Review of the Travel Tour Expo February 2014 at SMX

IMG_7378 The SMX Travel Tour Expo is the biggest and most awaited Travel Fair in the Philippines.  In the past, hundreds flock to the convention center to steal drop down travel deals.  Now, throngs of thousands go to the convention center and the lines are excruciatingly long, you would think it is about time to depart before you get in!

Yesterday,  I, with my mom and brother, went to the center in the hopes of getting a good discount for my parents for their visit to Canada this summer.

Upon arrival at the SMX at 10:30am,  we did not expect the line that was before us!   The huge  frontage and one side of the SMX is filled with people waiting to get in and to top it all an S is formed!  We gave up and called our travel agent instead who has a booth inside.  Unfortunately,  the dates she had available were so far off the target dates.  We did a few errands around Mall of Asia and decided to take a look at the SMX center again.  Tada,  the lines were already short. (Someone said Pres. Noynoy Aquino came in at 11am and they had to temporarily stop the queue)


We started lining up at 11:30am and got in at 12 and finally got our queue number in PAL at 1pm!  Whew!

PAL rates are very good.



Our queue number is 20545 and when we looked at the queue board OMG!!!! they were serving 20018.  527 people are ahead of us.  I asked one lady who is on queue how fast the line is moving and she said she has been there for almost 1.5 hours and only 26 people have been served so far in her category (There are 4 categories:  Cash Buyers; Credit Card Buyers; Senior Citizens; and I forgot the other one).  OMG!  I did the math,  if I have 500 people ahead of me and they have served only 26 people for 1.5 hours that means each person takes 3.5 minutes to be served.  500 x 3.5 minutes = 1,750 minutes / 60 minutes = 29 hours!!!!!!!  Unbelievable!  Not the most patient people in the world,  we stormed out of PAL and never got to find out if my computation was correct.

While my mom and I are in PAL, my brother was already checking out the rates of other airlines.  He found out China Southern Airlines Manila-Vancouver-Manila with overnight stopover at Guangzhou (hotel transfers and hotel covered by airline) is only $689 compared to PAL direct flight $ 784 andd EVA air at $901.  Just for comparison regular rates for PAL for this flight is at $1,460.

Discounts are worth it especially if you are traveling as a family.  Like if my parents got the PAL they would have saved $676 each, translating to $1,352 in savings for 2!

We were not able to get a ticket that day because we were listed at China Southern Airlines.  And we got confirmed booking at EVA Air with option to pay till February 20.  It would have been best if we were early and were able to get a deal from PAL.

One tip: Start Early!  Happy Shopping!

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Northern and Southern Eats: A Restaurant Guide Book by Anton Diaz

I am a fan of Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet.  His blog is interesting and replete with information on hundreds of restaurants in the Philippines that range from hole in the wall discoveries to must try ones.

So when Northern Living asked me if I wanted a free copy of his recommended Northern and Southern Eats (separate books) I eagerly said yes!

The Northern / Southern Eats is Our Awesome Planet in book format.  It compiled 50 restaurants each from the North and South that we need to discover.  It is arranged according to area and has photos of the resto, their featured dishes and budget range per person along with other information.  An added bonus of the book is [Read more...]