Flights, Airports, Taxies, Troubles ... in Philippines
I have just returned from my vacation in the Philippines (December 7 – 23, 2011).
Before my trip I read a lot of information on this site. There are many useful tips. But there is also information on the internet to advise me to be prepared to face a mess when arriving in NAIA. But it was clean, calm, logical and customer friendly. No delay with luggage.
When I reached the carousel I saw my bag already running on it. When I went to the exit, I was kindly advised how to find the taxi stand. There were just a few people standing in queue. In 3 minutes I departed for my hotel.
My flights departed and arrived without delays (Emirates & PAL). No problem with trolleys. All were free of charge. E-tickets were sufficient to enter airport building (no need for paper tickets or so). Security control at airport entrance took about a 0.5 minute. This corresponds both to international and domestic flights in NAIA and Cebu airports.
During my stay in Manila and Cebu I never saw a non-metered taxi. No reason to ask the driver to turn-on the meter: all were doing this voluntarily. On Manila and Cebu streets stopping a taxi takes time. If you are not at taxi parking zone of shopping malls you would wait a big deal of time (up to 15-20 min.) till picking up a taxi.
In rush hour it may take even more time. I never saw another taxi staying by side of the road waiting till I negotiate with their colleges. And I have to admit that using a taxi is the best and apparently the most available civilized transportation means in the Philippine cities. And pretty cheap.
Security tip: avoid hanging around on Bay Boulevard in Manila in dark time. You may be targeted for a robbery. My wife was attacked from the back, going by my side, by a stranger, who busted a golden chain from her neck and rushed away. Although it took me 5 minutes to catch the thief after a quick chase and return back with stolen necklace, I would rather not recommend repeating this experience.
Comment by Brett
I’m pleased that you didn’t have any problems on arrival in NAIA, your situation is rarer than the normal and it is great to hear some positive feedback on arriving and departing in both Manila and Cebu.
Taxi’s can sometimes be hit and miss, you can get good taxi drivers and you can get bad taxi drivers, this is not unique to the Philippines, but usually the Manila taxi drivers try to change flat rates rather than metered rates.
Thanks for the security tip, however I would not advise chasing down a would be robber, you could end up injured or worse dead.
Thanks Vladimir for your feedback, it is great to hear some positive things about areas that have a bad reputation.