Grab Travel and Tours (also known as GrabTravel PH) is a travel agency. They also provide travel assistance, flight/hotel booking, provides NSO birth certificate, and handle any passport documentation.
It sounded like a normal travel agency right? They are even got a hundreds of thousands of fans on their facebook page. Very active on posting their daily travel promos.
Are they really a scam? Or is it just a travel agency gone wrong???
Well, let me tell you my real life experience about this company…
It was April of 2015. Nick and I, were planning to meet for the first time. I have decided that I’m the one who’s going to him. I have a work on my own and I have saved a lot of money to travel on my own expense.
I have been searching on google about the requirements of traveling into The Netherlands as Visiting family/friends (since boyfriend & girlfriend is also considered in this category). I got no clue on how to do it on my own since I am not so sure on how to book a flight as a document (not paid yet) and travel insurance. When I type the word ‘travel agency’ on facebook search—the first thing appeared on the list is GRAB Travel and Tours. As I clicked on their page, I got overwhelmed by the feedback of their clients and they even have a hundred thousands of fans.
Then I went to their website and take a look of the services that they offered. I tried to send them an inquiry via Facebook Messenger and they replied instantly. They give me the list of requirements and even tell me to drop-by to their office for more brief explanation of the whole Visa Assistance process.
It was the last week of April 2015; I went to their office at Ortigas, Pasig City. The place looks decent and the agent who talked to me is Gina (Gin) Rafael. She looks friendly and very professional. She answered all my questions and gives me the actual list of requirements that I needed for the Netherlands embassy. I was SHOCKED when I ask how much is their Visa Assistance fee…and it was 15,000 pesos. She said that it was a full-package: Visa Assistance, paying at the Bank (for VFS SERVICE FEE), flight booking, Travel Insurance etc…
After the meeting, I was having second thoughts about paying their fee for a Visa Assistance. The next week, I’ve been trying to complete the list of requirements for my visa then when I’m done; I went to see her again and PAID them with their fee and gave them my requirements. Gina Rafael also took my original passport (I don’t know why). She writes me a receipt for my Visa Assistance payment and she said she’ll keep in touch with me thru text or facebook messenger if she’s done with the flight booking and all.
She messages me right away that night—giving me a good schedule for a flight booking. When I accepted the most early that she could find. She told me that I should pay her tomorrow so she could reserve it now, due to the flight prices are getting higher every day. Gina told me that she guarantee that it was booked for me immediately.
On the next day, I go to their office and pay her in cash 75,000 pesos (expensive…I know it’s a KLM Flight from The Philippines to The Netherlands). She even ask me to take photo of her as proof that I paid her in cash and she’s the one who received it. I could get a FULL REFUND if my visa got rejected and yet again she writes me a receipt.
It was April 29, 2015…and my appointment at the embassy is on June 2015.
By May 2015, Gina keeps tormenting me about some easy Asia travel so I could have more travel stamps on my passport. She keeps telling me that having a lot of travel stamps will give me a higher chance that my Visa could get accepted by the embassy. All I could do is pay her 80,000 pesos and she’ll let me travel with her. (Seriously…I’m not an IDIOT! I have been working in the NEWS Company for 3-years and I got all my requirements and I am confident with it. So there’s no need to do- what she wants me to do. Besides that’s A LOT of money! I need to save my show money at the embassy). I have been saying NO and NO like 5 to 6 times.
May 2015, Gina Rafael tried to transfer me to her ‘other agent’ with the name of Sheila De Luna. Gina told me that she’s in the Australia with her client (now I have a feeling that she uses my 75,000 pesos to travel).
Sheila De Luna, I don’t know her but she looks confused (all the time). They gave me a quick briefing before going to the embassy on the next day.
June 2015, the day of my appointment at the embassy, Sheila along with some other agent girl accompanies me at The Netherlands Embassy on that day. The process at the embassy came out smoothly. I must say it was a success. After 15 days, I got my Visa. (Happiest day of my life)
Last week of June 2015, I tried to contact Gina and Sheila, because I NEED THE ACTUAL BOOKING FLIGHT TICKET. They still tell me that they’re still processing it. I got furious because Gina told me she ALREADY GUARANTEE MY SPOT the day I paid her my flight ticket. I was mad…like actually mad. I keep messaging them and of course they know that I worked at the NEWS COMPANY. They keep telling me that they’re going to send me an email as soon as they booked it. It took them like 3-weeks!!! Like what the hell???
In the end I got my flight ticket and tell you what… it cost them 80,000 pesos. It’s their problem now. I really got the feeling that Gina Rafael uses my 75,000 pesos to travel. They can’t scam me because they knew I was working at the NEWS Company and I could SUE them anytime I want.
And there you go, that’s my story. I know…I know…I ALMOST GOT SCAMMED.
As of May 2017, I heard news that Gina Rafael got arrested by scamming millions of pesos to her clients. She promises them a good travel package deal and once the transactions was made—she can’t give them a flight ticket. I am shook. I was so close to being scammed. Thank God it didn’t happen to me.
I don’t know what happened to Sheila De Luna…I hope the people responsible be put into justice.
I was lucky…indeed.