Just to get started, let me provide a little information about the place - Caticlan.
Caticlan is a district within the municipality of Malay of the Province of Aklan in the Philippines. This airport serves as the front gate for the internationally famous beach destination - Boracay. (IATA: MPH, ICAO: RPVE). This airport is roughly 800KM south of Manila (MNL
). The most interesting part about this airport is the short rwy, measured at 810M/2657FT. Rwy Lights and landing instruments have not been installed, hence it is restricted to day light operation only.
Due to the short rwy, aircraft operates out of there with a very big payload restrictions. My ATR71-500 flight out of here was considered a "Full Flight" with only 28 pax onboard.
13th of Jan, 2011, 7:30am. It was 6oC. I was barely awake and move my dead tired body to the check-in counter of Cebu Pacific in HKG
. They hire SATSHK as their ground agency, and that was a bad decision as SATSHK is known for it's lousy service.
I bump into a few friends at the airport while having dim sum as breakfast. They are heading to Bangkok (BKK
) on Orient Thai, and their plane happened to be right next my my gate.
Today's gate is 45. Aircraft on duty is RP
-C398, Airbus 319-100, flight number 5J
Now boarding, "Have a FUN flight!"
Safty Instruction Card and the Inflight Magazine: Smile. Leg room was awesome as I tooked the emergency exit roll to myself! The flight was only 60% full, I guess it is too early of a flight for anyone. I snapped a few shots before I passed out on my seat sleeping...
The moment I woke up was the moment the plane touched down, hence no aerial photo of Manila available. My first thought after we've landed was "THIS IS HOT
!!!!!“ I guess this should be a normal reaction when flying in from a place that was a bit cold an hour and half ago.
Cebu Pacific's international and domestic system are not integrated, hence all passengers must collect their baggage and proceed to the domestic check-in level to re-check-in and collect the domestic boarding pass in MNL
Since I have 4 hours to spend in MNL
for my transit, a French dude I met on the plane that was heading to MPH too and I decided to head out of the airport for lunch. If you're familiar with the city, you would know how bad the traffic is in Manila. We opted to go to Mall of Asia which is not too far away from the airport just to be safe.
the Pic above is a Filipino dish call "Sisig". It is one of my favorite filipino dish.
We took the cab back to the airport after lunch, everyone have to go through security check before entering the terminal.
On the MNL
-MPH sector, I've got RP
-C7253, an ART72-500 operating as 5J
This is my first time on ART72, the space wasn't as bad as I thought, pretty similar to what I get with AC
's CRJ100/200. It too have the low windows problem, but it is not as serious as CRJ classics. Noise level wasn't as bad as Dash-8.
One very interesting find was that not every seat is equipped with oxygen mask, and even if the seats are equipped, passengers will have to insert a sharp object into the panel to release the mask. If you fail to listen to the safty demo, you might not know what to do in an emergency!
I know, I was waaaaaaaaay to tired. I fall asleep as soon as the aircraft was in the air. I didn't got up til we're on final into Caticlan.
I saw the terminal building as soon as we landed, the entire airport is consist of 4 parking spot and the small terminal building, it kinda feels like those "Banana Airports" from the game "holiday resort tycoon" or "Tropical". The size of the Arrival Hall is about the size of a normal 7-11 outlet in Hong Kong, which is about 1/4 standard size 7-11 in Canada.
As soon as we landed, I witness 2 strong man pull a luggage cart towards the aircraft to unload the baggage then pull the cart with mountain of luggages back to the arrival hall, then put the luggage piece by piece on the a desk that is about the size of a regular door laid flat. Passenger rush to the desk to collect the baggage as the ground staff yell out the pax ticket number. There were 3 aircraft that landed into Caticlan in the sametime that day, there were over 200 pax standing around in the compact area for their luggage.
I just came back from Chinese New Year celebration and am tired as hell. I'll post my return trip in a few days!
Happy Chinese New Year!
[Edited 2011-02-02 12:38:49]
Hong Kong is not China. Not better or worse, just different.