i just realized that i haven’t posted anything about our barkada’s trip outside of the country. i went to india way back in 2008 methinks but this was my first time to travel abroad for pleasure and not for work. it was planned way back january this year because of the seat sale of cebu pacific. plus because we have friends in both countries working there, we could save a little on accommodation. 🙂
first stop was in kuala lumpur. we had our flight in the morning at NAIA Terminal 3 and i was slightly nervous because we were trying to think if we would survive the itinerary that was set up for us… including the gastos! 😛
at the check-in area, everything was OK. maluwag kasi sa T3. maayos din yung pila so we queued on the open counter to get our boarding passes. one little hickup: apparently, the tickets we bought from Cebu Pacific don’t include government taxes. i didn’t experience this with my first international trip so it was kinda weird. they pointed us to the counter and i felt i just got held up. Php 1,620.00 per person! hindi pa nga ako nakaka-apak ng eroplano, wala na ang Php 3,240.00 namin ni A! we didn’t account for that so bawas na yun sa budget namin for the trip. 😦
we got our boarding passes and then went through the next stage of pre-flight procedures in NAIA — the terminal fee. if i remember correctly, it’s Php 750.00. i expected just around Php 500.00 but clearly, i was misinformed. another slash off the vacation budget. 😦
here comes the best part: immigration. and i just had a little problem with the big girl in the counter. i’ve heard and read a lot and it seems that everyone complains about immigration people in the airport. well, i am officially one of them now. maybe it was a bad day, maybe it was a long day for her, but i didn’t care to justify her attitude. wala din akong pasensiya that day i guess.
ganito kasi iyon: the immigration form asks for your address in the country you’re visiting. ang usapan kasi naman namin was imi-meet namin yung friend namin in malaysia dun sa bus terminal and then sasamahan niya kami sa transient house where we’ll be staying during our visit. we didn’t know the exact address so we left it blank and explained to the immigration officer what our situation was. and then it happened.
we got scolded for not knowing and were given a lecture on what a “real tourist” was — that a tourist should know where he is staying in a foreign country, tourists should know where to go, tourists plan these things, etc. no hint of concern or care for our welfare in her voice. just heavy lecture. (i just wonder how a backpacker explains his situation to an immigration officer. hmmm) i understood that if and when something happens, the philippine embassy in that country are required to locate us. and not filling up that portion of the form was definitely a problem for both our families and the government. the finger-pointing would never end. however, i never got the sense that this immigration officer was concerned. maybe she suspected us of becoming illegal immigrants. maybe she had one of the same excuses too often already. i don’t know and don’t care. to me, it looked like she was just too irritated by my ignorance of how it is to be a “real tourist”.
and here’s the rub — one of our barkada wasn’t lectured at all because, we suspect, the immigration officer probably saw her Permanent Resident Visa for NZ. the rest of us who went through the same immigration officer got the same treatment.