Day I in Iligan City (May 22, Sunday)
I arrived in CDO airport at 7:30AM. It was a very basic airport, with a small waiting area (about eight seats). I was looking for someone from the Iligan Workshop, because I'd been told someone would meet me at the airport. In any case, by 9AM, no one was there. Silly me, I didn't even get any contact person's number. Good thing Dr. Christine texted me just when I was about to panic. She asked if I was still at the airport. Apparently, the van was coming in the afternoon not in the morning...I sighed. That meant I had to take a taxi to the bus terminal so I could commute to Iligan City.
I came out of the airport. And several taxi drivers waved to me, like old friends. But I heard them whispering among themselves, "Uy, Chinese!"
Now hearing that, I wouldn't have ridden a taxi, however, I had no other choice! Couldn't ride a habal-habal with my luggage around. So I hired one of them and asked how much to the bus station. "P350," the driver said. And I was like "I was informed it's only P300!" (this was all in Tagalog of course). Then he went on about how gas prices have been going up. Etcetera Etcetera.
Arriving at the bus station, these men, probably porters, grabbed my luggage despite my protests. I said I didn't need their help (as my bag is only 7 kilos for goodness sake), but it was all to no avail. Had to pay the guy for carrying my stuff. For the bus fare, I paid P145, plus porter, P170.
Now I take another taxi to bring me to the Maria Cristina Hotel. Again, this driver comments about my being Chinese, "Miss Chinese ka no?"
And well guess what, I got ripped off again. For such a short distance from the Iligan bus station, he charged me P100.
Total Damage = P620 within 3 hours
Amazing. I dare say I do love adventures. Just not the kind that empties my pocket within a few hours. Then again this is the Philippines. Why am I surprised? What is it about being or ehem, looking, a bit chinky-eyed? It's racism, I tell you.
It's been quite an experience, though. And I'm expecting more. :)