Food vlogger Mikey Chen has made a name for himself as a gourmand nomad, sampling simmering hotpots in Taipei, wading the local markets of Peru, tasting the best pho in Saigon, to eating the freshest toro in Tokyo, and many others.His food channel on YouTube called “Strictly Dumpling” documents his eats escapades and boasts over a million followers, while his personal YouTube account “Mikey Chen” has a modest 300,000 followers.
It seems that the Pearl of the Orient Seas beckoned Chen, as he packed his bags once again to have a go at Philippine cuisine this year. But with any kind of travel, unfortunate events are inevitable, and Chen experienced this firsthand when he was scammed by a taxi driver in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
In a YouTube video uploaded last March 25, Chen shared his experience with a taxi driver who charged him and his companions P2,300 going from NAIA Terminal 3 to Terminal 4. Chen explains in the video that he and his company went to Terminal 3 by mistake, then decided to take the cab to Terminal 4 to catch their flight to Cebu.
“We went to Terminal 3 for some reason by mistake and we’re going to Terminal 4 and they’re charging us P2,300 to go to one terminal. Going to any hotel in Metro Manila is only 2,300 so this guy’s ripping us off here definitely,” said Chen in the video as he showed a laminated meter rate to the camera.
“Our Uber from our hotel which took an hour was only P400 so don’t ever take this company if you’re in the airport, this is like crazy. This is robbery right here,” he lamented.
The yellow laminated meter rate card shown in the video marks the taxi as an “airport accredited regular taxi service” and bore rates for different destinations. A taxi ride to Terminal 1 costs P2,500 while a ride to Terminal 2 costs P2,400. Meanwhile, it costs P2,300 to go to Terminal 3, Terminal 4, and any other hotel in Metro Manila.
In the bottom, a note said: “Follow airport policy. Disobeying airport policy is punishable by Philippines law.”
As they got down to Terminal 4, Chen explained to his followers that he knew it was going to be a scam the moment he asked the driver for the cost, but was told to get in the car first. He, however, thought that perhaps they would just have to pay extra and did not expect it would cost P2,300 or almost $50.
“I thought maybe like you know they’ll charge us a little extra but to give us a rate card asking us for 2,300 pesos?” he said. “That’s 50 dollars to drive from one terminal to the next while our Uber that took an hour to get to the airport cost only 10 bucks. This is the most crazy scam so make sure you get the right terminal. Watch out for this.”
Chen also said he and his companions reported the cab driver to the police, who told them the fare should have cost only P200: “So we reported the cab driver to the police and they told me usually like a fare from one terminal to the other is 15o or 200, 250 at the most. So its good, they’re gonna hopefully find this guy and discipline him and hopefully this won’t happen to anybody else.”
They were also advised by the police that what they should have done when the driver demanded for the money was to just say no and call the police. “We actually fell [for it] because he took us to a gas station and we thought we were gonna get kidnapped.”
Meanwhile, Chen assured his followers that the police officers who helped them were exceedingly polite: “I just wanna say the officers were beyond courteous, so that (the taxi scam) was just a not great situation.”
The video of Chen and his companions getting scammed by a taxi driver may be watched below. JB