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

Wrong Date at Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Serving 47 million passengers every year.

Philippine Airlines flight number PR 685 smoothly landed on one of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)’s runways. This large-bodied aircraft gallantly taxied to the apron at Terminal 1. This plane should have landed at Terminal 2, because it was in the process of being renovated, the terminal was diverted. Terminal 1 itself is the mainhub of Cebu Pacific airline, while the mainhub of Philippine Airlines is in Terminal 2.

This wasn’t my first landing in Philippines because I had visited this country four years ago. Now I have landed at NAIA again, not for a visitation but only for transit before actually arriving in Jakarta. And this is Donny who didn’t want his transit only used to staying at the airport….Yes, I would go to downtown within 7 hours of the transit time.

The name Ninoy Aquino International Airport itself is dedicated to Ninoy Aquino Jr who was killed in Terminal 1 after returning from exile in United States on 1983.

The atmosphere of Christmas celebrations still felt at conveyor belt area.
Tourist Information Center.
Arrival Hall.

PR 685 slowly passed through the hangar belonging to Lufthansa Technik Philippines, Inc. which is an aircraft maintenance service company at this airport, then passed a row of yellow airlines “Cebu Pacific” which is the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) of the pride of Duterte’s country, through Terminal 2 Domestic Departure and finally stopped at Terminal 1.

The beautiful Philippine Airlines staff carried a small sign that said “transfer” and stood in the middle of corridor to collect passengers who would continue their flight to their next destination. They would be taken by Airport Shuttle Transfer Service to Terminal 2. I who stated that I wanted to go to downtown during transit was given a piece of paper which must be filled out and would be attached with a ticket to Jakarta to be submitted to immigration counter.

Immigration Staff : “Where will you go in transit time?”.

Me : “Manila Baywalk, S”

Immigration Staff : “What for?”

Me : “Just sightseeing, Sir”.

A brief conversation at immigration counter which got me through with Philippines immigration stamp on my green passport. I had to ask an Aviation Security officer to find a luggage storage location to put my backpack to make my steps easier to get to downtown. I handed over 20 Peso to Baggage Assistance Counter and they put my backpack on its shelf.

Hunting Peso in money changer.
Baggage Assistance Counter.
Luggage storage racks belonging to Orbit Air Systems (The ground handling company at NAIA).

Passing the exit gate, I headed to a counter belonging to PLTD Enterprise which offered free SIM cards with “Smart 5G” brand for travelers. I politely declined the data package they offered because I only needed GPS service from this prepaid SIM card.

Departure

After finishing a short tour of the city, I was dropped off by city bus driver at Terminal 1. Saving time, I headed to luggage storage area and grabbed my backpack. Then go to Airport Shuttle Transfer Service waiting room to moving to Terminal 2, the terminal where I would fly to Jakarta.

Terminal 2 itself was completed in 1998 and was nicknamed Centennial Terminal because its completion coincided with the centennial anniversary of Philippines’ declaration of independence from Spanish colonial rule. This terminal was originally designed by Aéroports de Paris.

In front of Terminal 2, I was dropped off. Many location points were covered by project boards, indicating that this terminal was being renovated. The remaining pesos which failed to be exchanged at Terminal 1 money changer on reason that money which I exchanged was in small denominations, was finally able to be exchanged at a money changer outside Terminal 2 building. Now Peso has turned into US Dollars.

A little incident happened at immigration counter, an immigration officer of Spanish descent was a little confused and asked other immigration staff. It turned out that the date stamped on my passport when I entered Manila this morning was still tomorrow’s date.

ArDirections to Airport Shuttle Transfer Service Terminal 1.
Airport Shuttle Transfer Service @Terminal 1.
Drop off zone in Terminal 2.

Immigration Staff : “When do you entering Manila? “.

Me: “Last morning, Sir”.

Immigration Staff : “Why don’t you check the date?”

Me: “What’s wrong, Sir”.

Immigration Staff : “The date in your free visa is tomorrow”.

Me: “Oh I’m sorry, I don’t aware about it”

Immigration Staff : “Can you show your arrival and departure boarding pass?”

Me: “These are, sir”

Immigration Staff : “Okay, It’s no problem. You can go”.

Finally I was allowed to leaving Manila and preparing to return to my hometown. I felt very calm, having arrived three hours before boarding time. But for hours sitting in the waiting room, I didn’t immediately find my flight number PR 535 on the LCD information screen. I ventured into the Mabuhay Lounge to inquire about the official schedule of my flight to a Philippine Airlines staff on duty at reception lounge. She said that my flight had a delay which couldn’t be announced until when, but I was shown the gate number where I had to wait which was Gate 11.

I just sat at Gate 11 for a while, when I heard an announcement that the flight was postponed until 23:00 hours due to flight traffic disruptions as a effect of the eruption of Mount Taal in Tagaytay area.

Check-in counter.
Departure Hall.
Laptop station.
Mabuhay Lounge.
Waiting room in front of Gate 11.

Exactly at 23:00 hours, I started boarding and left many impressions at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Thank you NAIA, see you later.