Tag Archives: Cebu Pacific Air

Arriving in Siem Reap

Standard
Arriving in Siem Reap

September 1, 2013

On a tuktuk

Siem Reap, Cambodia

10:30 pm

~

I had just exited Siem Reap international airport an hour after I landed.  I spent a good deal of that hour at the missing baggage counter because my umbrella didn’t show itself on the conveyor belt assigned to Cebu Pacific Air.  I was a little pissed off because it was rainy season in Southeast Asia. I needed that umbrella and I didn’t want to spend unnecessarily for something I already had.

The man at the counter wanted me to file for a complaint, but I didn’t want to go through the lengthy process. After sending a prayer to heaven, asking it not to rain the entire week I was in Siem Reap, I decided to just let the matter go with a sigh.

My pick up was holding my name printed in bold letters. I quickly went to him and apologized for making him wait. I explained to him what happened while he walked me to his tuktuk.

~

We were now speeding through the highway and I was lost in thought. It has been a long time since I have traveled alone and I was looking forward to it.

There have been many times I have wanted to visit Cambodia. But getting there was the main problem. It was either via Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh, and that proved a tad too expensive. So Cambodia has always been left to be discovered some other time.  That changed in April of this year when Cebu Pacific Air started flying straight out from Manila.

And now, here I am.

Cambodia has been one of those countries that has been fabled. Distant and remote, shrouded with promises of  adventure… thanks to the image of Lara Croft being burned into my brain when I used to play the video game when I was in High School. Cambodia became a fantasy when I saw Angelina Jolie run through the temple ruins of Angkor Thom on-screen.

I have seen Cambodia being featured on TV, a war-torn country that has left its people physically, emotionally, and mentally crippled BUT always FULL in spirit.

I look around as the buildings blur before my eyes, I am realizing that they are slowly waking up. I hope they wake up on the right side of the bed!

I see a motorcycle in front of us flanked by two bicycles. One on his left and one on his right. The guy on the motorcycle is speeding on a slow pace while his friends (on their respective bikes) are holding on to the drivers shoulders while their foot are anchored to the foot peg on either side of the motorcycle.  My driver decided to over take them. As I look back, I see them laugh over a joke.

I took this as a good sign.

~

Boracay 101

Standard
Boracay 101

January 2, 2011

Caticlan Airport

Malay, Aklan

Philippines

~

Cholo and I arrived two hours early before our 5:20 pm flight to Manila on Airphil Express.

I looked around the newly refurbished Caticlan Airport. I’m quite impressed.

“The airport has changed Bubba.” I told Cholo.

“Yes, quite a change from 3 years ago.” was his reply.

As we made our way to the check-in counter, I saw on the monitor that all 3 Cebu Pacific Flights were cancelled.

My panic button turned on.

I was relieved to see that our flights were still OK.

I was still curios.

“Why are the Cebu Pacific flights cancelled?”

“Will our flights get cancelled or be delayed?”

“What will happen if it does?”

All of these questions were racing in my mind while checking in, when …

“Would you like to be on an earlier flight sir?” asked the man behind the counter.

“Yes, we wouldn’t mind an earlier flight.” was our reply.

We got our boarding passes and proceeded to the departure gates and waited for our 3:50 pm flight to Manila.

~

It is now 4:30 pm.

We still have not left Caticlan.

No word has been said on the reasons why our flight was delayed.

Earlier, we had some coffee and blueberry cheese cake on a small cafe on the second floor.

We sat down on the cold steel benches by the departure gates and played Angry Birds to stop our patience from wearing thin.

Our original Airphil Express 5:20pm flight was rerouted to Kalibo. Thank God we got on an earlier flight!

2 SEAir flights arrived within 5 minutes of each other. Still delayed.

I was looking around and I was quite surprised to see that all the personnel from different airlines were in a rush.

Cebu Pacific was busy looking for passengers whose flights were rerouted to Kalibo.

SEAir was busy tearing off boarding passes of passengers.

According to the P.A. system our Airphil Express plane has just landed in Caticlan. We are requested to stand by the boarding gates to board once the aircraft is ready.

We were now walking to the plane.

Another Airphil Express plane landed.

The two SEAir planes that arrived prior took off only less than 5 minutes apart.

By 5:30 our plane was at the end of the runway getting ready to take off.

~

FLIGHTS 101

There are two ways to fly to Boracay. You can fly straight to Caticlan or via Kalibo.

If you fly to Kalibo, you will have to take a van conveniently located outside Kalibo International Airport. It costs around Php 175 per person. It will take you all the way to Caticlan Jetty Port. The only down side is you have to wait for the van to fill up before it leaves.

Flights to and from Caticlan are notorious for delays. Mostly because of airport congestion in manila or weather disruptions. When a flight is cancelled or rerouted, the airline company of that flight will assist you in making sure that you will get to your destination on the same day. If you are an outbound passenger you will take your new flight from Kalibo. The airline will provide a van from Caticlan Airport all the way to Kalibo International Airport. If you are an inbound passenger to Boracay, the airline will provide a van than will bring you from Kalibo International Airport all the way to Caticlan Jetty Port.

Kalibo International Airport is 90 minutes away.

One of the main reasons why flights get cancelled or rerouted is because the air traffic control tower closes right after sun set. Caticlan Airport is a small airport with a short runway the relies on sunlight. Once darkness falls, the airport goes dark because it is not equipped with lights. Thus when flights arrive or depart after sunset it is automatically rerouted to Kalibo International Airport. I found out about this while I was talking to the girl who served me my blueberry cheese cake and café latté.

When planning, make sure you have 3 or 4 hours lay over between flights. This is just to make sure that if your inbound flight will hit some unforseen delay it won’t affect your connecting flight to Boracay. This also goes for  your outbound flight connecting from Boracay.

So, if you have a connecting flight from Manila to anywhere else in the world, make sure to take an earlier flight out of Caticlan Airport. Though I know it sucks to wake up early, but it sucks even more if you miss your flight back to your country.

TERMINALS 101

Traveling to Boracay can be quite an “adventure” especially for foreign nationals transiting via Manila. Immediately upon arrival, most especially at NAIA Terminal 1, some foreign nationals get confused and overwhelmed because of the lack of infrastructure and available assistance.  All of which are heightened because of the humid weather. My best advice is to stay calm and ask around. We, Filipinos, will be glad to help you in any way possible.

Manila has 4 terminals.

Terminal 1 : Is where all major international flights operate from. The Following airlines operate from this terminal :

  1. Air China
  2. Air Niugini
  3. Asiana Airlines 
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. China Airlines
  6. China Southern Airlines
  7. Delta Air Lines
  8. Dragonair
  9. Emirates
  10. Etihad Airways
  11. EVA Air
  12. Gulf Air
  13. Hawaiian Airlines
  14. Hong Kong Express Airways
  15. Japan Airlines
  16. Jeju Air
  17. Korean Air
  18. Kuwait Airways
  19. Malaysia Airlines
  20. Qantas
  21. Qatar Airways
  22. KLM
  23. Jetstar Asia Airways
  24. Jetstar Airways
  25. Royal Brunei Airlines
  26. Singapore Airlines
  27. Saudi Arabian Airlines
  28. Tiger Airways
  29. Thai Airways International
  30. United Airlines

Terminal 2 : Also known as The Centennial Terminal in commemoration of the 100th year of Philippine independence. This terminal is exclusively used by Philippine Airlines for all its domestic and international flights.

Terminal 3 : Is the newest(started operations in 2008) and biggest terminal in Manila. In the future, all international flights from Terminal 1 are to operate from here. As of this time, only the airlines listed below are the ones that operate from here:

  1. All Nippon Airways
  2. Airphil Express (All domestic and International flights)
  3. Cebu Pacific (All domestic and international flights)
  4. Zest Airways (Manila -Incheon flights only)

Terminal 4 : is the old Manila domestic terminal that hosts domestic flights by these airlines:

  1. Sky Pasada
  2. South East Asian Airlines (Seair)
  3. Zest Airways

Let it be known that all airport terminals in Manila are not interconnected by a train system. It is best to take a “coupon” taxi to get from one terminal to another, especially when you have a connecting flight to catch. You will need to pay a fixed rate of Php 300. Don’t use the yellow metered airport taxis, you’ll waste your precious time on queue.

When you are not in a rush, there is also a shuttle service provided by NAIA that goes through all terminals. I am not sure about how effective the service is, since I have not ridden on one yet. I have heard that on good days ,it is a quick ride; on bad days, one has to wait for hours. Then again, it only costs Php 20 per passenger. I am not sure where the shuttle services are located on each terminals. Just make sure to ask around, especially at the Airline Passenger Transfer Desk. They can definitely answer specific questions but most of all they can lead you to the right directions.

The terminals are located a kilometer or two from each other. It may take 30 minutes to an hour to get from one terminal to another depending on traffic.

Feel free to click on the names of the different airlines to be routed to their main website.

Baggage 101

Take note that all flights that fly straight to Caticlan offer only 10 kilos of baggage allowance per passenger and 7 kilos baggage allowance for hand carried luggage. The reason because planes that fly to Boracay are turboprop planes. Space is limited and the insurance paid for handling bags is only for 10 kilos.

So if your luggage is more than that, be prepared to pay extra. Rates differ from airline to airline.

If you are flying via Kalibo you are allowed 15 kilos or more for checked in baggage depending on the airline you are taking. It’s still 7 kilos for a single piece of hand carried luggage.  Kalibo is a bigger airport that can support bigger planes. The flights to and from Kalibo are cheaper and it has more room. Thus, more baggage allowance.

If you are traveling all over Asia and one stop in Boracay, here’s my advice. Prior to your arrival in the Philippines, prepare a small bag for your trip to Boracay. When you arrive in Manila feel free to leave your luggage at the airport lockers located at Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.

*Terminal 1 has an Interline Baggage Room. This is exclusive for passengers arriving in Terminal 1. It is located at the right hand side of the arrival area near the carousel before customs and near the bathrooms. The telephone number is +632-877-11-09 local 3633.

*Terminal 2 has an exclusive baggage counter for Philippine Airline passengers. It is the Central Baggage Services. The telephone number is +632-877-11-09 local 2469.

**Terminal 3 has Luggage and More. Where you can store your luggage for Php 300 a day. Php 150 pesos per 3 hours for small bags and Php 200 per 3 hours for big bags.

Trust me when I say this will come as a relief as you travel along and you’re not tugging along your baggage that weighs more than 20 kilos.

Arriving in Caticlan 101

When you exit Caticlan airport turn to your right and go all the way straight to the corner where you will see a tricycle terminal.  This is what you are going to take to get to Caticlan jetty Port. It costs Php 50.

If you choose to walk it, it is only 10 minutes away.

Upon reaching Caticlan Jetty Port, before you can enter the terminal you will be pointed to Window 1. Here you will pay for the boat ride at Php 25 per person. You will then proceed to Window 2 where you are going to pay for the environmental and admission fee of php 75. Lastly, you will proceed to Window 3 where you will have to pay for the terminal fee of php 50 per person.

Once everything is paid for, you go inside the terminal and proceed to the banca (outrigger boat).

Arriving in Boracay 101

You will arrive at Boracay island via the Cagban Jetty Port.

From here proceed to the tricycle terminal and find out where your hotel is located along white beach. The dispatcher will help you with this. The rates to a specific area are fixed and are displayed on a metal “bulletin board” located right by the terminal.

Places to Stay in Boracay 101

When Cholo and I are there we usually there,  rent a small room in the house beside the Tesebelle restaurant in Yapak. What we like about it is that it is just a two minute walk to Puka beach. Will write a full review about this and post a link here as soon as it’s up.

To find the right place that suites your budget and style, you can search for places to stay at by going through Trip Advisor. ( <– Click to be brought to the main page)

You can also browse through the Boracay wikitravel page to see where you can stay. (Click here to be brought to the page.)

What to do in Boracay 101

Aside from swimming and sun bathing, You can go sucba diving.

Take boat tours and navigate the entire island. Go snorkeling and fish feeding.

Take a boat trip during sunset.
Go parasailing.
Go kiteboarding on Bulabog beach.

Go skimboarding along White beach.

Go motorbiking.

Go horse back riding.

And when you get tired, have a massage by the beach or enjoy a relaxing time in one of those spas.

Boracay Amenities 101

There are ATM machines and money changers located at d’Mall in Station 2.

If you ran out of water or in dire need of condoms, there is a small grocery store also located at d’Mall.

If you need medicines, there are pharmacies all around. One is conveniently located at d’Mall.

If worse comes to worse, there are clinics and hospitals with in minutes of White Beach.

If you are hungry, just walk along White Beach. There are so many places to choose from that you’ll get confused. There are fast food joints also located at d’Mall.

If you want to have drinks just walk along White Beach and pick the bar suites you best.

If you want to go dancing, at night just follow the music.

~

Boracay will always remain a personal experience. No matter how much you’ve read about Boracay, once you get there you will find the things you’d love to do by following your intuition. It will be a delight discovering places that you will learn to enjoy.

Celebrate a part of your life in Boracay.

Swim on the water, lay on the sand, bathe under the sun and have a coconut to quench your thirst.

`

*taken from http://www.philippines-travel-guide.com

**taken from http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=683633&publicationSubCategoryId=87

Essentials: The Toiletry Kit

Standard

September 9, 2010

Qatar Airways Flight QR 647

Somewhere over the Persian Gulf

~

I bring the seat back to it’s sitting position. I can’t understand why I’m feeling sick. The first 5 hours aboard the Qatar Airways Manila – Doha flight was very pleasant. Cholo has managed to upgrade our Economy Seats to Business Class Seats; I don’t know how he did that. The food was good. I had some tuna and tiramisu.

Why do I feel nauseous?!

I get up, take my in-flight bag from the overhead bin and retrieve my toiletry kit.

I should go to the toilet.

I sit down to relieve my self. I still don’t feel better.

I walk back to my chair.

I should tell Cholo I don’t feel too good.

What the hell did I eat?! Was it the sandwich from the airport lounge? I didn’t drink coffee. Was it the tonic water? Did I over eat?

I need to go to the toilet again.

I go through my toiletry kit and start looking for pills. Dang! I checked them in!

Still don’t feel too good. I need to vomit.

Why isn’t anything coming out?!

Cholo must be worried, will go back to my seat.

There’s the Flight Attendant. Should ask for an air sickness bag.

Can’t believe we’re about to land and I feel awful with this bag covering my face!

I hope the change in pressure will make me vomit.

I think we’ve landed. the seat belt sign in finally off. I should go to the toilet before disembarking.

Why is this happening to me?! I have two fingers down my throat and still not vomiting!

I should disembark now.

Oh crap! I forgot I need to ride on a bus to get to the transit area of Doha International Airport!

I should tell Cholo that I prefer to stand near the doors of the Bus just incase.

The bus diver is driving to fast! I don’t remember the tarmac here to wind as much..i’m getting more nauseous!

Finally we’re here at the gate. I should call out to Cholo. OH NO! I think I’m gonna barf! Can the doors finally open?!

I need to barf somewhere! I need to walk faster! I don’t want to barf in the middle of the tarmac!

——–

So glad I made it to the side of the gate. Oh shit! An Arab airport personnel is looking at me! OH MY GOD! I MIGHT GET QUARANTINED! 

Dang! I stink of fish…

~

On that fateful night, I didn’t get quarantined. I just had to go to the clinic to ask for pills for indigestion.

~

Inside the airport, I made my way to the toilet. Washed my face. Brushed my teeth. Swished some mouth wash and waited groggily for my connecting flight to Rome.

It is during times like these when your toiletry kit comes in handy. I learned this the hard way.

~

Your toiletry kit must have the essentials that you need just in case you find yourself in a situation similar to mine. I have learned over time that you must have on hand the essential things that you might need for a flight.

my toiletry kit

Listed below are the things that you might need.

Wet Tissues

I ran out of wet tissues earlier on the flight. As soon as I finished vomiting on the side of the immigration gates at Doha International Airport, I asked Cholo for some wet tissues. He handed me dry ones. I was too weak to get pissed, because I handed him a whole pack of wet tissues in Manila and he told me he already had them in his bag. You should have seen the though balloon floating in my head, “Note to self: No matter what, bring it yourself next time.”

There I was  lining up through the transit/immigration area waiting for my turn to put my bags through the x-ray machine stinking of fish.

Alcohol

I suggest you buy one of those small bottles of alcohol; the spray type. Aside from sanitizing your hands, there might come a time when you just need to spray the toilet seat.

Tooth Brush, Tooth Paste, Mouth Wash, Dental Floss

On a flight you are only given these things when you fly 6 hours or more (minus the mouth wash and dental floss). Might as well bring your own. The tooth paste given is good for one use and the toothbrush is not even serviceable enough to psychologically satisfy someone, let’s say, who threw up some fish on the side of the immigration gates.

I remember being on the red-eye from Bangkok, aboard Cebu Pacific Air. I was sharing my seat with two Americans.  I just came from the toilet to brush away the after taste the noodle left in my mouth. I decided to grab some shut-eye. I put the table down and rested my head on it. I must have dozed off for some thirty minutes when a stink in the air slowly woke me up. As I opened my eyes, I see the American girl, with her head on the table facing me with her breath directly in my face.

I found out where the stink came from.

Couldn’t sleep for the rest of the flight.

Brush your teeth. You owe that to the person sitting beside you.

p.s.

When buying a tooth-brush I suggest buying the regular size ones with caps in comparison to those Oral B tooth brush-travel pack. Mainly because the regular size ones are easier to maintain and clean. The Oral B travel tooth-brush is difficult to clean, and over time algae accumulates at the bottom of the covering. It is very unsanitary.

Facial Mist

The air inside the plane makes your skin dry. Once you feel your skin tighten that means it’s time to hydrate. Just spray some facial mist to freshen up. Will help you to “wake-up” after dozing off.

It will make you feel better.

Facial Scrub and Facial Moisturizer

If you have a 4 hour lay over or  even more, one way to freshen up before boarding your next flight is to wash your face. Facial scrub can wash away the dirt that you picked up on the plane or at the airport. Washing your face will make you feel better and LOOK better.

 Moisturizing can help hydrate your skin. Remember, dry skin can lead to skin irritation called pimples.

Eye Drops

Helps to remove “red eyes”. Helps to wake you up. Helps to moisten dry eyes.

Lip Balms

Lip balms like Chapstick can help prevent your lips from drying out. Dry lips are painful. Licking it won’t help, it will jut make it dryer. Using lip balms helps make your lips feel better. It can lead you to have a much more comfortable traveling experience.

A small pack of Meds

One should remember that when  traveling to a different country, that country has their own specific rules when it comes to selling medicines.  So bring your own.

I learned this the hard way when Cholo and I spent two months in London. The weather there can get so bad and capricious that I came down with the flu. I couldn’t buy flu medicines over the counter because I needed a doctor’s prescription. Let me just say that I recuperated by drinking lots of tea and buying some anti-tussive medication from BOOTS. After that I swore to bring my own meds next time.

Cholo was also in a similar situation when we were in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam for work. He suddenly came down with the flu. I didn’t bring any meds with me because it was just a short trip. I had to walk the entire length of Nguyen Thi minh Khai Street looking for a pharmacy. After being lost in translation, I was able to buy something similar to Bioflu.

In my opinion when traveling you should bring the following:

  1. Biogesic – just in case you come down with fever.
  2. Non-Drowse Decolgen – take one tablet one hour before a flight. It prevents you from coming down with a cold.
  3. Strepsils (for dry cough)/ Solmux – to help you with your cough.
  4. Mefinamic Acid – as a pain reliever. doesn’t have a massive impact to your liver unlike acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  5. Diatabs/lomotil/Imodium – just incase  you come down with diarrhea.
  6. Tums/Kremil-S  – anti flatulence / anti gas
  7. Flagyl Forte – anti amoebiasis pills. three times a day for seven days (do the math) NOTE: you couldn’t drink alcohol while medicated
  8. Claritin – anti-allergy. Once you start sneezing in a new country, that’s it.
Keep a tablet of two in your toiletry kit for the flight and keep the rest in a medicine wallet (available at all BEABI stores) inside your check in baggage.

Then again, one’s toiletry kit depends on one’s personality and needs. so what one needs is purely on a case to case basis. I hope that  this simple input of mine will help You in creating your own staples inside your toiletry kit.