Dec 20 '99
Friendly, Kind, Honest People
After reading Lonely Planet, and talking with Filipinos in our home
town who warned us against going, we were a little apprehensive.
Upon landing at Nino Aquino Airport in Manilla at midnight, despite
all of the guidebook and friends warning, we had a wonderful experience
hiring a taxi driver to take us on a nine hour taxi ride to Banaue,
the rice terraces. We quickly settled on what appeared to be a very
fair price. Throughout our two week trip on various islands, and
at different airports and ferry ports, we encountered no taxi driver
In some places they spent so much time driving us around to look
at different hotels until we found an acceptable hotel, and they
did not raise the initial price that we had first agreed upon. In
some cases we used the same driver to take us back to the airport
to fly to another destination. One driver even came back to our
hotel at 4am to take us to the airport. We had an unbelievable experience
in Cebu City with a taxi driver who deserves the taxi driver of
the year award!
The fearsome foursome, Don, Celia, Wendy and I, piled into a taxi
at the ferry port heading for the bus station. Upon exiting the
taxi, Don had realized he left a bag on the ledge of the rear window.
Total panic set in, and Don frantically headed back to the ferry
port to look for the driver who had dropped us off. Within ten minutes,
the driver returned to the bus station with Don's bag intact. Fortunately
for Don, all of his return plane tickets, both national and international,
Travelers Checks, and other valuable items were in this bag. Nothing
was disturbed, and I asked the driver to wait until Don returned.
Don returned more than an hour later, dejected and disgusted. Upon
seeing the driver and me with his bag, a big smile from ear to ear
came over Don and Celia's faces. Don whipped out a fifty dollar
US bill and gave it to the taxi driver. When we got to the next
town, some two and a half hours away from Cebu city, this tale had
already surfaced with the Americans giving the taxi driver a fifty
dollar bill, and needless to say, everyone wanted to be our driver,
We had never been to Manilla, and despite the guidebook and internet
warnings not to use jeepneys unless you are a veteran in Manilla,
we used them to get around all day long with no problem. The drivers
and fellow passengers were very helpful as to where to get on and
off. All jeepneys are all clearly marked with destination signs.
Guidebooks spend pages talking about the crime, pickpockets, tricksters,
and the knockout drug Ativan used in drinks, but we did not run
into any of this. Maybe, we were just very fortunate, or due to
the fact that we were two couples, or we were not single looking
for any romance, we did not have any prostitutes or tricksters approaching
us in bars, clubs, and restaurants. We did not have any hidden charges
on any bills in any of the restaurants, hotels or bars.
We met friendly, kind, honest, and helpful people in our two week
adventure in the Philippines.