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NAIA terminal designations for airlines – reshuffle
Airport authorities in Manila announced that airline designations at NAIA’s four terminals would be reshuffled. I took this photo of the announcement on a tarp at the corner of NAIA Road and Ninoy Aquino Avenue as we left NAIA Terminal 1.
While there seems to be no major concern for the international airlines mentioned in the tarp, there will be a major inconvenience for Philippine Airlines passengers. For most its flights including international ones, transfers were easier and more convenient since international and domestic flights shared the same Terminal 2. There was no need to travel from or to another terminal unless the transfer involved another airline. From June 16, 2023, all its international flights will be via Terminal 1 so there will be a need to transit between T1 and T2 for connecting flights. Cebu Pacific will still enjoy this convenience for most of its flights as international and most domestic flights are via Terminal 3.
Back at Laguindingan Airport – arrival
We were in Cagayan de Oro last April and I took the opportunity to take photos at the airport. The airport, of course, is no longer in Cagayan de Oro (the old one has been closed). It is now in Laguindingan town, which 30 to 60 minutes from CDO depending on the time of day and how aggressive your driver is. Laguindingan retained CDO as its code.
Baggage claim conveyor belt at the arrival area
Passengers claiming their checked-in luggage
Exit from the arrival area – there is a CAAP Assistance Desk here
Driveway and crossing for passengers
The main driveway is currently reserved for VIPs. All other vehicles are required to go to the parking lot across from the terminal.
Passengers need to cross to the parking lot where their fetchers await them or where they can book a vehicle to take them to their destinations.
People waiting for passengers. Most of these are fetching (sundo) relatives, friends or clients arriving at the airport.
Transport services await passengers at the parking area. In other airports, these are located near the arrival exit. They are here probably due to security concerns. One can easily book a vehicle (usually a car or van) from Laguindingan Airport to typical destinations like Cagayan De Oro and Iligan City.
Personnel of various transport service companies call for passengers to attract them to their booths. Others are drivers of rented vehicles, waiting for their clients to appear.
The airport terminal as seen from the parking lot.
Covid test kits at the airport
Despite the relaxed stance on COVID-19, the virus is still very much around and evolving or mutating. While airports in the Philippines are lax about the wearing of masks, airlines require masks for passengers on flights. I’m not sure how effective as a preventive measure this is since most people at airports don’t wear masks and there is nothing that will allow for contact tracing anymore.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 test kits vending machines are now common at airports. I guess aside from being a reminder of the pandemic, it is also a convenience for people who want to check, quickly though not so accurately, if they are positive for the virus.
Departure via Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 – Part 2
In Part 2 of this short series (and a very late post at that), I share more photos at Mactan Cebu’s International Airport Terminal 2.
MCIA is equipped with modern bag scan machines
These are now installed in most major airports in the country but the first time I saw these outside of NAIA was in MCIA.
The long corridor from the final security check to the pre-departure areas
The terminal is spacious as can be seen in this photo (and in the previous Part 1).
There are many restaurants and cafes to choose from inside the terminal.
There are generic ATMs around the terminal for the convenience of travelers who might need cash or do other transactions using these machines.
Information counter in the middle of shops and restaurants
Souvenir shops have products mainly from Cebu. Others are from other provinces or regions but mostly from the Visayas.
Another shot of the information counter with the souvenir shop across from it
Cafe at the terminal just before the gates
There’s a nice ramen restaurant at the terminal. I will write about this but in another blog.
Premium lounge sign showing airlines whose passengers may use the lounge. Beside is a sign showing terminal guidelines including the wearing of face masks and the urge to regularly sanitize and practice physical distancing. This was over a year ago so perhaps they have a different sign at the terminal now.
A closer look as the premium lounge sign
A look at the entrance to the pre-departure lounge of Gate 20
A view of the terminal and the tarmac
Tube waiting for the next aircraft to dock
The modern design restrooms are clean and spacious.
I took this photo of the floors.
Drinking station near the toilets
A familiar shop is this WHSmith, which we used to see only in airports in other countries including Changi and HK.
A look at one of the Duty Free Shops at MCIA T2
A glance along the corridor shows most shops and restaurants open
Familiar brands like Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf have branches in the terminal
Burger King is beside this donut shop – the donuts are really good and I took home a box from this shop.
Gateway to the departure gates Terminal 2 cafe menu
Another look at the tube while waiting for our plane to arrive.
Other aircraft at the airport includes private planes and military aircraft from the adjacent air base.
I already mentioned that this is a late post. We traveled to Cebu back in July 2022 and perhaps many things have changed since then. The terminal’s features though should have few changes aside from having more people there as restrictions due to COVID-19 have been lifted. I just wanted to post this as a form of closure for an unfinished series featuring MCIA T2 before I start posting on other airports.
Back to ‘old’ normal for air travel in the Philippines
Before we embark on another trip this week, I just wanted to share that it seems all is back to the old normal in as far as air travel is concerned in the Philippines. There are few, if any, exceptions based on what I and colleagues have experienced while traveling domestically. The only difference now from pre-COVID-19 air travel is that people are required to wear face masks inside the aircraft. Inside the airports, masks appear to be optional though most people wear them.
The March-April 2023 issue of Cebu Pacific’s Smile Magazine features places to go while in Tokyo, Japan, a popular destination these days as foreign travel restrictions have eased.
Cebu Pacific provides passengers with their Smile magazine on-board their aircraft. Philippine Airlines domestic flights don’t have magazines (unless they do on Business or First Class) for Economy passengers. I noticed also that PAL did not have duty free items on-board their aircraft (at least for the MNL-SIN-MNL trips we had recently). I know that other airlines have resumed duty free sales on-board so perhaps this is just a cost-cutting thing for PAL. Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific’s inflight shop is open and selling souvenir items on their domestic flights.
Queues on arrival at NAIA Terminal 2
Arriving at NAIA’s Terminal 2, one has to prepare the QR code generated via the e-travel site of the Philippine government. Doing this prior to you flight or your arrival will save you the hassle of accomplishing the form upon arrival. The queues for both the e-arrival processing and immigration are bad enough for experience that you don’t want to add spending more time in a crowded area to that.
Area and booths for the e-travel (e-arrival) processing
Arriving passengers have their e-travel QR codes scanned at one of the booths set-up at the area in the middle of the international and domestic wings of the terminal.
Passengers queuing from their arrival gate to one end of the international wing (right) and after their e-travel QR codes are scanned, proceed to the immigration counters via the other end of the terminal (left).
Arriving passengers may queue at the manual immigration counters or the new machines now installed at Terminal 2. Foreigners only have the option to queue for the manual process. The queues for the machines though can get long fast if the person transacting is not familiar with the automated process or has trouble scanning his/her passport that it takes more time per transaction.
Signs of the times? A COVID-19 test vending machine at the airport
I just wanted to share this photo that I took of a vending machine dispensing COVID-19 antigen self-test kits at NAIA Terminal 3. I took this photo as we exited the baggage claim area and headed for the multi-level parking of the terminal.
There are many vending machines at airports including the most typical ones for drinks and food. Some dispense souvenirs and even electronics. This was the first time I encountered this type of machine. I didn’t see one while in Changi or in NAIA Terminal 2, and even in Panglao, Mactan, Zamboanga or Laguindingan airports where I have been recently. Perhaps there are machines like this there or in there airports but I just didn’t see them. I guess these are here to stay considering COVID-19 is not yet completely out of the picture so to speak.
Crowded NAIA Terminal 2
Before the pandemic, NAIA’s airport terminals were already very crowded. Recently, I’ve been to both Terminals 2 and 3, and I can say that they are practically back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of their being crowded or congested. There are the long lines at the check-in counters and travelers and well-wishers ‘encamped’ or circulating around the terminals.
The area just after the final security check does not seem to be crowded. People don’t usually congregate or linger in the area.
The empty seats belie a crowded Terminal 2. That white wall eventually turned out to be the area for where arriving international passengers have to have their e-arrival QR codes scanned.
This is what is behind the white wall in the previous photo.
Arriving passengers (right) queue towards the e-arrival scans. Those finished with their e-arrival scans (left) proceed to the immigration counters via the other end of the terminal.
Departure via Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 – Part 1
The MCIA has two terminals with the newer Terminal 2 being lauded as one of the best designed terminals in the country. It has been recognized internationally, too. And this is mainly due to the architecture of the new terminal.
Approach ramp to the departure level of MCIA Terminal 2
Departure level driveway – the area looks spacious but you wonder how it is during the peak season.
The view upon alighting from the vehicle that took us to the airport – note the advisory stating Cebu Pacific departures are via the old Terminal 1.
The walkway leading to the terminal building is very spacious.
Passengers may use the baggage trolley for their convenience in hauling their luggage.
There are seats for travelers and their well-wishers.
One of the kiosks along the corridor leading to the terminal building
The view from the walkway shows the Waterfront Hotel with its tiled roofs and the older MCIA Terminal 1 building (at right in the photo).
A local coffee shop operates out of one of the outdoor kiosks. These kiosks serve both travelers and well-wishers.
Inside, a popular souvenir shop welcomes travelers.
Schedule of departures are shown on one of the screens inside the terminal building.
Info booths of some of the airlines using Terminal 2
The Terminal 2 building offers very impressive architectural details.
There were long lines not because the airport is crowded but because there were few check-in counters open. Even those who have checked-in online and were to drop-off their bags were not spared the queues.
Stained glass windows featuring what appears to be a giant parol (Christmas lantern).
A view of the other check-in counters at the spacious MCIA Terminal 2
I took this photo of the ceiling to show the incorporation of natural lighting elements that allow for less power consumption for lighting particularly during daytime. This is one of the eco-friendly features of the building.
Another view of the long queues for PAL after we finished checking-in.
Airline service and information counters at the terminal – these are for Air Busan and Korean Air. An Air Busan plane figured in a crash recently when it overshot the runway upon landing at the MCIA in bad weather.
Another view of the ceiling and roof
Guidance for passengers are posted at the check-in counters. These include info on items that are not allowed in the check in bags, what are prohibited and will be seized at the airport, and what are allowed only in check in bags. The scale readout is working and can be seen on the counter. Typical luggage limit for domestic passengers range from 20 to 25kg depending on the airline.
Part 2 is coming soon!
What are closed and what are open at NAIA Terminal 3 – international wing
I was able to take a few photos around the pre-departure area of NAIA Terminal 3 before our flight got cancelled. The shops, restaurants and cafes are mostly open including the Duty Free Philippines shop, Bo’s Coffee, and a variety of souvenir shops and eateries in the area. In fact, you can see from the couple of photos I am sharing that practically the whole length of the international wing has a shop or restaurant/eatery on one side. The other side would be the boarding gates and seats for departing passengers.
The travel certainly won’t have an excuse for getting hungry as I guess there will be something for everyone whether you want a drink, a snack, a light meal or a heavy one. The souvenir shops are also a mix of the usual items like delicacies, local crafts, shirts, keychains, ref magnets and the like. If you want something more fancy for souvenirs, there is a Narda’s store here. There are a couple of WHSmith stores for those looking for something to read or even some quick souvenir shopping.