On-The-Jetplane Day: Welcome to Philippines (aka PI)!

We took a flight at 1:20 am mar 6 fr HCMC to Manila with Cebu Pacific. There was no problem with immigration or bag weight. We sat at the back of the airplane though. Oh well, I still managed to get some sleep 😛 while A seemed to have a small problem with one of his ears. We arrived at Manila terminal 3 at around 5:30AM.  I got my first Mc Donald in Manila, PI with pancake and maple syrup for 6:30am bfast. There they call pancakes hotcakes. It was ok 🙂

By: Jose Maria Abada

The City of Manila is the thriving capital of the Philippines. The city is also part of Metro Manila together with the other 17 cities and municipalities. The city is the second most populous city in the world, next to Quezon City which is its neighbor. The whole metropolitan area is the second most populous in Southeast Asia. Metro Manila is home to around 14 million people, and the city of Manila is home to 1.6 million people. Manila is nearest Hong Kong which is around 950 kilometers and the city is around 2,400 kilometers northeast of Singapore. The city is located in the west coast of Luzon and the city is surrounded by the fertile plains. There are around 897 barangays in the city and the city is also subdivided into six Congressional Districts.

We walked from PI Terminal 3 to Mc Donald less than 10 mins, on the other side of the highway. It was a bit far to walk to the hostel where they offered a storage. We took a taxi to Townhouse  hostel (31 bay view dr, Manila). After dropping our bags at the hostel, we took a taxi to Bay View Park and had 4 hour walking in downtown Manila, along Bay View park and to Rizal Park. Many people doing morning exercise in the park and many children swimming near the shore with their parents.

Taxi was a bit crazy in Manila. Taxi starts between 30 peso for white color taxi to 40 peso for yellow-green line taxi. The first one asked 3 other people to find  the hostel we rented 40-peso storage place for our bags. The 2nd one drove as a racing car driver and did not like to turn on the meter. The last one was an old man. Pulis/ police stopped him to ask for driving license ans said something like he was not allowed to pick guests up in that area. That was what I guessed. Plus, the old man didn’t know manila domestic terminal. He kept saying num 1 or 2 which were international terminals. Finally we arrived on time at Manila Domestic Terminal.

A strict airport terminal. Check all cars. Check passport and ticket before passengers entering inside. Scan all bags and shoes are taken off to check as well. Check bags and tickets and credit cards or all payment receipts. Paid 200peso for airport fee (I had no idea why 200peso while it was a domestic flight). Check bags again. They don’t check bottle of water (of course, there was water) on my bags during that time. Small domestic airport by the way.

There are 4 terminals in Manila – check it out!

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) – Terminal 1 – 3

NAIA is only 7 km. from the city, but traffic can be fierce and you will have to allow yourself a substantial amount of time to reach the airport. The longer you live in Manila, the better idea you will have as to that “substantial” time (dependent on day, time etc.).

Remember that you must be at the airport two hours before flight time for international flights. During holidays, you will generally use all two hours, especially if you are traveling in coach, to get to the ticket/baggage check in line, pay your airport taxes etc. Security is very tight at the airport. You will undergo numerous security checks, both of your bags and of your person. There is a separate line for women and men by the second luggage x-ray machines where a sensor will be run over your body and you may be “patted down.” A final hand search of all carry-on bags and purses is required at the entrance to the waiting area by the gate.

Domestic Airport

A short distance from NAIA on Domestic Road. This is the older terminal, which can become quite chaotic outside, with throngs of people milling about awaiting taxis and meeting people.

Centennial Terminal – Terminal 2

Located next to the Philippine Village Hotel on Airport Ave., the control tower complex. This terminal is exclusively for Philippine Airline flights. Opened in October 1999, this modern airport is quite large. There is a lounge for business and first class passengers on the lower level. Security procedures are followed closely in this terminal as well. Terminal fees and exit taxes will be applied in this terminal as well.

I got this comment on-line about how strict the terminals are

If you don’t give yourself at least three hours to navigate the maze of lines and security checks at Manila’s Beningo “Ninoy” Aquino Airport, you’re risking a missed flight. We showed up at the airport for a 6:50 a.m. flight at 4:30 and barely made it on the plane.
Manila airport, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:
1. A line to get into the airport, where they check tickets and passport.
2. A short line to x-ray all of your baggage.
3. A VERY long line inside the terminal to ask security questions and check your tickets and passport.
4. a line for check in.
5. A line to pay your departure tax.
6. A VERY SLOW line for immigration/emigration
7 A line to make you stand on a box and wand you (separated by sex).
8. A line to check tickets, passport, x-ray your carry-on and frisk you (also separated by sex. but on the other side of the corridor so you have to cross).
9. Another line to x-ray your carry-on.
That all adds up to about 2 hours 45 minutes. If you haven’t had your body consumed by tumors at this point, you can get on the plane now.
Of course, the terrorist threat in Manila is very real. A Philippine Airline plane was bombed in the early 1990’s and the plot to blow up 12 jets over the Pacific and fly one into CIA headquarters was hatched here. Additionally, the Philippines is host to a number of dangerous terrorist groups, so you can’t blame them for wanting security. But couldn’t they be a bit more efficient?

 

We continued our trip to Legazpi at 11:00AM. ZestAir Flight from Manila to Legazpi took 45mins on an airbus aircraft. I slept a whole trip since they hadn’t taken off.

Legazpi airport was pretry small. Very open 😀 I saw people unloading our bags. Pearl, a female CSer there, met us in front of the airport. She was nice and friendly, telling us about everything in her hometown and PI.

She took us to Rex Hotel, which she found on-line. We stayed there with 500peso per room per night with a twin bedded room, fan and cold water. Its pretty close to a mall and a supermarket, plus a church. We had lunch at Small Talk family run restaurant. Food was good. We had 2 pasta: taro leave soup by pilipino and sweet cheese one and 8-slice pizza, costed 400peso.

Later we took jeepney, like song teong in Thailand to Lignon Hill for a 2km hiking. Jeepi there was interesting with cool decorations. They reminded me of hippo style.

Lignon Hill (pronounced as Liñon or /li-NYON/) is located near Legazpi Airport. The hill stands at 156 meters (511 feet) tall and has best view of Mayon Volcano which is active now and the whole Albay. Entrance fee is 25peso. A walk to top was easier than i thought. It was a paved road so u spend a bit time slowly walking up. We saw and went inside a tunnel where japanese soldiers stayed. I didn’t remember how much peso we paid to get inside the tunnel. I also left my flashlight at the hostel. We could not explore more. The whole hiking was around 1 hour. Good view from the top of the hill as everyone said. Yet, when we were there, it was too cloudy to see the mountain and around. I got my tele lens with me so I got a couple of photos far away. 😛

We went back the town by jeepi to meet pearl’s friend at pacific mall which offered free shuttle car to pick us up. I think I lost my sunglasses and 50peso at the bus stop. It was very crowded then. Anyway, those were very old ones so it s time to buy a new pair 🙂 pearl’s friend was nice as well. We got dinner together at a restaurant at the bay. It was too dark for the view but i liked it. Cool wind fr the sea. Live music. Friendly staffs. San Miguel beer is very popular in pi. I got one bottle of sm light, 5% alcohol. Pearl and her friend were very nice to escort us back our hostel. A long day came to an end. 2 flights. At least 4 taxi in manila. Many jeepi rides in Legazpi town. Countless walking

I like Filippino food which is cooked with a lot of coconut. Taste so good and smell good as well

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