9.14.2013

Budget Doesn't Necessarily mean Cheaper

Feel free to correct me, but last I heard Cebu Pacific is still operating as a budget airline. Now with the Davao runway mishap and all, I guess money might be a little tight, but this is just highway robbery.


That's 993 SGD (~34k PHP) for a round-trip ticket from Singapore to Clark over the year end holidays.  And that's without baggage allowance (I would not dare go home without pasalubong), and without the web admin fee (for a very lousy website, I might add). I know, I know, Christmas tickets are expensive. But to put things into perspective, let's look at Singapore Airlines, one of the world's top carriers.


They only fly to Manila, but that's less than a hundred kilometers from Clark, on the same island. And look. It's two hundred dollars cheaper. That's with free baggage allowance and in-flight meal on a premium airline. And they're cheaper!

To be fair, CebuPacific tickets to Manila cost less, at around 550 SGD. Which begs the question: Does it really cost seventeen thousand pesos to go from Manila to Clark? I don't think so. And guess what?


Philippine Airlines, a non-budget airline, costs a hundred dollars less.

Explain to me how that makes any iota of sense.

I have to clarify, though, that it's not like I'm dying to fly with Cebu Pacific. I happen to have the bumpiest, scariest flights with them. And do not get me started on the disruptive "games" and overpriced food. I haven't had a problem with the ground crew, but, well, Claudine Barretto made us all aware of their shortcomings, didn't she?

It's just that they're the only airline left that offers daily flights to Clark (AirAsia and AirPhil pulled out, and Tiger cut back on flights), which is more convenient for me, and I simply assumed they would offer the most reasonable fares, being a budget airline and all. Thankfully, flight finder apps such as Kayak exist and I was able to cross-check the fares versus other airlines.

So I guess the moral lesson of this whole rambling post is, always shop around before making a purchase. Just because it's "budget" doesn't mean it's cheaper.

How (NOT) to Pack

So this was how I proceeded with packing up my stuff for the move: First, I packed a suitcase as if I'm going on a one-week vacation. This way, I know I will survive my first week in the new place without having to unpack every single box. Next, spring cleaning. Moving is an opportunity to reflect on the utility of every single thing I own, and to get rid of all the junk that I never cease to accumulate. And then, on to packing. I logged every single thing that went into every single box, and labeled each box accordingly. Come moving day, all that was left for me to do is pack up whatever stuff I used that morning (e.g. bath stuff, sleepytime clothes, pillows, laptop) in my travel bag and I was off. Easy peasy.

Yeah right.


9.08.2013

The Good, The Bad, and the Batshit Crazy

I hate moving. Hate it.

I thought I escaped it this year by signing a two-year lease to an apartment, but it turned out to be the apartment from hell. Okay, so I'm exaggerating. It's not the apartment from hell, it's the apartment management from hell. From ordering our visitors to leave (even if we have permission from the landlord) to forbidding overnight visitors altogether (because apparently, they cannot keep track of the people who enter and leave through the one entrance to the building), they just reek of professionalism (phone calls are punctuated with "I don't care!" and "I don't want to talk to you!"). I have many, many wonderful stories to share, but as I am still keeping track of my blood pressure let's not discuss it now. Long story short, I decided to leave in the middle of my lease, and so I had to find a replacement.

Who knew it was going to be such a wild ride.

First, there were the colleagues and friends and friends of friends, who expressed "interest" but never followed through. I stopped searching for what must've been a month, only to find out that, given their circumstances, it doesn't actually make sense for them to get the room. Why that never crossed their minds is baffling. And here I thought women were the wishy-washy ones.

Completely fed up, I decided it would be best to find a complete stranger. One, I'm tired of being considerate to other people, and two, I cannot, with good conscience, recommend this apartment to a friend. So I posted ads. The response was lackluster, so I decided to amp it up with a couple of pictures. Et voila! I started getting e-mails and calls and requests to view the apartment. For some reason I thought it would be a piece of cake, finding a replacement. As it turns out, it's almost as difficult as finding a new apartment.

The "I don't care what your ad says"
My room can only accommodate one tenant, because condo rules limit the total number of occupants to eight and we have six bedrooms. I thought I made that clear by stating "one tenant only" in my ad. But for some reason, half of the inquiries I get are for room sharing. "But I need to share the room with my sister/husband/bff!" Well, listen, the only way you're sharing the room with someone else is if you're conjoined twins. Stop wasting my time (and yours as well, but I don't care about that, to be honest). Some people actually took it  a step further and scheduled viewing appointments. What, you think I'll take one look at that mug of yours and suddenly decide you can have my room along with five other people? Umm, NO.

The "let's be friends"
Just in case it wasn't obvious, I am a very socially inept person. Don't get me wrong, I can keep talking forever, but that's when I'm with people I know. And like. Nothing gives me more stress than having to deal with strangers. But for some reason, people seem to mistake my forced smile for warmth and compassion. After seeing the entire house, they seem to want to, like, talk. I was willing to devote my time and energy to find a replacement, but I didn't count on having to use up my social juices as well.

One viewer even extended the small talk over WhatsApp: Did I see the fireworks? Am I going to watch The Conjuring? 

What, are we some sort of textmates now? Is it the year 1999?!? Listen, honey, make that deposit and sign the contract and I'll go discuss the movie with you for as long as you like. Otherwise let's not talk. Please. I just. Cannot.

The flaker
"Hi Ella, I'm taking the apartment."
I did it! I found a replacement! Happy dance! Celebratory shopping! Confetti!
Two days later: "I want the apartment but I'm unsure."
WTF.

The batshit crazy
You know how when you meet someone alarm bells just start to go off? And never stop?
So this girl views the apartment. I show her the bedroom, and she proceeds to open all my cabinets. I'm not exactly Little Miss Manners, but usually people would ask before going through other people's stuff. I show her the bathroom. She asks if she can use it. Erm. Really? Ah well. Better she pees there than elsewhere in the house right? I show her the kitchen, where my flatmate is busy baking cupcakes. That doesn't thwart her, though, as she proceeds to open all our cupboards as well. Gah.

After the house tour I was eager to escort her outside, but she made a beeline for my room. And sat. On my chair. And made a motion of typing on my computer. MY computer. And then she proceeded to inspect my makeup brushes. Bitch, those are mine and they don't come with the room. She then sits on my bed, bouncing up and down for a bit, to see if it's comfy. I am thisclose to losing it, but finally she leaves.

A couple of days later, she asks me if she can bring a friend over to view the place again. "Are you planning to share the room with her?" I asked. "Yes." Remember what I said about people who don't care what the ad says?

And to cap it all off, she called one morning, when I haven't even had a sip of my coffee.
BCL (Batshit Crazy Lady): Hi, when is the earliest I can move in to your apartment?

Me: Well, you can move in anytime, but just give me enough time to move out of the room.
(In hindsight I should have just said the room was taken at this point but again, no coffee)

BCL: So, can I move in soon? Like, today?

Me: Today!?! No, of course not. It's not possible. (Subtitle: Are you insane!?!)

BCL: Yeah, I have an emergency situation... with my landlord, and I have to move out today...

Me: Yeah, well, No.

BCL: Oh, but, what about... if I stay in your living room. You have a huge living room, right, so I can just stay there!

Me: ... (You CANNOT be serious)
Me: No, we're not allowed to have visitors. Sorry.

BCL: But why?

Me: Management rules

BCL: But how come they control the visitors? That's very strange.

Me: Yes, but those are the rules. (Strange, but right now, convenient)

BCL: Well... maybe I can just stay with you! I can sleep in your bed!

Me: ... (I have. no. words.)

Me: Um... NO (you crazy crazy person!)
Thankfully that was the last conversation we ever had, because I have since changed her name in my phonebook to "Don't Answer".

I did find a replacement in time, a nice girl who did not insist on sharing the room with someone else, made the deposit a few days after confirming, and best of all, is not mentally deranged (at least as far as I can tell). As with apartment hunting, all you really need is one good candidate to make up for the rest of the shitty ones.

I am now camped out in Anj's couch, staring at the huge pile of boxes that contain my entire life, in the hopes that somehow they would manage to unpack themselves. I enjoin you to do the same, so we can make this happen ;)