Cheated by an Oslob Whale Shark
We all have one right? An expat horror story in The Philippines. Here is mine story of how I was completely cheated, ripped off, and threatened with arrest detention by WTS Ton Ton Tours aka Whaleshark Travel Services Inc and a corrupt police official.
It truly a terrible experience in the Philippines and I hope and pray that by reading this article you can prevent it from ever happening to you.
Prior to my arrival the owner’s wife, Kathleen I believe, agreed upon a price. I literally asked for not once, not twice, but three times if that was the final price and that there would be no additional add-ons and she said yes. However, the day I arrived there was a different story
The driver begged me for gas money
I had a very disturbing incident with WTS TonTon Tours aka Whale Shark Travel Services in Oslob Philippines. I booked a whale shark tour with this company it was for 8000 php and I was assured that it was to include transportation and any and all expenses.
The driver picked my companion and myself up at my hotel and asked me for 500 php ($10) for gas. I told the driver we needed to stop at an atm first in Cebu as I didn’t have enough cash but he didn’t listen or understand me.
I felt this was unprofessional but I gave him the money anyway. I asked to cancel the tour but they said it wasn’t possible since everything was already booked. This is common in the Philippines and so I accepted that.
They added an additional fee
When I arrived I saw Jayson the owner. A very large man. He looked as though he were already in a bad mood. I began to pay for the rest of the tour and they added 50 pesos for a ‘transfer fee’ of photos. This irritated me since when I booked the tour the owner’s wife assured me that there would be no additional fees.
The owner then got in my face and began to curse at me.
You’re being f***king stupid!
Is what he said. It was pretty scary to have this 140 kilo man in my face cursing at me. I managed to hold my composure and he called the tourism police.
My companion tried to resolve it by offering to pay the extra 50 pesos but the said no because he didn’t like my attitude.
The tourism police made him refund 3k which means he got to keep 4000 pesos stating that I had to pay for the transportation from Cebu to Oslob
WTS TonTon Tours=Thieves
We all know it doesn’t cost 4000 pesos to go from Cebu to Oslob one way. I went to the main police station to file a complaint. The owner also went and asked the police man to give him my details so he could have me deported.
Not only was Jayson a thief but a truly bad man. He wasn’t satisfied that he got 4000php for doing nothing he also wanted to have me deported….
I stated I wanted my 4k back or at least he could keep the true amount of transport from Cebu to Oslob or I would file a complaint with the department of tourism.
I insisted that there was no way it cost the owner 4000php to bring us one way from Cebu to Oslob since the whole tour package was only 8000php. That would mean the entire cost of the tour would be eaten up by just the transportation.
It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out that doesn’t make sense.
The corrupt policemen didn’t help
The corrupt scary policeman told me if I didn’t sign a ‘compromise agreement’ allowing him keep the 4000php that they would throw me in jail.
I wanted to tell him no I won’t sign but my companion was scared and frankly I was a bit scared too. I’ve heard stories about Philippine jails.
I remember the words of my friend who was a volunteer nurse in a Philippine jail tell me that “its not a place where you want to be”.
He described overcrowding so bad that people literally sleep on top of one another. He told me about the outbreaks of scabies amongst the inmates.
Therefore I signed the ‘agreement’ under duress.
These guys all know each other and therefore are going to stick up for each other no matter what. Cronyism at its finest.
I went to go see whale sharks in Oslob instead I got eaten up by human sharks. Many people in this industry see foreigners as cash machines and have no qualms taking advantage of people if they think they can get away with it.
The sad thing is they cast a dark shadow on all the good hard working people in Philippine tourism and government.
Don’t let this happen to you!
You can prevent this from happening to you by taking the following steps:
- Make sure the company is accredited with the Department of Tourism prior to booking. You can check their current list of accredited businesses here.
- Check if they have reviews on either google or tripadvisor
- Book with reputable tour companies. You can find reputable tour companies listed with sites like Viator and Tourradar. Viator is a Tripadvisor company that specializes in shorter day tours and Tourradar is a reputable company for multi-day tours
We must speak out against scammers and corruption
This happened in November and I wanted to speak out against these thieves then, however, the foreign community advised me to keep quiet as these scammers are dangerous but I simply cannot.
We must speak out when we are