Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fare Lessons - Puerto Princesa

Lazing around the rest of the morning at Hotel Fleuris, checking out its various nooks and cranies (I’ll share my notes later), time for us came. Though we liked the ambiance and the food at this hotel, we wanted to go some place else that we might call “tatak PPC”. No issue and no problem! Hotel staff recommended Ka Lui and called up the van’s driver. I butted in with “it’s okay, we will just commute going there”! yeah yeah, I earned some stern glares from 5 pesky souls a.k.a my companions hehe, but I explained its just nearby that we can even walk towards it if it were not a sunny noontime!

So, hotel’s driver hailed the first tricycle that passed by and told him to whisk us to Ka Lui. Before boarding, the earnestly trained metro manilan – ever cautious of being had by money-hungry metro manilans of course asked “magkano ba?”! With a smile, trike driver said “minimum fare lang ma’am, 7 pesos each”. surprised, I think I heard everyone say “ah talaga?”! so along the way they (include me btw) pestered the driver with questions about drivers taking advantage by jacking up prices for tourists or resorting to “contrata”. All were happily satisfied when trike driver answered “iba dito sir, mahirap na, seryoso ang mayor namin”! Da! Two in us joked saying “hello Tacloban”, please learn a lesson or two from Hagedorn!

And the six of us peppered the poor driver with so many questions he sometimes was confused on who to answer first. THAT as he drove us towards Ka Lui hehe! So what happens if you overcharge a tourist? And the driver said the tourist can report to any policeman or any citizen, that the tourist can call any of the big numbers displayed all around the city and trike driver could get reprimanded. One of us asked “like how”, and he enumerated things like, a fine, revocation of license, revocation of franchise, even jail. And I liked how he ended this one when he said “pag nagalit pa yung mayor, baka i-announce ka sa flag ceremony”! Hahaha, I love that part!

Bad trip we arrived too soon at our destination – since as I said Ka Lui (and anywhere else for that matter) is just near! My companions were still asking more questions even when we were already off the mong’s trike! So we invited him for lunch but he declined citing that his wife and children were also already waiting for him at home so they can have lunch together. Ahhhh, we were kinda touched!

As we entered the restaurant, a companion said “why is this part of the city not being advertised all over the country”? He meant the drivers’ compliance to proper fare rules and care of passengers. Another had a wonderful answer saying “hindi yata magka-partido si Hagedorn at si Gloria”! Whaahehehe!

Bottomline, we were not even half a day in PPC yet, and we were already admiring things that we never expected. No wonder this place has got so many good reviews from all over the world.

Let’s have lunch!


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