Saturday, February 10, 2018

PTAA Travel Tour Expo 2018 - Our Experience

It's our first time to attend the PTAA Travel Tour Expo and I'd like to share our experience with you guys :)

Okay, so normally we don't really prioritize travels and tours in our family expenses but since there are a few scheduled weddings and reunions we are attending that are out of town, we figured, "hey, why not give this a try?" If we find very discounted and decent accommodations for all of us, we could bring the kids and have them enjoy the hotel while we have the peace of mind that they are close by OR, we could just go as a couple and have a grand time! Hahaha..either way, win-win, right?

While on our way there, my husband's cousin gave me a fair warning - in the form of a picture with throngs of people lined up, all going to the Travel Expo. My immediate reaction was "kaloka!" I mean, I got his message and we're already halfway between SMX and our home and since we were in a Grab/Uber, so there was no turning back. I brought the Little Miss pa naman with me and our fold-away stroller (similar to Baby Zen Yoyo but minus the steep price..sorry na ma's, I honestly didn't know it was a copy of something huhu). I thought that if the line was still that bad, then we'll just watch a movie and stroll inside the Mall of Asia. 

I promise, there's no filter here..just good old sunlight and lots of oil in my face :D
Thank God the crowded lines panned out. We immediately saw a booth for Citi card holders and they provide free entrance for their card holders. We saved PHP 70.00 there :)

Because our destination was just in Tagaytay, we were directed to the second floor of the expo hall. I had a hard time looking for Taal Vista Hotel's booth because their booth number was not displayed. I eventually found them just beside Conrad Hotel's booth.

Anyway, I looked around the area first and found something intriguing. These are religious icons that are for export to the Vatican. What's nice about these is that although designed by Italian masters, they still incorporate local raw materials like lahar. Then they apply an italian varnish/coating to protect the finished product from the elements. You can choose from different finishes like gold or silver antique finish. As a Catholic with a devotion to Mama Mary, I chose the "Mary Undoer of Knots". What this represents for me is that Mary, as our mother always helps and intercedes for us and the many challenges and roadblocks we face in life; and because she has a special place in Jesus' heart (as His mother too), there is a very good chance that our prayers will be granted. I've never understood much as I have now how utterly many "knots" we have in our life. Maybe I was too sheltered? Maybe too naive? That's why I'd like to ask for help and intercession from our Holy Mother and Jesus, to help us in our life and help us undo the knots that life presents.

Okay, and I also got a limited edition item for my mother-in-law. I don't recall what it is exactly but the kind sir who was manning the booth told me that it's a replica of Cardinal Sin's gift to Pope John Paul II.

I booked the Taal Vista room as they said it was discounted. They were nice and accommodating and even gave us a nice notebook freebie. 

But when I asked my husband's cousin, he said their expo rate was still expensive. I checked again online and what do you know? Indeed, there were cheaper options for the same hotel. It was a face palm moment and instant "buyer's regret" but I'll just file it under "lessons learned". 

Ditto for Manila Ocean Park tickets. I gathered from a mommy group that their PHP 525 only expo rate is about the same as the usual discounted rate they give so....there goes not really saving anything! 

We strolled some more and not really wanting to spend more, we headed straight for the concessions before I get "hangry". Besides, we were gearing for a commute back home so I have to make sure our tummies have their fill.

Bags and luggages were also on sale or under installment sales. So too with some sneakers that are only PHP 800, wow!

I got Good Munch's Rosemary Chicken (quite salty for me), Polland's Siomai & Siopao for the little girl.

We eventually headed to the terminal and found the best one to ride. This was our first experience riding the UV Express with stroller in tow! We got off at P. Noval just across UST. I wanted to buy from Tita Nitz but the Mini Stop was more convenient in terms of location. So it is -- Kariman for the mommy and yogurt drink for the Ate.

Would I go back to the Travel Expo next year? Short answer is no. Unless, there is a major compelling reason like really deep discounts to make all the stress, time and effort worth it. The best tip probably would be to research first and make sure to list the prices online and go only if you have a free entrance pass (like showing your card or miles, etc.) and other back up plans aside from touring the expo, in case you get faced with a huge crowd.

Safe travels and I hope you enjoy your destination! :)


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