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

Philippine Airlines PR 685 from Doha (DOH) to Manila (MNL)

PR 685 flight path (source: https://www.radarbox.com).

If you want to feel the sensation of riding the first commercial airline in Asia, then take Philippine Airlines, then you will automatically be honored to have boarded the oldest airline in the Asian continent. And Philippine Airlines became the 28th airline which I boarded throughout my journey as a backpacker.

Starting with a small incident that was quite embarrassing. That afternoon, the area in front of check-in counter looked vacant, then after flight number PR 685 had the status “open”, I strolled through lane which was formed by boarder tape.

And suddenly there was a loud voice….

“Hi, please queue, Sir!” a ground staff reprimanded me who automatically braked my steps. He pointed to the queue of passengers from Philippines that started from a building pole. They all laughed at me and lowered my face in shame. Trying to smile but still unable to hide the frown on my face, I passed the passengers who were almost the entire queue laughing at me. Until finally, I was standing in the queue, far behind.

Check-in counter.
The 11th ticket in my year-end adventure.

Leaving the check-in area and finishing my business at the immigration counter, my steps were halted for a moment.

“Where are you from, Sir?”, I said in Indonesia language to two middle-aged men who had been holding a green passport with a picture of an eagle. “Oh, there are Indonesians here, brother,” said one of them to his friend. I just smiled to warm the situation.

“Is you taking Qatar Airways flight too, right?”, the question that may wish that three of us could fly in one plane. “I stopped by in Manila, Sir, I take Philippine Airlines flight, my final destination is Jakarta. Where are you going? “, I briefly asked before parting. They seemed busy in putting their immigration document, passport and ticket into their bag. “We are from Surabaya, Sir”, his warm smile made me feel not far from home.

According to them, they were on an assignment to Doha from their company. Whereas, I confidently replied that I had just finished backpacking alone in Middle East. “Wow, that’s great, Sir, traveling alone”, they said closing-sentence before we parted towards our respective gates.

Then I went down the escalator and passed the duty free zone around the “Lamp Bear” mascot. Continued again by taking the escalator to take the skytrain to concourse D. Finding the gate I was referring to, then I sat down while munching remaining parathas for dinner while waiting for Philippine Airlines to pick up me.

Exactly on 20:45 hours, I started boarding through aerobridge. I entered the plane from left cabin corridor. Once seated in 39K window seat, my dream of the grandeur of plane cabin that from the beginning when I was buying ticket finally disappeared. It turned out that this plane wasn’t equipped with LCD screens on each seat. You could imagine, this long flight of 7,277 km will definitely be boring. But finally I said okay to myself, “Just enjoying your flight with happiness, Donny”.

Airbus 330-300.
Wings which flaunt valor.
Started to looking for a seat.
Well here it is, my seat for 9 hours 35 minutes.

I sat next to a big woman on the left, while at the end of the row, have sat a middle-aged man of opposite stature, tall and thin. Ninety percent of passengers were of course Filipino nationals. Because this was their country’s plane.

I kept an eye on a stewardess with bob hair, purple lipstick and slender body. Who doubts the beauty of pinays, Philippines is indeed a producer of beautiful women in the world…. Hmhh.

Befora demonstrating the flight safety procedures, flight attendants  distributed amenities in the form of blankets, towels, brushes and toothpaste. I started reading some of the safety procedures on this Airbus plane. Read the fight magazine and prepared for the second dinner after take-off.

Thanks 12Go.
Goodbye Hamad International Airport.
Blanket for each passenger.
Mabuhay….Inflight magazine owned by Philippine Airlines.

“Sir, I have ordered the menu. My menu should be a Jain Meal, not Seafood Meal, Sir”, I asked to a flight attendant. “Dinner menu must be ordered 3 hours before flight, Have you ordered it?”, he answered. “Oh okay, Sir, It’s my wrong”, I replied.

Dinner menu: rice and seafood.
It turned out that my order of Jean Meal came out in the morning with coffee…Oh my God.
Wasn’t it beautiful, the stretch of golden lines formed by Doha earth lamp? Look at the waters of Persian Gulf!.

After all passengers finished with their respective dinners, the cabin crew started asking every passenger who sitting in the window seat to close the window. Ah, I didn’t listen to orders, instead I noticed the pretty face of flight attendant who I had admired since the beginning of this flight. I just realized the order when a flight attendant continuously smiled and pointed at my window while raising and lowering her index finger as a signal for me to close it immediately…. The incident made the passenger next to me laugh….Was I messed up, hahaha?.

That night my flight was very smooth without turbulence. The pilot informed to all passengers that we was traveling in a plane at a speed of 800 km per hour. Extraordinary. That night I didn’t sleep well, and was anxiously waiting to arrive in Manila. On a time,  I didn’t know where I was next, but flight attendants went back around cabin corridor and asked every passenger in window seat to open the window again.

This was a natural drama that I have experienced for first time. I closed the window in complete darkness and suddenly opened it in the bright light. Like a magic game in the sky, looked like that the sun seemed to appear sooner than normal.

Good morning….I didn’t know where I was?.
The mountain which stood out in the crowd of clouds….Amazing.

The queue at each toilet were so long. With a stutter, I began to queue. I had to brush my teeth and wipe my face with warm water before landing. This was brushing teeth on an airplane for the first time in my life.

Shortly after sitting back down, the pilot informed that the Philippines’ flag carrier would soon land at its main hub, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The airline with the logo of two blue and red sails symbolizing the nation’s flag and an eight-ray yellow sunburst would land at Terminal 1 as planned.

Preparing to landing in Manila.

The plane smoothly landed on the runway and then taxied with a quick view of the hustle and bustle of airport. I deserved to thank for the services of this 79 year old airline.

Miss Cebu Pacific….Remember riding it four years ago..
Thank you Philippine Airlines “The Heart of the Filipino”.

Time to transited and exploring Manila in short time.

Came on….. Traveling again!

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

Philippines Airlines PR 535 dari Manila (MNL) ke Jakarta (CGK)

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Di depan Gate 11 menunggu terbang.
Philippine Airlines PR 535 tiba.
Yuk, masuk!

Mbak, maaf saya duduk di No. 38K”, sapaku pada seorang wanita muda yang tampak lelah menyandarkan kepalanya di jendela.

Maaf boleh tukar saja ndak?”, mulai tertebak dia orang Jawa karena cengkok medoknya.

Maaf, mbak. Lebih baik duduk sesuai dengan bangku. Biar sesuai dengan manifest. Takut terjadi apa-apa selama terbang, saya kebetulan ada perlu untuk ambil beberapa gambar dari window seat”, ucapku pelan. Walau aku faham bahwa pesawat ini tak bakal penuh seutuhnya.

Sedikit manyun, si mbak keluar dari deretan bangku dan membiarkanku mengakuisisi bangku dan dia masih cemberut saja di aisle seat.

Duh, manyun aja manis, apalagi senyum”, batin menyeru, aku mulai kumat.

Tertekuk raut muka setiap penumpang, mungkin karena tertundanya penerbangan hingga lima jam lamanya. Kufikir kompensasi pecel lele atau sepotong roti itu hanya terjadi di Indonesia. Ternyata sogokan sepotong meat burger atas keterlambatan itu terjadi pula di Manila….Aku tersenyum kecut, karena telah hilang nafsu makan. Bagaimana tidak, baru juga naik pesawat pukul dua belas malam, terkirimlah pesan singkat dari atasan untuk hadir di acara peresmian bangunan baru milik kantor pukul sembilan pagi nanti….Bukankah seharusnya aku menikmati masa-masa jetlag dahulu setelah 21 hari tak menginjak tanah air.

Yess, kudapatkan hak atas bangkuku.
Area apron NAIA tampak dari jendela.
Kesibukan di sekitar apron.

Padahal aku sudah merasa sumringah dengan datang tepat waktu di Ninoy Aquino International Airport pada pukul 15:30 untuk menyambut penerbangan Philippine Airlines PR 535 pada pukul sembilan malam. Kejadian salah tanggal di passport dan hilangnya nomor penerbangan pada layar LCD sudah kumaklumi. Tapi begitu senewennya diriku ketika terdengar info bahwa aku baru akan terbang di tengah malam akibat dampak muntahan abu gunung Taal di daerah Tagatay yang meletus.

Besarnya dampak letusan ini kuketahui setelah tiga minggu kepulanganku di tanah air. Seorang klienku berkebangsaan Philippina, terbang tepat di atas udara bersama Cebu Pacific ketika letusan itu terjadi. Pesawat “Kuning Putih Biru” rasanya terhisap ke bawah lalu menukik ke atas dengan aba-aba yang tak jelas dari kapten penerbangan.  Baru setelah mendarat, kapten Cebu Pacific itu meminta maaf atas insiden di udara karena adanya letusan gunung tersebut.

Malam itu aku sangat lelah, setelah mengambil gambar seperlunya, aku otomatis tertidur. Kelelahan yang teramat sangat dan kerinduan akan makanan rumah menjadikan penerbangan itu menjadi penerbangan paling nyaman semenjak aku meninggalkan rumah 3 minggu sebelumnya.

Berada di langit Manila.
Selamat tinggal Manila, sampai jumpa lagi Philippina!.
Tahu arti Mabuhay? ….”Hidup atau umur panjang atau long life
FPML (Fruit Platter Meal)….Yuk makan malam sebelum tidur.

Penerbangan sejauh 2.800 km dengan kecepatan rerata 700 km per jam ini berlangsung selama 3 jam 55 menit. Malam itu aku menutup jendela rapat-rapat dan berharap ketika mataku terbuka nanti, aku sudah berada di Jakarta.

Tak ada cerita spesial yang kudapat dari penerbangan ini. Hanya saja malam itu aku merasa sangat lega karena selama pengembaraanku ke Malaysia, India dan kawasan Timur Tengah berlangsung dengan sangat lancar sekali tanpa kendala sedikitpun. Perjalanan ini semakin menambah keberanian dan ketenanganku untuk mimpi menyambut Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhtan, Turkmenistan dan negara tetangganya di masa-masa selanjutnya.

Namun siapa yang tahu, aku pun tak tahu bahwa pandemi itu akan datang, bahkan sudah terjadi di negara asalnya ketika aku sedang berada di Dubai. Sebuah mimpi yang sudah pasti tertunda entah kapan.

Pesisir Ancol menjelang pagi hari.
Bersiap mendarat.
Touchdown dengan mulusnya.

Lalu kenapa Philippine Airlines? Bukankah itu maskapai mahal untukmu, Donny?.

Aku pun tak pernah bermimpi menunggang flag carrier itu, mungkin Tuhan yang menganugerahkanku dengan memperlihatkan tiket paling murah dalam pencarianku di sebuah aplikasi reservasi tiket.  Suatu kebetulan yang membuatku bahagia. Inilah pesawat berbadan lebar kesepuluh yang kunaiki setelah

Air Asia Korea ke Kuala Lumpur…

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

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

Swiss Air Dubai-Muscat.

Terimakasih Tuhan sudah mendaratkanku dengan selamat.
Oh, Kampung Rambutan….I love you.

Alternatif untuk mencari tiket pesawat dari Manila ke Jakarta bisa dicari di 12Go atau link berikut: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

TAMAT

Philippine Airlines PR 685 dari Doha (DOH) ke Manila (MNL)

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Jalur penerbangan PR 685 (sumber: https://www.radarbox.com).

Jika ingin merasakan sensasi menunggang airline komersial pertama di Asia maka naiklah Philippine Airlines, maka secara otomatis kamu akan tertasbih telah menaiki maskapai tertua di Benua Asia. Dan Philippine Airlines menjadi maskapai ke-28 yang kunaiki sepanjang perjalananku menjadi seorang backpacker.

Dimulai dengan insiden kecil  yang cukup membuat malu. Sore itu area depan konter check-in tampak melompong, kontan setelah nomor pernerbangan PR 685 berstatus “open”, aku melenggang kangkung menelusuri liukan alur yang dibentuk oleh boarder tape.

Dan tiba-tiba terdengar suara lantang….

Hi, please queue, Sir!” tegur ground staff yang otomatis mengerem langkahku. Dia menunjuk antrian penumpang asal Philippines yang bermula dari sebuah tiang bangunan. Mereka semua menertawakanku dan menyungkurkan mukaku dalam rasa malu. Berusaha tersenyum tetapi tetap saja tak bisa menyembunyikan kecut muka, aku melewati para penumpang itu yang hampir sepanjang antrian tertawa memandangiku. Hingga akhirnya, aku sudah berdiri di antrian, jauh di belakang.

Check-in counter.
Tiket ke-11 dalam petualangan akhir tahunku.

Meninggalkan area check-in dan menyelesaikan urusan di konter imigrasi, langkahku tertahan sekejap.

Asal mana pak?“, sapaku pada dua lelaki paruh baya yang sedari tadi memegangi paspor hijau bergambar garuda. “Loh, ada orang Indonesia nih, cak“, tegas seorang darinya kepada teman sebelahnya. Aku hanya tersenyum untuk menghangatkan suasana.

Naik Qatar Airways juga ya mas?“, pertanyaan yang mungkin berharap kita bertiga bisa terbang sepesawat. “Saya mampir Manila dulu pak, naik Philippine Airlines, tujuan akhir saya Jakarta. Bapak berdua mau kemana? “, tanyaku singkat sebelum berpisah. Kedua lelaki itu tampak berbenah memasukkan setiap berkas imigrasi, paspor dan tiketnya ke dalam tas. “Kami dari Surabaya, mas“, senyumnya hangatnya membuatku merasa tak jauh dari rumah.

Menurut tuturnya, kedua lelaki itu sedang ada tugas dari perusahaannya di Doha. Sedangkan aku menjawab dengan percaya diri bahwa aku baru saja selesai backpackeran sendirian di Timur Tengah. “Wah hebat si mas, keliling sendirian“, ucapan penutupnya sebelum kami berpisah menuju gate masing-masing.

Kemudian aku menuruni escalator dan melewati duty free zone di sekitar maskot “Lamp Bear”. Berlanjut lagi dengan menaiki escalator untuk menaiki skytrain menuju concourse D. Menemukan gate yang kumaksud, maka terduduklah aku sembari mengunyah paratha tersisa untuk makan malam sambil menunggu Philippine Airlines tiba menjemput.

Tepat pukul 20:45, aku mulai boarding melalui aerobridge. Aku memasuki pesawat dari koridor kabin sebelah kiri. Begitu terduduk di window seat berbilangan 39K, impian kemegahan kabin yang sedari semula saat membeli tiket akhirnya sirna.  Ternyata pesawat ini tak dilengkapi LCD screen di setiap bangkunya. Terbayang sudah, penerbangan panjang sejauh 7.277 Km ini pasti akan membosankan.

Airbus 330-300.
Sayap yang memamerkan kegagahan.
Mulai mencari tempat duduk.
Nah ini dia, tempat dudukku selama 9 jam 35 menit.

Aku duduk bersebelahan dengan wanita tambun di sisi kiri sedangkan di ujung baris terduduk lelaki paruh baya berpostur sebaliknya, jangkung dan kurus. Sembilan puluh persen penumpang tentu berkebangsaan Philippines. Karena ini pesawat negara mereka.

Aku terus memperhatikan pramugari berpotongan rambut bob, berlipstik ungu dan berpostur semampai. Siapa yang meragukan kecantikan para pinay, Philippines memang penghasil para wanita cantik di dunia….Hahaha.

Setelah mendemokan prosedur keselamatan terbang, pramugari dan pramugara itu membagikan amenities berupa selimut, handuk, sikat dan pasta gigi. Aku mulai membaca beberapa prosedur keamanan pesawat Airbus ini. Membaca infight magazinenya dan bersiap untuk santap malam kedua kali setelah take-off.

Thanks 12Go.
Selamat tinggal Hamad International Airport.
Selimut untuk setiap penumpang.
Mabuhay….Inflight magazine milik Philippine Airlines.

Sir, I have ordered the menu. My menu should  a Jain Meal, not Seafood Meal, Sir”, tanyaku pada seorang pramugara. “Dinner menu must be ordered 3 hours before flight, Have you order it?”, jawabnya sedikit tegas. Daripada menimbulkan keributan yang tak mengenakkan, aku mengalah saja. Begitulah aku, selalu menghindari gesekan dan cenderung mengalah pada setiap perselisihan….Hebat ya guwe, mulia banget….Hahaha.

Menu makan malam: nasi dan ikan laut.
Ternyata Jean Meal pesananku keluar di pagi hari bersama kopi…Oalah, ndeso tenan.
Indah sekali bukan, rentangan garis-garis emas bentukan pelita bumi Doha?. Lihat perairan Teluk Persia itu!.

Setelah semua penumpang selesai dengan dinnernya masing-masing, awak kabin mulai meminta setiap penumpang yang duduk di window seat untuk menutup jendela. Ah, aku tak mendengarkan perintah, malahan memperhatikan wajah ayu pramugari yang kukagumi sedari tadi. Aku baru tersadar akan perintah ketika pramugari itu tersenyum terus dan menunjuk jendelaku sembari menaik turunkan telunjuknya sebagai isyarat bagiku untuk segera menutupnya….”Iya mbak, aku ngerti kok, cuma sedang terpesona denganmu saja”, batinku menjawab senyumannya. Kejadian itu membuat penumpang di sebelahku tertawa….Kacau kan guwe?.

Malam itu penerbanganku sangat mulus tanpa turbulensi. Pilot menginformasikan bahwa aku sedang melaju di dalam selongsong terbang dengan kecepatan 800 Km per jam. Luar biasa. Malam itu aku tak tidur nyenyak, terus gelisah menunggu tiba di Manila. Entah sampai dimana, pramugari itu kembali berkeliling di koridor kabin dan meminta setiap penumpang di window seat untuk membuka kembali jendelanya.

Inilah drama alam yang baru pertama kali ku alami. Aku menutup jendela dalam gulita dan tiba-tiba membukanya dalam kondisi terang benderang. Bak permianan sulap di angkasa, matahari sepertinya lebih cepat muncul dari waktu normalnya.

Selamat pagi….Entah aku berada dimana?.
Gunung yang menyembul di kerumunan awan….Menakjubkan.

Antrian di setiap toilet begitu panjang. Dengan gagapnya, aku pun mulai mengantri. Aku harus bergosok gigi dan menyeka  muka dengan air hangat sebelum mendarat.  Inilah kegiatan sikat gigi di pesawat terbang untuk pertama kalinya dalam hidupku.

Tak lama setelah duduk kembali, pilot memberitahukan bahwa flag carrier milik Philippines ini akan segera mendarat di mainhubnya, yaitu Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Maskapai berlogo dua layar biru dan merah yang melambangkan bendera kebesaran negara dan sunburst kuning delapan sinar ini akan mendarat di Terminal 1 sesuai rencana.

Bersiap mendarat di Manila.

Pesawat mendarat dengan mulusnya di runway dan kemudian taxiing dengan menampilkan pemandangan cepat tentang hiruk pikuknya suasana bandara. Aku pantas berterimakasih pada jasa maskapain berusia 79 tahun ini.

Rindu Cebu Pacific….Teringat menunggangnya empat tahun silam.
Thank you Philippine Airlines “The Heart of the Filipino”.

Saatnya transit dan menjelajah Manila dalam waktu singkat.

Yuksss…..Berkelana lagi!

Alternatif untuk tiket pesawat dari Doha ke Manila bisa dicari di 12Go atau link berikut: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Kisah Selanjutnya—->