Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mactan Cebu International Airport Arrival Hall

Arriving in Cebu, a traveler is ushered into this relatively laidback metropolis through the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) located in Mactan Island which is a mere 20 minute ride to Cebu City center, barring traffic. But traffic has engulfed the byways that take you to the city center so expect a plodding, snail-paced ride as you get to and away from the airport. My trip to the city center (Fuente Osmena area) took 40 minutes; and a bit faster - 30 minutes getting back to the airport from the centro.

Arrival is pretty much a straight forward affair. You deplane and head straight to a common hall (above) for your baggage claim. This hall also leads straight to the exit doors. Within the same hall, you find a helpful information counter that will suggest hotels for you (they'll ask what your budget is) and has information on several other concerns.

If you require left luggage facility, head leftwards to find Ibales Baggage Depository (see below for rates) just beside the entrance for passengers with connecting flights. There's not much here in terms of shops which are mostly found at the Departure Hall located at the other end of the building.


Arrival Hall has 2 Foreign Exchange counters. The one beside a souvenir shops (left, if you're standing from the baggage claim facing exit) is open from 5:30AM to 11:30PM. There's another stand-alone counter near the post just before the exit door, but they seem to have different times, but most probably has the same schedule as the aforementioned. There is no ATM machine at the arrival hall, but you can proceed to the departure hall and find a couple of ATM machines - if you need to withdraw local money upon arrival.


Once outside Arrival Hall, there's a narrow lane that faces the departure hall building where , from across, your welcome party waits. Posts are marked 21-23, and so on thus you can use these posts as point of reference. If you're leaving the airport on your own, then there are three types of taxis to consider: a fixed-rate taxi (which is pricey) a yellow airport taxi, and the white metered public taxi which is the cheapest option.

Get the white metered taxis (photo below). White taxis queue and wait for passengers near the airport entrance so head towards that queue (cross the road to the front building and turn right). This queue is accessible at the end of the departure building. A guard will moderate the queue and give you a coupon before entering your cab (just in case you have complaints about your ride).

The Yellow Airport Taxis which start their flag-down rate at Ph70 then an additional P4 for every 300 kilometers to your destination. Once again, you're given a complaints coupon bearing your taxi number just in case there's a reportable incident. Possible infractions are enumerated on that piece of paper: rude driver, no meter, overcharging, etc.

Yellow taxis are expensive, almost 2x the rate you'll get compared to the ordinary white metered taxis - but you don't have to haggle anymore - or worry about overpricing. The 3rd and more expensive option is the fixed-rate taxis - so let me not discuss this further. Cebu drivers are relatively an honest lot - and in my numerous Cebu visits, I realized that these yellow taxis or fixed rate taxis are not necessary anymore. Save up and use the white-metered taxis. Prepare to pay between PhP230 to PhP260 if your destination is Cebu City. 

If you're heading to Talisay or Danao, then taxi would be an expensive option. When I asked one my downtown hotels how much they charge for their hotel service, it was a whooping P600. Why pay that much when most rates shouldn't cost you more than PhP250? 

The airport is the Philippines' second primary gateway after the NAIA airports in Luzon. The terminal building incorporates both international and domestic flights with a combined capacity for almost 5 million passengers. However, with such estimates, MCIA feels small, and hallways have low ceilings. Plans are underway for expansion and and the construction of two more boarding bridges or jetways to complement the existing four. A new cargo terminal has also been proposed.

The more exciting news is, MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete also proposes to establish a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, not dissimilar to Malaysia's Rapid Transit system, to transport airport passengers to and from MCIAA from different parts of Cebu. This will complement and maybe integrated into the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System being planned in Cebu City.

Arrival Hallway

Airlines flying into MCIA are as follows: Air Busan, AirPhil Express, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Jeju Air, Korean Air, Mid-Sea Express, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways, SilkAir, Tiger Airways, and Zest Airways. Air Asia and Tiger Air have been added to this rooster. Before we forget, the airport has a terminal fee of P200 ($4.60) payable in local currency, but most tickets incorporate this upon purchase..


If you require help in carrying your luggage, porterage service charges PhP10 for the first two baggage, then another PhP10 for every succeeding items. That's exceedingly cheap, if you ask me. Otherwise, trolleys are free.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

The way out from the arrival hall.

Arrival hallway where the baggage claim is.

Alegre Beach Resort booth has folded and is replaced with a Foreign Exchange Counter and an Insurance Company (Mapfre/Insular). This foreign exchange counter is open from 5:30AM to 11:30PM.

Currency Exchange  and a Mapfre/Insular Insurance Corporation booth. Beside this, to its right, is the "Arrival Shop" selling stuff like flipflops and souvenir items. Forex is open from 5:30AM to 11:30PM.

Ibales Luggage Depository is the airport's Left Luggage service. It is located on the same hall as the baggage claim (at the far end, left of the conveyors). To leave a baggage here, you have to submit your baggage at the security check first. Once done, take your bags at Ibales, complete a "Deposit Form", remove any cash or jewelry from them.

The rate is as follows: 0 to 2 hours - P75; 2 to 4 hours - P150; 4 to 10 hours - P250; 10 to 24 hours - P300. For over-sized baggage (bikes and surfboards) - 0 to 2 hours - P200, 2 to 4 hours - P300; 4 to 10 hours - P400; 10 to 24 hours - P500. Baggage not claimed 45 days from depositing them becomes Ibales' property.

Outside the arrival hall. The opposite side is where the Waiting area is. Greeters wait just across (though it's not much of a place).

Diagonal Parking just outside the arrival hall. To get to the white taxi stand, cross this road and turn right until you reach a stair to your left. On top of the stair and to the right is the taxi stand for white metered taxis. There is no haggling here and is generally safe. Taxi coupons are given to you by a guard before getting inside your cab.

White metered taxis queue by the shed, located just outside the arrival hall. This is near the airport entrance. A guard gives away coupons and facilitates the queue of passengers and taxis.

Airport Taxi counter - yellow taxis to transport you to your destination. At the arrival building just across this arrival lobby is the queue for the cheaper white metered taxis. To get to the cheaper non-airport taxis, you have to cross the street and wheel yourself out of the front building (the arrival hall). White metered taxis queue just in front and the guard will give you a coupon just in case you have complaints about your taxi ride.

Yellow taxis are metered but they have higher rates per kilometer travelled. You get them from a taxi queue just outside the arrival hall. The cheaper option is the white metered taxis available at another stand across this road and up a stair, at the entrance of the airport.


Ramakrishnan said...

Modern airport - but where is place exactly.

eye in the sky said...

It's in Cebu, the Philippines' second most important city, located in the middle of the archipelago. :)

Ramakrishnan said...

Ok Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I will be in a rush to get to the ferry after landing and consider not checking baggage to save time. How did you experience the time to get your checked bags? Thanks for a very informative blog! Patrik

Unknown said...

Thanks for ur blog it helps a lot