Bonding with Butanding (teaser!)

I am writing this quick post (as I have to do my freelance writing gig, ASAP!) to have a break on the airport series coz I’m about to do another one on arriving at NAIA Terminal 2 (which will make this blog a Philippine Airports promotion page). So this one now is on my 2-hour bonding with the Butandings (local name for Whale Shark) of Donsol, Sorsogon during my solo trip to explore Bicol and the rest of Region V in March 29 to April 2 (more on this next time, ok?!).

The Butanding says Hello! (sorry for the bad pic or light or whatever. but imagine how close I was to actually accidentally (since I can't see what's in the display screen) get this one. well, at this distance, CRAZY CLOSE I dare say!

I needed to consume my vacation leaves since they are not convertible by the end of the Japanese Fiscal Year (March 31). I initially wanted to conquer Sagada. But I had a field work just the week before to Banaue. Ok, I know these are two totally different places. But hey! It’s both cold. So I wanted to try something different. And well, the whale sharks or also referred to as gentle giants (the ones I saw were like two jeepneys long or something; and they’re like just passing through, seemingly mindless of you messing with their turf!). Continue reading Bonding with Butanding (teaser!)

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Iloilo International Airport (departure)

Right side when you are headed for the airport

Let’s just say this is the part 2 of my earlier blog on arriving at Iloilo International Airport. As mentioned, we went to Iloilo on the 13th and left for Manila on the 17th. It wasn’t rainy when we went there but it was raining like crazy when we headed back to Manila. As I explained earlier, Iloilo is a Climate Type III area with prolonged rainy season (actually, almost throughout the year!) so don’t forget your umbrellas! Continue reading Iloilo International Airport (departure)

Iloilo International Airport (arrival)

The first time I went to Iloilo was for my work at H&L magazine way back in September 2008. I think this was my first work-related travel (if I would not count the planning in Puerto Galera and the company outing in Subic).

Iloilo International Airport in 2008

Anyway, we arrived at the airport after a life-threatening stormy cruise at more than 20,000 feet in the clouds. It was so scary that Ms. Elna, the sales manager who made the trip happen, had to open her phone just so she can send a text message to her mom who is with her daughter.

First-timer!

We thought that this only happened to us because we took a Cebu Pacific (Cebu Pac) flight but Doc Michael (the endocrinologist giving the day’s lecture series) said the same thing happened during his Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight. So, it’s really the bad weather. (More on this in another post as this one is supposedly for the airport itself.)

Since it’s only the second time I flew (the first being in HS for the national press conference competition in General Santos), I can barely remember what an airport looks like (except for the NAIA Terminal 3 where we took off from Manila). The Iloilo International Airport, which started operations in June 2007, is by all means a modern-looking one–at least for the Philippine standard. It ranks first on my regional airports ranking, with the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (Davao) in a close second. Continue reading Iloilo International Airport (arrival)

Message to KK CouchSurfing Community for backpack trip

A letter of appeal (chos!) at CouchSurfing for the great CSers at the Kota Kinabalu group. I hope they’ll respond soon as I am really, really overwhelmed with the information I’m getting. I am dreaming about traveling for many nights now! Anyway, here goes:

Hello guys!

I’m Gera, a (super) newbie CS member (I guess I can’t own up to being a couch surfer yet) from Manila, Philippines.

As said in the message title, I would be backpacking (solo, though I might meet up with other Filipinos, whom I have also never met, traveling through my supposed route) through South East Asia come October 1 (I think) right after my current project ends (on September 30).

I haven’t booked my ticket getting out of the Phil yet but I’m going back via Ho Chi Minh on October 28. I still don’t have a fixed itinerary as I am overwhelmed with the tons of things to do, places to see and food to try in our beloved region/continent.

I am planning to start at Kota Kinabalu and on to Brunei before I head to Singapore. I think this much is definite (even though somebody advised me to drop Sabah/Borneo and fly to Jakarta instead) but what comes next, I can’t be sure yet. Continue reading Message to KK CouchSurfing Community for backpack trip

NAIA Terminal 2 (Centennial/PAL Airport)

All but one of my work trips were flown via Philippine Airlines through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2. The terminal is also referred to as centennial terminal since it’s completion in 1998 coincided with Philippines’ 100th year of independence from Spain (although a marker in the terminal said it was constructed in August 1999). Today, Centennial caters specifically to local and international flights of Philippine Airlines (PAL, the country’s flag carrier) as NAIA Terminal 3 hosted Cebu Pacific in mid-2008.

Philippine Airlines A320 Airbus (view from the boarding area)

When I was working for the two-month JICA study, both PAL and CebuPac operated from this crisp-white, wanna-look-modern airport. The check-in counters were usually divided into two sections, one for each airline. Now, PAL mans all the 28 check-in counters and filled it with the blue, white and red line separators. Gone are the yellow polo shirt-wearing staff of CebuPac and more yellow checkered formal-uniformed staff of PAL welcomed passengers.

Empty Check-in Counter Area (Section 14-28) for the lunchtime/afternoon flights

I have gone through Terminal 2 dozens of times and probably through all of its boarding gates. I have also done my computing in all of its laptop stations at the boarding area and used both of its comfort rooms. I haven’t eaten on all of the food stalls though as some of them looks intimidating (read: expensive).

To give you an idea of what’s inside the boarding area (especially for those who have never flown via PAL) and as I got a little bored waiting for our flight, here are some fast facts about Terminal 2, mostly for the boarding area of domestic flights. Continue reading NAIA Terminal 2 (Centennial/PAL Airport)

Life is short so take a leap of faith. Let’s wander, explore and discover. Come and journey with me.