Caught (up) in traffic

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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Overnight parking at NAIA

The main terminals of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) each have overnight parking facilities. These are all open lots located near the terminals and have roving personnel on motorcycles for security. The overnight parking spaces for Terminals 1 and 2 are located a bit of a walk away from the terminal buildings but are generally spacious and do not reach their full capacities.

Terminal 1’s overnight parking is located on the lot to the right as travelers drive through the security check for vehicles. Terminal 2’s overnight facility is near the old Nayong Pilipino gate and appears to be the combined parking lots of the now-closed theme park and the also closed Philippine Village Hotel. Terminal 3’s overnight parking spaces are generally spread out with most along the service road or driveway that leads to its still closed multi-level parking facility. Other spaces made available for overnight parking are those near the entrance to Terminal 3.

I haven’t tried overnight parking at T1 and T2 but I recently availed of overnight parking at T3. Following are a couple of photos to describe overnight parking at T3, followed by a few tips on how to get a slot in what is always a full area.

Overnight parking spaces are along the service road on the right that ultimately leads to a ramp access to the still closed multi-level parking facility at Terminal 3. There is a sign that states overnight parking is full. Ask for assistance from the security staff to find a slot.

The service road leads to a ramp (visible at the center of the photo) to the closed multi-level parking (also visible on the right of the photo) of Terminal 3.

A tip for those wanting to park their cars for a night or more at Terminal 3: ask nicely for assistance from the security guard at the entrance to the parking lot. They will help you find an open space somewhere (trust me, it’s quite a challenge) in what is always a full overnight parking area. Show your gratitude by tipping. It’s definitely worth it and they’ll probably even check your car to return the favor. And yes… overnight parking fees are quite cheap at 50 pesos (about 1.15 USD) per night.

Persistence of stubornness? Taking photos on the tarmac

I took this photo while waiting for our plane to complete boarding procedures at Changi’s budget terminal. Two passengers (not sure if they are OFWs or tourists) stopped on the tarmac and took photos of the plane before each posed to have their photo taken by the other. They were so obvious and took quite some time on the tarmac that I was already anticipating Changi security personnel to approach them and instruct them to go and board the aircraft. For some reason, the ground staff did not seem to notice them or perhaps just decided to just let it go as a harmless act. Harmlessness notwithstanding, such incidents are actually considered security issues, which are among those ticked off by people evaluating airports. And this is why for most cases at the Budget Terminal ground staff are strict about passengers loitering on the tarmac including taking photos like what is shown below. I can understand the value, possibly sentimental, of such souvenir photos especially if one is heading home after a long stay abroad as a worker. Still, the time spent should not be as if people were already holding photo-shoots on the tarmac.

Passengers taking photos on the tarmac and near the restricted area with respect to the aircraft

Close-up of the same photo

Another look at Tagbilaran Airport

Tagbilaran Airport is the gateway to the province of Bohol and the resort paradise that is Panglao Island. I wrote about the airport earlier but the photos were quite limited as they were somewhat taken more as a matter of coincidence and for souvenirs than for a blog feature on airports. Following are a few photos I consciously took specifically for this post.

Tagbilaran Airport as seen from our plane that had just arrived.

Air traffic control tower and emergency services at the airport.

The airport is under renovation with the terminal being expanded to be able to accommodate the increasing number of passengers being handled by the airport.

Tricycles are the dominant mode of public transport in Tagbilaran’s roads and others throughout Bohol. Their version of the tricycle comfortably seats 3 passengers including 2 in the cab and 1 behind the driver. The sidecar also features a baggage compartment or trunk in the back.

Entrance to the airport terminal – there’s precious little space at the airport for passengers and well-wishers. In fact, parking is very limited and there is usually not enough space for the mix of people and vehicles when a plane arrives at the airport.

Pre-departure – seats at the ground floor pre-departure area at the airport. There are two concessions from where passengers may purchase refreshments or last minute souvenirs.

Extension – the second floor is also used as waiting area for passengers. There’s one concessionaire on the second floor and a massage service with blind men as masseurs.

Baggage handling – on the way to board our plane, I took a quick photo of the baggage being loaded unto the plane.

A new airport is being proposed for Bohol as the current one in Tagbilaran can no longer be expanded with the area required for a longer runway and a larger terminal restricted by the surrounding built up area. A new airport is planned to be constructed instead in Panglao Island where it will be closer to the resorts and other attractions that regularly bring in thousands of tourists and perhaps many more should there be a better airport for Bohol. Already, there are many issues being raised against a new airport but then if the project is implemented according to international standards, including those pertaining to the mitigation of negative environmental impacts, then we should expect the airport to be more beneficial to all involved.

PNR Naga City Station

The wife recently went on a trip with her father to attend a family affair in Naga City in Camarines Sur. Arriving by plane in the morning, they went to the PNR station in the afternoon to purchase a ticket for my father-in-law who wanted to try the train for the trip back to Manila. He got word of the resumption of Bicol Express services from me as well as from the news. The PNR had been featured on TV and he had been curious about taking the train. He used to take the train for trips between Naga and Manila before and told us stories of how nice traveling by train was back in the day. Following are a few photos around the Naga Station of the PNR.

Aren’t we glad? – The PNR Naga Station has been renovated and now features updated office buildings and ticket counters

Contrast the new and the old – PNR’s old coaches at the newly renovated platform

Room for improvement – passengers waiting along the platform with some seated on the few benches available

Simplicity – don’t expect turnstiles yet and it’s still somewhat a crude entrance to the platform but these should improve soon as passenger demand steadily increases.

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Looking forward – the train at the platform was bound for Legazpi City, Albay and I like to think the photo The photo actually shows the back end of the train as the front end is pulled by the locomotive shown in a previous photo.

Old workhorse – this diesel electric locomotive pulling the passenger coaches and a few others like it have been

View from the top – there are pedestrian overpasses crossing the tracks for access to platforms and other parts of the station. Visible in the photo are discarded bogeys and the blue car that is an executive class coach with reclining seats.

Regular and Special – the train on the left and parked alongside the platform has regular coaches with fixed seats much like the Tokaido Line long distance commuter trains. The train on the right has executive class coaches with reclining seats and more space for passengers that translate to a more comfortable ride. Unfortunately, there were no sleeper cars with either trains at the time.

School traffic generation – Part 3: LSGH and Ortigas

Was at the DOTC for a meeting and couldn’t help but look out the window from the conference room while waiting for the meeting to start. Our meeting was being held at the 16th floor of the building housing the Department and so it gave an excellent vista of the surrounding area. I was particularly interested in a view of Ortigas Avenue know there was no congestion that time of the day mainly because school was still off. The latter observation is important here because La Salle Greenhills, which is just a stone’s throw away from the building, is a major traffic generator with cars and school service vehicles clogging up the stretch of Ortigas Ave. from Galleria to the Greenhills Shopping Center. In fact, one can find vehicles parked or waiting along the road and even on the sidewalks, depraving pedestrians the proper and safe space to walk.

Free-flowing traffic along Ortigas Ave. in front of LSGH on a Friday mid-afternoon.

Main gate and pedestrian overpass at LSGH – there seems enough space for a multi-level parking lot inside the school but perhaps there are other options other than low capacity transport for the students.

Impact area – photo showing LSGH in the foreground and the Greenhills area in the background, including Virra Mall on the upper left and the condominiums around the Greenhills Shopping Center and behind Camp Crame.

Exclusive roads – the photo above seems the same as the previous one. A distinction though is that it shows Holy Cross Street (at right in the photo), which is inside Greenhills East Subdivision, an exclusive residential subdivision. The road and other streets in the subdivision are not open to general traffic and so cannot ease traffic along Ortigas Ave during congested periods.

Greenery – across LSGH is Wack wack, one of the first golf courses in the country and a welcome patch of green in the middle of the metropolis. Trees also line up along Ortigas Ave. but their capacities to absorb the CO2 produced by motor traffic are not enough considering the volume and frequent congestion along the road.

Bali-Denpasar International Airport

One of the more interesting airports I have used in my travels is the Bali-Denpasar International Airport. I was not able to take photos when we arrived at the airport as it was already late and our group was already feeling tired from the long flight from Manila via Singapore. We also didn’t expect the long walk from the terminal to the parking lot where the guide who fetched us left his vehicle. Thus, the following photos were taken on our departure when we had some time to explore the nice airport.

Check-in – we were quite early at the airport and were directed to the early check-in counters. I wanted to take more photos but was aware of the tight security at the airport check-in area, and didn’t want to risk being accosted by airport security.

Where to? – Directional signs at one of the junctions inside the airport

Time out – the spot in front of a world map with international times on display seems to be a favorite resting place for airport maintenance staff though I am not really sure about the intended use of the steel poles.

Burning time – travelers exchanging stories near a junction where stands a statue of the mythical figure Garuda, the King of Avians who is the inspiration for the name of Indonesia’s national airline

Shopping mall – inside the airport, the layout reminded me of shopping malls as corridors were lined with shops and restaurants.

Shop and eat – while the prices indicated in the menus of restaurants were reasonable (read: they compare favorably to prices at restaurants outside the airport), the goods in the shops were priced for tourists (read: a bit expensive even considering duty free privileges). You can try haggling with some shops especially for local products like batik or souvenirs but you won’t be able to get prices close to shops elsewhere like, say, Bali Collection.

Must try and must buy – Indonesia chocolates are available at the airport. The Monggo brand has many variants and the prices seem reasonable though I assume they are even cheaper if bought outside the airport. We didn’t have time to go to a regular supermarket and so had to do some quick shopping at the airport.

Ancient and modern – Indonesian national carrier Garuda B737 docked at the airport. Garuda, of course, also refers to the mythical God-king of the birds.

Ancient gateway? – I am reminded of the Sci Fi series Stargate everytime I look at this photo. Such architecture gives the airport a lot of character as it banks on the cultural heritage of the region.

The older wing of the airport with its clay-tiled roofs is shown on the right.

Another look at the Balinese structure with a modern air bridge and the newer wing of the terminal in the background on the left.

Corridor and more shops along the way towards our boarding gate.

Benches – there were few seats near the entrance to the departure lounge. There were only two 4-seaters that were spaced a bit far from the next set of seats.

Airport fee – Bali-Denpasar charges a 150,000 Rp (about 16.20 USD) fee for international passengers that is paid prior to the immigration counters.

No seats? – passengers starting to crowd around benches just across from the door and the final security check to the pre-departure area. Airport staff would not allow passengers early for their flights to enter the area. It seemed to some of us that this was also a ploy for people to patronize the restaurants and shops outside the pre-departure area. There were no concessions inside.

Waiting for the call – fellow passengers waiting for our respective boarding calls

Familiar layout – the layout of the departure lounge including the boarding gates at Bali-Denpasar reminded me of the layout of the old domestic airport in Manila.

Counters – airline ground staff will eventually arrive to process passengers for boarding

Bali-Denpasar is actually constructing an even larger airport. This is necessary given what seems to be hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to Bali mostly for recreation. The current terminal is already congested and the wise investment is for a huge modern terminal for this gateway to Indonesia. The determined push for a new terminal is admirable and seems to be what the Philippines lacks for in terms of critical aviation infrastructure that would be able to handle the projected passenger demand should the country want to attract more tourists.