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Puerto Princesa, Philippines

Ok I titled my blog bi-polar, because that's how I've been feeling lately. This trip has been amazing and difficult.

So if you've been following you know that I lost my ATM card while traveling here. So the only funds I've had have been my credit card and the cash I had on me. I'm currently waiting for my new card to arrive at my sisters so she can forward it to me, and I was told by my bank that I could try using Western Union to get myself money.

So while I tried starting a Western Union transfer from my bank account. It asks you to verify your bank account either by doing it as a bill pay, where you set up a bill to be paid as Western Union and pay that amount, or it will charge my account and once the charge has been processed then I can see a number from the charge on my account online and then go back to Western Union put that in and my account would be verified.

Well first I tried the billy pay way and their system would cancel the transaction every time, not allowing me to set up the bill pay. Then I tried doing the account charge method, well it cancelled this charge too before I was able to verify it. I called Western Union and found out that since I'm doing the transaction from a computer in Asia that the system automatically denies the transaction, and they don't have an override option to allow me to verify my account. The only option they have they said is that I can take cash to one of their vendors and pay to transfer the money, completely useless, because if I had cash their wouldn't be a problem.

I was finding all this out as I had about 800 baht to my name, about $26; and I was about to fly to the Philippines. Very stressful. Luckily my mother sent me some money Western Union, and my sister logged onto the Western Union site as me and sent a transaction so hopefully I'll be able to verify my account now. For me this lesson was that I can't do it alone. I still had to wait though for my mothers money until I got to the Philippines, and I had to travel from Bangkok to Clark airport, stay the night there and then travel to Puerto Princesa the next day.

It's difficult down here to use a credit card. Many places are strictly cash. So I didn't really eat anything to start the day of traveling, because I didn't know how much a cab from the airport would be to my hotel in Clark. The hotel I had already paid for. When I got to BKK airport and tried to check in for my flight I found out I had to show a return trip ticket which I didn't have printed out, and they said I had to go to the internet cafe and pay to print one out.

I went up to the internet cafe and their credit card machine wasn't working. They told me I had to find an internet phone machine downstairs and e-mail them the file to be printed and then come up and get the paper printed. Oh and finding the internet cafe from where I was in the airport was a struggle all by itself. I found the internet phone sent the e-mail to find I had written the e-mail down wrong. I went back down to the internet phone and sent it again. Printed it out, and then went and checked in and went through customs.

When I got to Clark, initially the first cab driver told me it would be 500 pesos to go to the hotel. When I converted all the cash I had then I had only 1000 pesos. I told him no and found another guy to do it for 300. This is actually expensive for how far he took me.

The hotel I was staying is was not very nice. I feel bad saying that, because I met the owner the next day and she is very sweet, and from what I gather she bought the hotel and is trying to slowly make it better. Angeles City, where Clark airport is located, is also kind of a hole with a lot of prostitution places, and no cheap rooms anywhere. It was just depressing, and the wifi was out so I couldn't get the information I would need to take to Western Union to get my money from the e-mail my mom was sending, so I still had that stress going on in my mind.

I should say I did eat in the airport because I found a place that took a credit card.

The next morning, today, I woke up and didn't eat again, because I still wasn't positive when I would have cash next and didn't know how much it would cost to get to my hostel from the airport in Puerto Princesa. The owner of the hotel, Jocelyn, drove me to the airport for 240 pesos. She was very nice, and told me if I came back she would give me a special price on the room. I would almost want to just because she's so sweet, but I definitely didn't feel comfortable sleeping there.

Now when I got to the airport this morning, my bag was 5 kg over the free weight limit. I thought I had bought extra weight when I purchased the ticket, but I guess not, and again having to use the credit card was a huge ordeal. I had to follow this girl to the other side of the airport where another girl tried to run the card and was having problems with their machine, had to call multiple people, and finally got it to work, again I should mention both the girls were very nice. So then having that paid I found out the airport itself then makes you pay 150 pesos has to be in cash. I thought this was BS, because my ticket already had airport fees charged on it, but they said I couldn't fly if I didn't pay it.

I would love to say I was handling all this stress well, but I wasn't. I wanted to cry.

While getting on the plane I ended up talking to a really nice Filipino couple who just so happened to be from San Diego, and where gong to Puerto Princesa for 3 days before they flew back home. Also when getting to Puerto Princesa I got a tricycle cab, actually it's a motorcycle with a riding cab attached for 50 pesos to my hostel. The cab drivers name was Laurence and he was very friendly, and then when I got to my hostel the people here were all very friendly as well.

One thing I can say is that the Philippines has some of the friendliest people I've met yet on my trip.

Once getting to my place I connected to the internet and was able to get the information I needed from my mom and go to Western Union. Hooray!! I celebrated by eating.

It's difficult because some moments of this trip have been so amazing, and some have been so stressful. In in some parts of this stress the last 2 days I've felt a little bit like that story where a man was praying to God and asked for sign God was listening and God made the wind blow, and he asked again and God sent a butterfly, and so on and so on; and at the end of his life he asks God why God wasn't listening and God said I was I sent you the wind and I sent you the butterfly (there's other similar tales). I felt a little like that man in some points because I was so stressed out about my situation, and then I would meet some really friendly, really kind people, and I would have to think OK someone does see me, but it was so easy to not notice that and be caught up in my own stresses. I also talked to my mom and she reminded me of a time I went through were just so many bad things were happening and while it was going on I told her "Well God must have something really great planned for me if all this bad is happening." I remember that time and a lot of amazing things did happen after that hard ordeal too.

I know that this to shall past. It's difficult to go through the hard times, but I guess I won't actually grow with an easy road. I have to have faith that I'll be alright and that the lessons I learn will prepare me for whatever else is needed for me in this life. Tonight I'm OK. I have a roof over my head, I have some cash in my pocket, and some food in my belly.

I appreciate all the prayers and good energy you all send me. Thank you again for reading. I promise I'll have more optimistic posts to come :D

permalink written by  Kirk on September 6, 2012 from Puerto Princesa, Philippines
from the travel blog: Kirk's South East Asia Adventure
Send a Compliment

So happy things are working out we love you

permalink written by  Shaun and Jen downs on September 6, 2012

Be safe...love you, Kirk. Turtle and Mona

permalink written by  the turtles on September 6, 2012

So sorry for all the hassle, but so proud of the way you try to see it through God's eyes and trust He has a plan that He is guiding you through in all of this. I know He is. Love you!

permalink written by  margiecanoe on September 9, 2012

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Kirk Kirk
1 Trip
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Hi everyone. My name is Kirk. I'm starting this blog to have somewhat of a living journal as I do a 3 1/2 month trip around southeast Asia.

I decided to do this trip as a reward for myself changing my life around. I'm a recovered alcohol and drug addict. In the course of my addiction it took...

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