Prior to my most recent trip to the Philippines this April to bury my Mom, I was there 33 months ago (July 2008), with the same objective – that is, to bury my Dad. Yes, I’m now an orphan and it happened kind of quick. To date, it has not really sunken in yet. It may take a very long time.
I wished that my trip was for a happy occasion, but it was not.
Two days prior to our arrival, relatives who were traveling from Hawaii arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. They had the same objective as ours. Because a relative who works for the NAIA security was still in Manila (he took off for my Mom’s wake and funeral) to assist the group, they were whisked in and out quick from the Immigration area. They however,waited for their baggage for a loooooong time.
But nothing compares to the agony that we went through at the Immigration counter. Our plane landed ten minutes before the expected arrival time. In no time, we were queued in at the Immigration area where chaos and lack of discipline reigned. I was too agitated and not so in the mood that I didn’t bother to bring out my camera to document the chaos. The lines leading to the Immigration counters were so rowdy and people were so disrespectful and from out of nowhere they were going ahead of you. If only the lines were cordoned off to establish a legitimate line, it would have made it easier. I wonder when NAIA personnel will start to consider equipping the airport with that.
I had words with some returning OFW’s who attempted to cut into our line. I was not going to allow them to do it. My sister and her family who were with us also encountered the same throng of ill mannered returning citizens. We were in that pitiful situation for 55 minutes.
With the end in mind that we stay close to the airport for our trip the next day to the north, we booked a one night stay at the Marriott Hotel Manila at Resorts World. At that time which was already Good Saturday, we were left to fend for ourselves as family and relatives were already gone as they all headed up north.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport needs a lot of important upgrades. If only they can start with even just the bare basics. Where can you find an airport where they renovate restrooms all at the same time, rendering all of them out of commission? Yes, only in Manila! Two of the restrooms in the terminal and near the gate during our departure were all out of order prompting them to permanently assign a lady who was tasked to manually clean up after the passengers.
And lastly, where can you find an airport personnel who is so shameless that he has no qualms asking for grease money, so that instead of you paying for the cost of excess luggage, he can pocket the money instead?