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50 Days In Asia: Island Paradise, Part 2 (pics)

Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:18 pm

Continued from: 50 Days In Asia W/ A 5-Star Airline: Part 1 (pics) (by JetBlue777 Sep 2 2010 in Trip Reports)

50 Days in Asia with a 5-Star Airline: Part 2
CGY-MNL-CEB-MPH on 5J and 2P

The next day, my cousins from Sweden arrived in MNL via BKK. After they checked-in in the hotel, we proceeded to the Mall of Asia, the fourth largest mall in the world. I’ve been to MOA before and it’s really huge. It’s not just huge but it also has name brand shops. It has around 750 shops and 220 restaurants. IIRC, the mall has 9 cinema theatres including an IMAX one and a Director’s Club. Anyways, when we arrived at the mall, my parents felt hungry and they decided to eat something. They tried some Filipino dishes, but I’m not really a fan of Filipino dishes and I wasn’t really hungry at that time, so I just walked around the mall.

The Four Seasons shake from our hotel

Grilled Bangus (also from the hotel)

My small hotel room, I later moved in to a bigger room with my parents

The hotel lobby, sorry about the quality

SM Mall of Asia

The Music Hall of the mall

After eating, we did some quick shopping and we headed back to the hotel. When my dad opened our hotel room door, smoke suddenly came out! It smelled like burning plastic. We went inside the room and checked what the source of the smoke is. We looked around the room but couldn’t find the source, I felt nauseous and I had a slight headache so my dad told me to get out of the room and go to the hallway. My mom called the hotel management and we grabbed our baggage out of the room. Seconds later, the hotel manager as well as some hotel workers went inside the room to investigate. It turns out that the AC overheated and some Styrofoam burned. The hotel manager apologized to us a we were upgraded to a better room. He also checked on us to make sure if we were okay, now that’s good service.

The next day, it was time to go to Iligan City, where my grandparents live. Iligan City is about an hour and 45 minutes drive from Cagayan de Oro, since the city doesn’t have a functioning airport, we have to fly to CGY, an hour and 30 minute flight from MNL. Or flight to CGY was scheduled to depart MNL at 12:20PM. On this leg, we chose Cebu Pacific since they’re using Terminal 3 and I wanted to see how nice T3 is. By 7AM, we were awake and we had breakfast at the hotel. By 8AM, we were all ready and we boarded a mini van and we were off to NAIA’s T3. NAIA 3 is located on the other side of the airport, so it took 30 minutes to get there. When we got there, we lined up for pre-security outside the terminal. We called in some porters to help us with our baggage and in no time we were done with pre-security. The porters guided us to the check-in area where CGY bound passengers are being checked-in. It took forever to check us in since we had some issues with our baggage, we paid PHP2500 on excess baggage, which was okay. The check-in agent was very friendly and helpful even though there were 8 of us! After checking-in, we proceeded to the Terminal Fee booth and paid our terminal fee. Yes they have terminal fee. I think the terminal fee was 500 pesos, and Terminal 1’s terminal fee is 750 pesos and T1 is just a piece of dung. After that, it was time for the seconds security check. I find it interesting how there’s a line for male and there’s another line for female passengers. Security was relatively fast and finally we were on our way to the gate. The gate area was rather small, it had limited seating and I think it can’t handle larger international flights that utilize larger aircraft. However, the departure area was clean and modern and miles better than Terminal 1. Food selection was limited which was acceptable since the terminal only caters 5J and 2P.

breakfast at the hotel, Philippine mango and some bread with orange juice…so good!

Some condos across NAIA 3

Pre-security line

Lining up for pre-security

Terminal 3, ages better than T1

5J Check-In Desks

I can see a lot of airline lounges in that area once all int’l airlines move to T3.

5J 385 to Cagayan de Oro

Boarding was scheduled to begin at 11:50 PM, we were at the gate by 9:30, so we had to wait a little longer. Feeling a little hungry, I decided to grab some pizza and a drink. There was a small café located just across our gate, Gate 116. I had some sprite and some pizza. The pizza was rather small and the crust was really thin, but it was really really good.

The pizza, I forgot to take a pic lol

Time went by slow, but finally a 5J A320 parked at Gate 116. However, it wasn’t our aircraft. The A320 was bound for Kalibo, apparently their flight had a gate change. The flight to Kalibo left, then minutes later an announcement was made that 5J 384 from Cagayan de Oro and the flight would turn around as 5J 385 back to CGY. Boarding finally began at around 12:25 PM, 5 minutes after the scheduled departure time, passengers with small children and elderly were boarded first, since we were traveling with my little cousin, we skipped the very long queue and headed directly to the gate. When we got into the front desk for boarding, a lady who was in front of the line argued that we should get into the back of the line, she yelled at the agent for not telling us to go back into the line, the agent told her that we were traveling with a small child, so we were supposed to board first…people these days. The agent tore our boarding passes and we walked down the jetway. People seated on Rows 16 and upwards has to exit the jetway, go to the tarmac and board via the airstairs. We were assigned to Rows 21-22 but since we were traveling with a small child we were allowed to board using the first door. There was a long line inside the jetway but in no time we were allowed to get into the aircraft. We were greeted by a friendly male flight attendant and the other flight attendant was assisting an elderly woman with her luggage, a very nice and polite gesture. The cabin is spotlessly clean since it was only a 3-yr old airbus. We were assigned to Row 21 A,B,C,D,E and F, the whole row as well as 22A and B. I sat on 21A. Legroom was limited, it’s okay for short flights but I don’t know if anyone can survive a 3hr+ flight on a legroom like that of the 5J A320. The seats were comfortable with surprisingly decent recline. The head FA welcomed us and told us the flight info and all that stuff. We finally pushed back at 12:56 PM, 36 minutes behind schedule. IIRC, we taxied to Runway 1, due to heavy traffic in MNL, we waited in line for take-off for about 10 minutes, we finally took of around 1:04 PM, nearly an hour late. Take-off was very powerful as the pilots applied full thrust which was really amazing.

Flight 3: 5J 385 MNL-CGY

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Photo © Jerry Pang
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Photo © Spencer Wilmot

Origin: Manila - Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Metro Manila, Philippines
Destination: Cagayan - Lumbia National Airport, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Airline: Cebu Pacific (5J)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Reg.: RP-C3244
Seat No: 21A
ETD: 12:20, July 7, 2010
ATD: 12:56, July 7, 2010 - DELAYED 36 Minutes
ETA: 13:50, July 7, 2010
ATA: 14:16, July 7, 2010 - DELAYED 26 Minutes

Lining up for boarding

5J A320, our ride to CGY


The #1 engine


Rows 22 and above

View from Row 21 A

Wing view


In-flight mag

A320 Safety Card

FA, notice the AC, it was very cold in the cabin!

Ready for departure, the flight was around 90% full

The City of Makati, I believe


Seatbelts sign was then turned off and service commenced. 5J used to serve complimentary chips and sodas but times has changed and all of the beverages and snacks were BOB. The prices were relatively cheap, most of the food were 50 pesos which is roughly one dollar and a few cents. Since I was hungry I ordered an instant noodles which was good, I really like those stuff. My mom ordered the same while my dad got some kind of sandwich. I also had an Iced Tea. The captain then came into the PA and greeted us and told us our cruising altitude, flight path and estimated arrival in Cagayan de Oro. The flight offered wonderful views of some island in the Philippines and the rest of the flight were uneventful.


Instant noodles

The FAs then went around with different 5J merchandise for purchase, I bought sling bag so I could put my camera in it and some other stuff and of course for souvenir.

Starting our initial descent

Cabin during descent

The Island of Camiguin, I’ve been there a lot of times when I was younger, it’s a cool place.

Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano and its about 4000 feet above sea level. I climbed and reached the summit when I was like eight.

Landing was spectacular, one of the best I’ve experienced because we flew over rough terrains at a very low altitude.


We touched down at Lumbia National Airport at approximately 2:16 PM local time, 36 minutes behind schedule.

The airport’s runway

PR A319, operating as PR 186 to MNL, we would be on the flight 7 weeks later

We parked next to the PR A319

Upon going out the plane, we asked the FA if we could visit the flight deck, she called the pilot and we were allowed to, the pilot was friendly and offered us to take a seat on the FO seat, we took dozens of pics with the captain. He was really friendly.

The cockpit

View from the cockpit


Baggage Claim

PR 186 departing nearly 30 minutes early

The airport terminal

The van that would take us to Iligan City

After claiming our baggage we proceeded to the arrivals area and we were united with our grandparents and other relatives, they hired a van and we went to a nearby mall for lunch. After an hour and 45 minute drive to Iligan City, we finally arrived at my granny’s house and we rested. For the next few days, all we did was rest and did some shopping before leaving for Cebu and Boracay.

Journey To Boracay Island:

Terminal Building

Check-in area, at first, i thought that the check-in was already closed but we were actually the first ones to checkin and it wasnt open yet

Boarding Pass

Waiting area

Our plane arriving from CEB

The waiting area got crowded as a PR A319, 5J A320 and 5J ATR-72 were departing around the same time, the 5J A320 to MNL was delayed for more than half-an hour so that caused chaos in the waiting area. I found it interesting that the 5J A320 pax to MNL already line up even though the plane didnt arrive yet! Then it was really chaotic when they started boarding. However, boarding for our flight was organized.

5J A320 to MNL

Flight 4: 5J 208 CGY-CEB

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Photo © Juan Carlos Salamat
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Photo © Stuart Lawson [Airplane-Pictures]

Origin:Cagayan - Lumbia National Airport, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Destination: Cebu - Mactan International Airport, Lapu-Lapu, Philippines
Airline: Cebu Pacific (5J)
Aircraft: ATR-72-500
Reg.: RP-C7252
Seat No: 4D
ETD: 11:50, July 12, 2010
ATD: 11:26, July 11, 2010 - AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, 24 Minutes
ETA: 15:10, July 11, 2010
ATA: 11:29, July 11, 2010 - AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, 21 Minutes

We pushed back 24 minutes ahead of scheduled, a quick taxi to runway 1 then we started our powerful take off to Cebu.

Take off Video:

Take Off!

The cabin

The new Laguindingan International Airport, set to open in 2011 or 2012, it’ll replace Lumbia Airport eventually.

The ATR-72-500’s engine

The Island of Camiguin, that small white island in the picture is White Island, a small treeless and inhabited island off the coast of Camiguin, it’s pretty nice.

Cabin with the rear facing seats

Descending towards Cebu

View from Seat 4D



The head FA, she was also our head FA on the return flight


PR A333

Zest A320

Zest A320

South East Asian Airlines Dornier


PR A333 to MNL


Wonderful tail

We stayed in Cebu for one day, we met up with old friends and relatives, had dinner at a Thai restaurant and shopped for stuff that we're going to used in Boracay. The next morning, we headed to the airport for our 11:50 flight to Caticlan/Boracay.

The sampler at Siam

Airphil Express office in Mactan Airport

Domestic Departures

We proceeded to the check-in area, check-in took forever since there was some problem with our tickets, two of our tickets were bought via Philippine Airlines and the rest via Airphil Express, so that was a problem. (It was part of our package to Boracay)

Boarding pass

After checking in we proceeded to the gate area and I had some hotdog sandwich and a coke. The airport offered free wifi and they also had computer stations with high speed internet, i think it was great.

PAL 747

Then it was time to board, we were bussed of to the aircraft, a Q300 aircraft. When we got into the plane, it was very hot. Apparently, the AC didnt work so we had to endure high temperatures throughout the whole flight. Not good. A lot of people used the safety card as a fan.

Flight 5: 2P 258 CEB-MPH

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Photo © He Junxian
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Photo © Martin Eadie

Origin: Cebu - Mactan International Airport, Lapu-Lapu, Philippines
Destination: Caticlan - Godofredo Ramos National Airport, Malay, Philippines
Airline: Airphil Express
Aircraft: De Havilland Dash Q300
Reg.: RP-C3015
Seat No: 4D
ETD: 11:50, July 12, 2010
ATD: 11:26, July 12, 2010 - AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, 24 Minutes
ETA: 15:10, July 12, 2010
ATA: 11:29, July 12, 2010 - AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, 21 Minutes



In-flight mag, I spent the entire duration of the flight just reading the mag and looking out the window, there was no service on the flight, no free drinks or snacks nor BOB but water was available upon request. However the head FA was super friendly.

I wouldn't mind if I live in this island!

Or this one!

Wonderful group of Islands


Kalibo Airport, Im not sure

Wonderful puzzle-like scenery

No food?  

Soon enough, we began our descent to Caticlan Airport, landing was once again spectacular, we flew really really low.


The high-tech baggage claim area LOL

Our aircraft


The famous White Beach of Boracay Island

View from our Resort

Pork Sisig

Bistek Tagalog

Taho, a mixture of tofu, caramel sauce and tapioca pearls. It’s really good.

Pork Barbecue

Some salad from a buffet we went to


Pizza from Shakey’s 
Oh yeah…Pepperoni!

Coffee Ice Cream

They are building a sand castle

I found this in our resort

Boracay Sand Castle

Dull weather the next day

Station 3, on our way to our 7-hour Island Hopping, Banana Boat and Snorkeling adventure! 
Banana Boat!


View from Mt.Luho, highest pt. in Boracay Island

Our 4th and last day in Boracay


Boracay was really nice, there were a lot of shops and activities for everyone's tastes. It's like a small city by the beach, however, it's overdeveloped. Too many people (even during off seasons) But there's a lot of resorts that offers a more private and tranquil atmosphere, usually in Station 1. If you want to stay in the middle of the action, stay at Station 2.

To be continued....

Next Part: 50 Days in Asia with a 5-Star Airline Part 3: Homeward Bound

Other trip reports:
JFK-TPA-JFK On JetBlue (pics) (by JetBlue777 Jul 18 2009 in Trip Reports)
Virgin America & Southwest: JFK-LAX-SFO-JFK (pics) (by JetBlue777 Aug 29 2009 in Trip Reports)
Goodbye Asia, Hello America! With PR And EY (by JetBlue777 Jan 16 2010 in Trip Reports)
50 Days In Asia W/ A 5-Star Airline: Part 1 (pics) (by JetBlue777 Sep 2 2010 in Trip Reports)
It's a cultural thing.
Posts: 591
Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:17 am

RE: 50 Days In Asia: Island Paradise, Part 2 (pics)

Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:09 am

Wow, very nice Trip Report. I've been curious about Cebu Pacific for some time, so thank you!

Cebu Pacific seems to have some very nice cabins, and it's a shame they're banned from the EU. Hopefully the blacklisting will end soon.
Posts: 5283
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:33 am

RE: 50 Days In Asia: Island Paradise, Part 2 (pics)

Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:35 am

wow great report!
Really awsome.

I would really love to travel once day to MNL and a nice exotic other parts of the Philipines.
Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
Posts: 322
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 6:18 pm

RE: 50 Days In Asia: Island Paradise, Part 2 (pics)

Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:16 am

Very enjoyable! I will be traveling to the Philippines soon. I will try the Lechon and Lumpia! Of course, I will also try the Adobo! Thanks for posting these great photos!
Posts: 1643
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:02 pm

RE: 50 Days In Asia: Island Paradise, Part 2 (pics)

Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:33 am

Hey! Glad you're enjoying the Philippines! Your four food porn is making me drool!    Look forward to the other parts!

The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
Posts: 1203
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:13 pm

RE: 50 Days In Asia: Island Paradise, Part 2 (pics)

Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:21 pm

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 1):

Yes, most of their aircraft are relatively new, so their cabins are immaculate. However, PR is better when it comes to flying domestically in the Phils., i flew on PR on the return flight (CGY-MNL) it'll be on the 3rd part of the report. Thanks for reading!  
Quoting Avianca (Reply 2):

MNL isnt that great, it's too crowded and chaotic, I'd recommend going to Cebu, its much more peaceful and it's also a metro city so you could find great shops and hotels.

Quoting sfflyer123 (Reply 3):

Thanks for reading and have a nice trip! Yes, the lechon is very good! 
Quoting aznmadsci (Reply 4):

Thanks for reading, I shall post the 3rd part soon  
It's a cultural thing.
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:10 pm

RE: 50 Days In Asia: Island Paradise, Part 2 (pics)

Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:26 pm

Hi JetBlue777,

Great report! I enjoyed all of your reports covering this long trip to Asia, but this one in particular was really nice as it brought back my memories of Boracay. I especially liked the video of the landing at Caticlan...I was sitting on the right side, as well, but in a SEAir 328 back in 2007. What a great approach. Also, the food pics are making me hungry.  

Looks like you had a lot of interesting flights/airlines/aircraft over the course of your travels. Thanks again for posting.

Posts: 1203
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:13 pm

RE: 50 Days In Asia: Island Paradise, Part 2 (pics)

Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:55 pm

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 6):
I especially liked the video of the landing at Caticlan...I was sitting on the right side, as well, but in a SEAir 328 back in 2007. What a great approach. Also, the food pics are making me hungry.  

Hey BZNPilot, yes the approach to Caticlan was amazing! I saw Boracay before touch down and it was really interesting! Thanks for reading  
It's a cultural thing.

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