Finally, I humbly present my “Last Manila Crooked Cabbie Saga.” With apologies to Master Todd, the forthcoming spiel occurred before the former Marine’s now-famous “50 pesos plus fare” lesson.
Yes, Grasshopper, learn from your esteemed Sensei and humbly heed his admonition.
My asawa and I were on our way to Pier 4 in Manila, the 2Go terminal. We were heading back home to Iloilo. Another Manila taxi driver had informed us that the ride from our hotel to the pier should take 20 minutes. Without traffic.
My wife and I entered the cab that stopped in front of our hotel, The Stone House in Pasay.
We told our driver our destination and asked: “How much?”
“400 pesos,” came the reply. ($8.50 US)
“400!” I exclaimed, “too much. Let’s get out of this cab!”
“But sir, there is a lot of traffic!” our chauffeur protested. (It was 7:00 am.)
“Only takes 20 minutes to get there,” I responded. “Let us out.”
The cabbie turned on his meter.
PISSED OFF DRIVER
Two pissed off people in the taxi. The driver and the Ugly American.
However, in my defense, I had not yet read Todd’s comment regarding cab drivers in Manila: “…simply say ‘meter plus 50’. Almost all of the cab drivers will go for this as the PLUS 50 goes to them.”
Seems like our cabbie’s look of livid rage in his rear view mirror could have been avoided by taking Todd’s advice.
40 minutes later we arrived at the 2Go terminal. The meter read 189 pesos. Four bucks. Half of what the driver had quoted us.
Nevertheless, we gave the cabbie an extra 100 pesos. The ride along Roxas Boulevard did take longer than we thought and traffic was heavy.
The driver apologized. We shook hands. I almost could hear Michael Jackson singing “We Are the World” in the background. I wiped a tear from my eye and moved towards the terminal.
I’M STOPPED AT SECURITY
I was pleased to see the speed and efficiency at which this terminal operated. We paid our terminal fees, 95.00 pesos for my spouse, 67.86 php for the crusty old expat. I was given the senior discount though I do not hold a senior citizen discount card from the Philippines. All I had to do was show my Philippine Driver’s License.
I didn’t even ask for a discount or even knew seniors could obtain one. The officials at Manila North Harbour Port Inc. are to be commended. I could buy a couple of bottles of Coke with the difference.
But I was caught by surprise when my luggage went through the entrance’s security checkpoint.
“Sir! Do you have scissors in your luggage?” the female security officer inquired.
“Yes, I do,” I replied. “Just take them, it’s OK.”
“No, sir, you can claim them when you arrive in Iloilo,” the guard informed me.
So I was given a receipt for my scissors which I did, indeed, claim later upon our arrival in Iloilo City.
THE SCISSORS SAGA
And why on earth was I carrying scissors in the first place? I can understood not taking scissors on an aircraft. However, I never had any problem carrying scissors on previous cruises in the Philippines.
I always pack a very small scissors with me which I use to trim my beard. I’ve had the scissors for years but they finally broke while we were in Manila.
I purchased two scissors and a comb from Japan for 66 pesos at the SM Hypermarket, Mall of Asia.
We were supposed to check in four hours prior to our 9 am departure on the M/V St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
I’ve learned from past experiences that you’re only going to wait if you show up too early. In fact, we didn’t board this 2Go vessel until 8 am, an hour before departure.
First of all, Todd, I’ve learned my lesson. Though this will probably be my “Last Manila Crooked Cabbie Saga,” at least for awhile, I’ll keep your sage wisdom stored in my crusty old noggin for future use.