cebu-manila3

From wet Manila to dry Cebu, riding with PAL

A rainbow appears over the skies of northern Cebu.

The Cuyo Loop series will resume after this post.

For the past few days, it has been raining in Manila due to typhoon Helen hovering above Batanes with torrential rains dampening one’s dispostion but this didn’t stop me from going home to Cebu. Well, I had to attend to some urgent matters even if  this trip was unplanned. Luckily, I was able to get a roundtrip ticket a week before and guess what, it is Philippine Airlines which was offering their Buy One – Take One promo.

A PAL plane's tail as seen from the window before take-off.

Curiously, the BO – TO promo was not available online and my sister had to call their reservations hotline to book a flight. The fare was cheap at only P2877.00 for Manila – Cebu – Manila. That is cheaper than taking a tourist accommodation passenger ship via Superferry for the same route taking 19 hours one way and total of P3,400.00.

Because of the bad weather in Luzon, the first half of the flight was rather bumpy and at one point, scary as we passed through an air pocket, the biggest I have encountered, that the “drop” was rather “deep” making some women passengers scream while some beverages in paper cups spilled. But that was just it and the rest was tolerable.

Wide bodied aircraft and a few passengers.

It has been ages since I have flown Philippine Airlines. Whenever I traveled before the fare wars, I opted for this company. I just find their planes comfortable with plush, cloth covered seats, ample leg space, complementary food and drinks served and, especially, the wonderful architecture of Terminal II. It is an airy, progressive and modern work. To be under its roof is pure bliss!

When Cebu Pacific started their seat give away, I opted for the cheaper fares and just had to bear  the always chaotic old domestic airport that often taxes my patience, where everything seems to be so inefficient but miraculously working, cramped space and cheap leather seats.

I guess, PAL just have to join the bandwagon in order to survive amidst this off passenger season and especially that the other company is boasting as having the most number of passengers served. Now that’s an ego deflating development. In the end, though, its the riding public who are the winners.

Snacks, tea and newspapers, all complementary.

PAL still serves complementary snacks (unfortunately, its junk food), a choice of coffee, tea or water and the day’s papers. Now, compare this with Cebu Pacific’s overpriced but more descent food choices, inflight games and months old Smile inflight magazine. They used to include newspapers and the Far Eastern Economic Review but this was discontinued.

View of Punta engano and the pristine waters off Mactan Is.

The weather was fine in Cebu when I arrived. Bright sunny and blue skies with the familiar pristine waters off Mactan Is. as seen through the window. The passengers were not so many and waiting for my baggage was not that long. Though, a few hours later, the weather turned moody and it rained in the afternoon.

Its good to be back home after two months. After I am done with some things, it will just be a lazy, sort of vacation for the next two weeks.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

12 Comments

  1. nina
    July 17, 2008 @ 1:02

    True…there’s still something about flying with PAL.

    But you know, the Centennial terminal only looks bright and airy during the day. At night, it looks well light from the outside, but in the boarding area, there are dark areas and hardly anything to amuse you while you wait.

    That aside… until when ka sa Cebu? We might be going there early August. Would love to meet you 😀

  2. estan
    July 17, 2008 @ 1:46

    nina, during night time, especially if passengers and flights are fewer, they do put off some of the lights. I used to take the dawn flights and, well, not so amusing but if you revel in observing sleeping people in various state of slumber, then it will be something. 🙂

    I won’t be here until August, though. I’ll be back in Makati by that time.

  3. nina
    July 17, 2008 @ 2:01

    re: sleeping travelers
    may punto ka dun! Pero mas masaya kapag kakilala mo kasi hindi nakakahiya kuhanan ng picture XD

    Ay boo, di tayo mag abot sa Cebu. Sana makapunta ka sa Wordcamp! 😀

  4. The Islander
    July 17, 2008 @ 9:52

    one thing i like about riding a plane is the privilege and wonder of the aerial views of the Philippine archipelagos. it always excites me. and i always request for the window side. hehe.

  5. estan
    July 17, 2008 @ 13:32

    same here bai. basta di lang cloudy okay kaayo. One of the best views I like is the Davao – Manila and CDO – Manila routes since it gives me a good view of the crater of dormant (?) Mt. Balatukan of Misamis Oriental. I’ve always been in awe of this mountain everytime I used to go to Gingoog.

  6. The Islander
    July 17, 2008 @ 16:51

    hmmmm.. ill research for that.. bisan og cloudy ay, nice japon ang view sa taas. its like another plain above. especially if patag ang clouds. next time ill post the aerial views of terrains that i have taken photo.

  7. donG hO
    July 17, 2008 @ 23:30

    nasa cebu ka na pala ulit. hindi man lang tayo nagkita sa manila nina oggie. sarap nga talaga bumyahe sa eroplano basta wala lang masyadong ulap.

  8. bw
    July 18, 2008 @ 3:17

    Nice shots 🙂

    Sadly quality of airline food has declined in domestic flights. It’s better to eat before flying and have just coffee or tea during the short flight.

  9. estan
    July 18, 2008 @ 8:24

    bw, i agree with you. in Cebu Pacific’s case, descent as it may be but the price is just too much. I would still grab some food from Mister Donut at the old Domestic airport boarding area which is way cheaper than those from the adjacent food stalls. Anyway, the flight is just short.

  10. Oman
    July 18, 2008 @ 11:12

    i once experienced a strong turbulence while on board cebu pacific domestic flight and i promised myself not to ride an airplane again. but almost a dozen flights after, air turbulence is just something to shrug about.

  11. estan
    August 26, 2008 @ 13:28

    oman, and its part of air travel. pero minsan, nakakatakot nga lang.

  12. Ariel
    April 10, 2009 @ 15:04

    Yes theres still something about flying PAL. They offer an old world feel about Flying. Guess the first time I saw a plane was back when I was 4 yrs old. It was a PAL DC-3 thats about to take off for manila. Im going home to Iloilo this monday though this time am flyin business class with PAL. Finally i get to use my airmiles hehehe am only shellin out 800 + for the ticket =)

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