Public Bus from EDSA LRT Station to NAIA

If you heed the existence of taxis, then leaving Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to downtown isn’t an easy matter. On the other hand, returning to NAIA from downtown turned out to be the same. I hope that the airport train at NAIA is immediately built.

I asked a young man at a 7-Eleven minimarket, there was no bus and a Jeepney to NAIA, “Will be better if you use a taxi to the airport, Sir”, was his short answer. Likewise bus timers, “No…No…No”, he briefly answered without looking at my face at all, maybe they didn’t understand English or I didn’t know myself because I didn’t understand Tagalog.

I saw two police officers in blue uniforms controlling traffic under the LRT line, not far from EDSA LRT Station. I hurried across Epifano de los Santos Avenue to facing the two of them.

“Can you help me, Sir? I want to go to airport. Which bus should I take?” I asked as politely as possible, I didn’t want to cause any trouble at the end of my trip back home.

“Use that bus, it will stop at that pole”, he pointed to a bus which a second ago drove in front of three of us. Then pointed to a pole near 7-Eleven minimarket where I had lunch earlier.

“Thank you, Sir,” I happily said because I had just found my way home.

15 minutes later, the bus came and without hesitation I boarded it after the conductor confirmed that he could drop me off at NAIA Terminal 1. A coincidence that made me happy, because I had to take my backpack first at Terminal 1 before leaving for Jakarta from Terminal 2.

Getting in through its front door and out from back door.

Paying the fare with 30 Peso, I headed to NAIA via streets of Manila. Didn’t imagine about how like to driving in Manila. Never mind, just likes Jakarta. Manila, which is the busiest city in Asia, had made the bus I was riding choked up along the road towards airport. “Luckily for me, I didn’t insist on going to Manila Baywalk. I can’t imagine, I might arrive when it’s dark at NAIA”, I thought with relief.

Choking in a straight road, fulfilling the road, being stuck at every intersection, stopping at every red light made that afternoon so boring and exciting at the same time. Boring because of often experienced like it in Jakarta, exciting because I was getting the same thing in other country.

Kept closer…..
Honda Click, Yamaha Aerox, Suzuki Raider….Several motorcycle brands on the streets of Manila.

The all-red bus which I was riding then replaced the boredom I experienced along the way by parking itself at a giant bus terminal. Titled as PITX, it acts as a transportation hub for every bus, jeepney and any public transportation which will go to south of Manila. This transportation integration building looks dashing and still looks new. Understandably, just two years i operation.

Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX).
Getting closer to NAIA….Almost arrived.

The clock almost pointed to number fifteen, I arrived at NAIA Terminal 1, bus conductor dropped me off right at a small bus stop where I left NAIA that morning. My face couldn’t hide the joy because Jakarta seemed to be in my eyes. Twenty-one days wasn’t a short time to leaving home to foreign places which separated by wide ocean.

I took a backpack and went home.

Hunting for souvenirs on Metro Point, Manila

I still enjoyed nostalgia by enjoying a serving of Busog Meal Tuna Omelette in one of 7-Eleven outlets at Epiphanio de Los Santos Avenue side, packaging rice which became my daily food when visiting Manila four years ago. Cheap, only 32 Peso I could enjoy lunch amid the hustle and bustle of Manila.

At later, I began to climb the nearest crossing bridge. Citizen steps so quickly passed the crossing bridge, most of them didn’t escape to pay attention to me who preferred to be stop in the middle of bridge and looked at road congestion of one of its fence.

That afternoon I canceled myself to visiting Manila Baywalk, I didn’t dare to take the risk of stuck in traffic jam and left behind the plane to return to Jakarta. In an hour in the future I would only struggle around EDSA LTR station and immediately return to NAIA.

My trip on four years ago didn’t bring souvenirs, on that time Manila became my first destination before heading to Hong Kong, Macao and Shenzen. Everywhere, people usually would look for souvenirs at the end of traveling. And now Manila was my final destination of my adventure, then I decided to looking for it.

Busog Meal Tuna Omelette.
The crossing bridge towards EDSA LRT station.
Enjoying congestion in Manila.
Metro point sightings from crossing bridge.

Now my attention was fixed on a shopping centre which is right adjacent and directly connected to EDSA LRT station. I slightly stopped to watching the station, remembering when I was searched before entering that station four years ago because I was too focus in photographing each side thus raised suspicion of security. Manila was indeed a little tight in security of every important public access.

I just passed the station gate and walked into the connector towards Metro Point. The shopping centre which isn’t large enough. What I remembered that it only consisted of five floors. On the second floor there is a row of stores which are neater than counters at downstairs. Downstairs is the floor which allows me to finding souvenirs. I couldn’t explore the top floor, because there was a large outlet guarded by Security. Maybe the third floor is used for businesses which are more private and targeting certain customers.

Practically I just went around downstairs and looked for some souvenirs, fridge magnets and key chains which I would share for my friends in Jakarta.

The situation at Metro Point.
Time Zone.
The tip of floor which looked quiet.

It didn’t take long to spend every side of ground floor. Trading on ground floor was more similar to the same activity in Pasar Baru, Jakarta. Very crowded. After finding some souvenirs I finally decided to get out of shopping center and prepared to get back to NAIA and then flied to Jakarta.

Crowded counters on ground floor.
Ground floor.

I thought that my time in Manila that time had become a nostalgic transit even though it only for three hours in the middle of the city’s busy life.

Bus Umum dari Stasiun LRT EDSA ke NAIA

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Jika kamu mengindahkan keberadaan taksi, maka meninggalkan Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) menuju ke pusat kota bukan perkara yang mudah. Sebaliknya, kembali ke NAIA dari pusat kota ternyata pun demikian. Akan begitu seterusnya jika airport train di NAIA tak segera dibangun.

Aku bertanya kepada pemuda si sebuah gerai 7-Eleven, tak ada bus dan Jeepney menuju NAIA, “Will be better if you use taxi to airport, Sir”, begitu solusi singkat darinya. Begitupun para timer bus, “No…No…No”, jawabnya singkat tanpa melihat mukaku sama sekali, mungkin mereka tak mengerti bahasa Inggris atau aku yang tak tahu diri karena tak faham Tagalog.

Kulihat dua opsir polisi berseragam biru, sedang mengatur lalu lintas di sebuah kolong jalur LRT, tak jauh dari Stasiun LRT EDSA. Aku tergopoh menyeberangi Epifano de los Santos Avenue untuk menghadap ke mereka berdua.

Can you help me, Sir?. I want go to airport. Which bus should I take?”, pertanyaan kulempar sesopan mungkin, aku tak mau membuat masalah di ujung perjalanan balik rumah.

Use that bus, it will stop at that pole”, dia menunjuk sebuah bus yang sedetik lalu melaju di depan kami bertiga. Kemudian menunjuk sebuah tiang di dekat 7-Eleven tempatku bersantap siang tadi.

Thank you, Sir”, ucapku girang karena baru saja menemukan cara pulang.

15 menit kemudian, bus datang dan tanpa ragu aku menaikinya setelah sang kondektur mengkonfirmasi bahwa dia bisa menurunkanku di Terminal 1 NAIA. Suatu kebetulan yang membuatku bahagia, karena aku harus mengambil backpack terlebih dahulu di Terminal 1 sebelum berangkat ke Jakarta dari Terminal 2.

Menaikinya dari pintu depan dan keluar dari pintu tengah.

Membayar ongkos Rp. 9.000 aku menuju NAIA melalui jalanan Manila. Janganlah dibayangkan seperti apa berkendara di Manila. Sudahlah, mirip saja Jakarta. Manila sang penyandang kota termacet di Asia telah membuat bus yang kunaiki saling berimpit merangsek di sepanjang jalan menuju bandara.  “Beruntungnya diriku, tak jadi berkukuh diri menuju Manila Baywalk. Tak terbayang, bisa-bisa aku tiba saat gelap di NAIA”, batinku lega.

Merayap di jalur lurus, merapat memenuhi badan jalan, tertahan di setiap persimpangan, terhenti di setiap lampu merah membuat sore itu begitu membosankan sekaligus mengasyikkan. Bosan karena terbiasa dengan hal seperti itu di Jakarta, Asyik karena apa yang sedang kualami terjadi di negeri orang.

Nempel terusss…..
Honda Click, Yamaha Aerox, Suzuki Raider….Beberapa brand sepeda motor di jalanan Manila.

Bus serba merah yang kunaiki kemudian menukar kejenuhan yang kualami sepanjang jalan dengan memarkirkan diri di sebuah terminal bus raksasa. Bertajuk PITX, berperan sebagai transportation hub untuk setiap bus, jeepney dan transportasi publik apapun yang akan menuju ke selatan Manila. Bangunan pengintegrasi transportasi ini terlihat gagah dan masih tampak baru. Maklum, baru berusia operasional dua tahun.

Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX).
Merapat ke NAIA….Hampir sampai.

Jam hampir menunjuk bilangan lima belas, aku tiba di Terminal 1 NAIA, kondektur menurunkanku tepat di sebuah halte kecil tempatku beranjak meninggalkan NAIA pagi tadi. Mukaku tak bisa menyembunyikan rasa senang karena Jakarta seolah sudah di pelupuk mata. Dua puluh satu hari bukan waktu yang pendek untuk meninggalkan rumah menuju tempat-tempat asing yang terpisahkan samudera.

Kita ambil backpack dan pulaaaaanggggg.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Berburu Souvenir di Metro Point, Manila

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Aku masih menikmati nostalgia dengan menikmati seporsi Busog Meal Tuna Omelette di salah satu gerai 7-Eleven di sisi Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, nasi kemasan yang menjadi makanan sehari-hariku saat menjelah Manila empat tahun silam. Murah, hanya Rp. 9.000 sudah bisa menikmati makan siang di tengah hiruk pikuk Manila.

Sewaktu kemudian, aku mulai menaiki jembatan penyeberangan terdekat. Arus manusia begitu cepat melewati jembatan penyeberangan itu, sebagian besarnya tak luput memperhatikanku yang lebih memilih diam di pertengahan jembatan dan memandangi kemacetan dari salah satu pagarnya.

Siang itu aku membatalkan diri mengunjungi Manila Baywalk, aku tak berani mengambil resiko terjebak kemacetan dan tertinggal pesawat untuk kembali ke Jakarta. Sejam ke depan aku hanya akan berkutat di sekitaran Stasiun LTR EDSA saja dan segera kembali ke NAIA.

Perjalanan empat tahun lalu tak berbuah souvenir, kala itu Manila menjadi pijakan pertama sebelum menuju ke Hong Kong, Macau dan Shenzen. Dimana-mana, orang akan mencari souvenir di bagian akhir. Kali ini Manila adalah bagian akhir dari petualangan, maka kuputuskan untuk mencarinya.

Busog Meal Tuna Omelette kesayangan.
Jembatan penyeberangan menuju Stasiun LRT EDSA.
Menikmati kemacetan di Manila.
Penampakan Metro Point dari jembatan penyeberangan.

Kini pandanganku tertuju pada sebuah pusat perbelanjaan yang tepat bersebelahan dan terkoneksi langsung dengan Stasiun LRT EDSA. Aku sedikit berhenti mengamati stasiun itu, teringat ketika aku di geledah sebelum memasuki stasiun itu empat tahun silam karena aku terlalu asyik memotret setiap sisinya sehingga menimbulkan kecurigaan para security . Manila memang sedikit ketat dalam hal keamanan di setiap akses penting publiknya.

Aku hanya melewati gerbang stasiun itu dan beringsut masuk menuju melalui connector ke arah Metro Point. Pusat perbelanjaan yang tak cukup besar, tak lebih bagus dari Grha Cijantung. Yang kuingat hanya terdiri dari lima lantai. Di lantai kedua tersedia deretan toko yang lebih rapi daripada konter-konter yang berada di lantai bawah. Lantai bawah adalah lantai yang paling memungkinkan bagiku untuk mencari souvenir. Aku tak bisa mengeksplorasi lantai teratas, karena tampak terdapat gerai besar yang dijaga oleh security. Mungkin lantai ketiga digunakan untuk bisnis yang lebih privat dan menyasar kalangan tertentu.

Praktis aku hanya berkeliling di lantai bawah dan mencari beberapa souvenir, fridge magnet dan gantungan kunci yang akan kubagikan untuk teman-temanku di Jakarta.

Suasana pertokan di Metro Point.
Time Zone.
Bagian ujung lantai tampak sepi.

Tak membutuhkan waktu lama untuk menghabiskan setiap sisi lantai dasar. Perdagangan di lantai dasar ini lebih mirip dengan aktivitas yang sama di Pasar Baru, Jakarta. Berisik dan padat. Setelah menemukan beberapa souvenir yang kucari akhirnya kuputuskan untuk keluar dari pusat perbelanjaan itu dan bersiap untuk menuju NAIA kembali dan terbang ke Jakarta.

Crowdednya kios di lantai dasar.
Lantai dasar.

Kufikir waktuku di Manila kali ini telah menjadi transit nostalgia walau hanya berlangsung selama tiga  jam saja di tengah kesibukan kota itu.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->