Our tour guide got into a car accident taking us back to the hotel and never took us to the palace in the sky...
This tour started out ok. When we arrived at Tagaytay our tour guide told us that the price for 2 horses to take us up the volcano would be 1000 peso. He said that he would pay it and then we would give it back to him at the end of the trip. We visited the volcano but was never offered an opportunity to rent banana boats or kayaks. We eventually made it to Josephine restaurant. The traffic was heavy and the wait time at the restaurant was rather long. Once seated, it took them an additional hour just to bring the food out and they forgot our appetizer and attempted to bring it after we had already eaten our meal. We left the restaurant at about 3:30. The tour guide then proceeded to take us back to the hotel. On the way he got into a car accident. So we ended up sitting in the middle of traffic for about 30 minutes waiting on a police officer to show up. Then once the police officer arrived, they wanted our guide to come to the police station to fill out some paper work. So we ended up sitting in the car for an additional hour and a half at the police station. Then the tour guide took us back to our hotel. As a courtesy, the tour guide told us that we didn't have to pay him for the horses. I still tipped him 300 peso. I was nice about everything until I realized that we never made it to the palace in the sky. I called him when I realized and he never offered to take us the next day or do anything to resolve the issue. His response was that the Palace in the sky was 2 hours away from Josephine restaurant. He said that the palace in the sky would have been closed by the time we arrived. I checked the distance before I called him and our GPS said that it was 8 minutes away from the resteraunt. To be honest there was very heavy traffic that day, however even if we would have stopped there for only 15 minutes, I would have been happy. Considering the we left the restaurant at about 3:30, that was more than possible. We also didn't do any additional touring of Tagaytay other than going to the restaurant. I contacted Viator and Trip Advisor for a refund. Viator contacted our tour guide and his response included an email that said the Palace in the Sky was not part of our package. The description clearly says that it is part of the package. When I called Viator they even agreed that it was part of the package. However, he was allowed to deny the refund. I was requesting a full refund considering that we got into a car accident, had to sit at the police station, missed parts of our tour and had to go through the trouble of addressing this issue and paying for phone calls to do so while on vacation. As a courtesy Viator refunded me 50. Trip advisor basically said that they can't address the issue because this tour is fulfilled by Viator and I would have to go through them. I would like to think that any tour guide would at least know what is included in the package at the very least. How could he possible give us what we paid for if he doesn't even know what is included? I felt like this was very poor customer service from Esquieres Travel and Tours.
The tour was amazing! To see the view from the top of the Taal volcano was worth every penny. Richard, the driver, treated us magnificently and everything was arranged perfectly. Enough water was also provided to keep us guests re-hydrated. Would recommend this trip to everyone who wants a break from the hectic Metro-Manila.
This day trip was the highlight of my short stay in Manila. I highly recommend it to others. The views were beautiful throughout the entire trip. The driver was nice and conversational for the long drive to/from Taal, and brought water for me. I hiked up to the rim of the Taal volcano and really enjoyed the hike. The hike was strenuous though and I would recommend taking the horses up if you aren't in good shape. Lunch was not included in the tour price, but the restaurant we stopped at was nice and had good food. Since we had some time to spare, the guide took me on a short tour of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' palace in the sky house, which was interesting to see. Overall, it was a lovely day and I really enjoyed myself. My only complaint is that this tour operator requires that you pay for two people and the price of the trip is high. Since I was traveling alone, I had to pay for two people just to go on the trip by myself. I wish they would change this policy to accommodate single travelers.