Monday, October 13, 2008
Nightmare On Counter 18
This incident happened on my way back to Kuwait, I was at the NAIA, in cue at the Emirates airlines' counter, there were a lot of Pinoys travelling, mostly OFWs. A Filipina in an Emirates uniform pointed me to counter 18, where a Filipino guy in his mid 30s, clean, polite-looking guy smiling and waiting for me to have my baggage checked, so I thought okay, finally a smooth ride back home... But my peace of mind turned out to be the most stressful trip of my life. Two days ago, I arrived in Manila from Kuwait pretty excited because of the Toyota Art Edge awards as well as the Eastern Communications, I had fun at the awarding, met some very important people from the industry and most of all-Got my cash prizes! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to cash 'em in, so the money went straight to the bank :-( I remember telling my friends before leaving that i will make it up to them when I get back in December, "wala eh, nde naging pera yung tseke" (nothing I can do, the check wasn't cashed), Thanks to my wife, or else I wouldn't have made it around there with just 2 Kuwaiti Dinars in my pocket. Those couple of days went too fast, I didn't even felt it! The last time I remember was me pulling my luggage out of the rusty conveyor at the Manila airport and all of a sudden, I'm back in cue for my flight back to Kuwait. "Good Afternoon, Sir! May you please put your luggage on the scale to your right, please?" The guy on counter 18 said, I was like, "Oh, Sure"... The pointer stopped at 20ish, something like 26. Then he asked me to put it on the conveyor next to the counter, I handed out my e-ticket clipped inside my passport and waited for my boarding pass. I looked around and boy! There was a very long cue from the counter where I'm standing, my mind starts thinking about the remittances the OFWs are making every freaking year! "Excuse me, Sir!", "Mr. Semillano?" I turned around and thought the guy would hand me my passport back with the boarding pass.. "You have exceeded the limit on your baggage, sir" I'm like... "what? Excess? How much?"... I remember it clearly that I have 30kgs allowed and my baggage weighed in at 26kgs, what's the problem? Then I told the guy, "I am allowed for 30, and I have 26, yeah?" He was like.. "I am sorry sir, but the allowed is only 20kgs", My mind went "Okay, now that's not a good sign", and tried thinking of a solution for some unexpected things that might happen. "Sir, (the guy on counter 18 said) I am really sorry, I cannot allow you for that 30kgs because we are strictly giving 20kgs for passengers", It's when I felt something serious is about to happen, so I asked the guy what my options are and he said "You could either unload some from your luggage Or pay the excess to avoid being offloaded from the flight" now, that's when I confirmed something seriously wrong is going on, I asked him how much it would be if I'm going to pay for the excess, He said "OK sir, (working his fingers on the calculator as if he knew how to use it), It would cost you like 15 thousand pesos"- I almost fainted, chills run through my spine, I don't have that much money! I opened my gucci wallet and there was 3 thousand pesos and my 2 Kuwaiti Dinars! I told the guy on counter 18 that I don't have that much money, and insisted on it, He then went and asked a guy in a Barong and whispered something and came back to his calculator, looked at me and said,"Okay sir, I will give you a few kilos free, just pay the remaining 8 Thousand pesos" I said, even if you burn me now, I wouldn't fucking smell 8 thousand pesos, I said I only have 3 with me!" These words are exactly what this guy on counter 18 said, "OK SIR, HOW MUCH YOU SAID YOU HAVE? 3 THOUSAND? OK, JUST PLEASE HAND THEM OVER BUT DON'T MAKE IT TOO OBVIOUS, JUST HIDE THE MONEY INSIDE YOUR PASSPORT AND GIVE IT TO ME" So I did what he told me, helplessly, I said Fuck it, I need to go back home! Thank Goodness I have my OEC certs with me, what if I haven't applied for it here at the Phil. Embassy? I couldn't have made it back then? What a nightmare! My advise, the next time you fly to Manila, beware of these monsters in disguise that operates at the NAIA, FUCKINAY!