Saturday, June 2, 2012

Beware of "Cheap" Air Fares.

Friends, we have a guest blogger today, David Silverman. He's a retired lawyer and engineer, and now a math tutor.  He often travels with his wife (that's moi) and here's his latest misadventure with travel agencies.

  I went online and attempted to book a flight through and agency called Kayak.  Advertised Airline fares are now supposed to be the total charges.  Kayak advertised a fare that appeared  $200 lower than other fares, yet when I went to book it, $400 in additional taxes and charges were added on.
      I tried another company, Travelocity, and booked a reservation through them at a reasonable total price.  I got a confirmation that my reservation was booked, however the next day I got an e-mail telling me my reservation had been cancelled.  I called and spoke to three different idiots that worked in their call center, and was told only that my credit card information didn't match up. None of the bozos there could tell me exactly which of the details didn't. I've used the credit card for years without any problem and all the information I put down was exactly the same information I'd always used.  I asked them if they could hold the reservation for a day until I could get the confusion straightened out and, I'm sure you already guessed it, they told me they couldn't provide that service, although they were quick in charging me their service fee!  I As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.  "Cheap" airlines are a good example.
       I re booked the reservation directly through the airline later (for $20 more) and didn't have any problem!

There's  more to this. They've put a hold on Dave's credit cards (yes Mastercard and Visa, as Dave tried the other one  when the first one was rejected) and calling them is not toll-free at all.  Below is Dave's letter to them:

Travelocity, is the outside-of -the-U.S. number you gave me toll free? If it is not, it will cost me $2+ per minute and from what I can perceive of your company's way of doing business, I doubt if I will get it back. What is the problem releasing a hold? You see that the reservations were cancelled. There's no reason for maintaining the hold, except your company's inconsideration. You can take the holds off (both Master Card and Visa debit card for the approximate amount of $2196) with a couple keystrokes.
Do I have to call to discuss this? If this is the thoughtless way your company does business, I'd be afraid to book a reservation for a hotel around the corner, with you.


There are more complaints, here, here, here, there and it has lots of other problems too. I hope that Google does not ban my blog because of this post ....

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Paradise

How fast time flies.  We moved here in 2007, and I always refer to this place as the Paradise.
The facade at Del Pilar St. (Formerly Montelibano St.)

I am easy to please: as long as I am with my loving family and   the place has a nice garden and a swimming pool, it is paradise for me. 
The poolside where the socializing always take place

My Paradise was called Marmont Resort Hotel before, and according to this site this was a wonderful place in the '80s,  "This was the biggest, most modern hotel in the area,  it was hard to get a room here! The building is just off the National Highway in Barrio Barretto, outside Olongapo."  In fact until now the place is always fully booked. We had to wait for several months to get a hold of a small room, and waited again for couple of months to transfer to a bigger place.

 I have met  many retired service men who reminisced of fabulous parties and grand weddings held here in the 80's.  This was the place to see and be seen before, with its beautiful rooms, some with circular velvet beds and classy paintings.  There is even a helipad to accommodate helicopter landings of the officers from Subic base.  I've heard that only the officers were given accommodations here at that time.  This was the hangout of movie stars and Generals before.

Later it was called West Bay Apartelle, I guess  when part of the complex was owned by the bank, although most of the taxi and tricycle drivers still refer to it as Marmont.    Last December,  the bank sold its part of the complex to a new co-owner, Mr. Bong Sangco, and Marmont is now named Bella Monte Hotel. 

Mrs. Maritess Sangco, Mr. Bong Sangco's wife gave a surprise birthday party for him recently, and we tenants were invited and enjoyed the celebration. 

The buffet

Mixed-raced kids are common here

Tons of yummies
Ground meat for tacos

For Tacos

Fried Prawns
Lumpiang Shanghai
Chicken Lollipos
Yummy Mamon or cupcakes
Yes, Happy birthday Mr. Sangco

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