“Filipinos are honest and hospitable” — Korean tourist

By Benjamin Lim Vergara

Hwang Sung Ha (center) poses with airport officials . Photo by Benjie Vergara

“I will tell them that Filipinos are honest and hospitable.”

Thus said a Korean tourist who never expected to see cash-laden pouch he lost at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport almost a month ago.

Hwang Sung Ha, who was scheduled to depart last Monday (November 26) via Asiana Airlines flight OZ702, was speechless after again seeing his pouch intact.

The Korean arrived in the Philippines via the country’s premier airport on October 31, 2018 at around 10 p.m. He dropped his pouch at the UBE Express bus counter at the NAIA arrival area.

The pouch was later found by Judith Mertola of Lucky Jet Travel & Tours around 12:30 a.m. the following day. When she checked the pouch’s content, she was surprised to see that it contains an Asiana Club Visa card, Shinsegae Duty Free card, US$2,056, 31,000 Korean won, 6,020 Thai baht, and P20, which totals to P120,614.87.

Efforts were exerted by the Manila International Airport Authority’s Lost and Found Section to find Hwang but to no avail.

Last Monday while Hwang was about to check-in at the Asiana Airlines counter for his flight back home, he was approached by a ground handling agent and invited him to the airport’s Intelligence and Investigation Division office to claim his pouch.

“He was so happy to learn that what he thought was lost, and was grateful that his pouch was found by an honest airport staff,” an airport official said.

Hwang admitted to airport authorities that he got dismayed and would have left with a bad impression about the Philippines.

Airport officials quoting the Korean tourist said “this experience is worth sharing with my colleagues and relatives. I will tell them that Filipinos are honest and hospitable.”

Hwang promised to visit the Philippines again.


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Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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