In My Eyes
By Edward B. Antonio
During the scramble in buying airplane tickets bound for Pagadian City for the 2017 National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) held on January 22-25, 2017, school paper advisers and their student-contestants had a hard time coping up with the ticket prices.
A month before the contest, a paper adviser could not believe that with the usual airplane ticket of something like P7500 (from Manila to Pagadian City and back), the price slowly soared to P8000, P10000, P13,000 then P16000, P18000 and then more than P20000 per head!
The ticket price tripled fellas.
Another adviser tarried for a while hoping that the price would soon dip down. He said the first week of January was still peak season for vacationers and by the 2nd week, he hoped ticket price would normalize.
But he was mistaken.
The price kept on soaring.
Another adviser who booked for Ozamiz City on January 20 (Pagadian trip was closed or fully booked) then would take a bus bound for Pagadian (1 ½ hour-ride) and vice versa on January 27 bought his back and forth ticket for more than 14000 or double the usual fare price.
As he was booking, he inquired why the fare had gone to almost unreachable heights to the disappointment of the advisers’ school heads.
“I wonder why your ticket price from Manila to Ozamiz City and back has doubled,” he asked.
Without blinking, the travel agency lady said: “These airline companies take advantage of the many travellers going to Pagadian or Ozamiz, sir, because this is one rare time for them to gain big profit.”
So, that’s the reason, fellas.
To gain big profit.
They like to gain big profit at the expense of these poor school paper advisers and their student-contestants.
“Mas mabuti na lang sana kung di kami nanalo sa RSPC para di kami nagkakaproblema ng ganito,” another adviser said when he learned that the trip to Pagadian had become more than P16000.
And what is the RSPC?
RSPC stands for Regional Schools Press Conference. It is the regional level contest among the best student writers, and radio-TV broadcasters in the region. Only the first 3 winners will advance to the NSPC. The NSPC venue varies every year. Usually, it is staged twice in Luzon and once each in Visayas and Mindanao. This 2017, it went to Pagadian City where only one airline travels there.
It’s a very rare opportunity indeed, fellas.
Representing the region through the school of the winning contestant and adviser and travel to places as far as Pagadian is once in a lifetime adventure.
It would have been well and good had not these airline companies jacked up their prices and took advantage of the many passengers going to Pagadian or to Pagadian via Ozamiz City and Dipolog City.
Another paper adviser said: “Maybe Pagadian, Ozamiz and Dipolog are further than usual these days. Or maybe, the color of money these days turned gold.”
Another said: “This is a problem the government should look in to. I am very sure President Rodrigo Duterte does not like this kind of practice.”
Another setback that was met by advisers was that there are no super ferry ships travelling daily to Pagadian, Ozamiz and Dipolog. They travel there only once a week.
“How I wish the NSPC organizing people would learn of our woes so that next time, the venue is more accessible to travel by land and by sea,” another adviser said, shaking his head.
Another one recalled his earlier NSPC stints when the contest was staged in Mactan, Isabela, Baguio, Gen. Santos City, Manila, Palawan and Tacloban City.
“Back then, these venues were very accessible to land, sea and air travel, unlike Pagadian City this 2017. We had financial problems then but not as serious as now. If the school contingent won in many events and say they have ten delegates coming from the Ilocos, they have to shell out something between P160000 to P200000 air fare from Manila to Pagadian City and back. And that’s not including their travel from Ilocos to Manila and back. And then they have to shell out another P40000 too for their registration fees. In other words, they need at least P250000 for 10 people to compete in the 2017 Pagadian City National Schools Press Conference!” he said.
There were many more negative comments regarding the trip to Pagadian City, fellas.
But on second thought, is it the airline company or the travel agency who is jacking up the air fare?
Mang Maing said it was okay for those “who haves” and woes to those “who have nots.”
Well, life errr… contests are like that sometimes.
We just hope the delegates had pleasant experiences there in that war-torn region.#