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Work trips abroad
We are traveling again abroad for work. Work-related travel was mostly limited to road trips and local travel (e.g., to Zamboanga) in the past 2+ years. We used to average at least 2 foreign trips per year with my wife usually raising that average due to the nature of her work that used to make her travel to the US at least twice a year.
I got this bear in Arnhem, The Netherlands. He’s supposed to be an Air Force aviator, symbolizing one of those who braved the skies to bomb enemy positions or deliver paratroopers during Operation Market Garden as depicted in the movie “A Bridge Too Far.”
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!
Tagbilaran – Panglao Airport Arrival
The last time we were in Bohol, the airport was still in Tagbilaran City. One had to travel about 45+ minutes if you were staying at a resort in nearby Panglao Island that is part of the province. The old airport was closed (the runway though served as a venue for ) and replaced by a new airport. This one is located in Panglao Island and close to the resorts that are the main attraction of the province.
We deplaned via tube/bridge at the new airport terminal
A photo of the control tower from the bridge
Did the airport terminal architecture take inspiration from Bohol’s famous Chocolate Hills?
The corridors were well lighted, again thanks to the building design.
Our plane at the tarmac or apron unloading luggage and cargo
We arrived at the baggage claim area ahead of most people. The carts were already placed across the conveyor belt by airport staff.
Belt 2 on the other side is for international arrivals. The airport already served international flights before the pandemic. These have yet to resume.
Passengers file unto the baggage claim area to pick up their luggage.
The hallway towards the terminal exit. The toilets are on the left side of the hallway.
The sign indicates international arrivals. The airport currently does not serve international flights but these will likely resume once the pandemic threat is clearly contained. Other airports like Iloilo and Bacolod have also suspended international flights.
The international arrival area at Tagbilaran-Panglao Airport
Exit towards our destination
A view of the control tower as we headed towards the airport exit gate
The new road connecting to the national road circling Panglao Island, which connects to the local roads leading to the resorts and towns in the island.
It now only takes something like 10 to 15 minutes to many of the resorts in Panglao Island. This is a convenience to tourists. However, the distance from the main island of Bohol (the rest and most of the province) means a longer travel time for Boholanons or Bol-anons to/from their hometowns from/to the airport. This looks to be a non-issue considering the pros of the new airport outweighs its cons.
More on this airport soon!
Island hopping again
It’s been more than two years since we last traveled by plane and 10 years since our visit to Panglao in Bohol. So its really something we looked forward to considering we now travel with our daughter and there’s a lot to write about on the experiences.
And there’s a lot about transport to write about and share in this blog. There’s a new airport, the nice roads and the journey between Panglao and Balicasag, among others that I will be writing about soon.
Traveling abroad soon?
I miss traveling, particularly overseas. My last travels abroad were to Sri Lanka in September 2019 and to Singapore in December 2019. My long travels within the Philippines was to Zamboanga in January 2020 and Cebu in February the same year. We were supposed to go back to Zamboanga to do some field work in March 2020 but the trip was canceled when the first lockdowns were enforced. I was supposed to travel to Hiroshima last September 2021 for a conference that we highly anticipated partly because of the opportunity to go to Japan again and do another sentimental trip to certain places in that country, including taking the Shinkansen and other trains to go around.
Recently, the US reopened to international travelers and friends have already crossed the Pacific to be with family/relatives there. Here is an article from The New York Times about what you need to know when traveling to the US; including vaccinations:
Roadside scenes – the Kalayaan hydro power plant
Last weekend’s getaway allowed me to take a few quick photos of a familiar sight that is the Kalayaan hydro-electric power plant located in the town of Lumban, Laguna at its border with Kalayaan town in the same province. Built in 1982, it was the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and is the only pumped storage plant in the Philippines. Basically, what ‘pumped storage’ means is that it can reverse its turbine to suck water from the basin at the level of Laguna de Bai to charge what could be a depleted Caliraya reservoir. It can then draw water from the lake to generate power. If water levels at the reservoir are normal to high such as during the wet season, it can draw water more than it needs to pump back into the lake.
There is another power plant in the area, the Caliraya Hydro Electric Power Plant. It is not located along the national highway but to the west of the northern tip of the lake and near Pagsanjan River. I will write about that in another article.
On the road again for a weekend break
It’s been a while since The last road trip. We finally pushed through with our weekend break from our now typical work from home set up. Heading to our airbnb somewhere in Laguna, we passed by the Pililla Wind Farm. The gigantic wind turbines are a sight to behold.
The wind farm is still closed to the public. The energy company or the LGU probably didn’t want people to be congregating there for sightseeing while there is still the pandemic. Along the way, you see a lot of motorcycle and bikers groups in numbers approaching pre covid level. Are they among the vaccinated? Or are they just oblivious to the risks they impose on others should they be infected but asymptomatic? Just asking…
Anyhow, here’s the view at the end of our trip:
On the road again
A couple of weekends ago, I found myself doing my first long drive in months. I wasn’t a passenger but the driver when the wife and I went on an excursion with neighbors-friends, one of whom arranged for our lunch at Ugu Bigyan’s Potter’s Garden in Tiaong, Quezon. We had two options to get there – one via the scenic route through Rizal’s backdoor that takes one to Teresa, Tanay, Baras and Pililla in Rizal, Pakil, Pangil, Paete, Lumban, Pagsanjan, Sta. Cruz and San Pablo in Laguna, the other via C-6, SLEX and STAR Tollways taking us through southern Metro Manila, Laguna, and Batangas. We took the latter route as it was faster (shorter travel time by an hour) and it allowed us to test our newly installed Autosweep RFID’s for the two tollways we used along the way.
The photo below was taken by the wife upon my prodding. I had not seen an arch as we traversed Sto. Tomas (Batangas), and Alaminos and San Pablo (Laguna). These were all along Asian Highway 26 (AH 26) or the Pan Philippine Highway system. The arch marks entry/exit to/from (boundary) the Province of Quezon from the Province of Laguna. Laguna doesn’t have its own arch.
Arches like the one in the photo used to be the landmarks between towns and provinces. I wrote about these many years ago:
I have other photos somewhere but have not scanned/digitized them. Others I think that I left at my parents’ home perished with the floods of Ondoy.
With DPWH’s road widening program, many of these arches around the country may have been demolished. Those that remain tend to constrict traffic as they have space for two lanes and perhaps narrow shoulders at either side like what is shown in the photo. Perhaps others will be reconstructed and even enhanced to reflect a town’s or province’s attractions or attributes?
On data on mobility trends
There are actually a lot of data available on mobility if you know how to look for them. One good source is Apple. Yes, Apple has access to thousands of smart phones that allow them to track individuals (oh you didn’t know that?) movements. Here is the link to Apple’s data:
And here is a graph showing mobility trends in the Philippines from that resource:
Some politicians and political appointees are now saying that we are in this predicament about COVID-19 because of a lack of discipline. That is bullshit. Many stayed home and/or reduced their movements. And then there’s that study showing 90% wore masks when they go out. No, it’s not lack of discipline that’s the problem but the lack of essential services and goods that are supposed to be delivered by those who are suppose to govern and the deficiencies from the start in addressing the spread of the virus especially from abroad. Perhaps these people criticizing Filipinos should look at their mirrors more closely and look left, right and across from they comfy seats to see what’s wrong with the way government has been handling the pandemic?
Limited – Inflight meals on Cebu Pacific
My friends and I were just talking about inflight meals prior to boarding our Cebu Pacific flights last week. En route to Zamboanga, we didn’t have to get some refreshments for the typically 1.5-hour flight. There were many choices to eat from at NAIA Terminal 3. However, heading back to Manila on a lunchtime flight, we joked about what could be available on the plane. We all had our experiences of ordering items on their menu for flights scheduled at different times of the day (e.g., red eye, last flight) and it always seems as if the airline didn’t have many if not most of what appears on their menu.
Lucky Me cup noodles and pretzels for lunch
To be fair, the airline offers pre-ordered meals that they do deliver inflight. We got pre-ordered meals for our flights to and from Singapore last year. But not everyone would usually avail of this option and there is real demand for inflight meals even if there were just pastries or quickly prepared (i.e., instant) meals. I don’t remember the last time we were able to avail a meal more decent than the cup noodles shown in the photo. In fact, we were curious about the new items they had in the menu that included champorado (chocolate porridge). That was supposed to be available last December 2019 but so far we haven’t had the chance to have it inflight.