When I saw the round trip transfer offered by Yats International vis-à-vis Clark Air base-Ortigas for their Annual Hot Air Balloon, I didn’t really hesitate to give them a ring to confirm two seats for me and my girlfriend. According to their press release, it is really hard to get a jeep right after the Hot Air Balloon event. True enough, they have a great logic on hyping their offer. For P1,500 I bought two round trip tickets inclusive of the entrance in the Annual Hot Air Balloon event.
According to them, they leave 7am from Ortigas in front of the Philippine Stock Exchange Building (Tektite) going to Clark. From Clark, they will pick us up at 6:45-7pm in order to leave at 7:30pm.
We arrived early to find ourselves the second row seats at around 6:30am. This was when the bad service started to happen. They actually filled the bus beyond its comfortable seating capacity. The staff of Yats International made people seat through the aisle. Just imagine big dudes cramped on a substandard seat though you paid exactly the same as the others who came early.
During the morning I still thought it was funny. Their conductoras/stewardesses would even take pictures from the bus to get people’s candid and excited expressions. I even thought that the only ones smiling were the ones placed on the comfortable seats and the ones seated on the middle aisle would look grumpy. This was actually a bad omen as the staff of Yats International were very disorganized and arrogant (read further and you will know why they are a bunch of arrogant trolls).
At around 6:45pm, the MC announced from the hot air balloon event that the wind is too strong that they can’t afford to let go of the hot air balloons anymore. We decided to head to the bus where they told us earlier to take right from the exit and take a few walks (10 minute walk) to see a tent. Note that there were not idiot guide and user friendly map on their itinerary sheet. It was just an instruction from the conductoras/stewardesses.
I called the number on their paper earlier at around 1pm to confirm the direction of the Clark Wine Center. This person named Chay Tanglao confirmed that you only need to take right from the exit to see a Green Tent saying it was really just a short stroll. Back to the story, we went to the exit to find out that we are actually walking for 15 minutes in the parking lot and yet we see no tent! If this was their definition of “walking distance” then I really have to be a marathon athlete to reach this Clark Wine Center where their busses were parked. We called Chay Tanglao with my voice a bit irked by the fact that they didn’t tell us that you would have to really walk for about 1km and cross the parking lot in order to reach the Clark Wine Center.
I really thought that this was the worst that could happen this day, but I was wrong!
People started to arrive late from the boarding time since it would really take a psychic to locate the Clark Wine Center’s location at night! Who would have thought that you need to traverse a dark, dusty and a grassy area that could be filled with snakes. People came in late as expected and we were the ones who arrived early. We had a choice of seat and it was really comfortable. Then an ARBITRARY announcement came from the conductoras/stewardesses that we have to go back to our old seats. It was really obvious that no one really wanted to settle for the less comfortable aisle seats.
This was when we protested from the bus. If you are asking why I did it; it was maybe for the sake of arguing/venting or maybe to really prove a point that they can’t do this to a paying customer. Whatever it was I know and the rest of the bus passengers know that this is wrong. Just imagine seating on the aisle seat early in the morning because you were “late” (though you paid the same or you may have even purchased their other rip off offers). And now, they are expecting you to return to your miserable chair though you arrived early this time around.
The conductoras/stewardesses proven to be damned trolls returned 3 times to our bus to coerce us that no one is leaving from Clark if we are not going to return to our seats. This was when I really exploded and pointed a finger on their mugs. I told them to stop forcing us to go to our former places when we weren’t even informed that this was the case early in the morning. Secondly, they shouldn’t have filled the bus beyond the comfortable seating capacity. And thirdly, we were hungry and I really wanted to go home or else eat the trolls’ carcasses.
They proceeded to change the seating arrangements of bus 2 and bus 3. They were lucky or unlucky since the tourists on these busses followed the troll’s advice to rearrange back to their old busses. Yats International even let bus 2 go with so many seats unfilled just to prove a point that all we need to do is to transfer seats. This was when another problem happened since a group of Korean tourists were seated on bus number 2 when they were instructed to go back to their former seating arrangement and former bus. They were seated on our bus with everyone refusing to move. Everyone heard the Korean tourist complaining to one of the troll stewardess/conductora on where should she seat? She left her seat to follow the instructions only to find out that they people on the first bus occupied her former seat!
After an hour of back and forth argument and my voice raised over the trolls’ arrogant behavior, someone had the sense to call the cops. Immediately when they saw the cops, this Chay Tanglao finally appeared and apologized for the delay and said that we can actually go. It was officially 8:30 when we left Clark. We were stuck in traffic for four hours to reach Ortigas from the Hot Air Balloon festival area. So much for Yats International and their silly Clark Wine Center!
To sum it up:
1. You don’t fill a bus to the extent of not giving people the same or better service as the other paying customers. You don’t see planes ask people to sit on the lavatory when there are no seats!
2. You don’t arbitrarily make the rules and impose them to your paying clients!
3. You should’ve apologized way earlier before everything escalated. If not, let the trolls apologize personally and not just some insincere press release apology from your HR head.
4. For the future tourists headed towards the Clark Hot Air Balloon Festival, find a good homestay or any place where you could sleep to see the morning flight of balloons.
5. Lastly, read a review or ask anyone in the online world if you are purchasing anything online.
6. If you want trouble and if you want to get robbed by attractive press release statements that really won’t deliver, go for Yats International!
I want this entry to be a prelude to my coming entries about what happened last holy week. Claire and I managed to climb a mountain that is 1/3 of Mt. Everest, the highest in Luzon and the second highest in the Philippines. 2,922 meters high, Mt. Pulag stood as one of the best hiking spots not just in the Philippines but in the whole world.
The photo was taken in the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) office in Bokod, Benguet during our briefing before the hike. It was a board where people who climbed the summit of Pulag left their photographs.
Canon AE-1 Program, Lucky shd iso 100. shutter speed 1/60, aperture: 1.4
This set of lomographs is way way overdue. Robi and I went to Ilocos last October during our semestral break to get a heavy dose of sanity break. From Vigan to Laoag to Pagudpod, Road Trip Baby!
This is also my first roll of 120 film in Holga.
I had the chance to see the beautiful culture of the north, and the place where Panday had his sword fighting antics!