this is about family and its ups and downs, living, and everything about life from a working mom's perspective.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mandatory Tip

I'm a Filipino. Though I appreciate and expect good service, I'm not too exravagant when giving tips, perhaps because I don't have a lot to give for tips in the first place. And besides, I always try to get discounted rates  to save more, why give it away for tips (my reasoning: what's wrong with wanting to avail of something at a cheaper rate when the cheaper rate is available, right?)?

So going back to discounts, I'm into the online voucher stuff nowadays where one can get the supposedly best deals available for getaways, products, services and what-have-you's.

While browsing, I saw this "deal" for a Php 3999 package for a 3 Days/2 Nights Hong Kong & Shenzhen Getaway with the following fine print:

Voucher validity: July 10, 2013 until September 30, 2013
  • Price is inclusive of taxes
  • No refund or rebooking once booked and confirmed
  • No extra surcharge on weekends or peak days
  • Rate is per person for Filipino national only (surcharge applies for foreign passport holders)
  • 1 voucher per person, 2 persons required for booking
  • Room is subject to availability
  • Tours are compulsory and must be followed in order to avail the promo
  • Four (4) travel date options required in order to be eligible for refund
  • Compulsory tip of HKD50 to be collected by the guide after HK City Tour and Shenzhen Tour
  • For inquiries, please call Indochina Strings at 462 6000 (trunkline)
  • Return flight to Philippines should be evening flight (9 pm onwards)
  • For reservations & inquiries, please go to, fill out the required fields and attach: MetroDeal voucher codes and security codes, travel dates, traveller/s full name and government issued valid ID
Here's another fine print for a 3-day and 2-night Vacation in Hong Kong and Shenzhen with a Disneyland Ride-All-You-Can pass with transfers For only Php 4625:

Voucher validity: July 10, 2013 until September 30, 2013
  • Not valid during public holidays, fairs and convention
  • One voucher is good for 1 person with a minimum 3 vouchers per room per reservation
  • Subject to availability, please call or email for inquiries
  • Free airport transfer is for arrival between 09:30-23:00 hours only
  • Requires 3 adult Philippine passport holders to avail of this tour for Shenzhen group visa
  • Return flight to Philippines should be the evening flight from 9pm onwards
  • Surcharge of US$40 per person for foreign passport holder
  • Excluding compulsory tipping for guide and driver of US$7 in Hong Kong and US$7 in Shenzhen
  • Voucher is transferable and can be given as gift to family and friends
  • Buy as many vouchers as you want
  • Price is inclusive of taxes
In case you didn't notice, here's what I'd like to point out:

Compulsory tip of HKD50 to be collected by the guide after HK City Tour and Shenzhen Tour

Excluding compulsory tipping for guide and driver of US$7 in Hong Kong and US$7 in Shenzhen

If a tip is compulsory, then it should just be included in the price, because, from what I understand, a tip is gratuitous. The giving of a tip, while customarily observed, should be left to the giver and the amount and whether is should be given at all, should depend on the level of satisfaction of the customer with the service provided and/or rendered.

I remember my first (and only) international travel to Hongkong and while the tour was being conducted, the tour guide kept on reminding us that it's okay if we didn't give him a tip. 

Photo credit:
I was also aghast when we were told that we can get to ride the old (native) boats in whatever river that was. Thinking that it was part of the tour, because we were told to get out of the bus and ride the boats, we did so and when we have traversed a river (or was it a sea?), the boatwoman wouldn't want to bring us back to the shore without us paying her first $50HK for the boat trip. What the...!!!!  We were never told that we had to pay for the boat ride and it was our choice whether to try it or not. Holdap!

We were also brought by the guide to Victoria Peak and there, we were told that we can have our pictures taken with the amazing view of Hongkong behind us by a budding photographer and our pic will be laminated on a plate as a souvenir. We were told that if we didn't want to get it (for $150HK) it would be alright.

We didn't want to get the plates because it was expensive, but dear Uncle paid for it, so we had no choice, (thanks Uncle!).  Our co-tourists weren't lucky. They didn't want to get the plates, so they told the guide and the photographer. But in the evening, the guys knocked on their doors to force them to pay for the plate.

When we had a tour in Shenzhen China, another guide took care of us, but again, like our guide the previous day, he kept on reminding us that we need not give him a tip.  He said it literally dozens of times, which made his spiel irritating. 

Because of this, I lost all my interest in going abroad.  If tipping is going to be required (with a fixed amount at that) in the tours (whether or not you were satisifed with the service), I'd rather get lost in the place than get a tour guide.  (Even if I so badly want to go to Disneyland.)

I'd rather spend my hard-earned pesos here in the Philippines and tip my "kapwa" than enrich the pockets of others.  Anyways, Filipinos are still more hospitable and while there are abusive Filipino guides out there, majority still have the decency to wait if they are deserving of a tip or not.

A tip left at a cafe.
Photo credit:


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