked if there were any massage cancellations that she would take it. They called at 6 pm and said that there was a cancellation at 6:30 and that the lady would come to the room. At 7:05 my wife called the spa and asked what was going on. They explained to her that the service elevator was slow. Well, that is one really slow service elevator since the spa was on the 5th floor and our room was on the 12th. Maybe they should had let us know by phone that the massage lady was going to be late? That would have made sense if there was a problem that they were already aware of.
Outside, nearly every person we had to deal with treated us as if we were the goose that will lay the golden egg for them. After a while, it just seemed to me that everyone we met were just greedy little pigs. There was no sense of delivering a service or something nice, just clamoring salesmanship and going through some useless motions. The ice cream lady in some shop looked downright angry when we ordered ice cream from her. She looked like the Wicked Witch of the West. I have to say that I have noticed the weakness here in the Philippines before but no to this extent.
After Manila, we went to a place called Tagaytay that is a pretty location with a volcano surrounded by a lake inside of a giant volcano. However, wherever we walked there, we were descended upon by people wanting to sell us stuff, particularly boat rides. There are probably a 100 boats and daily demand is probably for 20 or so, so of course, the cartel tries to keep the price high and pays big commissions to the clowns that harrass the tourists to get them to go. We had even one jeep driver drive us into someone's yard so that his brother could talk to us about taking a boat to Taal Island. I just hate that crap. I makes a holiday completely unenjoyable.
We met more than our fair share of dishonest and unhelpful people on this trip. Nearly every taxi and tricycle driver tried to charge us 2-3 times the actual rates. But even worse, we had the unfortuanate experience to be cheated by a terrible little inn called the Royal Taal Inn
, who's guaranteed lowest prices were amoungst the highest in the area, the inn staff not in the least knowledgeable about the area and not at all helpful to us. We had no shower and no breakfast as was promised and charged to us. Electricity was only on for a few hours a day and they were unprepared for our arrival as they had to go out and buy fuel to turn on the generator so we put our bags into a dark room and changed to get soemthing to eat. Anyone that stays at this 'cheap' place is an idiot and I am an idiot for staying there. There were much nicer places for far less money than this place. Do not patronize the Royal Taal Inn, it sucks. They say its one of the best kept secrets in Asia and it well deserves to be kept a secret. Maybe they will send Saddam Hussein there before they execute him. He will be happy after that to be executed.
I have to say, that I hated this holiday here so much, that I will never bring the family back to the Philippines again. We have so many nicer places to go in Asia. The WOW Philippines
tourism campaign should be more appropriately called WHY BOTHER Philippines. They just won't be able to deliver. It really is not a tourism value like Thailand or other places.
And now I am stuck down here for another week or so working on a project. On the way back from the airport after dropping the family off the cab driver asked me to pay 2 times the meter. I probably blew out one of his eardrums with my response and jumped out of his car. I just hate these fucking guys here. I cannot wait to get the hell out of this rat infested little dump.
I hate the Philippines.