Travel Deals and Lessons Learned

Hello, August! Before we knew it, it's Christmas already and then it's 2013. So before I get too lazy again, let me blog about our latest trip to Bucas Grande, Surigao Del Norte.

I mentioned this on my my From Luzon, Visayas to Mindanao -- In one day! :)  blog post.

Actually, this trip had no preparations at all because we thought we're getting a good "all-in" deal with our group buying site. Our real destination is Club Tara Resort in Surigao del Norte. We bought this voucher a year before without researching anything about it. We kinda fell for the photos and "rush promo" gimmick of these online group buying sites. Nic and I got busy with many things (SG trip, Resignation, etc) and we're only able to make arrangements for this a couple of months ago.

Lessons learned: 

1. Research first on the area and check reviews of the resort before buying! Don't give in to the pressures of the group buying sites. After booking, we did our research and to our disappointment, there were a lot of negative reviews. We really thought we're getting a good deal since the resort was advertised as a 5-star resort, but according to reviews, it's not even near 3-stars. And... they're right. Good thing we didn't expect much after reading the reviews.

Club Tara. Not even near 3-stars.

2. Consider other expenses. The deal does not include airport transfers. As we later found out, the resort is not anywhere near the airport. When we called the resort for reservation, they were asking for P3,000 per head per way transfer fee which is waaaaay to expensive and unreasonable for us. Good thing there are other groups who fell for this promo that went ahead of us. Hehe. They found a good tour guide -- Kap Mero -- who offers a very reasonable price.
3. Flight to Surigao is very expensive and there's no direct Cebu Pacific flight to Surigao. We're thinking of P4K budget but our airfare summed up to almost P5,500. We also had to risk our trip on the delayed flights of Cebu Pacific. Note: I think AirPhilippines has a direct flight

 At Mactan International Airport waiting for our Surigao flight

4. Since we booked two separate flights from Cebu and Manila which are international airports, we had to pay P200 terminal fee in both airports

In short, Plan Ahead and No More Panic Buying!

So, if you're in this post because you're planning to go to Surigao del Norte, I have a few tips for you:

  1. Don't stay in Club Tara! I love the Ate and Kuya in the resort, they are really nice, but there are other resorts in the area which is more sulit than what you will pay for in this resort. Sorry, Club Tara. :(
  2. Don't buy that P3000 per way per head rate that they are offering, unless you are alone and you're sure to have the boat and van by yourself.
  3. Go there in a group! Since you will be renting the van and a boat, it's better if more would share the expenses.

Don't get me wrong. Surigao del Norte is an amazing place and it is really worth visiting. I'll prove it on my next post. :)

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