Cebu Pacific is the only airline that flies to Siargao. On a whim, I decided to fly back to Davao instead of taking the long ride on a ferry/bus combination. A quick check on their website quoted me a price of 3,840 pesos ($80) for a flight the next day. Fearing the price will rise further, I wanted to buy the ticket right away. I called the Siargao office but they only accept cash. I'm running low on cash and Siargao unfortunately doesn't have an ATM.
just in case
Back online, I tried using my MC debit card and a Visa credit card - both of which were declined. Damned. Here we go again Cebu Pacific! My cards were declined in New York too while booking roundtrip Manila-Davao e-tickets. How their system doesn't recognize credit/debit cards properly is beyond me but the experience is truly exasperating. I spent a good time on my butt sitting in front of my laptop entering destinations/dates again and again.
For the nth time, after using another Visa card, I finally managed to confirm my flights from Siargao to Davao via Cebu. What's odd though is their system won't allow me to book a single ticket so I was forced to book separate tickets for Siargao-Cebu and Cebu-Davao. Or so I thought. After checking out at the resort, I shared a car with an Australian couple and a French guy and paid 300 pesos for the 45-minute ride to Siargao Airport. The road from General Luna to Dapa is excellent but sections closer to the airport are currently being paved and thus still very rough.
At the airport terminal - nothing more than a small building the size of a bungalow -I showed the check-in agent my two booking reference numbers. The shock of my life came when she said "Sir, you are confirmed to fly today only from Cebu to Davao but from Siargao, it's actually on Monday next week". Staying longer in a paradise island like Siargao may be appealing but only if I had no other important things to do. She showed me the computer screen while I tried to digest the horror that has befallen me - how did this happen?
I explained to her the frustrating scenario of booking with credit/debit cards online. The agent could only say "Lagi Sir uy, daghan na gyud nag-reklamo" ("Yes Sir, so many have already complained"). Is it a computer glitch? Did I enter the wrong date after so many unsuccessful tries? She called the supervisor who offered me a seat on the departing flight since it's not full. With a ticket that now needs to be re-issued, I had to pay an extra 621 pesos. I balked initially, arguing their system is not user-friendly. If only it accepts credit/debit cards effortlessly, customers wouldn't have to endure a horrible online experience. In the end, I bit the bullet. You need an upgrade Cebu Pacific!