Thursday, February 3, 2011

NAIA Terminal 3 Arrival Hall (2011) - Part 2 of 5

I love coming out of the immigration and custom counters, gliding down the escalator to the baggage claim area with this view. It takes my breath away every single time. The white pillars, glistening floors, unobtrusive interior lighting all come together to usher you into the city. You see, some arrivals aren't always pleasant.


I recently overheard an immigartion lady - yes, a youngish college-looking lady - speak in her loudest voice, I could hear her 4 counters away with clarity. She was talking to a Taiwanese national. "Where is your return ticket?" "What exact time is your flight departure?" "Are you in transit or are you staying longer?" This degree of rudeness - yes, RUDENESS, is unbecoming of a country who prides itself in being hospitable - in the land of smiles.

Arrival Hall exit from the baggage claim hallway. You'll come out this way, and the left wing exit as well. You can't miss the welcome party from the rails.

The airport clinic is located here at the arrival hall which seems to be an ├źntrance door"of several airport personnel as well.

For tourists who expect a hotel pick-up, you'll see this "firing squad" line just after exiting the baggage claim hall. Expect these ladies and gentlemen bearing your name on white boards.

I shiver at the thought of other countries welcoming me that way. It is NOT always "Fun in the Philippines", Mr. Tourism Secretary. Nope. I know the difference between civility (and "just doing our job") and rudeness. A few seconds later, a well-fed middle-aged Customs Official was kicking the carton box of an Indian national. Another one was rummaging carelessly through someone else's huge baggage, questioning why he has toys which, to me didn't seem an inordinate amount. What if you had a big family? There is something amiss here. Manners are important to welcome visitors - and these are visitors! Civil service demands rightful conduct. Unfortunately, you can't always teach manners in school.

This is the arrival hall's baggage claim area. From here, walk through those unmanned yellow counters and out to the exit where a throng gathers to meet their arriving guests.

The only Duty-Free Shop at the international arrival hall just BEFORE you do your immigration/customs formalities. Most people rush on and do their last-minute shopping right after they've cleared immigration. But some can't wait. :)

NAIA Terminal 3 Arrival Lobby.

NAIA 3's Arrival Hall is open to a traveler's or a tourist's welcome party. There is a Viewing Gallery just facing the exit hall, located at the mezzanine floor, between the Departure Level and the Arrival hallway. There are a couple of restaurants available here; a Car Rental Service Booth (a conglomerate serviced by Avis, Hertz, Nasugbu, Alamo, etc). ATM Machines (RCBC, PNB, BPI Express) and a Forex Booth; a left luggage secure storage facility called "Luggage and More", a Lost and Found Service, toilets, and some telephone booths. The Pre-Paid Taxi Booth is located outside, between Bays 6 to 10. (Go out of the main exit door and turn to your right.)

For overseas foreign workers, there's now an OWWA and POEA Counters near the Cebu Pacific Office at the left wing of the hall. A Protectabag Counter is beside this OWWA Counter which wraps bags starting from P160.

If you want to be met outside the hall, the most central place would be between Bays 5 to 7 outside, just for reference.

At the left wing of the Arrival Hall, where most welcoming committee wait for their guests, there are a few restaurants: "Le Bistro", "Mommy's Goodies and Foodtsuff", "Chubby China", "Eat+Drink" which is open 24-7. It also has a Fruit Tea Mix stall beside it. The latest restaurant is Tsim Sha Tsui located just beside Burger King franchise at the right wind, near the left luggage facility.

Another interesting option for pasalubongs (gifts) is Claudettes, a stall near the exit gates (right wing). It sells brazo de mercedes, sandwiches, chocolate cakes, brownies, mamon. tiramisu, cheesecakes, canned drinks, etc.

Nearby, there are a couple of ATM machines: BPI and PNB. PNB (Philippine National Bank) also has a cash counter. A NAIA Car Rental can be found here as well. Just across the waiting hall (where well wishers could wait for their guests as the latter leave the baggage area), there's a "Scoop International" if you require your ice cream fix.



As of February 17, 2015, first level has opened several bank counters and foreign exchange center. Land Bank forex is open from 8:30AM to 3PM for banking transactions, but their forex is open 24-hours. Philippine National Bank and Metro Bank are open 24 hours. The following have ATM machines at the arrival hall: PBB, BPI and PNB. There's a yellow-colored stand-alone Forex counter that's open 24 hours near one of the exits. Philtrust Bank is open for money exchange until 6PM.

Banco de Oro (BDO), one of the biggest banks of the country, has opened a counter at the arrival hall. They open at 8AM up to 12 midnight. Also, this was the only counter where a guard manning the counter did NOT want to answer a straight forward question, i.e. what time do they close. "Saan po kayo, sir? Para saan po yan?" he asked me before finally hesitating with a "12 midnight, sir." Geez. What's wrong with these BDO people. It's a simple and common question. You'd think they were operating an illegitimate business.

This Forex Counter is the only one found at the domestic arrival area's baggage claim hall, just before exiting. It is open until 7PM. At the International Arrival's side, the counter also closes at 7PM. If you're out of luck or cash, there are several 24-hour Forex Counters open 24 hours just after exiting the baggage claim area.

PBCom and PSBank also have their own ATM machines. RCBC has its own ATM at the departure hall, front. At the back, after check-in is a Citibank and Land Bank ATM. There is another Forex Counter just before getting into the pre-departure area (domestic and international) - and its open 24 hours.

Can you shop or dine during the wee hours? Of course. There are ATM machines and forex counters everywhere. Outside the pre-departure hall, most duty free shops are open, even the restaurants. A new shop called "Don't Forget About the Kids" (a toy shop) is open 24 hours. Coffee Bean closes at 2AM. The new McDonalds, Jollibee, Dimsum and Dumplings; Kenny Roger's Roasters, and Wendy's are open 24 hours. 7-11 is open 24 hours. Seattle's Best, near 7-11, is open 24 hours. Shakey's close at 10PM. The new Havaianna's store closes at 10PM (near McDo). Cowan Asian restaurant closes at 10PM. Kenko Spa, if you fancy a massage, is open 24 hours as well. Raiku Japanese Restaurant is open 24 hours - and so is Yellow Cab if you fancy a pizza or pasta. Chubby China restaurant at the arrival hall is open 24 hours. Burger King at the arrival hall closes at 12 midnight.

Pre-departure shops mostly close at 10PM and open at 2AM. Espressamente for your caffeine fix, closes at 8:30PM; Nescafe shop opens at 7:30AM and closes at 8PM. Victoria Secret at the domestic predeparture hall opens at 2AM and closes at 8PM. The one and only Foreign Exchange counter at the domestic predeparture opens from 2AM to 6PM only. Cafe France closes at 5PM. National Bookstore opens from 6AM and closes shop at 6:30PM. KR Express grocery opens from 2AM to 6PM.

Army Navy shop near gate 33 closes at 6PM. Krispy Kreme opens from 2AM to 6PM.


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. 

This is the Eye in the Sky.

RCBC Money Exchange Counter. To the left are 2 ATM machines; to the right are some telephones.

Just at the corner, under this escalator, is the Left Luggage Room. Turn right.

Airport staff and maintenance crew in green shirts queuing for something. As an update, this once-empty hallway has been opened and now leads to the covered parking building.

Le Bistro

Mommy's Goodies and Foodstuff

Chubby China

DOT's Tourist Information Counter

BPI ATM machine

PNB's banking counter
Rent a mobile wifi at "Roam Buddy"" where a wifi unit can set you back PhP1,500 for a 3-day use. 

Globe and Smart offer "free" traveler sim for tourists. It is really free but you'd have to purchase load for the sim, of course.

Burger King is near "Luggage and More".
We know of "Tsim Sha Tsui"as that popular area in Hong Kong's Kowloon district, but it has its namesake in an airport shop in Cebu. Now, it's also in Manila's Terminal 3, beside Burger King. Food here is delicious but serving is rather small. Try their sweet and sour pork, meat spring roll, quail egg siu mai or their congee with spiced egg.

A Duty-Free Shop (above and below) has just opened at the right wing of the arrival hall near the entrance to the covered parking and "Burger King" to its left.
Duty-Free Shop on the way to the Covered Parking Building

This display near just in front of the new Duty-Free Shop baffles me. It's ugly, occupies too much space and doesn't even have signage that describes what it is exactly.

The stair at the left wing leads to the mezzanine level where there are the administrative offices, the terminal chapel and the Viewing Gallery.


The airport has an "Airport Loop" service, a shuttle that transports passengers among Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 4. The shuttle usually parks at or near the Arrival Bay 8. This will transport passengers from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4. This service is free for ticketed passengers, but if there's a nonticketed passenger accompanying you, a minimal fee of PhP20 will be charged to the nonpassenger. This shuttle is supposed to be available 24 hours a day but I have my doubts re: "24 hours". This is one option other than the taxi. There has to be enough time allotted for travel between the 2 terminals because of intermittently heavy traffic between the terminals.

Buses that ply out of the airport and beyond are actually available here. I have to say that I haven't tried this bus service but it looks convenient if you want to head to, say Ayala, Ortigas, Cubao, Trinoma, Balintawak, Alabang, Alabang, etc. This route is posted on a photo here. Please DO NOT ask me for more information about this bus service because I will not reply to such query.

The Airport Loop shuttles among the 4 terminals 1 to 4. Free for ticketed passengers , but PhP20 for non-ticketed. Look for these shuttles at Bay 8 or thereabouts at the Arrival Exit.

Public Commuter Bus (please read above and check out the published route below).

Published route of the Public Commuter Bus at the arrival exit, usually at Bay 8 or thereabouts.

Numbered columns as waiting "bays" just outside the Arrival Hall. The Pre-Paid Taxi Booth is somewhere between Bays 6 to 10. Parking is just across this road.

Numbered Bays for reference.

For specific inquiries, here are some important telephone numbers and email addresses at the 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.


Siddhartha Joshi said...

Reminds me of the swanky new T3 (Terminal 3) in Delhi inaugurated last year...

eye in the sky said...

I only saw Terminal 2 of Delhi's (Indira Gandhi Intl.) when I flew Chennai to the capital. I liked it.

Siddhartha Joshi said...

You might like T3 as well, somehow its just too huge :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Very helpful. First time to visit Pinas after 5 years! Which rental car would you recommend? Cheap and trustworthy?

eye in the sky said...

You'll like NAIA3 then. And welcome back. Unfortunately, I won't be able to help you with the car rentals as I am a Manila resident so I never needed to rent cars in Manila. There are a couple of car rentals though. :)

Jonnie said...

...where is the Money Changer located in Arrivals Area of Naia 3? is it open 24 hrs?..tnx...

eye in the sky said...

Upon arrival, after picking up your baggage, you exit out into the main arrival hall and turn right. Find the Philippine National Bank (PNB) counter. They exchange money - and you see this counter in the photo here.

There are several other foreign exchange counters all over the terminal. Unfortunately, they don't operate 24 hours. Most of them operate until 6PM, a few up to 10 PM. But there are ATM machines all over the terminal for the option of withdrawals, but like most countries there is a surcharge for cash withdrawals. Unlike Brazil, these ATMs are mostly reliable and clone-safe.

eye in the sky said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that there is a foreign exchange counter also at the baggage claim hall, just before exiting. It's open office hours, 8AM to 5PM, but it's actually erratic. But yeah, you can try changing your money there as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi, is there an ATM right after getting off the aircraft? Or before the Immigration?

eye in the sky said...

There is none. All ATM machines are found at the Arrival Hall after immigration, baggage and customs check.

Brad said...

Hi, When I arrive at Terminal 3, cleared customs and collected my baggage, can I go to level 2 Departures to exit as I'm being met outside.

eye in the sky said...


Yes, after your exit from the baggage claim, just turn left and head towards the escalator at the end of the hallway then proceed to the 2nd level (there's a mezzanine between levels 1 and 2 where the chapel is - this is NOT your level 2 floor). The exit from the 2nd level is at the OTHER end of the check-in (level 2) hallway. I am curious though why you'd be met at the 2nd level, unless you're probably taking the Grab/Uber taxis. Most tourists are met at the 1st level/ground floor. Anyway, it's very easy going from level 1 to 2 and out the terminal.

private said...

hi can we bring fud and eat in covered parking area terminal 3

curious George said...

Hi I was just wondering if there are signs (letters corresponding you surname) to go to when arriving to meet relatives like in NAIA T1 as I will be going to the Philippines next month and never been to T3. Or is it just on big open space and you just hope to find your relatives? Might be a silly question but I'm clueless. Thank you.

eye in the sky said...

Curious George:

No, there are no signs. You can make one and take it with you at the 1) viewing lounge overlooking the baggage hall; 2) arrival exit hallway. The arrival hall is big and it has 2 exit lanes from either side.

eye in the sky said...


Yes, you can bring food with no and it it at the Covered Parking. Just make sure you clean your mess after. There are very few garbage bins in the vicinity, and no toilert in the parking building. You may proceed to the toilet at the arrival hallway if you need to wash.

Unknown said...

Hi, Thanks for your information regarding my Arrival and making my way up to Departures to meet my Taxi friend in Terminal 3.
My Question is...
I will be arriving soon at Terminal 1, can I go from Arrivals up to Departures to meet my Taxi friend outside?

Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for this post it’s taking my anxiety traveling to the Philippines! Btw, is there WiFi at naia terminal 3 arrivals? I want to book an Uber from there going to my airbnb (I feel like it’s the safest lol). Thanks again!