I’d never gone on a tour alone before, so I went online and looked for a company that’ll take care of everything for me on my Bolinao/Hundred Islands tour. That’s how I found out about Bridgeway Travel and Tours. it was my first time arranging a tour with them, so naturally I searched online for people complaining about getting scammed by this company. I didn’t find any, so I went ahead and signed up.
If you’re familiar with travel packages for joiners (individuals or small groups of people who travel as one), the more there are in a group, the smaller the amount you pay. As a lone joiner, I paid Php 3,950. I paid Php 500 as the reservation fee, and half of the remaining amount (Php 1,725) over a week before the trip.
I was nervous about the thought that I just paid for a tour that doesn’t exist, but on the same day I emailed my proof of payment, they sent me the official receipt and the tour e-voucher. That gave me some relief. But there was still time to scam me, so I couldn’t rest until I was actually on my way to Pangasinan. On the other hand, Bridgeway’s sales rep Aris Dolorito was very responsive, quick to answer queries whether via email or through text. (I actually got to meet him when we went to Bridgeway’s office on the way to Pangasinan to settle the balance.)
The tour van arrived at about 10:15 PM (meet-up was at 10, which is understandable because of Friday night traffic). Our driver, Paul, was a little off-putting on the road, to be honest. When he picked me up in Pasay and we hit traffic on the way to the second pick-up point, he’d sigh angrily, which made me feel uncomfortable, like it was my fault we were in that jam. He would speed and swerve in between vehicles, and sit on his horn like he was trying to break it. Then again, metro driving must’ve been what got to him because out in the country, he was a little calmer. Still, I understand being frustrated at traffic, but as a professional, he should’ve been able to get a hold of himself while carting guests around. Guests whose lives depended on him.
When he wasn’t behind the wheel, Paul was actually very nice. At one point, we got to talking while waiting for the other guests to wrap up their tour. I learned he used to work at a BPO company before he got fed up with being strapped to a desk all day (or night) and decided to become a tour driver. In this job at least, he explained, he got to go on vacations. What a life, I said. He also gave into my request to stop somewhere I could buy pasalubong. Yup, he was nice. Off the road, that is.
Another issue I had was that we didn’t make it to all the stops mentioned in the itinerary. The tour specifically mentioned Bolinao Church, but Paul said Bridgeway changed the itinerary so we skipped it. I double-checked the itinerary and found, clear as day, that it was included. In the island-hopping tour, Marcos Island and Children’s Island were on the list, but all we did was sail past both. I’m not sure if it was miscommunication between Paul and the boatman, or that’s really their definition of island-hopping, but either way, I was really looking forward to taking on the cliff dive at Marcos Island so it was kind of disappointing.
So, overall, I liked the service I got from Bridgeway Travel and Tours. I still had a good time despite those hiccups. I’m not really sure if they’re responsible for all those snags, but if you want to avail of their services, you can visit http://bridgewaytravel.wix.com/travel, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or call them at 0932-9030430 or 277-5392 (look for Aris).
(Logo from Bridgeway Travel and Tours. Image of Governor’s Island and Cape Bolinao Lighthouse courtesy of eatplaylog.wordpress.com.)
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