Monday, February 15, 2010

More NAIA Terminal 3 – And the Rude Skies of Cebu Pacific!

Check-in Counters taken from the Food Court at the 2nd Floor.

More and more tourists are finding their way to the hustle and bustle of Manila. Though we almost forget the continuing popularity of this metropolis, the steady stream of backpackers is a testament that inspires this spotlight on Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s (NAIA) Terminal 3.

I fly Cebu Pacific more often for several reasons. Low fares notwithstanding, they have an extensive choice of flights and schedules - and more importantly, I like the airport terminal they use, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. A relaxing departure calms my nerves.

The Food Court at the 2nd floor of the Departure Hall is an excellent place to get your meals before your flight leaves. It's a much better alternative (read: cheaper) than the food stalls inside the pre-departure halls. There's a Mini-Stop Convenience Store (which sells siopao, etc - and all those items), a coffee shop, Jollibee and more.

Check out NAIA Terminal 3Basic Information – More photos at


And just so you avoid delays, if you're taking a meal or snack at the Food Court, we feel we need this special mention. Avoid Mary Grace Cafe. The place is messy, the servers are inattentive and take forever to serve you and they forget orders.

GOOD NEWS: Major International Carriers Move to T3
(July 2014 Update)

Starting July 2014 , NAIA Terminal 3 will be accepting major international carriers: Delta, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Emirates, Singapore and CathayANA has also been using this terminal a while back. This makes the terminal fully operational, which used to only operate a mere 50% of its facility and services. They've in fact opened the once-empty right wing. These new airline companies will also be posting shuttle bus services for its passengers with connecting flights to other terminals (1,2,4) - for free! Travel between these terminals usually take 30 to 45 minutes. These will give tourists arriving with these carriers a better impression and a more relaxed arrival in Manila. Three other carriers are slated to move from Terminals 1 ans 2 to Terminal 3 in the coming months. This was made possible after the settling of the long-running court cases related to the construction of NAIA Terminal 3.    

Yipee! I'm airbound!

Waiting area at the Departure Hall.

Makati skyline taken on my way to the pre-departure area.

Asia's Rudest Skies – It’s Time Everyone Flies

Cebu Pacific ground staff anywhere in the Philippines and abroad is fast earning its notorious reputation as Asia’s most discourteous and rude manpower – this is the airline company that ignores teaching good manners to their staff and crew. I’ve had several misfortunes of dealing with these morons from Davao to Cebu to Manila. Most times, I just ignore them altogether; but with the slew of complaints that deservedly reached the halls of the Senate, I was sure this was going to catch up with them.

Recently, there has been a high profile complaint lodged by a mother whose “special” child was barred from taking his flight back from Hong Kong to Manila. Yes – even CHILDREN aren’t spared from the ignorance and arrogance of Cebu Pacific’s pea-brained Neanderthals! As an update, this complaint is finally finding its way to the courts to the tune of PhP3 million ($64,900).

Unfortunate Encounters

My unfortunate experience with Cebu Pacific came in threes one summer of 2007. During that time, choosing a seat was on a first-come, first served basis. You get to the airport on time then choose from the available seats upon check-in. I had a long haul trip that would take me from Manila to Cebu, then Cebu to Davao, and finally Davao to Manila!

I was checking in for my Cebu departure and just wanted to tell the lady by the counter that I preferred any aisle seat (I hate disturbing people when I have to pass through their seats for the loo), This was an era before one could pay a hundred bucks for a preferred seat. I waited for my turn for the check-in. Lo and behold, 15 minutes of standing before the check-n lady, I couldn't get an eye contact from the idiot by the counter! She just took my ticket and ID, looked everywhere but my way - while I kept waiting for her to look up. I didn't want to talk to someone who wasn't looking at me. I don't waste my words on inattentive schmucks. Call it social grace or ethics, it was just wrong! More than 10 long years of professional education taught me that! You look people in the eye when you talk to them, and vice versa. Guess what, she never looked up! It was an artistic feat for her never to have looked at her customer's face as they checked in! Oh well, I guess it's alright. She will forever be a ticket puncher. That she will evolve into a tycoon like her boss Mr. Gokongwei seems unlikely! Not with an attitude like that!

The tycoons that I know have enviable historical past that showed character built on hard work and an upstanding character. These were people others could talk to. These were people who could look at clients in the eyes, regardless of how preoccupied they were.

As I was leaving Cebu, and heading towards Davao, another Cebu Pacific check-in girl was raising her voice to a couple of elders who - for some reason - were confused with their departure details. When my turn came, this idiot girl was still smirking. I didn't want to cross her for fear of her imminent transformation into a constipated monster!

Then once again, we encountered a similar scenario upon our Davao departure on our way back to Manila! What are the odds of witnessing 3 rude Cebu Pac personnels in one long haul trip? Then suddenly, common entrepreneurial practices flashed before my eyes. Sales ladies in SM Department Stores addressing everyone sir and ma'am with a smile. Cashiers in McDo and Jollibee affording even a 9 year old child with utmost respect. Ushers in cinemas assisting their patrons like they owned the place! 

Curiously, these practices seem foreign to the Cebu Pacific staff!

This pervading arrogance is probably due to Cebu Pac's leadership in domestic and foreign sales, but this also underlines biblical tales of the mighty that shall eventually fall down their pedestals once they forget who it is they serve!

My local travels are still peppered with Cebu Pac flights. This is because I like NAIA 3; not to mention the fact that Cebu Pac tickets are relatively cheaper (though not by much) and finally, their extensive flight schedules are very convenient. I guess, like most products, you get the quality with the price that you are willing to pay! But when I can, I prefer to fly the skies of those who respect their customers! I am gradually addressing this concern. In fact, my international travels last year didn't have Cebu Pacific in them. I was proud of that. I try avoiding Cebu Pac when I can. Patronage is deserved. I simply cannot reciprocate Cebu Pac's utter ignorance to common customer courtesy with loyalty and patronage.

Having said that, maybe the Cebu Pacific bigwigs need to use their thinking caps by actually investing on a Summer Camp on Good Manners and Basic Customer Care for all their employees! 

Food Court. There are limited tables though. But the choices have increased considerably in the last couple of years.

General Information and more photos of NAIA Terminal 3 -

Covered Parking

UPDATE on NAIA Terminal 3: February 2011 Feature on NAIA 3 here:

For specific inquiries, here are some important telephone numbers and email addresses at T3:

Airport Trunkline+63.2.877-7888
Asst. Terminal
Lost & Found+63.2.877-7888
Bureau of Animal Industry+63.2.877-7888 loc.8238/
Bureau of Customs+63.2.877-7888 loc.8127/
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources+63.2.877-7888 loc.8238/
Bureau of Immigration+63.2.877-7888 loc.8128/
Bureau of Plant Industry+63.2.877-7888 loc.8238/
Bureau of Quarantine+63.2.877-7888 loc.8125/
DENR Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit+63.2.877-7888 loc.8238/
Philippine Overseas Employment Adminnistration+63.2.877-7888
Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority+63.2.877-7888 loc.8159
Customer Relations
Passenger & Customer Relations+63.2.877-7888 loc.
Terminal Administration+63.2.877-7888 loc.
Terminal Security & Safety+63.2.877-7888 loc.


en_me said...

the green field is sure look nice,

eye in the sky said...

was thinking similarly. it does look nice.

Anonymous said...

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eye in the sky said...

Everyone with valid papers and tickets deserve to catch their flights without much fuss. Bribes are too third world, and I agree that corrupt people as well as corrupt practices hinder us from truly "taking flight" as a nation.

Pag legal, wag pahirapan.

Anonymous said...

I have real sympathy for all the passenger who had a unfortunate experieced in the Philippine airport. It's truely embarassing how this rude and shark officer that dealt with you thinks they can give a hard time if you won't give them any "bribe"
Everytime I paid my Philiippine travel tax, it give me shock how an officer ask me if I could just leave the change for him as a present? Hellooo?? Is this the image they wanted to advertise about Philippines? I agree they shouldn't fuss around when every document provided is legal. I never enjoy passing thorough NAIA airport. It's sad to say that coming to home your country is a daunting process.

eye in the sky said...

Amen to that!

I've yet to experience getting asked for a bribe at NAIA, but I've heard of stories. Corruption has NO PLACE in a civilized society - or are we just "uncivilized?

It's really the immigration people that bothers me - with their arrogance and "i'm-better-than-you" demeanor that get me. After all, if they were indeed better, why are they the ones getting left behind their respective counters instead of doing the traveling, right?

JR said...

JR has several complaints, both about their terminal, staff and baggage handling! My family just took a long deserved vacation to Boracay, Aklan! Our departure from Cebu Pacific, terminal 3, was supposed to be a 1545 departure to Caticlan! We heard one announcement there was a delay in the flight, Oct 24, 2011! One hour later there was no more announcements concerning our flight! I had my wife, Filipina, Inquire as to our flight delay! She was told our flight was cancelled, but they had a flight to Kalibo, not Caticlan! Finally, We boarded a flight for Kalibo, a 2 hour bus ride to Caticlan!!! I have a bad back, and can't endure long rides on bus or, van! This was a ride from hell!! Anyways, upon arrival to Kalibo, It was utter CHAOS!! There were 3-5 flights, diverted to Kalibo, @ 3 hours late! No buses were there for transportation, only 9 pax vans. So, there was no control in this situation at all! People just randomly started loading on these vans, very slowly! @ 20 minutes to load a van and depart, one van at a time! After 4 vans loaded and left, one bus showed up and everyone was pushing ahead in line, the Filipino way! After the bus was full, @ 20 minutes later a van pulled up and we got on! A normal ride through traffic, takes @ 2 hours! With no traffic, and a maniac driver, it only took 1 hour and 10 minutes, through very winding roads, where we were on only 2 wheels a couple of times!!! My back was shot after this ride!!! Finally we arrived at Caticlan and boarded a Bangka for Boracay! Fortunately our hotel Le Solei were there for our pick up to the hotel. We checked in to our Ambassador Suite, which smelled like backed up sewage, from the bath tub. They put us in two junior rooms to accommodate for the stinky room!

eye in the sky said...

@ JR:

Wow, it does sound like a little trip to hell. I sympathize with you for those remediable debacles that could have been avoidable - or handled better! My mother's been in a similar situation last July when she actually missed her flight because she went to the Gate that was listed on her boarding ticket. While there, she waited for the boarding call only to learn that her gate has been moved to a different gate at a lower level. She missed the flight! I agree, there should be more frequent announcements especially if the flight has been altered from the original schedule.

I've been to Boracay so many times (maybe 14-15x) and I've never tried the flight straight to Caticlan. It was always through Kalibo, then the 2 hour bus ride to Caticlan's pier. Cebu Pacific should learn from these mistakes. I've stayed in Le Soleil too - it's one of the better mid-range accommodations. I like the location. Breakfast isn't bad.

Hope your back gets better. Safe travels.