Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Golden Ticket -- December Vacation

I should've blogged about this weeks ago, but I guess it's only now that I have some time to do so. Since early August, I had been searching for cheap December roundtrip tickets to the Philippines in time for the winter break here in Japan. Initially, I had been assured of an open-ended ticket till Dec 19; but then unfortunately, there had been changes in company policies that ended up revoking my available ticket to be replaced with a fixed amount instead. (photo credit from flickr: witheyes )

We were only informed of the new policy at the start of the summer vacation (early August), and so it was only during that time that I was able to start canvassing (mid August) for ticket prices and its corresponding schedules. December is indeed a peak season for flights to and from Japan since it is affected by the Xmas rush towards different celebrating countries, plus the weeklong winter break at the end of the year.

I thought August was still a bit early to book for December flights, but I was wrong. Assuming off peak roundtrip rates would be about 40-50k Yen (~Php17k-21k), the cheapest rate I got was already at 107k Yen (~Php45k, Northwest Airlines) and it is even scheduled on Dec 27-Jan14 departure-arrival date. Other airlines offering direct flight from Narita costs even more at 130kYen and above. This is such an overkill. (Image taken from H.I.S. travel agency)

On the 26th of December, 2 of my college friends are going to be married with each other and I was really looking forward to attend this big event. This is also going to be one big reunion for all of us, since I have not seen most of them for over a year now. As expected from Glenn and May, this would probably be one of the best weddings we could witness within our batch. This I can not miss! (image from their weddingannouncer site)

And so, even though we already had applied for work leaves within the Dec27-Jan14 schedule, I was still searching for cheaper and more convenient dates that would let me be able to attend the wedding. I didn't want to tell May that I had problems with my flight schedule since she might cancel her earlier invitation for me (I'm still in, right? :P).

Alas, right in the nick of time, just before we were scheduled to pay the earlier bookings; Cebu Pacific had just opened airways between Manila and Osaka. It was already mid September when they offered their promo flights. Geoff and his group were able to buy roundtrip tickets at 43k Yen (~Php18k). I wasn't able to purchase yet since I don't have a credit card to book online plus, I had to ask permission from my boss first for the change in work leaves' dates.

I agreed to join Geoff's group and so I applied for change of leaves within the Dec18-Jan4 time frame. Osaka is about 9 hours away by bus (2.5hours by bullet train) from Tokyo, I do need companions for the long trip. Quite unfortunately, it took about 2 days before I got one of my bosses' nod (for my leave application) that the price skyrocketed a bit to 63k Yen(Php26k)! That's about Php8k loss! Anyway, I had decided I shall attend the wedding, and so with the help of my Uncle in the Philippines, paid for flight tickets on that date. whew, at last!

So this is final. My Xmas vacation in the Philippines would be from Dec 18 to Jan 4 (return to Japan). I do still have some slight dilemma, since most of my friends are in Manila but my immediate family resides in Baguio City (Benguet).

To my friends back there: my initial plan is to go home straight to Baguio upon arrival (Dec 18), Dec 25/26 - go down back to Manila for the Dec 26 wedding, after spending a few days with '01 friends after the wedding -- will go back up to Baguio and enjoy the new year with my family. I hope you guys could help me fill in the blanks in between my travels back and forth Baguio-Manila. If you guys have plans within that Xmas break, let me know so I can arrange my schedule. I really want to explore our beaches there but it seems schedule might not fit in.

Any suggestions? ;-)

See you guys this December!!!

posted by ScIoN 2:38 PM


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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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