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  1. #1
    Newbie mrmister1964's Avatar
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    Naia 2 – welcome to hell.

    Have you ever been to the Philippines before? If yes, then you most likely have been flying in or out from the infamous NAIA 2 terminal in Manila. Why infamous? Well, this airport really has something of a bad reputation , built up over many years, which amazingly enough happens to be used by the national carrier, PAL – Philippine Air Lines, as well.

    It all starts as soon one arrive the airport area and the driver tries to navigate through a total chaotic traffic situation basically in front of the doors to the departure hall. Where there are more family members and friends than actual travelers, clustered together right by the entrance where one will show the passport and ticket, in order to pass first check point. One kind already has this sneaking feeling this is going to be an interesting experience.

    After almost elbowing myself, with a sorry this and sorry that, I pass the first security check point to line up at the first baggage x-ray point. And it is understandable in these days, with all the security issues everywhere. Except that there are normally only 2 machines operating for 1000s of travelers and their luggage at NAIA 2. Oh well, we all must go through this.

    Then, after the first x-ray checks, more chaos awaits you with all the people moving in all directions, looking for their check in gates. The check in area is so narrow it is quite amazing to think that up and running intelligent people actually thought this out. People bump into each other all the time, looking for their gates. Some give up and line up by the information desk. They are actually helpful. And you are directed to the correct check in counters. This is because of poor information on the sometimes not always up and running boards.

    Check in goes fairly quick, which is probably the most positive about this nightmare of a terminal. After all, we should also give credit were it is deserved. And off we go to passport checks, and another absolutely crazy solution. They seem to change the configuration (layout) of the passport control points ever so often. Ok, I have been 21 times to Manila, but 10 months since last time. But it must be the 6th or 7th new layout in 11 years.

    It takes only 35 people in total before the lines start to form in to one single line, which starts to stretch along the airport itself. Absolutely ridicules, and one can not see which type of line one belongs to before one is well inside the area. Was watching a senior citizen who lined up at the senior citizen line, and kept waiting and waiting. Nobody helping. Finally, after some time she asked one of the immigration's officers who just hang around the ones working, and she was scolded and told to line up in the other lines.
    After this ordeal, we are into another even worse one. Namely the terror of the last security check of hand luggage, shoes, electronics, except the “American Freedom Check” (cavity checks).

    Again, only 2 machines for 1000s of people. With, wait for it, only 10-11 boxes available for items like laptops, etc. It feels like this is some kind of joke, but I realize it is just plain simple stupidity. Stupidity by the morons who created it, and by the cowards who are too afraid to tell their bosses how idiotic this system is. You finally get yourself a box, which is kicked over the floor (Indeed it is) and put all your stuff in one simple box. Laptop, pads, mobiles, chargers, Camera, belt, watch, and your shoes as well, all in the same box. My God, what’s the use of a box if it all are in a pile anyway.

    Could just as well have been in the bag then. And when it has been through the machine and you start to pick up all your stuff, the other boxes are coming through and they start to pile up. Because the security staff want to use the few boxes asap for all the other pax already lined up. I only wish someone filmed this lunacy. Of course, the unintelligent security crews do not see the problems. After all, these inbreeds have gotten their jobs via family members or bribes.

    Ahhh, finally inside the international part, and I want something to eat, or drink. Aha, now I start to understand why so many pax in the passport line carried with them stuff from various junk food chains in paper bags. Because there are 2-3 tiny small food vendors inside this International airport. Again, one must truly be there to really see this madness. Can you imagine the lines in front of these 2-3 tiny shacks of vendors. Yes they are shacks. Same as you might see on a corner somewhere. Not too hungry, so it is more laughable than to cry of.
    The food lines are cutting through all the pax trying to move to their gates, because again, this part is also a narrow intestine of a place. The few places available for pax who have bought food is already taken by regular pax. So people stand all over and eat.
    What about the rest room facilities. Oh dear oh dear. If you are in an urgent state, you might end up have to drop it in your undies, and hope for solid stuff. Toilet lines stretches out and in to the main departure area where rest of the pax trying to move from A to B. What a sight!

    A few duty free shops are here (2 of them I think), and the best about them? They have stolen most of the air condition! Because again, not surprisingly, this airport can not be cooled down when it is hot outside and the sun is shining. So they have placed big industrial fans here and there, which the duty free shops have taken a few and directed towards their shops.
    And there we are, in all the noise from repeatedly announcements, loud chatter from all the pax, sweating, and trying to navigate between lines here and there.

    Summary, if the person this airport is named after, had seen this. He would have pushed up the lid on his coffin, stared into the air in disgust, before continue to rest.

    NAIA 2, the embarrassment of the Philippines.


    Ahhh, that was a good rant.

  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear about your that, Mr2. Yes, the airports in PI do need to be rehauled. NAIA 1 was voted twice or thrice as worst airport, which prompted the gov't to make some changes. The last time I was in NAIA1 was in 2014 and renovation was ongoing. Haven't been there recently, so can't say if the changes have been implemented and if the aircon now works! In 2014, there were lots of signs saying "please bear with us" re: the renovation.

    My last NAIA-2 experience was in 2015, and like yours, it wasn't a nice one. A/C was lacking, not enough seats in the waiting area, etc. Fortunately most of my flights don't fly out from there.

    The airport that I frequent is NAIA-3, and since it's the newest, it's not too bad. There are self-service kiosks for Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. Other gulf carriers like Emirates and Etihad fly out from N-3 too.

    My gripe is that traffic is continually bad. My last flight out was on a Fri nite (traffic was 3x worse). Even though I left home early and intended to be at the airport 2H before the flight, I barely made it in time for my flight due to traffic. Why they (the gov't) have to separate the terminals and not just make 1 big terminal with shuttle buses inside the airport (like some countries do) - no idea. It's certainly an inconvenience if your connecting flight is in a diff terminal.

  3. #3
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    Just getting to the fucking place is bad enough, more so if it's raining or peak traffic hours. Always allow a few hours extra just in case. Have sat in cars stuck in traffic near NAIA more than once and seen people legging it towards the airport with their bags. Whether they made it or not, or did only to get held-up trying to check in and missed their flight anyway, is anyone's guess.

    I have friends in the PI that it would be good to see more often but unless it's a very special occasion I ain't going there any more. The thought of getting in/out of that fucking chicken shed is way too much for me to deal with these days, far better they come here and we meet in Bangkok or Pattaya...

  4. #4
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    ^lol re: ppl walking to the airport w/ their bags due to heavy traffic.

    I experienced that too, and it's a bit funny now (but it wasn't funny during that time). As I've previously stated, my last flight was on a Fri nite (this was last month). I was on a bus from the province and my bus was still on the skyway (up there!). I had a window seat and as we were on a standstill, I could see some ppl outside, leaving their buses and walking down the ramp. I hesitated going out of the bus since I thought there was still ample time and "maybe" the traffic would ease (wishful thinking).

    Thirty minutes later, my bus had only moved by 1-2 meters and I was worried that I would miss my flight. I asked the conductor if the end of the skyway was near and he said it was. Fortunately I travelled light and just had a backpack. So I got off the bus, walked ~3 min to get off the skyway. I'm a bit afraid of heights and I didn't want to walk too far along the elevated ramp. But anyway, I wasn't alone in walking since other ppl were fed up with the traffic and were strolling down too.

    Then I needed to cross a street, then get a taxi to the airport. Problem was, most taxis were full. By then, I was chiding myself that I didn't get the Grab or Uber app on my phone. Fortunately, a taxi stopped by where I was waiting. The driver went out to have a break - bought a drink and ate some streetfood (squid balls) from a vendor. I approached the driver and pleaded with him to take me to Naia-3. Initially, he didn't want to, since he had just finished dropping off a passenger, which took 1 hour (regular time is maybe 20 min). So I pleaded some more & agreed to a set price (not metered). At that point, I didn't care for the taxi price bcos if I missed my flight, I would spend more for rebooking!

    Suffice to say, I made it 1h before flighttime to the airport and was able to fly out. Which was good, since I had a friend waiting for me at my destination. Since it was a red-eye flight, it was a bit inconvenient for my friend to pick me up and I didn't want to cause even more hassle.

    Lesson learned. Download Grab & Uber, and leave for the airport way way ahead, esp if travelling on a Friday night or peak hours!
    Last edited by katie23; 05-11-2017 at 08:12 AM.

  5. #5
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    @MrMister
    Its v unfortunate that you had to experience hell in NAIA 2. Philippines is still a third world country and our airports are way below Int'l Standards.

    Flipperland in all its flaws have also a variety of wonderful and majestic experiences held in store for the curious traveller who will continue to pursue the journey.

    The airport is one of the worst part there is.

    Dumaguete, Philippines is actually listed as the top 5 most desirable place in the world for expats to retire. :-)
    I am so unlucky that if I fall into a barrel full of D*ick**s, I'd come out sucking my own thumb!

  6. #6
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    I first entered the Philippines in 1990 - if anything, the airports have gotten worse, despite pledges by a number of administrations to fix them. The absolute worst part of leaving, or returning.

  7. #7
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    Bugger!
    Having got bored with spending 11-12 hours in Chiangi when flying to Darwin every 3 months I thought I'd give Philippine Air a go for the first time. A 4 hour layover. Sounds like I've stuffed up. DOH.

  8. #8
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    ^^If you're coming from the south of Manila and you have your own vehicle, it's not too bad. There's a new skyway and there's an exit which leads right to Naia-3. Took that road some months ago, with some colleagues and boss in the boss' car. If not peak hours, it only takes ~30 min from Alabang to Naia-3 using the new road. As said earlier, Naia-3 isn't too bad. The a/c works, there are enough toilets and quite a few food joints. There's a 7/11 and another conv. store too.

    However, in my latest trip, I used public transport at peak hours, so traffic was horrible everywhere and not just to the airport. The turning point to Edsa along South Superhighway, or the other route along South Superhighway going to Buendia - all were gridlocked, even up in the Skyway. Grrr.

    A colleague wrote on FB as he was stuck in traffic some weeks ago - he spent 3 hours along Edsa, from Mantrade to Cubao. On a good day, that route can take 30 min! Que horror...

  9. #9
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    @cj - if you're not leaving the airport, then it will be a bit alright, since you'll not get stuck in traffic. Problem is, you'll still be stuck in Naia-2 with low a/c. Bring a fan. Also, expect that your flight out of Manila to be delayed a bit, due to air traffic congestion. Not enough runways, I'm afraid.

    I haven't had it too bad, though. Worst that my flight was delayed for 1 hr only, sometimes less. But a friend who was going to Boracay - their flight was delayed 3 hours (cebu pacific). Also due to air traffic.

    As an aside, during my last flight, on the walk to my gate, there was a Cebu Pacific flight bound for Sydney. Ground crew diligently checked the hand luggage of all passengers to see if they had prohibited items. Since I know of Aus' strict quarantine laws, I'm glad that the airport staff here are doing their job. The staff had plastic gloves on while searching the bags.

    One positive thing abt the Duterte admin is that the "laglag bala" or drop-bullet in luggage scam has been stopped.

  10. #10
    Valve Master Latindancer's Avatar
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    I was in one of those airports about 8 years ago, and the ATMs didn't work. And the airline couldn't get my Visa card to work in their machine.
    I had to skip across a highway to catch a cab to some place called "Market-market", to go to an ATM there.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjack101 View Post
    Bugger!
    Having got bored with spending 11-12 hours in Chiangi when flying to Darwin every 3 months I thought I'd give Philippine Air a go for the first time. A 4 hour layover. Sounds like I've stuffed up. DOH.
    Jumping Jesus why didn't you quiz the members here before going that route?. I assume you're on PAL as well, which stands for 3 words that aren't Philippine Air Lines. But you'll find out why yourself

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Headworx View Post
    Jumping Jesus why didn't you quiz the members here before going that route?. I assume you're on PAL as well, which stands for 3 words that aren't Philippine Air Lines. But you'll find out why yourself
    Well you know how it is, can be good to try something new. I've got a business class upgrade option and might go for it.
    I'm sick and fed up with bloody Jetstar.
    Malaysian was good for a while but they've pulled out of Darwin.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat aging one's Avatar
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    CJ, you are only going to be in transit there. PAL is practically always late as it has been for 40 years but it will work out. No worries about getting to the terminals or any of that. Both kids have taken PAL west coast USA Bangkok once. They said the airport was kind of dull but other than that better than the cheap Chinese airlines like China Southern and Eastern. Young university aged kids do put up with a lot to save a buck though. 35 years ago I use to use them one way BKK/SFO as you could get a free stop in Hawaii as well.

  14. #14
    Newbie mrmister1964's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GracelessFawn View Post
    @MrMister
    Its v unfortunate that you had to experience hell in NAIA 2. Philippines is still a third world country and our airports are way below Int'l Standards.

    Flipperland in all its flaws have also a variety of wonderful and majestic experiences held in store for the curious traveller who will continue to pursue the journey.

    The airport is one of the worst part there is.

    Dumaguete, Philippines is actually listed as the top 5 most desirable place in the world for expats to retire. :-)
    Of course. PI has a lot of positive stuff to offer.

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