Puerto Galera dive trip down payment by wire transfer

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cpace

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I am planning a trip to Puerta Galera for 10 days of diving in May. I have worked out all the details with the dive resort. They are requesting 20% down payment to be sent by wire to a bank in Manila. Does anyone know if this type of money transfer is typical for dive resorts in the Philippines?
 

Pearlman

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Maybe better stick to paypal with credit card? It might offer a dispute redressal mechanism in the worst case ...
 
OP
cpace

cpace

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The bank account in Manila is a business account. PayPal (via Xoom) will only send funds to a personal account. I found that out last night. It all appears legit to me, I'm just a little paranoid with my money.
 

dirtfarmer

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Pretty common these days for resorts to request wire transfer. Be aware that it may take a few days for it to reach their bank. Just request they notify you when they receive it.
 

outofofficebrb

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Even though it’s a common request in my travels to Southeast Asia, I refuse to wire transfer and will always PayPal. There is some form of recourse, either through PP or my credit card company. I’m not sure if going through PayPal directly instead of via Xoom makes a difference. I just PPed a company last night using PayPal. All of the places we have been to in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia have all given us a wire or PP option.

I also booked our Puerto Galera trip through Bluewater Dive Travel for this reason. (We are going in April.) They’re a California based company out of Southern California. I pay them instead and since they are a travel merchant, I get my travel bonus points on my credit card for the whole trip. :)
 

Centrals

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May is low season so advanced reservation is really NOT necessary. So unless you need the resort to arrange private transfer otherwise just turn up at their doorstep!
Would I pay US$120.00 for a one way transfer? Certainly NOT. A room at City State Tower Hotel and then catch the Si-Kat transfer(P850.00) to Sabang on following morning should cost considerably less than $80.00.
If you can get out of NAIA(Manila airport) around mid-day, taxi to Buendia Bus Terminal is about P200.00, bus to Batangas is P170.00 and ferry across to PG is P230.00 + terminal fee(P30.00) + environmental fee payable in Sabang P50.00. A grand total of P680.00 which is about US$13.00.
Last ferry from Batangas to Sabang is around 16:00 so if you have missed the ferry then the Traveller's Inn is cheap and cheerful.
 

leebutler

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Wire transfer is common, we use the same process for our dive safaris.

I would suggest that using a company with a public profile (tripadvisor, google reviews, scubaboard) is safe enough, make sure you know their cancellation policy and are happy with it.
 

ReefHound

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We're in the same boat right now trying to pay a couple of vendors for a March trip. It seems the Filipino vendors want the transfer into USD accounts and all the cheaper transfer services (transferwise, xe, worldremit, etc.) can only wire to Philippine peso accounts. The services that can send to USD accounts, like xoom, have higher fees.

We are a large group that have negotiated a group rate so we cannot book on agoda or just "show up". We probably should have went through a dive travel agency but too late for that.
 

Tippytoes12

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As the other posters have said , this is common. PayPal and the booking sites charge very high commission. Generally We have found that the costs are lower booking direct, but you loose of course some flexibility. Paying for transfers in advance is tricky. I can see a dive shop sending a car and a driver all the way to Manila to pick up a diver , only to find that he or she has met somebody to share with or has decided to catch a bus or whatever.
 
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