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NAIA Expressway – T2 to T3

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post on the NAIA Expressway. This time, I am posting on the trip back from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3. It cost us 45 pesos, which is the same toll fee we paid for the reverse direction. Here are photos I took of NAIA X with some comments on the sections and signs.

Vehicles coming from Terminals 1 and 2 would have to take the on-ramp after the intersection of NAIA Road and the Paranaque-Sucat Road (Ninoy Aquino Avenue) and just before the intersection with the Domestic Airport Road.

That’s the Park’N Fly building that is located at the corner of the NAIA Road-Domestic Road intersection.

Vehicles bound for Terminal 3 and the Skyway should keep right.

Traffic will merge with those coming from Macapagal Boulevard.

Speed limit and signs for merging traffic

The three lanes include the merging lane at right.

Noticeable along the NAIA X is the lack of shoulders. Although the lanes appear to be wide, drivers may become uncomfortable when two vehicles are side by side due to the perception of constricted space.

There are lots of reflectors installed on the media barriers. There are also a lot of ad space with tarps installed on each lamp post along the expressway.

Sign informing travelers of the toll plaza coming up ahead.

Directional sign guiding vehicles bound for the Skyway or Terminal 3. My colleagues and I agree that instead of just stating “Skyway”, the sign should state “Skyway/C5/Nichols”. Travelers who are not heading south and unfamiliar with the NAIA X off-ramps would likely take the Terminal 3 exit and end up passing through T3. There is actually another off-ramp leading to Andrews Avenue and eventually Sales Road (formerly Nichols) so you don’t have to pass through T3. We made that mistake and ended up going through T3.

Toll plaza prior to the T3 exit ramp

Section just after the toll plaza

Off ramp

Standing vehicles right next to the off-ramp with their drivers likely waiting to fetch arriving passengers. It is practically impossible to make a hard left to avoid going into T3 so you have no choice but to go through the terminal via the departure level (elevated)  or the arrival level (ground).

NAIA Expressway – T3 to T2/T1

Last Friday was our first time to use the NAIA Expressway. This was one of the major projects under the last administration and under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program and became operational last year after being delayed (It was not operational during the APEC summit in 2015.) for some time. I also commented on the need for NAIA X in one post before as I preferred to have a transit system instead. NAIA X is basically and mostly beneficial to cars and not necessarily for public transport. It also practically limits if not eliminates the possibility of having elevated transit (e.g., monorail or AGT) to connect the 4 terminals among them as well as to areas outside the airport zone (BGC, Makati, etc.).

I thought this post would be a useful one for travelers especially those coming in and out of the airports at this time of the year. A lot of people are departing or arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which is a main gateway to Metro Manila and adjacent regions. It can get congested along the roads between the four terminals of the airport and since there is not internal transport system linking them, travelers would need to travel along public roads. It cost 45 pesos (less than 1 USD) for the stretch from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 (same if you’re headed for Terminal 1), and I thought it was well worth it considering it can really be quite congested between the 4 terminals. That congestion has already victimized a lot of people before with many missing their flights. But then perhaps one major cause of that congestion was the construction of the NAIA Expressway?

Entry ramp across from Terminal 3 and before the Sta. Clara church at Newport City

Toll plaza where travelers pay upon entry to the tollway

Just before the toll plaza where most booths are for mixed ETC/cash transactions

Upon exiting the toll plaza, travelers have to deal with multiple lanes merging into two

Two-lane section with neither shoulders nor “elbow room”

  Directional sign providing guidance especially for vehicles headed to Terminals 1 &2

Directional signs for vehicles bound for Cavite and Macapagal Blvd (left) and Terminals 1 or 2 (right)

The tollway section goes underneath the section headed towards Macapagal Boulevard and the Coastal Road

The lane from Terminal 3 merges with another from the Coastal Road

Signs showing which side to stay along towards either Terminal 2 or 1

Fork in the road – the tollway branches our to either Terminal 2 or Terminal 1

Off ramp towards Terminal 2

Next: Terminal 2 to Terminal 3

NAIA Terminal 1 departures – some updates, Part 2

This is a continuation of the previous article providing updates on NAIA Terminal 1. The terminal is currently being renovated and what used to be the most maligned terminal in the country has improved both in terms of facilities (including the toilets!) and processes (immigration was efficient when I passed through). Here are more photos of the terminal from my recent trip.

IMG10847-20150503-0714The same Duty Free shops were there. The lighting was basically the same but area seems cleaner than before.

IMG10848-20150503-0714There are few Duty Free shops are T1 compared to other international terminals, which are like shopping malls in terms of selections (e.g., Changi, Hong Kong, etc.).

IMG10849-20150503-0719Many areas have been cordoned off for the renovation works at the terminal.

IMG10850-20150503-0719A welcome sight for many, especially those wanting to have a decent cup of coffee or tea would be the Starbucks at T1.

IMG10851-20150503-0720One of the new concessionaires at Terminal 1 is a welcome sight to passengers who before had to make do with food and drink stands that weren’t as attractive.

IMG10852-20150503-0721Another new concessionaire is this coffee shop at T1 offering what looked like fairly prices (for an airport) drinks, sandwiches and meals.

IMG10853-20150503-0727The corridor to our boarding gate has been repaired and cleaned. The carpets no longer looked filthy and were not smelly.

IMG10854-20150503-0728Japan Airlines aircraft docked at T1 sporting its original (retro) logo

IMG10855-20150503-0728Vacant slot and available airbridge at T1

IMG10856-20150503-0728Another look at the renovated and cleaned corridors to the boarding gates

IMG10857-20150503-0728A China Southern Airlines plane at NAIA Terminal 1

IMG10858-20150503-0729Passenger lounge under renovation

IMG10859-20150503-0729Shared lounges for First Class and Business Class passengers of several airlines

IMG10861-20150503-0730Stairs and escalators to the pre-departure area and boarding gates

IMG10862-20150503-0730Souvenir shop at the pre departure area

IMG10863-20150503-0731Final baggage inspection before the waiting area near the boarding gate

IMG10864-20150503-0734Boarding gate for my flight

IMG10865-20150503-0735There were plenty of available seats as passengers only started to arrive at the pre departure area. The seats were basically the same ones here when I last used T1. Though not needing to be reupholstered, these require proper and regular cleaning considering all the people who have gone through the airport.

I will post again soon on Terminal 1 but from the arrival perspective.

NAIA Terminal 1 departures – some updates, Part 1

The long-delayed renovations to the Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 was finally undertaken a few months ago. The much maligned airport terminal has been dubbed as the worst terminal in the world, with poorly maintained facilities including dirty toilets. It is certainly not the worst airport in the country but fails as a international gateway. Here are a few photo I took recently upon checking in for a flight.

IMG10839-20150503-0609The main departure lobby seems so spacious with significantly fewer passengers now using the terminal. Many major airlines have transferred to Terminal 3 including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta and Emirates.

IMG10840-20150503-0609They must have changed the lighting as the area is not as gloomy as before.

IMG10841-20150503-0610Proper illumination plus what looks like recently sanded and polished marble equals a more refined departure lobby.

IMG10842-20150503-0610Even the check-in counters have been renovated.

IMG10843-20150503-0610Other counters are vacant due to the transfer (temporary?) of other airlines to Terminal 3.

IMG10844-20150503-0652Japan Airlines counters opened just in time and the queues were orderly.

IMG10846-20150503-0653Business class counters accommodated economy passengers whenever they were available (not processing business class passengers).

More on the renovations in the next post!

NAIA Terminal 1 Drop-off/ Hatid

I was at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 recently to drop off the wife who was going on a trip abroad. I already knew that the terminal was undergoing renovations and many airlines had already transferred to Terminal 3 including Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates and Singapore Airlines, which had a of flight between them in and out of Terminal 1. This meant that Terminal 1 would have much less people and that’s exactly what we saw from the departure level driveway.

IMG10798-20150429-0622People getting carts for their luggage – and there are a lot of carts due to the drastically reduced number of passengers at T1.

IMG10799-20150429-0622The departure level driveway had very few traffic. This area used to be so crowded with security directing drivers not to park too long so others could stop to drop-off their passengers.

IMG10801-20150429-0624Well-wishers crowd the very limited space near the entrances to the terminal. This is despite all the signs practically screaming for them to clear the area. Meanwhile, one airport security staff seems exasperated after probably telling people to leave the area so many times already. There is a waiting area just after the walled/boarded off section in the photo where people cold make their last minute face to face goodbyes.

IMG10802-20150429-0624Waiting area for passengers and accompanying persons – I don’t recall they had this area before but then I probably didn’t notice because it was too crowded outside and I usually went inside the terminal immediately.

In a few days I will try posting about the renovations being undertaken at NAIA Terminal 1. These were necessary and long overdue for a terminal that’s been called one of the worst in the world. From what I saw outside, I don’t really expect to see much inside except perhaps some facelifts here and there. It’s better to manage expectations when it comes to such limited renovations.

Queuing at NAIA immigration

A lot of people get angry or feel aggravated when they arrive at Manila’s international airport and encounter the long, chaotic queues at the immigration section. This is particularly the cases at NAIA’s Terminals 1 and 2, which handle the most international arrivals among the 3 terminals. Terminal 3 has significantly less passengers despite it being the hub of Cebu Pacific, which currently enjoys higher passenger loads compared to rival Philippine Airlines but apparently serves less international passengers than PAL.

NAIA T1 immig1Multiple queues seem to merge into one mass of people, all eager to get to a booth for their passports to be stamped. Early on, you will hear a lot of people already complaining about the queues and stating out loud how the system could be improved.

NAIA T1 immig2Another photo showing multiple queues at the immigration section for arrivals at the NAIA Terminal 1.

The solution to this problem is quite simple and is actually already being implemented at the immigration section for departing passengers at Terminals 2 and 3. In both cases, there is only 1 queue for passengers that is served by several booths. This same approach to manage queues of arriving passengers is already being applied in many other airports elsewhere including Japan’s Narita and Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi where they have to handle even more passengers. Perhaps, also, a couple of booths and a separate line can be provided as courtesy to citizens of other ASEAN countries. There are such courtesy lanes in airports in other ASEAN countries, with whom we have existing agreements for visa free travels like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. An illustration of the system is shown in the following diagram:

Queuing at airports

I posted the figure above to be clear about the systems I’ve seen in other airports that worked quite well in being able to handle the large number of arriving passengers at the airports. It is more orderly and efficient, and to me at least, it is fair for all passengers who tend to shift to lines they think are moving faster but eventually are frustrated when the line turns out slower than their previous one. We’re hopeful that airport or immigration staff can improve the system and really soon as this will effectively cut down the times people spend at the airport terminals.

Whatever happened to the NAIA redesign/renovation proposal

I forgot to include a link to the design presentation that came out a few years ago. It was quite promising and lot of people (including me) hoped that the project would push through. Of course, we now know we are nowhere near an upgrade of Terminal 1. Following is a video of the redesign proposal on YouTube attributed to renowned designers Kenneth Cobonpue, Royal Pineda and Budji Layug.


I leave it to the reader to Google about new reports of what happened with the project and the bidding that was supposed to have been conducted. It’s been 1.5  years now since that proposal, and there’s certainly and practically nothing happening at NAIA Terminal 1.