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Eating at the Mactan Cebu International Airport

While NAIA Terminal 3 has several floors of shops and restaurants, it can get very crowded at the terminal. MCIA has renovated its domestic terminal to include a much improved food court inside (after checking in and passing security) the terminal and restaurants and shops outside. Its food avenue for passengers show us what a modern airport should have. MCIAA definitely did very well here and the design should be a good example for other airports, even domestic, to emulate.

Food court at MCIA domestic wing

 

There’s food for people of various preferences. You can have pizza, pasta, Filipino dishes, ramen, and of course, lechon

 

I prefer to have some ramen if I have the time for a leisurely meal. Otherwise, I get my food from La Bella, which has pizza, pasta and paninis. They usually have freshly baked breads and pastries and I usually buy brownies from them. I take these home as my daughter and I love these fudgy treats.

Mactan Cebu International Airport – newly opened lobby area at Terminal 1

Arriving in Cebu, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the airport’s Terminal 1 has a new lobby that is now open to the public. Here are photos taken during our recent trip to Cebu last month.

View of the newly opened lobby from the baggage claim area

Passengers and well-wishers (mostly people waiting to fetch arriving passengers) at the MCIA’s new lobby

This is the arrival level and one can use the escalators or the stairs to get to the departure level

Escalators at the MCIA’s new lobby

The corridor to the transport terminal is unfinished but the path is spacious enough as shown in the photo.

This is the area closer to the older exit from the arrival area of Terminal 1, which is actually closer to the transport terminal.

A preview of a much more spacious area where a driveway used to be

I made sure to take more photos of the lobby upon our departure from Cebu. Here are those photos:

Workers walking along the newly completed pathways at the ground transport interphase for the departure area of the airport’s Terminal 1.

A familiar scene: passengers saying their farewells to relatives at the airport terminal

Carts neatly placed for use by travellers

Information signs and columns are sleek and modern. These show the way to the check-in counters.

A very spacious departure level lobby

View towards the escalators to the arrival area, which is one level down from the departure area

Shakey’s seem to be one of the first to establish a branch at the newly refurbished Terminal 1.

Corridor to the terminal’s domestic flight check-in counters

Newly installed information board showing scheduled departures and their status

More about Cebu’s airport soon!

Another look at the Mactan Cebu airport taxi stands

This is the last of three posts about our recent arrival at Mactan Cebu International Airport. Following are more photos; this time from exiting the terminal building to the transport stand and driveway.

Arriving passengers exiting the Terminal 1 building and heading to the driveway for transport

Directional signs for various road transport options at MCIA. These include metered taxi, white taxi (airport taxi) and bus

The driveway also includes bays for private vehicles. These are mixed with rideshare vehicles such as those with Grab.

Metered taxi stand – there used to be a Grab booth here but I couldn’t find them in the area so either they might have set up somewhere in the airport or perhaps it is assumed that people can manage with their apps on their smartphones.

Mactan Cebu airport arrival – Part 2

This is a continuation of the feature on arriving at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA). In the previous post, I shared photos of our arrival at the new Terminal 2 and our walk from T2 to the domestic Terminal 1.

Passengers continue to the corridor on the Terminal 1 side

Take-off run for a commercial flight

Cramped corridor for arriving passengers heading to the baggage claim area

Bridgeway or tube at T1

We emerged from the corridor to the T1 building and a sign showing us the way to the baggage claim area

Descending the stairs or escalator to the arrival level and the baggage claim area

Visitors are greeted with posters showing Cebu’s attractions as well as ads for residential and resort developments. Also shown in the photo are information boards on arriving flights. 

Baggage claim area for domestic flights – notice the passengers with their carts or trolleys crowding along the conveyor system.

Another look at the baggage claim area and a less crowded conveyor

More photo of the arrival including the taxi stand soon…

Aerial photos of Cebu and Mactan

I enjoy taking aerial photos when the opportunities present themselves. Leaving Cebu for Manila a couple of weeks ago, I was able to take some nice photos as or plane took off and cruised over Mactan Island. Here are some of the better photos:

A view of Mandaue and Cebu cities across from Mactan Island as our plane took off from the airport

Here’s a first look (a bird’s eye view) of the ongoing construction of the third bridge connecting Cebu and Mactan Islands. This is part of the Cebi-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) project.

Here’s another view of the island with the airplane engine in the photo.
Here is a close-up photo of the island where tall columns will be built to support the CCLEX bridge. The viaduct in the photo is the one connecting downtown Cebu City with the South Reclamation Project area that includes the SM Seaside development.

The SM Seaside as seen from the air

Here’s a view of the South Reclamation Project area with SM Seaside as our plane turned north towards Manila.

Another view of Cebu City and the SRP

Here’s my favourite shot of Cebu and Mactan Islands with the SRP on the foreground, the CCLEX bridge under construction and Mactan International Airport

Back in Cebu

I am back in Cebu for a few meetings for a conference we are organising together with the University of San Jose-Recoletos. Upon landing, I snapped this photo of the Mactan Cebu International Airport’s second terminal, which is designated for international flights. The control tower is also in the photo as well as part of the old terminal that is used for domestic flights.

View from our Cebu Pacific Airbus A320

I will post about the airport and some street scenes in Cebu in the next days. But before those, I think I still have one on Zamboanga airport that I have been procrastinating about. I will also post something about the conference we are organising later in July. Abangan!

Mactan Cebu Airport taxi terminal

I wanted to post about the new taxi stands at the Mactan Cebu International Airport as early as September of last year but I didn’t have good photos to show in the article. Last December, however, I was able to get a load of pictures during 2 trips to Cebu. The terminal at the arrival level of the airport is basically divided into 2 stands – the White Taxi Stand and the Yellow Taxi Stand. Here are the photos of the taxi terminal at Cebu’s airport.

2015-12-08 10.25.25Covered facilities allow for all-weather queuing of passengers.

2015-12-08 10.25.52White taxis are regular taxis while the yellow ones are ‘airport taxis’ charging higher fares.

2015-12-08 10.25.56 The lines for the white taxis are definitely longer and this is basically due to the lower fares charged by regular taxis.

2015-12-08 10.26.01Obviously, there are more regular (white) taxis than yellow taxis so the queue proceed well and the waiting times are not so long.

2015-12-08 10.26.35 There are 5 spaces for taxis but everyone seems to be queuing for the first one. The dispatchers could do better to make the lines go faster.

2015-12-08 10.26.51That’s the queue behind us, all going for the regular taxis.

2015-12-08 10.29.03If the queue for the white taxis is proceeding at an acceptable pace, few people take the yellow taxis. Vehicle-wise, yellow taxis are newer and better maintained models. My observation (based on limited experience) is that yellow taxi drivers are also less reckless than drivers of white taxis.

2015-12-08 10.29.15There are two booths for app-enabled taxis like Grab Taxi and Easy Taxi. Passengers for these may proceed to the area near the booths and board their taxis at the bays near them.

Here are a few photos from the second trip last December when we experienced long queues for taxis. I think we arrived during the morning peak at the airport when a couple of international flights using wide-bodied planes arrived.

2015-12-09 13.05.20A very long queue for the white taxis greeted us when we got out of the airport terminal.

2015-12-09 13.06.00There was a constant arrival of taxis but the demand was just too high; resulting in the long queue.

2015-12-09 13.15.27There is a priority lane for senior citizens, expectant mothers and families with children. Dispatchers make sure that these people get their taxis ahead of others.

Mactan Cebu airport departure

The trip to Cebu would not be complete without taking new photos of Mactan Airport’s departure lounge. This was already expanded and improved a few years ago to accommodate the steady increase in the number of visitors to Cebu. It will soon be part of a major project to expand and upgrade the airport so perhaps this year will see the start of a transformation of sorts for the airport. Following are a few photos describing the departure area.

IMG09994-20150111-1221A crowded departure lounge greets travelers upon completing the final security check. The boxes at the right and near the garbage bins are containers for items prohibited from being hand carried to the aircraft.

IMG09995-20150111-1221Passengers tend to congregate near the eateries and shops even if their gates were a few minutes walk away.

IMG09996-20150111-1221Eateries and other concessionaires at the airport departure lounge include those offering Cebu lechon, dimsum, donuts, sandwiches and others.

IMG09997-20150111-1222There’s a small screen showing the status of flights. I think the airport should eventually have a bigger screen for such useful information.

IMG10001-20150111-1238The District Emporium specializes on locally made stuff including bags, accessories, crafts, footwear and other interesting items travelers can take home as souvenirs.

IMG10002-20150111-1243List of Cebu Pacific flights boarding at our gate and the one near it. These many flights meant a very crowded waiting area. You can see from the photo passengers standing and seated on the floor as they wait for their planes to arrive and be called for boarding.

IMG10003-20150111-1355Inside the departure area that was apparently all for CebPac flights, many seats are actually unoccupied by people. Many seats have bags or other stuff on them care of passengers who tend to hog seats for themselves.

IMG10004-20150111-1355Another look at the area for departing passengers.

I expect to be in Cebu at least one more time this year. We have a big conference coming up in September for the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies. This is a biannual international conference that is hosted by different Asian cities and which the Philippines will be hosting for a second time (The first conference was held in Manila in 1995.). We’ll see if there is a drastic change by then as the airport project is one that is tentatively listed as part of the technical tours for the conference.

Mactan Cebu airport arrival

Arriving in Mactan, Cebu for our vacation, I wanted to get a few photos of the airport to have an updated post on the airport. It’s been a while since I had been to Cebu and I noticed my previous posts on the airport did not feature any photos upon arrival. I also wanted to take photos before major work is undertaken for the airport. Mactan Airport is already scheduled for expansion and upgrading under a PPP project with a consortium including local contractor Megawide and the company behind Indira Gandhi Airport in India. (This was the same project where other consortia that included companies behind Changi and Incheon Airports, top airports in the world, lost in the bidding.) Here are a few photos of the arrival area as well as some tips for getting a taxi to your hotel, resort or wherever you’re going from the airport.

IMG09943-20150109-1445 An Air Asia plane on the tarmac of Mactan Cebu International Airport

IMG09945-20150109-1446We got to use the tube as we deplaned (unlike in Manila) and walked towards the baggage claim area.

IMG09946-20150109-1447Passengers taking their positions to pick up their luggage from the carousel.

IMG09947-20150109-1447Tourist information, hotels and other counters and booths greet arriving passengers at the airport.

IMG09948-20150109-1447Spacious marble-floored baggage claim area

IMG09949-20150109-1447Passengers waiting for their bags to come out of the carousel.

IMG09950-20150109-1448A friendly reminder to people claiming their baggage. The sign is in English, Japanese and Korean, indicative of the languages used by most travelers to and from Cebu. Similar to other airports in the Philippines, no one actually checks whether the baggage tags match the claim stubs with the passengers. Fortunately, people are honest and there have been none or minimal incidents of mistaken luggage.

IMG09951-20150109-1458To get to the taxi stand, you have to cross the driveway as you get out of the arrival area. There are signs to guide you to the taxi stand where airport security provides assistance to passengers as they board the taxis. I took this photo in a hurry so its blurry. The taxis stand is to the right and up a short flight of stairs. The arrow on the large sign in the photo show the way to a ramp to the taxi stand for travelers with heavy or a lot of luggage.

In the next posts: Getting a taxi at Mactan Airport and Mactan Airport departure.