Just wanna share our "adventure" upon our arrival at NAIA Terminal 1.
After 2 flights we finally landed in Manila at 530pm. Upon our arrival, we passed through immigration pretty quick as there were only 2 flights landing around that time.
We saw driver / agent holding their customers’ name tag at the restricted area so we were busy looking out for our names.
There were probably 5 chairs available at the terminal and most of them were occupied by “staffs / touts” so we were wondering around looking out for our guides. As we were communicating a few hours ago with our guide confirming the punctual arrival of our flight, we began to wonder why they have not shown up after 30 minutes.
We then asked the security guard whether there is another gate or exit or another Terminal 1 in Manila just in case we were waiting at the wrong place. Hubby even walked in and out of the terminal just to check for any sign of our guide but was told by the security guide that he is only one Terminal 1 and one gate to enter and one gate to exit so we waited. The security guard question his reason for reentering the terminal and he told him.
We bought the local SIM card at the terminal and try to contact the guide but failed. Eventually, we sent an email to them telling that we have left the airport after waiting for more than 2 hours to seek other alternative.
We explained our predicament to the information counter personnel and asked him to recommend a place near the airport for us to stay just for the night. He made the necessary arrangement and led us out of the terminal, across the street, went under some underground ramp and we ended up at a place that looks like a waiting area for taxi. He told us specifically not to talk to anyone who attempts to approach us while waiting for the hotel pick up.
Suddenly our guide appeared from no where (escorted by a taxi driver) and ran across some barricade towards us. Apparently they were not allowed to enter the terminal or even the taxi pick up area. We were basically waiting for each other inside the terminal and outside the meet and greet area.
Then the taxi driver who supposedly got the special permission to allow our guide to meet us at his turf demanded a fare of 1000 peso to take us from the airport to our condo at Sucat (which was less than 10km away). The lowest price he offered was 500 peso but our guide still think it was too much so we walk about 5 minutes and hail a White Metered Taxi and it cost us less than 100 peso to our destination.
What baffled us was that :-
1. We saw some agent from hotel and travel agencies in the restricted area of the airport holding their customers’ name card so we naturally assumed that they should be the case. When I asked our guides, apparently those were the people with connection with the airport security who got special permission to allow them to enter the “restricted” area. What’s the point of having so called tight security but “selected” agent can easily access to restricted area ?
2. We were wasting our so much time waiting for our guides in the terminal and what the security guard, information counter personnel could have just told us that we have to proceed to the designated meet and greet area away from the terminal. Everyone speaks English and communication was never a problem but why couldn’t they just tell us this piece of important information that we can wait till kingdom come but no one will meet us in the Terminal unless they have “connection”
3. There is no signage at the airport to direct tourist as to where they should go. The Meet and Greet Area is not that easy to get to as I recalled. The information counter is literally a counter which has absolutely no brochures, no maps, no promotional material whatsoever.
This was really an exciting but stressful way to begin our adventure and I hope by posting this will prevent any tourists who doesn’t booked with agencies or hotels with special connection to get detail direction as to the exact location to meet up or to be picked up.
By the way, we took 2 internal flight via PAL and Cebu Pacific (Terminal 2 & 3) and as comparison with Terminal 1, we were shocked at the state of the country’s gateway (Terminal 1).