…terminal conditions…


Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is about 7 km south of Manila, the cosmopolitan capital of the Philippines, and is a major gateway to the country. It serves as a hub for all Philippine airlines and is one of the 50 busiest airports in the world, serving nearly 30 million passengers in 2010. Flights to Ninoy Aquino International Airport arrive from major hubs in Asia and the Pacific region, as well as a handful of cities a little further afield such as Amsterdam, Detroit and Dubai. On this rainy day, I waited with a friend for an arrival from the Middle East..

If you’re waiting for or catching one of the many international flights to NAIA, chances are you’ll find yourself at the old Terminal 1 like we did. It is widely regarded as one of the worst terminals in Asia. It generally operates way over capacity, especially in peak season and close to the major holidays – so one needs to make sure they factor in lots of time. Inclement weather only makes a bad situation worse..

Overall, this airport is a little chaotic and can be confusing to navigate, but with a healthy dose of patience, you’ll probably get through it without too much trouble…

I witnessed (and had personally experienced) the arriving passengers with families living in the Philippines being met with nearly every one of their relatives at the airport. I’m being funny here, but the truth of the matter is the crowded conditions at the terminal are not generated so much by the passengers coming and going, it’s the people who come to see you off or pick you up!

If it’s a pickup from the airport, it’s not too hard to spot, in addition among the many pieces of luggage, the balikbayan boxes full of pasalubong, especially at holiday time. This is where the Filipino returnees from overseas are expected to bring home gifts to family, friends and colleagues. In these times, however, that list gets a little shorter..

We finally found my buddy’s friend among the crowd of arrivals and slogged our way back to the parking area to depart, which, while sitting in the car in traffic was another 20 minutes we’d never get back, but that’s another story…

As always, you can click your mouse over the photos to get the full description for each image…

Until next time!