Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cebu Pacific Refund and New Travel Options

Google about Cebu Pacific then you'll read a lot of blogs if not about it's low fares it's by disgruntled customers, about it's poor on-time performance and more so about their poor customer service including delayed refund processing, bumping off passengers on overbooked flights, cancellation or flight delays without proper notice. If you've been following my blogs, I had my fair share.

Almost always I get jittery when I take a flight with Cebu Pacific because of it's poor customer service. Since PAL doesn't ply the route to Siargao, I had to take my chances again with them. We booked our trip to Siargao four months beforehand to avail of promo rates. When it's promo rate, it's obviously not refundable, it's a risk any budget traveller would take.

A few weeks before our scheduled flight we were informed via email (wow) and got a call too (wow) that our flight was moved ten minutes earlier. We were given the option to rebook, reroute or refund at no extra cost. Wow! I took the chance of cancelling the flight of a companion who could not make it. The agent gave me a locator number regarding the refund. Previously, I had to haggle and insist on them giving me a letter stating so. Today, I got the refund through my credit card. This time not 6 months later but within 30 days. Wow (again)! I took Cebu Pacific twice this year and I had no problem with them this time. I'm eagerly waiting for the promo come new year. Have I forgiven Cebu Pacific? Slight! haha They will still remain my second choice but I'm giving them a free plug...

This month, they introduced new travel options like change of name and a travel fund, read on for more details.

Starting December 1, 2009, leading domestic airline Cebu Pacific (CEB) will offer new products for the additional convenience of its guests.

The name change option allows passengers to transfer their tickets to another passenger for a fee.

Meanwhile, the travel fund allows passengers to use the value of changed flights within 90 days from the date the fund is created, or to transfer the booking to another passenger. The fund eliminates the waiting time for refunds. Passengers can immediately use the stored amount for their next booking.

CEB will also begin using a new booking and cancellation policy starting December 1, 2009.

Under the new rules, passengers can change their ticket more than one day before departure date. This includes modifying flight, route, date of travel and name, or canceling flights.

Involuntary flight disruptions (such as cancellations or delays by CEB) of three hours or more allows passengers to refund or store booking in the Travel Fund for future travel without penalties within 30 days.

In cases of situations beyond the airline’s control (like weather), tickets are not refundable but passengers may rebook flights without penalties as long as travel is completed within 30 days. Passengers may also store booking in the Travel Fund, but with a penalty since these disruptions are beyond CEB’s control.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Green Passports (Non-Machine Readable Passports) Maybe Not Valid

The official statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA):

09 February 2009 – The Philippines has been issuing machine readable passports (MRPs) since 17 July 2007.
All green passports (non-machine readable passports) will be valid until the stated date of expiry.
This advisory is issued to reiterate the Department’s previous statement on the validity of green passports and to allay confusion roused by recent erroneous information.

There are talks and emails circulating that the Green Passports are no longer valid April 2010 onwards. As clarified above and after reading through some materials, green passports can be issued until before April 2010 and is valid until expiry.

However, I inquired with two different travel agents, they informed me that DFA changed it's stand that it is valid only before April 2010. But I guess, it's a case of disinformation since the official website of DFA still says that it is valid until expiry. The agent's advise is that green passports may still be acceptable in Asia but it's best to change them to Machine Readable Passports (MRP) for other continents.

To avoid any inconvenience with the transition, I'll just have my passport changed to MRP or better yet the epassport, if it's already available. I won't take the chance to spoil my trip to Palau, Micronesia.

Today, I received my plane ticket confirmation to Palau, Micronesia. I am both excited and anxious to go on a diving trip come April next year. I'm on a guilt trip as well to go on vacation on a holy week. We are somehow mandated to stay home during holy week and attend church service during these times after a freak accident that happened to our family when I was barely 3 months old. It wasn't as hard as I've expected to ask for my dad's approval but I know he's not happy about it. Oops! I ought to break the rules once in a while.

Note: Picture taking for MRP is required at the office of the DFA (or is it next to DFA office? hmm...) Proper dress code is expected when entering DFA. Shorts, sleeveless, sandals, slippers or flip flops are not allowed. Entrepreneurial pinoys are on standby outside DFA to rent out clothes and shoes but you don't want to get your feet in there, do you?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you the timeless treasures of Christmas.
The warmth of home.
The love of family
and the company of good friends.

It's almost midnight and everyone else is asleep.  What's your Christmas wish?  His wish is as good as mine... http://bosanchez.ph/

Merry Christmas and Noche Buena (spanish for good night)! :D

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Voter's Registration Extended: Exercise Your Right to Suffrage in 2010

Let's do our share and exercise our right to suffrage during the May 10, 2010 presidential elections.  I am still undecided who to vote and I missed the presidential debate.  The next president should be one who has good leadership skills and can lead by example, one with political will and does not succom to pressure to the king maker.  I personally like Gordon for his leadership skills but doubts his winnability.  Noynoy is simply the safest choice because he's the lesser evil but he's leadership skills is questionable.  Gibo sounds very articulate but doubtful as to his motives being the administration's choice.  Bravo for Villar's political campaign he has positioned himself for being for the masses but after a conversation with a bank executive, he's definitely out of my list - he's one shrewed businessman.  Estrada is nothing but shameless for running inspite of getting convicted.

Who's your choice?  Now convince me. :)

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday extended registration of voters for the May 10, 2010 elections until January 9, 2010.

In a nine-page unanimous decision penned by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, the Court en banc granted the petition filed by Kabataan party-list led by Raymond Palatino seeking to declare null and void Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. 8585, which shortened the deadline of voters registration to October 31, 2009, instead of December 15, 2009, as previously fixed by Comelec Resolution No. 8514.

Section 8 of Republic Act 8189 or the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996 provides that the registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the election officer during regular office hours, except during the period starting 120 days before a regular election and 90 days before a special election.
 Read the rest of the story http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Using Invicta X1: The Weight Reduction Camera Strap

It was my first time to travel on an extended vacation with a Nikon D40 dslr in tow.  After three long weeks hanging on my neck, I didn't want to bring one again.  Then I came across this weight reduction camera strap through my gadget freak sister.  It is ingeniusly invented by a Filipino and endorsed by many professional camera users over at PIPHO and they swear it does really help lighten the "burden".  Invicta X1 is an all around weight reduction camera strap designed for comfort, convenience and durability.  It comes with a removable memory card case and disposable polycarbonate sheet pop-up flash diffuser.

Try it and feel the difference.  It's available online for P1,100 at echostoreph.com

Whew, there are four friends off my Christmas list.  They're getting one from me tonight. *hugs*. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Using ProEar Diving Mask to Help Equalization Problems

Dive # 31, 32
Tinggo 45min 60"
Talima 49min 80"

I intend to retire from my so called diving career, after at least 3 barotrauma. But I'm giving it another chance after a dive buddy introduced IST ProEar diving mask for P3,000.

This product aims to:

* improve diver comfort and preventing painful ear problems
* improve hearing and sense of direction underwater
* simplify equalization of pressure while diving

My reviews:1st dive: It worked pretty well for the first 10 feet. Thereafter, it took me some fifteen minutes to get to the bottom at forty feet with a painful left ear. (sorry folks, to keep you waiting, again) Thereafter, I was fine.

2nd dive: I tried to descend on my own, it worked pretty well til the bottom - that was 20 feet. As we continue, my right was painful at 50 feet. Very unusual since I normally feel fine at 40 feet onwards.

It wasn't difficult to adjust to it after reading all available materials and understanding the science behind this gear. *geek* It feels like the usual mask except that it's bigger than my TUSA splendive and it tends to slip on to the filtrum which could lead to mouth sore with friction between (inside) the mouth and mouth piece (later did I realize it caused it). It tends to slip since the strap is linear to the earpiece.  It feels safe to hear the boat propeller clearly since sounds are magnified. With the ears covered, I can move faster, looking at any direction without the water coming in my ear (and not worry about stings and bites on the ear). Other than that, I could not safely conclude that it simplified equalization. :(  I'll give it another try soon.

Pretty strong waves today that got two companions sea sick. Luckily, current was not strong. Nevertheless, had good dives with interesting finds diving in Mactan, Cebu:

@Tinggo: yellow frog fish, (a family of) squids, lots of nudis

@Talima: pygmy seahorse, mating eels (aha so that's how they do it! LOL)

PS: no underwater photography after leaving at home my beach bag with everything else in it (except my dive gear). hay, senior moment again.

Here's the ProEar diving mask instructions for use.
  • ProEar Mask Function:  In addition to standard to standard dive mask function; the ear cups keep the ears dry, protecting them from the elements of pressure, pollution and cold.  The squeeze we feel during a dive is caused by the imbalance of pressure either side of the ear canal.
    While our ear canal is exposed to water and ambient pressure, our middle ear (which is on the other side of the ear drum and is connected to our nasal cavity by Eustachian tube) is still filled with air and experiences less pressure. The greater external force is able to push our ear drum inward, causing discomfort or pain.
    With a ProEar mask, the ears are completed sealed off from the outside and air, at the same pressure as your nasal cavity, is able to be introduced through the Eqaulisation Tubes into the Ear Covers. Therefore the pressure on both sides of the ear drum becomes equal.
    So as pressure and depth increase, the simple act of breathing air into your Ear Covers can significantly improve your enjoyment of diving.
  • Preparation: Just like any other new mask, thoroughly clean both side of the lens with a non-abrasive liquid detergent or toothpaste to remove any residue and then rinse with fresh water.  (Our dive master normally, burn the film on it's first use and putting shampoo to keep them from fogging and rinsing it off just before every use.)
  • Wearing the mask: When putting on the mask, it is preferable to hold the ear cups in the palm of each hand and pull slightly apart as you slip the mask over your head.  Make sure that as little hair as possible gets into the ear cup and that it covers the entire ear.
  • Checking the seal: After putting on the mask, check the seal by inhaling through the nose.  It should pull in toward your face as a vacuum is formed.  The ear cups should also respond with the vacuum.
  • Adjusting the straps:  The strap sits a little lower than normal due it needs to support the ear cups.  Make sure the mask is snug but not too tight.
  • Beginning your dive: Descend slowly while very gently blowing air through your nose.  The air will go through the tubes and the one-way valve.  The valve may "whistle" slightly if you blow too hard into the ear cups.  Exhaling through the nose helps equalize the pressure in your mask and ear cupas and creates a "closed circuit" system of ambient air pressure.  Do not blow too hard.  You may also need to pinch your nose shut (as normal) occasionally to help with the equalization. (As for me, I still had to pinch my nose every so often to let it pop.)
  • Mask leakage:  If water gets into the ear cups, clear it with head facing forward, press the top of the ear cups against the head and blow air through the nose.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Free livestream of Pinoy Big Brother Double Up

It was a totally different experience to witness the PBB auditions last March.  Turnout was more than expected considering the short notice.  Inspite of the huge crowd turnout, the crowd was exceptionally behaved knowing it could be their time to shine.

I haven't religiously followed this season's PBB Double Up.  Shoutouts from contacts on facebook makes me curious.  I was upset with Tom's exit following his unguarded temper.  Now, it's the Melason fever that's hitting the ratings.

Kudos to ABS-CBN, they really do know how to run the show.  Earning billions at the expense of wannabe's who are given only P5,000 weekly allowance.  That's sad.

If you're a certified Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) fan like me two years ago,  you might also want to subscribe to livestream for free, here's the link!


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