Philippines Airlines PR 535 from Manila (MNL) to Jakarta (CGK)

In front of Gate 11 waiting to fly.
Philippine Airlines PR 535 had arrived.
Came on in!

“Ms, sorry I sit at No. 38K”, I greeted a tired looking young woman who leaning her head against the window.

“Excuse me, can I exchange it or not?”, began to guess that she was Javanese because of her typical accent.

“Sorry, Ms. It’s better to sit according to seat number which be shown in boarding pass. Let it be in accordance with the manifest. Anticipating that something might happen while flying, I happened to need to take some pictures from the window seat,” I quietly said. Although I understoodd that this plane wouldn’t be completely full.

Slightly swayed, she came out of the row of seat and let me take the seat and she was still pouting in the aisle seat.

“Hmmh, she’s cute when pouting, maybe more beautiful when she smile”, my mind said, I mischief started to relapse.

Every passenger’s face twisted, perhaps because the flight was delayed for up to five hours. I thought that a compensation for a piece of bread only happened in Indonesia. It turned out that a compensation for a meat burger for the delay also happened in Manila….I wryly smiled, because I had lost my appetite. How could, I just got on the plane at twelve o’clock at night, then a short message was sent from my manager, He was hoping that I could attend the inauguration of the new office building at nine o’clock on the morning in Jakarta.

Yess, I got the right for my seat.
The NAIA apron area as seen from the window.
Bustle around the apron.

Even though I was already happy by arriving on time at Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 15:30 hours to welcoming Philippine Airlines flight PR 535 at nine o’clock in the evening. I understood the wrong date in my passport and the missing flight number on airport’s LCD screen. But I was so excited when I heard the news that I would still go to fly in the middle of night due to the impact of Mount Taal eruption in the Tagatay area.

I knew the magnitude of this eruption impact after three weeks of my returning to my hometown. My client, a Filipino national, was flying with Cebu Pacific when the eruption occurred. She said that The “Yellow White Blue” plane seemed to be sucked down and then dived upwards with an incoherent announcement from flight captain. Only after landing, the Cebu Pacific captain apologized for the incident in air due to volcanic eruption.

That night I was very tired, after taking some necessary pictures, I automatically felt asleep. Extreme exhaustion and missed for my home food made this flight was been the most comfortable flight since I left home three weeks earlier.

Being on the Manila sky.
Goodbye Manila, see you soon Philippines!.
Do you know the meaning of Mabuhay? ….”Life or long life”
FPML (Fruit Platter Meal)….Let’s had dinner before sleeping.

The 2,800 km flight with an average speed of 700 km per hour lasts in 3 hours 55 minutes. That night I closed the windoe tightly and hoped that when I opened my eyes, I would be in Jakarta.

There wasn’t special story that I got from this flight. It was just in that night I felt very relieved because during my journey to Malaysia, India and the Middle East region went very smoothly without the slightest problem. This trip added to my courage and calm to dream of welcoming Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhtan, Turkmenistan and their neighbors in the future.

But who knows, I didn’t even know that the pandemic would come, even it happened whem I wasn’t in my country but when I was in Dubai. A dream that had definitely been delayed for soe times.

Ancol coast in the early morning.
Getting ready to landing.
Smoothly touchdown.

Then why did I choose Philippine Airlines? Wasn’t is that an expensive airline for you, Donny?

I never even dreamed of riding that flag carrier, maybe God had blessed me by showing me the cheapest ticket in my search button on a ticket reservation application. A coincidence that made me happy. This was the tenth wide body plane I’ve boarded after

Air Asia Korea to Kuala Lumpur…

Thai Airways Jakarta Bangkok, Bangkok-Kathmandu, New Delhi-Bangkok and Bangkok-Jakarta….

Srilankan Airlines Mumbai-Colombo, Kochi-Colombo, Colombo-Dubai ….and

Swiss Air Dubai-Muscat.

Thank God for safely landing me.
Oh, Kampung Rambutan….I love you.

Alternatives to finding flight tickets from Manila to Jakarta can be found on 12Go or the following link : https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

THE END

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.

Public Transportation from NAIA to Downtown Manila

Like in my first visitation to Manila on 2016, this time my transit visitation would go to the same first place, EDSA LRT Station.

For some reason, EDSA LRT Station was always the first place I pointed to when looking at the city’s transportation map. As if that place is the easiest way to reach from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Then from the station, I can go wherever I want to explore Manila.

EDSA stands for Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the name of street which passes under the station. While Epifano de los Santos is the name of a famous Filipino historian and journalist.

Alright…Let’s went to EDSA LRT Station and got to know it better.

Outside the terminal building, a white uniformed security guard with high-powered firearms called out to me. They apparently noticed that I was hesitant to choose a direction. As I recall, to ride a Jeepney to downtown, I had to turn left from terminal exit gate liked during my 2016 visitation to Manila. Or maybe I got off at a different terminal.

Security : “Hello Sir, come here, please!”, he said with a firm and fierce expression.

Me: “Yes, Sir”, I approached slowly, rather than causing a bigger problem.

Security : “Show your passport to me!”, he sharply looked at me.

Me: “This”, I handed it over firmly and boldly.

Security : “Where do you go in Manila?”, he asked while handing me my passport

Me : “Can you show me, Where should I stop a bus or a jeepney to Manila Baywalk?”.

Security : “It will be better if you go to EDSA station, then you can go to Manila Baywalk from there”, he pointed to a street to the right of terminal building.

Me: “Thanks, Sir”

Security : “In Manila, if you don’t know Tagalog language, It will be better if you ask to the bus driver about their destination”

Me: “Oh okay I see”.

I exited the NAIA Terminal 1 building.
It was at this small bus stop which I waited for the city bus to go to EDSA LRT Station.

I kept watching every city bus which passed, I kept looking for EDSA writing on every bus windshield. Fifteen minutes without finding it, I ventured to start asking every bus which stopped to picking up passengers.

Me: “EDSA Station, sir?”.

Conductor : “No No No”,

The question and answer kept repeating until some city buses didn’t care about me because I wasn’t the passenger. Until finally, a cream colored bus with a combination of blue arrived with the nameplates for Boni, Ortigas, Cubao and finally EDSA hanging in a row down on its windshield. It seemed that those were the names of LRT/MRT stations which the bus passed through.

Me: “EDSA?”

Conductor: “Come in!”

I entered the bus and sat in the middle seat on the right. On the dashboard above was clearly written Jayross Lucky Seven, the name of bus company. Fairly comfortable city bus, air-conditioned and LCD TV at the front. Shortly after sitting down, liked most buses in Indonesia, the conductor approached me and charged me 30 Peso.

Finally found a bus to EDSA LRT Station.
Sat and got ready to enjoying the streets of Manila.

Ah, I would be skipping the Jeepney trip this time. “It’s okay, I’ll take a Jeepney to NAIA when I get back later,” my mind won over. But somehow, I suddenly got up from my seat when the conductor shouted “EDSA….EDSA….EDSA”. I received information that I had arrived and I had to get off, the conductor certainly didn’t know the destination of the passengers one by one, so he let me walked down from front door.

The bus left me. There was no sign of the existence of LRT line which was clearly memorized in my memory from my first visitation. “It’s not here yet,” I thought with a wry smile, until a Jeepney approached. “EDSA?” I shouted at the driver. “Come on!”, he simply answered. I went up through back door. I didn’t know street’s number of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue when got on to Jeepney. Finally, I got to ride again the most popular mode of transportation among Filipino people. Now I paid less because the distance was close to destination, only 10 Peso. Five minutes later I arrived at EDSA LRT Station.

Riding the Jeepney again.
Jeepney interior, looks like an angkot (public tranportation in Jakarta), right?
Where the Jeepney stops and departs.

I was just amazed by tbusy activities of Manila citizens that afternoon. Similar to streets around Pasar Senen, Jakarta. For a long time I stood in an open stall  which selling fresh fruit. Paying attention to traffic jams, Jeepneys which the middle and lower class people were scrambling for and LRT Line 1 going back and forth above my head.

Ah, the beautiful and short transit time I have and enjoyed……

This was the EDSA LRT Station….What did it look like? Good or usual?