It is my first time to arrive at NAIA 3 at midnight, on my own. I exchanged my last MOP21 for PhP100 at the Macau Airport because I only had PhP34 left and no more foreign currency. What I usually spend for the taxi ride from home to airport is around PhP120. That would suffice. I always take the white taxis outside the airport because I have this notion that the yellow ones inside are expensive, which my mother refuted. Anyway, a lesson had to be learned here, the hard way. I walked out of the airport.
There was a white taxi stationed by the roundabout. Technically, it was still within the confines of the airport. The driver waved at me. I asked him if he had a meter. He said YES. He opened the door and I took the back seat. He said that his companion is an airport employee who works at NAIA. He sat at the passenger seat in front. The driver pressed something where the meter would usually be located and then he zoomed away. I immediately asked him if his meter was broken and openly admitted that I only had PhP134. That is why I asked him if he had a meter for the simple reason that I only had that amount to pay him. He gave me a laminated card which said 600 - Pasay blah blah blah.
I asked him to stop the car and that I was getting off. I asked you clearly if you had a meter and you said yes. This is the meter.” He pointed at the card before giving me another one with dollar amounts in them. The car did not stop at all. He only stopped when we took a left turn at that dark area in front of the Air Force. I took out my coin purse and showed him the PhP134. He said I could pay by any other currency. I told him I did not have any other currency, which was the truth. The other guy kept on flashing an ID that I could barely read because of the darkness. He kept on doing that because I said I wanted to go back to the airport so we could talk to someone in charge there. The other guy said that I should just give my cellular phone or anything of value as collateral. He said I could claim it at the office the next day.
I grabbed the door handle and attempted to open the door. It would not budge. That was when I realized that the door was UNLOCKED. In short, the door only opened from the outside. The driver was getting irate and was already talking in a manner not usual for taxi drivers. He was sarcastic and semi-shouting. I was also at the point of flaring up. I was half asleep in the whole two hours of the flight. I had a long day. Before I boarded the plane, I was already thinking of what could probably go wrong when we land at NAIA. Customs? Immigration? Here was the answer.
I asked him to go on and bring me home and just stop by an ATM machine somewhere. Big no-no. DO NOT ever do this. I was not thinking straight. When we reached Skyway that was when I realized that I did have an ATM card but it only had PhP30. Baka murahin pa ko ng ATM pag nag attempt ako mag withdraw. That was when I started to call my brother. When the other guy figured out that I was on the phone he became agitated and warned me that the taxi would explode because I was near the tank and we were at Skyway. I did not bother to connect the dots anymore as to what mobile phones and Skyway have for them to explode when mixed. I stopped calling and told them to just drop me off at home and that someone will come to bring the money to complete the 600. The driver skipped the right turn and started shouting for me to make up my mind. They brought me all the way to Buendia - Pasay before going back to Makati again. The driver even told me that the rate is getting higher. I told him that the card indicated a fixed price per area.
My brother was already waiting for me when we finally arrived. I sent him an SMS to bring one of the guards with him but apparently he did not get the message soon enough. He gave me the PhP400+ with a bewildered look. The driver suddenly became nervous and it was quite obvious. He started asking for directions on how to get out of the building. I asked him for his companion’s name again and he said something inaudible. All I could catch was Ronald which was probably a fake name anyway. The driver did not even round the corner anymore. He just went on reverse and drove away as fast as he could.
My brother told me that I should have just given PhP100 and then walked away. He said those two would not have been able to do anything anyway. But they now know the building in which we live. I am just worried that if I did not give what they asked for they would come back another day to get even. It was only after I have talked with my mother did they make me realize that I could have been held up, killed, and dumped somewhere. It was only after all the commotion did I regain my sanity.
I do not know. I was really disoriented. All the signs were there: the other guy, the unlocked door that would not budge, the way the driver talked to me. My mother even scolded me for suggesting an ATM withdrawal. Of course. They would just ask you to withdraw all the money at gunpoint perhaps, although I did not see a gun. Or perhaps, it was hidden in the glove box along with a knife. Then the ATM machine would have FU’d all three of us, and I would have been left at the mercy of those two scumbags. This was the answer. This was what would go wrong upon arrival at Manila. And I think this is the reason why tourism in this country is not as successful as it is in others. Sa Airport pa lang konsumisyon na e.
It is just depressing. And once again I feel so stupid. So gullible. I never learn my lessons. I only do so after paying heavily in cash or in experience. I am alive. I guess that is the important part. From now on I will only be taking the yellow taxis from NAIA. I also want to slap myself for having two mobile phone batteries and not charging any of them before I boarded the plane. I could have recorded this discreetly and submitted it to some ABS-CBN or GMA public affairs show.
You have been warned, my friends. Please do not commit the same mistake. Always be alert. Do not travel alone if possible. And do not leave your common sense on the plane. Always bring it with you wherever you go. If someone could tell me how to report this to the LTO or what other step I could take, regardless how futile the attempt would be, please share the information with me. Thanks a lot, and I hope this does not happen to you. It is amazing what Filipinos do to other Filipinos here in Manila. I think this is my purpose in life, ang lokohin ng mga tao. How pathetically hopeless. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I just feel so down. FML.