Sunday, May 15, 2005


The advent of cheaper travel within Southeast Asia will surely bode well for a region still reeling from the devastation of the tsunami, and SARS and avian flu of last year and the year before that.

Air Asia of Malaysia, and Tiger Airways and JetStar of Singapore, now pose a challenge to older, bigger airlines like CX, PR, and SQ whose rates continue to be prohibitive. A cursory check of Air Asia’s Clark-Jakarta route costs only Rh 210,000 (or roughly US$ 1 = Rh10, 000 = Php 54).

This means, Clark-Jakarta costs only about Php 3,888 one way! On the other hand, Clark-KL starts at Rh 99.99 or Php 1, 949! It’s just like going to Batangas or Baguio, and more! And how much does it cost to go to, say, Cebu or Caticlan these days? An arm and a leg plus the hassles of delayed flights to boot! Why bother at all when you can go elsewhere?

Between the usual white beaches of the Philippines (plus the now-familiar rude and clumsy PAL flight attendants) and getting the chance to see the world, the smart Filipino traveler wouldn’t have difficulty deciding.

The Philippines’ Department of Tourism can now kiss the ‘I LOVE PHILIPPINES’ program goodbye (Secretary Ace Durano, it’s not helping that you enjoy hiding from the press, you know!).

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


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