Trip Start Aug 30, 2009
244Trip End Dec 25, 2009
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Several years ago, my husband and I went on a tour of the Union of Myanmar (Burma). We had some of their local currency which we were using for tipping and small purchases and such. Everyone had their hand out for a tip. We played along when it seemed that they actually had done something for us and pleaded no money when it was absurd. Finally we were leaving and arrived at the airport in our taxi. There it became absolutely absurd but because it was so entertaining, we went along with it until we truly were out of cash. While we paid the taxi, who wanted a tip, one man took our bags out of the trunk of the car and wanted a tip. The next man carried our bags 4 feet to the front door and turned around for a tip. The next person in line carried our bags another 15 feet to the first security check point and guess what, he wanted a tip. Another man placed our bags onto the security check for a tip. The man at the other end of the conveyor belt took them off and wanted a tip. Then another man carried them into the check in counters and handed them off to another man. It took three men to carry our bags all the way up to the check in counter and they all wanted tips. By this time we truly were out of money and they just didn't seem to understand the humor of it all. One more man tried to get a tip out of us by placing our bags onto the scales beside the check in counter. Guess he didn’t believe we were out of money.
Today I left Sabang in Puerto Galera. One of the dive shop men carried my bags to the ferry terminal on the other end of the beach. He is probably the only one who didn’t stand with his hand out and expect a tip. One of the ferry men carried my bags to the water’s edge and then another put them into a small boat to take them the 15 feet to the ferry since it was low tide and the boat couldn’t get any closer. Then two more men poled the boat to the ferry and passed the bags aboard the ferry. They all wanted tips. Nobody did anything on the ride to Batangas but the men were swarming over the tourists once we arrived at the dock and the boat was tied up so they could get onboard. I snagged a porter and he put my bags on a cart and away we went through the terminal to the bus. He stopped at one point and told me I had to pay 100 pesos to get my bags out of the terminal. Wow, interesting concept to make money. Luckily I didn’t have my bags passed from man to man there and he was the one who put them on the bus but then he asked for 500 pesos. I’d been told by my friend who lives in the Philippines that 75 pesos per bag was all I should pay. I shoved 200 pesos at him and got on the bus, all the while he was protesting that it wasn’t enough. Oh well.
So it wasn’t near as bad as Myanmar but it was close. So far, Myanmar holds the record for absurd tipping.