Discussion in 'Dumaguete City' started by onlymichael, Sep 17, 2012.
Please tell all that to my face!
Please tell that to my face big boy!
To cut the story short... accept the fact that Bais is not the only place in PI to watch Dolphin/Whale watching. PI is surrounded with bodies of water and alluring islands that possibly somewhere out there... theres also a great place to watch Dolphine/Whale watching and snorkeling/Diving. Accept... that somewhere is more fun, beautiful, more friendly to tourist and AFFORDABLE.
Just a piece of advice...dont push people to like a place... let them conclude their expectation reach their satisfaction. Good or Bad reaction is part of the game...accept it and say thank you. Dont forget to hope/pray that they will visit again. There is always a competition in the local and international market. Expect the unexpected!
pretty much agree with that, (well skip the praying, that won't bring you one single tourist)
Speaking of my own experience, I could not say if I prefer dolphin watching in Bohol or in Bais. Each time I have been to Bais it was a good time and the value for the money was fine. The best time was always mid August to mid September. Flat waters, great visibility, hundreds of dolphins playing around. Absolutely no complaints from my side (or the guys I have been with).
One thing the local tourism is missing totally is organization skills. In many tourist destinations in the Philippines one steps of a ferry or an aircraft and can book right away a the sightseeing trip one wants to make.
As it has been mentioned before and is relatively close, take Bohol as an example. Get off the morning ferry in Tagbilaran and get a car with driver for 2.5k which brings you to all tourist-sights on a nice roundtrip back to the hotel. Now try that in Dumaguete... all you get is a texting person and a sorry sir... If it finally gets organized there is a clear longnose-tax on top and compared to other location it seems to be expensive, unorganized and many times like they really don't want to help you.
As a tourist I am not interested why the prices are higher and who has to pay what. This are thoughts tourists have when back home, but surely don't want to listen in their view days vacation.
When living here, it can be of course cheaper organized. Cheaper only, as there is no price for wasted time and nerves. Negros Oriental is really way behind in terms of attracting people, organizing their trips and make them feel comfortable without dramas, delays and cancellations.
The lacking hospitality skills is one of the main reason why it is relatively easy for the foreign owned businesses/hotels/resorts to do better than local run competitors. And it has nothing to do with the investors behind, it is a simple attitude issue.
In many local Hotels one gets charged for each little item. One asks for a towel or extra pillow (cause the one provided can't be not considered as a "grown-up" pillow) and when checking out you see some hundred peso extra charge for a pillow-rent a few days, surely leaving the place with a sour aftertaste. You ask in a foreigner owned resort here and you get one without further charge. (I am not talking about local super cheap budget places). Some places seem to be set-up that guests have not many options to stay without extra charged for something which should be normal for a Hotel.
Most of us living here have adjusted quite well and can enjoy what is to see on the Island, even most destinations are not easy to reach and are really nothing that special.
But for foreign tourists, to have a daytrip in "local-style" is nice to have the experience for exactly one day. The second day they get easily annoyed to have the "same" lukewarm drinks, the "same" skinny chicken on a stick on the "same" banana-leaf, driving in the "same" bad vehicle with the "same" broken shock absorber and all with the "same" excuses why things are not how they are supposed to be.
A way to improve would be surely to promote what is already there and try to maintain it in a proper way trying to improve the service to visitors. What happens here is to invent stuff to have the nose in the medias and than forget about it, or raise the prices if successful and try to rip off people. The "Twin Lakes" are a prime example how not to do it... Nothing really that special at first (if you are not into bird watching and have a great guide) than the 1000% added foreigner tax for entry and at the end going there and back takes longer than the hours worth visiting.
Nobody of the local tourism-board needs to be surprised that visitors will not recommend that place to anybody else. The "yeah it was a nice trip" statement is rather spoken out of respect not to hurt any local than out of excitement.
Having existing attractions optimized with proper logistics instead of inventing always new things which won't work out anyway would be in my opinion the way to go, but then again, I might be completely wrong...
You nailed it Rhoody! In most cases there is no drive to excel here, only to be mediocre and offer excuses. It takes hard work to do ones best and offer the best. To bad a lot of the locals do not want to work that hard.
A perfect example is Puerto Princesa.
I love going there and I return again and again because everything works very very well and I don't have to deal with hassle.
I went to Palawan with my mom, dad, sister and nephew and we want to go island hopping for the day, I get a nice airconditioned van from the hotel to take my family and myself up to Honda Bay - price was P1500 for dropoff and pickup. The tourist vans in Puerto Princesa are well marked as such and actually get preferential treatment in traffic there. When we get to Honda Bay after a nice and smooth ride I get out of the van, and right in front of me is the official boat charter center.
In there you see the different prices for the different sized(licensed of course) boats ranging from P1300 - P1500 depending on the size boat you want. There is no haggling there is no overcharging and there are only licensed boats here with very professional crews. There are plenty of boats here and I have never seen them even run low on boats.
Right next to this boat charter price chart is the prices you will have to pay per head for visiting the different islands in the bay. Some islands are privately owned and they charge for guests to go on their islands. Others are government owned and these are free to visit.
After a relaxing day on the boat and a nice lunch on Snake Island, we head back to the main island and there is my van already waiting for me - ready to take my back to my hotel.
This is just one example of how well the Puerto Princesa tourist machine is oiled up and ready to SERVICE tourists and make them feel welcome and wanting to come back.
Now let's have a look at my last trip to Dumaguete:
Last time I arrived by fastcraft from Bohol to Dumaguete with my mom, dad, sister and nephew, I wanted to crawl right back on the boat and go back to Bohol after dealing with the porters in Dumaguete pier.
I still ventured on though and finally got through the pack of porters in one piece. Then the first trikes I met wanted to charge double or triple the regular fare, so I dragged my suitcases all the way down to the street where I finally found a reasonable trike driver who took me to the hotel at a reasonable price.
Next day I want to head up to Bais to spend the day dolphin watching and chilling out on the sandbar, I go out of the hotel and half way through the city to the multicab area - as nobody organizes any proper tours OR they do so at total fantasy prices. I have to talk to several multicab drivers before I finally get one to take me up to Bais and wait for a somewhat reasonable charge. Now on to the cruelling 1 hour ride in a bumpy multicab with no shock absorbers.
After the trip to Bais we head down to the boats - there are not that many but we were lucky they were not all out that day. It would have been near impossible to find out before we set out from Dumaguete. Now we find out that we will have no place to eat on the way and we are supposed to bring our own cooler with food and drinks. Ok back to the multicab driver and negotiate with him an extra fee to take us to Bais market to shop for the needed stuff. We would have had to pay for food and drinks somewhere anyways, so I am not adding this as an extra cost - but we did lose over an hour sorting all this out.
So here the choice is a tour organizer at P2000 / head = P10000 for my family and I or P2000 for the multicab experience + P3500 for the boat rental in Bais. (not sure how much it is now but that was the price last time I took the trip.)
Total price for the whole day for a family of 5:
Honda Bay island hopping: P3000 - comfy trip and zero hassle - nice and very cheap lunch prepared for us on Snake Island, washed down with ice cold drinks.
Bais Dolphin Watching: P5500 - bumby ride in the back of a multicab after a 15 minute walk to the multicab area and 30 minutes of haggling with various drivers. Then having to go back to Bais market and stock up on drinks and food.
See the difference?
I will say though that the boat in Bais is bigger and more comfortable set up than the one we used in Puerto Princesa, and it would have accommodated 20 people easy. But you will rarely see tourist families come in with more than 3-5 people so they don't really need the big boat. So for that reason it would be great to see some smaller boats available at a lower price.
I have done the Bais dolphin trip / Sandbar experience 4 or 5 times and I really love the day on the ocean there. But I would love it even more if it was hassle free like it is in Puerto Princesa.
After careful dissemination of all the info on this and another thread, I think we will take a bike ride to Bais this weekend. Thanks all!
I also went to Bais to make a trip to the sand bar and was highly disappointed with the prices and hassle (and I rode my own bike there). They need some smaller boats for the people in smaller groups and couples. I would pay 500-1000 / person for a round trip out to the sand bar. I don't want to be forced to rent the thing out there for all day or half a day either, how about an hourly rate? Post the dang prices as well! Always post prices in the Philippines! Always! I walk away when prices are not posted, especially when I feel the price is more than the value. Bais and Dumaguete come across as very corrupt/incompetent when it comes to tourism. The d*mn port needs to fix that crap going on there as well. Its a horrible first impression.
If no one is happy with the service maybe you should try ringing the manjoyed tourism office as they run the cottages and I am sure they could get you onto a group boat to see the dolphins and a stop off at the sandbar for lunch etc!
It is certainly not the job of a tourist to run after an government office (other than for visa-extension).. and thats where the problem is ... those tourist guys sitting lazy on their arse, telling each other how great they all are but have absolutely NO hospitality skills, they not even able to look over the Tanon straight to see how things could get organized and when the slightest critic comes up they come with that plain stupid "if you don't like leave BS"... no problems to see the same dolphins starting in Moalboal, friendly people organising great trips there...
It is certainly NOT the job of a tourist sorting their issues and unability to host guests out. They don't even want that, they wanna celebrate themselves with pink glasses and tell each other in best SU-manner how great they are
The problem is, that people vote with their feet and promote those local tourism guys in the most negative way. (and sadly they are right) But guys like Lonestar trying to explain why things are so expensive and inconvenient, Sorry Davy, in other regions in the Philippines tourism-offices are very clearly able to organize something in a way a tourist feels welcome AND sees value in it.
I exceptionally like the aggressiveness of Lonestar and his "say it in my face" BS. I am not sure about Gass, but I have absolutely NO issue to tell anyone of the tourist department my opinion how "great" they promote Negros Oriental, no matter if in the City here, or a municipality.
Would it help anything ? of course not,... they would probably build a gremium and until they find a name for that gremium they would have forgotten what it actually is about and end the 5th meeting with a friendly: "We don't know what it is about, but we are awesome great, so let's eat", and food is than the perfect opportunity to have some regional VIP's around and the media to get the nose into the papers...
More than 75% of Philippine foreign tourists are NOT first timers in Southeast Asia. They experienced the hospitality from Bali to Chiang Mai and Malaysia to Vietnam before coming the first time to the PI, and if they are unlucky enough they arrive and leave here by ferry and the mega rip off at the pier, paired with the hospitality and aggressiveness shown just earlier in this thread and they surely remain one-timers in this country who (at least on the paper) wants to promote tourism.
Thanks Lonestar, for your wonderful posts about Bais. My asawa is from there. (actually 14km northwest, in the mountains on the way to Mabinay). I used to live there with her, but now we just visit on weekends. I wasn't aware of all those great tourist activities Bais offers. Next time, I will certainly visit the tourist offer and find out more.