112 messages
active 15 hours ago

Yoav Reuveni

I'm one of the owners at YGD travel inc, a multinational travel agency focused on bringing tourists to the Philippines and making sure they have an enjoyable and safe vacation.

Our approach to travel is that it has to be personal. Both in terms of the services we provide, which are customized for the client's exact wishes, and the personal connection we aim to establish with each of our guests.

We feel this is our strongest added value - We are not just a standard booking agency who focuses on getting good rates. When you book through us you also get a friend who will guide and help you throughout your entire trip.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We cover the entire country and are always open to special requests. If you have an island you are curious about then let's talk about it and we'll find a way to get you there safely and make sure you have a wonderful time there.

Typically most of our clients go to the popular spots so that's where we already have very strong local connections. This means we can give very competitive rates while still offering a customized experience - we make sure you get to do the activities you want the most.

In terms of tours available, our focus is on adventure. This is simply due to the fact that this is what the Philippines has to offer - it's mostly about nature and wildlife. We specialize in island hopping, hiking, surfing, canyoneering, and of course diving.
Watersports, ATV rides, and kayaking are also very popular requests.

However, we are the only local agency to create tours upon request - so if you want something specific just let us know. So far we've done big game fishing, a party yacht cruise, a cultural immersion experience in Palawan (live in a local village), a Manila slums tour, and a week-long survival class in the jungles of Cebu.

We are always open to special requests because it helps us increase our portfolio!"

How did you get involved in travel?

"I had a great managerial position at one of my country's leading high tech companies, until one day I felt I needed a break from the 9 to 5 routine. So I resigned and started traveling the world extensively.

Once I reached the Philippines I immediately fell in love with this country. The people are friendly, the vibe is relaxed and everywhere you go nature is just amazing.

The problem was I felt like it's extremely hard to travel here since delays and cancellations are so common. Also, it's virtually impossible to find good and reliable information online. So I teamed up with some local partners with experience in the travel industry and this agency was established."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"I think i will never forget the first time i went to Palawan since this is the day i decided i want to move and live here in the Philippines.

I'm usually a pretty uptight person, what other people find relaxing i find boring and i prefer activities all around the clock rather than chilling at the beach. Palawan was the first time where i just felt happy to lay at the beach and gaze at the horizon, grab a beer and just think about nothing.

Later on when i already became involved in the travel business here, one thing that bothered me (and many clients asked about) was the fact there aren't many cultural immersion tours offered. We really felt like while the beaches are amazing, there's a huge interest and value to people from learning about the locals and their way of life.

So we found a way to do a tour to Manila's old town, slums and big market. This is a hands on tour with a local guide, and you really get your hands dirty (literally). We were all pretty shaken after taking the tour for the first time, to see if it's suitable for our clients. We believe it is, but it's a very unsettling and thought invoking experience ."

Recent trip reviews for Yoav

Philippines, Philippines - Sep 28 - Oct 13, 2018

Traveler: Bel B. - Local specialist: Yoav Reuveni

Sent the following to the agent, have listed reasons below
out of pocket expenses in which we are seeking a refund and received a partial refund as agent blamed those he booked with and if they refused refund so did he. Quotes given in AUD then US then AUD, became confusing, advised we were from Australia early on. Communication with agent before leaving Australia was that using WhatsApp was fine and he would contact day before on WhatsApp with info, this regularly didn't happen and we had... read more

Sent the following to the agent, have listed reasons below
out of pocket expenses in which we are seeking a refund and received a partial refund as agent blamed those he booked with and if they refused refund so did he. Quotes given in AUD then US then AUD, became confusing, advised we were from Australia early on. Communication with agent before leaving Australia was that using WhatsApp was fine and he would contact day before on WhatsApp with info, this regularly didn't happen and we had to chase him up, he blamed us for not getting a local simcard yet we had free wifi to get information the day before. Sending the information before he finished work each day would have been more reasonable. Anyway trip is finished, won't use this agent again and hope that no-one else is let down by them:
Payment for 2 pax turtle viewing that we made but as per our texting this never happened. Our tour on this day was less than 50% of what was expected tin the outlined itinerary you gave us - day trip that ended at 11am, very disappointing, lunch for 1 person to share among 2 with a piece of fruit only for the second person, very average.
Yellow taxi pick up from Ferry Terminal to White Sands on return from Bohol - drivers were very rarely who you texted through and number plates matched maybe once. This yellow cab guy held up our names across the road then we chased him to his yellow taxi, someone grabbed our bags and put them in the taxi boot demanding money. Driver sat in seat on his phone and did nothing, had to pay driver and bag man total 580 peso.
Canyoneering - we sent a message early on asking if there was anything we needed, that is on KimKim messages. We didn't get a reply so presumed nothing. Once arriving we had to pay for waterproof bag and reef shoe hire 700 peso.
Group van El Nido as we ended up organising private ourselves. Your messages didn't get through before our pick up around 6.30am that you had said was coming later than that at 7.30am. No chance to communicate and our tour guide for the day had no information for us either until the end of our tour when we had already arranged a transfer ourselves.
Taxi to airport due to your transfer being too late to get us there 500 peso.
We forgot also the 240 peso for luggage and ferry terminal charge.

Review of trip with reasons for refund requests;
We were told by Yoav to call or message anytime and that he would let us know day before who would be picking us up for transfers. I would often have to chase up our following day transfer well into the evening as he hadn't contacted me. It seemed once we arrived in the Philippines we were forgotten. I even got a message from him telling me he'd be up at 6am and asking me to appreciate it - the only reason was that he hadn't organised things earlier and let us know at a reasonable hour the day before what was going on. This service was poor.
Day 1 mostly worked as per the itinerary. Got in later than expected due to the insane traffic as advised. Met Yoav, given $4500 peso refund for the cancellation of the Pagsanjan Falls cancellation from company he had been working with.
Day 2 was as per itinerary, great guide who spoke English, Had a great guide for the day who spoke English well, this was extremely rare for our guides and transfers which made it very difficult to communicate or know what was going on. It also led to not getting experiences we had paid for.
Day 3 as per itinerary
Day 4 Our tour on this day was less than 50% of what was expected that was outlined in your itinerary - day trip that ended at 11am, very disappointing. English speaking guides weren't on our boat, no one had a phone that would contact our agent, no one would give us the right information. Shipped on and off the snorkelling turtle island after a 30 minute snorkel and a shared meal (paid for 2 lunches, given 1 and a piece of fruit).
Day 5 Went well
Day 6 Ferry back, with unexpected charges, taxi at terminal for our transfer holding up our names and calling out to us. Drove terribly and charged us. This was supposed to be an included transfer. not a paying taxi.
Day 7 people need to know this is a 4 hour drive each way to the Canyon. We would have stayed a night down that way rather than in Cebu. Very long day. Had to pay for items needed and not advised about on this trip. Reef shoes, waterproof bag.
Day 8 Given firefly tour as an apology from agent for everything that had gone wrong thus far. Firefly tour was listed on our itinerary and my husband and I couldn't recall 100% if we'd cancelled it or not but agent said we had so agent paid for this.
Day 9 Only found out late evening before of transfer from river to El Nido details. Cancelled and moved to private transfer as after experiencing canyoneering group trip we realised groups meant waiting a long time for people (canyoneering 4 hour turned into 7 hours plus 8 hours of driving - very long day). We also didn't want to have to come all the way back into town to head out again and begin the 4-5 hour drive. Paid for this ourselves, agent advised going private night before when we chased him up to find out about what our transfer was meant to be.
Day 10 as per itinerary
Day 11 Meant to be on a group jet boat, agent forgot to organise and reconfirm, ended up on a group standard boat.
Day 12-15 as per itinerary
Day 16 driver didn't turn up, had to organise taxi, another out of pocket expense. Arrived at the airport 10 minutes after flight was closed off for check in. Had to beg staff of Cebu Pacific to see if they could find a way to get us on as we had international connecting flights. They were amazing, Cebu Pacific staff, and got us on. Not a great way to end a tour that hadn't gone as expected.

You expect a couple of hiccups when travelling, I've travelled extensively for the past 20 years and all booked through flight centre with minimal hiccups. The service through Kimkim was nowhere up to standard. A holiday shouldn't be stressful, travellers shouldn't be chasing up agents to get information, to find out why things have gone wrong, why daily incidents have taken place. I hope this isn't the service provided by all travel agents through kimkim.

Yoav Reuveni, local specialist, responded to this review:

I can only regret that Bel had a bad experience here in the Philippines. It makes me very sad to know it happened and she is holding us responsible for it.

I have been in communication with Bel all throughout the trip, and tried my best to help whenever an issue arose. I feel a lot of this issues and miscommunication is due to misunderstanding and possibly a slight language / culture barrier which is something i will do my best to learn from and improve.

We also gave her a free tour as... read more

I can only regret that Bel had a bad experience here in the Philippines. It makes me very sad to know it happened and she is holding us responsible for it.

I have been in communication with Bel all throughout the trip, and tried my best to help whenever an issue arose. I feel a lot of this issues and miscommunication is due to misunderstanding and possibly a slight language / culture barrier which is something i will do my best to learn from and improve.

We also gave her a free tour as compensation after the problems in Bohol, and we organized the private transfer to El Nido for her at a 4 hour notice. I have to say this review conveniently leaves out all the hard work and effort we have put into this package. I understand some people focus on the negative and when something goes wrong it ruins their day, but ultimately i do believe we did a lot of things right with this trip and i'm very surprised to hear Belinda thinks the service was poor.

I'll be happy that all potential clients read this. It's better if you understand the Philippines is not Switzerland and mistakes here happen quite often - we are dependent on local suppliers and they are not always reliable. Also, if you book a "budget" package, you will get group tours and shared vans that's just the way the world works - you can't expect VIP treatment without paying for it.

We will use this review to try and improve our service, so we are thankful to Bel for taking the time to submit it. I certainly could have done a lot of things better with this trip.