The ‘Bullet Scam’ at Manila Airport

The ‘Bullet Scam’ at Manila Airport

Before heading to the Philippines, there was one thing which really concerned me. This was the Bullet Scam. As I mentioned in a previous post, this scam is where Manila airport security people plant a bullet in your luggage. The first security check is fine, it’s not until you have the second security check already in the airport that this is when it happens.

The security people secretly plant it when you aren’t looking, and then call you over and tell you there is something suspicious in your bag. Low and behold, they find a bullet! You are not allowed to carry ammunition into the airport, so obviously this is a big deal.

Apparently the only way to get out of this is to give them money. Or else be held in the airport.

After we read about this we became extremely worried!

So you know what we did, we went out and bought ourselves some cling film and cello tape. We could wrap this around our bags and tape the zips! We definitely didn’t want our holiday to be ruined before it even began!

So the day came to leave, and I had the cling film and tape in my bag, wondering to ourselves when we should wrap our bags.

From Chengdu, we arrived in Manila airport after about 3 hours…. and we were looking around… and NO ONE had their bags wrapped. Not one person. We were thinking “ok… why isn’t anyone wrapping their bags?? Do they not know about this scam???”

And then we end up at our gate… relaxing until our next flight to Puerto Princesa. That was easy!!

When we arrived in Puerto Princesa we then had to take a 6 hour van right to El Nido. We were with another 8/9 people and I decided to ask them if they heard of this scam.

Nope, none of them heard a thing! I thought that strange, all over the internet in 2015 you heard of this scam happening… but apparently now it must have stopped!

So all that worrying over nothing! Oh and bringing cling film and tape with us!

When we were leaving El Nido, we decided to fly with Air Swift straight to Manila, instead of having to take the 6 hour van right. Once was enough!

El Nido airport is tiny! It’s not really an airport at all, it’s more like a big hut: the roof was covered with straw and it was all made out of wood. They even had free coffee, iced tea, juice and a little food. Don’t be expecting to go online though, there is no wifi there.

At the airport they don’t have an x-ray machine so they have men looking through your bags. He pulled out the cello tape and asked me “Why do you have this?? This is not allowed.”… I laughed and said “Oh it’s a long story”… he said again “You aren’t allowed this on the plane” to which I said “It’s ok… I can leave it here”.

The security men were really nice to us though!

So flying back to Manila we didn’t have our cello tape, but we didn’t mind. We realised that the scam must be over and we would be ok.

So if you are heading to Manila airport maybe check online and see if this scam is back up and running. You don’t want to be stuck in Manila airport I assure you!

再见

爱玲

Getting Away From The Pollution

With our lungs being savaged by Chengdu’s pollution, we’ve decided to run off and enjoy  El Nido, an area with thousands of little islands in the Philippines. This holiday is all about relaxing; lying on the beach, maybe having some cocktails, swimming and snorkelling… and no work in sight!

el-nido

Source;thelonelyplanet.com

We will be there for about 10 days, including traveling. We were deciding whether to travel more around the country, see the Chocolate Hills and what not, but in the end we decided just to say in El Nido; we really just want to relax and enjoy ourselves… and not have to worry about going here and going there. It’s a hassle just to get to El Nido!

First we have to get a plane from Chengdu to Manila… then we have to get another plane to Puerto Princessa… finally we have to get a 6 hour bus ride to El Nido. On the way we have to worry about this ‘Bullet Scam’ that has been happening in Manila airport. This is when the security officers in Manila airport plant a bullet in your luggage. This is usually when your bag is out of your sight. Then they call you over and mysteriously they find a bullet, which is illegal of course!

To sort this out, you usually have to go to the atm and give them cash. I’ve read online that everybody wraps their luggage with cling film in the airport.. and that’s exactly what we will be doing!

So it’s not quite relaxing getting to El Nido!

Then on the way back, we have to get a plane to Manila, wait all day until our flight to Shanghai, and then finally another to Chengdu.

haha I’ll need ANOTHER holiday after that journey!

We were actually planning on going to Thailand and volunteer looking after elephants, but unfortunately they were booked out, so El Nido it was!

See you in a day!

再见

爱玲

 

Being Conned By A Taxi Man

Being Conned By A Taxi Man

I have been quite lucky in the fact that I haven’t been scammed; you hear in Beijing about people being scammed when they meet a student looking to ‘practice their English with you’ and you both go to a teahouse to drink tea. Then suddenly the bill comes and the tea is at an extortionate price. Obviously the ‘student’ and the teahouse are in this together, and they force the foreigner to pay.

This is quite a well known scam that most people going to Beijing should have heard about. But in Chengdu, I’ve never encountered a scam….

That was until 2 weeks ago…

When my boyfriends parents were here, we decided to go for some Beijing Duck. It’s a little far from our place, so we decided to hail a taxi to get there; costing 20元. About 4/5euro.

After our meal, we caught another taxi and away home we went. Every taxi has a meter, and usually it begins at 8元 and continues from that price.. I think it is based on every kilometre you drive… and it increases by 1yuan.

So naturally we presumed it would be around the 20元 mark. As we were driving, I happened to look at the metre…… 30元!!??

We were still not home… but it was already at this high price! I kept looking at it and the metre suddenly jumped another 2 yuan in a matter of 10 seconds.

‘That’s definitely not right’ I thought. It’s broken.

Then, to make things worse, I didn’t spot any information about the taxi man in the car. No card or details about him… You always see details of the driver on the dashboard. Definitely a dodgy taxi.

It was then when my boyfriend noticed the metre. He asked him why is it so expensive? And the taxi man didn’t reply.

Then, out of nowhere, he starts blabbering in Chinese to him. Huh…. throughout the whole ride home he never said a word…. and it was only until my boyfriend mentioned the price that he started talking.

He asked where we were from and how long have we lived in China. When we said 3 years… I’m pretty sure he copped on and thought ‘Oh no, these guys actually live here…. so they know rightly well that this metre is rigged…. well I can’t do anything about it now…’

So when we arrived home… the metre ended up at 45 元!!! What a ripoff!

He stopped the taxi and we immediately said that’s far too expensive… his reply was ‘You are foreigners!!’ 

And??? Just because we are foreigners doesn’t mean you have the right to rip us off. Obviously he doesn’t care about showing Chinese hospitality to ‘us foreigners’.

So we went back and forth with him about not paying and we settled it at 25元。 A much more satisfactory price.

I keep on wondering how he did it though; did he click a button when he saw us and thats when the metre changed? Or is the metre like that for everybody who uses it?

I didn’t know that type of thing existed. It looked like a normal taxi to us.

And apparently these fake taxis are becoming more and more common, as one student in our class said he got into 3 of these fake ones in the last year.

Thankfully we rarely take taxis, only taking them for the convenience of my boyfriends Mum and Dad being here.

But, it goes to show that these are about. In future, we will look at the dashboard and make sure there is correct information about the driver before we step into the car.

We certainly learned to be more cautious!

再见

爱玲