NAIA: Is it terminal?

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Probably one of the best persons to pass judgement on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 is a frequent flyer.

Fortunately, I’ve been living with one for many years now.

And so today, I’d like to share with you the thoughts of a frequent flyer on why our airport terminal has been cited as one of the worst and most hated in the world. The writer is my hubby, who frequently goes to Berlin to teach Internet journalism and whose travelogues have been published in various publications including Silver Kris, Singapore Airlines’ in-flight magazine.  

Here is his story, which appeared in Asian Dragon magazine recently and which the magazine is allowing me to post online.

Enjoy –

NAIA: Is it terminal?

By Alan C. Robles

When they die, frequent flyers who were good go to Changi Airport. Flyers who were bad end up in NAIA.

Am I saying that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is hell? Of course not. As far as I know, hell doesn’t charge for the suffering.

But NAIA requires departing passengers to pay a “terminal fee”, currently 750 pesos (US$17). This collection is supposed to go to a fund for improvements to the airport.

Excuse me? Take a moment to rub your eyes. Breathe deeply…You all right? Ready to continue? Yes, you heard right, for improvements to the airport. The very airport where, last year, the toilets had no running water. Instead they each had an attendant standing beside a large full barrel, waiting to offer distressed passengers a dipper of water and lots of toilet paper.

Ghastly as it was, that arrangement was still probably better than this year, when there was no toilet at all in the gate I was in — it had been completely shut down and barricaded and everyone in need had to climb a steep flight of stairs to use a small toilet near one lounge.

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No restroom at all - PHOTO BY Alan C. Robles

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The male restroom - PHOTO by Alan Robles

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At least they replaced the broken bag hook above, but you probably shouldn't sling a heavy bag on it - PHOTO by Alan C. Robles

My best guess is that the “improvement” the terminal fee is supposed to finance is sentimental in nature and really means “keep everything looking the way it did a generation ago.” How else can anyone explain the fact that nearly 30 years after it opened, NAIA (or to give it its current alias, NAIA Terminal 1) still looks and feels the way it did in the 1980s? To be more specific: small, crowded, squalid, shabby, depressing, decrepit, dirty, with a general air of inefficiency, inadequacy, decay and indifference.

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Slim pickings at the NAIA Terminal 1 duty free shopping - PHOTO by Alan C. Robles

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Passengers waiting at NAIA Terminal 1 don't have much to do - PHOTO by Alan C. Robles

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Hopefully, this construction work is for improving NAIA Terminal 1 - PHOTO by Alan. C. Robles

When I think about it, I suppose I’d have misgivings about an airport whose main claim to fame is that somebody was murdered in it. Not exactly what you’d call a Unique Selling Proposition (“our airport: millions of departures and the occasional assassination”). Furthermore, after that fateful day in 1983, Ninoy Aquino went on to become a national icon. But the airport stayed a dump.

I have used NAIA for decades now. If Terminal 1 could talk, I’d imagine it saying a few choice things. “Roll over and die” would be one “Why doncha just shut up and go on out of here” would be another. “Well who cares what you think?” would be a third. What amazes me is that through the decades no management has even come close to putting up halfway decent facilities.

In the 1980s, Singapore’s Changi (my favorite airport) was already streets ahead of NAIA and since then it’s widened the distance to light years. Changi has lounges, plenty of comfortable seats, wonderful shopping and dining options. Also private baby care rooms, play areas and a nifty 12-meter slide for children. Of course it has WiFi, and it’s free, as you’d probably have guessed. But wait, the airport also has hotel cubicles, rest areas, showers, and a swimming pool — I am going to cry now. I once used one of Changi’s free computer terminals and filled up a feedback note to management saying how cool their airport was. I got a thank you reply the day after. Can you imagine anybody from NAIA thanking anyone? NAIA, which last time I was there this year still had no WiFi my devices could detect, whose free computer access seems to consist of an empty table with some wires sticking out of it disconsolately? And whose children’s play area is a small sad hole in the wall?

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NAIA's play area is a small sad hole in the wall - PHOTO by Alan C. Robles

Singapore Changi now has a rainforest lounge. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll say this: “Hah! A rainforest in Changi? Only now? Don’t they know NAIA has been a jungle for years?” At Terminal 1’s departure concourse, passengers are herded like animals and have to form crude lines snaking around in bewildering patterns. One night, waiting to board a long-haul flight, I saw birds flying through holes in the ceiling (jungle wildlife). In the 1990s, a foreign passenger died of a heart attack caused by an epic failure of air conditioning and a rise in temperatures (jungle heat). Around that period, a section of the roof also gave way, inundating a corridor with cascading water (jungle waterfall).

And what’s a jungle without loathsome beasts? In 1997 a man drove over to NAIA to fetch his arriving brother and got into an argument with airport guards and police officers about parking. The guards ganged up on him, dragged him to a detention cell under the complex, roughed him up and then emerged a short time later to sadly reveal the man was so depressed that he had committed suicide by hanging. Although the murderers got 30-year sentences, it’s not a story you’d want to put in a NAIA brochure — which anyway does not exist.

Surely NAIA must have some good points? I can think of a couple. First, I haven’t lost my bags yet. Though I do remember years ago, I was with a large group of arriving passengers who were told to wait in front of a certain belt for our luggage. It took us a few minutes to realize that our bags were actually arriving in a belt on the other side of the hall. There was a mad scramble.

Second, NAIA is an award winning airport. It’s made it at least two years in a row in Sleepinginairports.net’s list of “Ten Worst Airports In The World.” In fact this year it’s number one. Among the remarks about NAIA: “Bribery and theft exists. Airport taxes are collected, but the money does not seem to go towards the betterment of the airport.” One commenter related: “When I asked a security guard where the smoking area was he told me to follow him…and took me out on to the tarmac (so much for security) where he then insisted on a bribe before he let me back into the terminal. How does one say ‘no’ to a security guard with a gun?”

I have seen an arriving passenger ahead of me tuck a US$5 note into his customs form and passport which he then handed over to the inspector, who returned the documents less the currency. You mustn’t ask me to prove this because I didn’t have my video camera running at that time.

Everybody else in the country except Terminal 1’s management has known it for decades. NAIA is not a jewel in the country’s travel crown. NAIA Terminal 3, the German-designed complex down the road that’s supposed to be Terminal 1’s successor, has been mired in a legal squabble involving corruption for 10 years now. Until it goes fully online, most travelers are stuck with Terminal 1. My goal each time I’m there is to spend as little time as possible in it. But because when departing I try to be there three hours before my flight, I spend a lot of time hanging around. There’s not much to do — the duty free shops are small, the massage services are expensive, the food stalls grotty and horribly overpriced. Early this year two sandwiches, a couple of sodas and a canister of chips cost me PHP 700. On the international budget flight I took, a full meal cost the equivalent of PHP 540.

Transport links, tourist maps, guides and printed information are virtually nonexistent, if you arrive in Manila with nobody to pick you up, you’re at the mercy of highly-priced airport taxis and touts.

Dear transport and tourism authorities, you can do whatever you want to boost our visitor figures and our country’s image but could you refocus your radar on this simple fact? NAIA is the first place in this country visitors will see. And also the last. All our goals, targets and exciting projects will be affected by those impressions.

But the question I’d really love an answer to — the one I’ve asked myself each time I’m inside NAIA is this. Just where do those terminal fee collections really go?

_____________________________

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94 Responses to “NAIA: Is it terminal?”

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  1. 49
    Ennisa says:

    Not naman worst. We should appreciate the smallest of improvements the authority is doing. I’m a former employee and I can really attest to whatever negativity their facilities have. We should encourage pa nga our own to do better and stop comparing. Anyway, it is our image to the world NAIA projects.

    • 49.1
      amante_rador says:

      i think comparing naia to an asian neighbor’s airport, taken as a constructive critism, is healthy. improving slowly through the years isn’t a gargantuan task for naia mgt unless it is not profiting at all. then naia is doomed…

  2. 48
    allan says:

    naia naia hmmmmm…yep…i am right…busted toilet drains..smelly lounge area, unsmiling naia employees, customs & immigration personnel IF YOU will NOT slip a 10 US DOLLAR bill.

    TAXIS outside the airport seems like your paying for 2 days stay in a hotel when they charge you going to Singalong Manila ONLY..HAAAYYYYYY….

    WALA ng PAG-ASA ang mga taong ang nakikilala lamang ay PERA…..KAYA nga, diretso na ako papuntang davao city via singapore on singapore airlines para makaiwas sa mga taong ito…mabuti pa sa aming airport, maayos, maaalalahanin ang mga tao roon.. MARAMING SALAMAT PO Vice Mayor Digong Duterte and MAyor Inday Duterte sana maging ganyan din ang NAIA…

    • 48.1
      Baltazar says:

      @Allan,
      I’m also a frequent traveler of Manila-Singapore route but I did not experience this $10 sort-of-bribe. For what reason you will pay them with this amount? If you are talking about the $10 airport gate fee before the immigration gate, then that is legal – EVERYBODY PAYS. Taxis? Go for the legitimate airport Taxis just outside the arrival area. They are all available in 3 terminals and they will charge you rightfully . Although it has a higher flag down rate – I think around Php70) – it is still cheaper comparing to Singapore’s which is $3.00 from the airport plus 50% night time charge premium. If the cab driver insists on not flagging down the meter and instead go for a verbal contract, tell him to stop the cab and get out and wait for a legitimate airport cab. Ordinary people like us should start trusting the system but at the same time, guarding it in ways we can such that no abuses will prevail – then in our small ways, we help clean the miry system. You mentioned Singapore, then why not try it the Singapore way LAH! Whining and fanaticism will bring you nowhere. I have twice scolded two cab drivers attempting a cheat and they had no choice but to follow me. So unfortunate for me, I’m from Batangas City and it will be more inconvenient physically and financially for me to take the Singapore-Davao-Manila route….makes me stupid as well ;-) . Well, as for the airport itself, yeah, it really needs a total makeover.

  3. 47
    pinoysacanada says:

    i hate hate hate NAIA terminal talaga. everytime i go home from abroad, napakabaho, at walang kaayusan ang buong airport. tapos ang mga officers kaliwa’t kanan ang panghihingi ng bribe. ang mga tao na hahawak lang sa bagahe mo, manghihingi ng pamasko kahit July na July. Dios MIO!

    sa Korea pa lang, sabi ng mga pinoy na kasabay ko, mandatory daw magipit ng dollar sa passport mo or else pahihirapan ka nila.

    the transportation>>>>>> WORST in the world. nakakagalit ng sobra

  4. 46
    yumi_makino says:

    I was able to fly through Emirates last year and I can’t forget the rusty chairs in the boarding area of Terminal :o( and the small stores that sells delicacies that looks like neighborhood sari sari store. I hope the feud about Terminal 3 will be solved before the building turns old and ugly like Terminal 1.

  5. 45
    R3D says:

    How many more blogs/videos to remind the embarrassment named MIAA? Aplenty.

    Sick of retired ex-generals running the same idiocy for more than 20 years. The Terminal fee is legalized extortion.

    Like the so-called overtime charges by BoC from every international airline. BoC does not know the word ‘shifting schedules’. Another form of legalized extortion.

  6. 44
    amphitrite says:

    Thanks for posting this. We’ll be going on abroad tomorrow and sadly we have to go through NAIA. Ten years ago, I traveled frequently around south east asia and NAIA was the only airport that charges Terminal Fee still the airport smells like old wet socks, so sad that there is no evident improvement after the millions of Pesos they receive from travelers since the last time I saw the place. I’ll remember to bring snacks for my little one so that we won’t have to spend P700 for a bland food. I think NAIA have been Terminally ill decades ago…

  7. 43

    How many passengers actually left through NAIA 1 last year? If this figure were available, we can easily compute how much was actually collected. And then we can compare this to how much was actually spent for improving the airport.

  8. 42
    Mark says:

    Such a waste that international airlines cannot operate in NAIA 3..

  9. 41
    Pickers in Markham says:

    This is embarassing as the transition from NAIA to Terminal 3 hit snags (PIATCO, air safety issues, tenants issues, etc.) NAIA should have been closed since 2010 as congress will not appropriate rehab funds for it. DMIA is supposed to replace NAIA as the premier airport thanks to GMA. So the train keeps barelling down when the tracks have been cut off past the last 10 stations. PAL and Terminal 3 tenants are not complaining as far as I know. They don’t use NAIA.

  10. 40
    rey corpuz says:

    i hope dotc sec mar roxas reads this, if he hasn’t already. sana naman maayos na talaga ang paliparang pambansa natin. haaay!

  11. 39
    Alundio Aguilar says:

    I have a feeling that this administration in general nor the secretary of tourism hasn’t quite get it yet. That the number one product that we now sell to people coming over for a visit here in our wonderful, beautiful philippines is “tourism”. To be definitive, divers around the world who have been a witnessed to this splendor that we have. But,somehow along the way, they couldn’t help but complain about the inadequacy of airport personnel when they get to the airport. So, they start their day being in the wrong footing. This isn’t right, is it? We get a lot of revenue from these people who have come from far away places and what they get is a lousy accommodation at the airport. And their bad impression will soon spread around all over the globe. So, why not do something about all these problems at the airport in a jiffy and also, may i suggest that whoever is the present boss should start giving their employees some lectures on “work ethics” and “honesty and sincerity to their job”, this way, they would be able to reconsider giving some wholesome service to arriving passengers that were supposed to be their bread and butter. Worse comes to worse, the manager could always fire all of them. That is after training some people who will replace them. A little nasty isn’t it? There are a lot of rooms for improvement. Just do it!

    • 39.1
      Pickers in Markham says:

      As far as I know the congress holds the purse but the budget is crafted by the executive. If they want to spend without congress approval, they have to generate funds elsewhere and Erap, Atong and Gabby Singson are they best people to contact, then activate the binondo central bank with the help of Bobby Ongpin.

  12. 38
    jaybeat67 says:

    I had my first experience returning to the country via NAIA1 in 1991 and it was horrible. I wanted to return to the plane and leave. There were only few immigration counters thus causing a long line and at that time we have to pay for the use of baggage carts. Then moving to the customs area, they were like hawkers calling passengers to cue on them.

    Where does the travel tax and terminal fees go? I remember that the travel tax was imposed to deter Filipinos from going abroad to work and avoid brain drain. Is it still applicable in our present economic globalization setting? And why are we still collecting terminal fees? For what?

    Here in Davao I have noticed that there are ATO personnel standing before the tube entrance marking the terminal fee receipts. I asked them why do they have to do it and they say so that it wont be used again. The receipt is dated. Its a waste of human resource. Is that their job? I always resent them and inform them that what they are doing is unnecessary.

  13. 37
    GabbyD says:

    streets ahead?! i like you mr. robles! :)

    • 37.1
      Alan says:

      ssshhh. Community and ironic tweeting aside, actually the phrase wasn’t even invented by a TV sitcom writer, it’s a common UK expression

  14. 36
    Johnny Lin says:

    Like any frequent travelers all we need are:
    1. clean working, well equipped restroom/ bathroom facilities.
    2. efficient hassle free encounter with airport personnel, customs and immigration
    3. relaxing clean waiting lounges/wifi stations with plenty of wide capacity chairs/seats
    4. easy commute to connecting domestic/international flights, available transportation, parking faciities in departure/ arrival areas.
    5. Family/ children friendly facilities.
    6. Absence of terminal fees.

    Other amenities like duty free shops, restaurants, bars, stores are ancillaries while waiting for flights. The advantages of NAIA include central metropolitan location, seldom prolonged delayed flights due to foul weather/snow, plenty of available restroom/ housekeeping attendants due to low cost labor. Shameful picture to tourists/foreigners before landing is the aerial view of dilapidated rooftop shanties and dirt of Manila bay and environs.

    Main problem of NAIA aside from restrooms and aesthetics are corrupt roaming and behind the counters airport personnel. I passed thru it at least 10 times a year, heard many bad experiences of others but this was one egregious experience I had; going towards the terminal fee while filling up my immigration card I dropped my 1000 bill which I knew. A barong clad security far away noticed it, tip-toed towards me, coyly picked it up, clasped in his hand, then walked away. I called his attention, opened his fist, told him loudly he is a disgraced to the airport for what he did. He ran away. I’m sure others have worst experience; unfortunately, unscrupulous airport employees abound, more than the few good ones. The reason we publicize and give awards to those surprising good natured employees.

    Corrupt culture of Airport personnel is the primary shame of our NAIA not only the appearance! “Madaling palitan ang pagmumukha, ugali ang mahirap”

    • 36.1
      raissa says:

      YESSSS!

    • 36.2
      Alan says:

      Well said Johnny. You might add to that,
      (1) we need airport services that don’t look like they’re operated by syndicates out to gouge the public
      (2) We need everyone to be treated by airport staff not just politely but also EQUALLY. One reason why our high and mighty politicians and leaders don’t give a hoot about the airport is they personally experience NONE of it. They are escorted through straight to lounges by bowing and scraping staff, and when arriving, enjoy the same treatment. I remember reading in an OFW group, someone saw a senator and family arrive from vacation with up to 16 pieces of luggage. They were simply waved through all the checks

      • 36.2.1

        Airport personnel are like Hyenas, they know exactly whom and when a passenger is okay for them or not to serve. And when he has made his target, it becomes normal that there will be another one coming near. both are courteous by the way and very attentive to your needs.They will even give you a good advise if you are old and look weak to let him give you a wheel chair. With that, even cuing the line will become easy, they would even assist you to the windows for checking out, with that again, after you passed the window. the guy attending to you will say that I am only allowed up to here and I have to pass you to another to bring you to your final destination outside. Naturally, you will have to give the guy his tip and have to shell out your hard earned money to the next guy. who will finally bring you to the last check in country while saying I can no longer accompany you outside because we are not allowed. So, you are once again given to another man to bring to your car or your taxi. At he last check-in counter, a man standing away from the counter but not your way, will smile and greet you, “Sir, baka may pang Christmas naman tayo diyan.” and that was early May of the year.

        • 36.2.1.1
          Alan says:

          Maybe we should change NAIA’s name again, to MRIA — Manila Racketeers International Airport, or maybe MACIA — Manila Always Christmas International Airport

  15. 35
    Alundio Aguilar says:

    If we can not find ways to solve this extremely important issue, the issue of having to accomodate people from around the world without hearing any single complaint about our airport, perhaps,we should start thinking about giving the proprietary work that needs to be done in an orderly manner to some international corporations who could do their best in managing airports.

    Sort of privitising work to foreign corporations. Every countries that i visited seemd to have some sort an agreement with foreign corporations in doing something that they were having a hard time doing, from improvements of their own infrastuctures like roads and bridges to building a very complex “parking lot”, which by the way is in germany.

    They do the initial work for us and teach us how it should work before they leave. And the rest is up to us to make it a reality.

    However, just like i said before here in my previous blog, this can only be possible if “people who will manage this has all the conviction of honor, integrity and dedication and all of the above.

    • 35.1
      raissa says:

      That is one possible arrangement.

      In fact that was supposed to be the arrangement with NAIA Terminal 3 and Fraport.

      Unfortunately, the entire deal was marred with payoffs.

  16. 34
    Alundio Aguilar says:

    One word to actually describe naia, “DEPLORABLE” ! in it’s physical structure and also, of it’s people.

    Someone has to start changing how we do business in this place or we may never see the time that people coming in from international hub will be happy about it. Just like what my mother has taught me when i was little that, “first impression is lasting”. How true indeed.

    Those people who are managing this airport didn’t know what’s in the minds of those people coming in, either their first time staying in the philippines or just passing through.

    To be honest, managers and their staff just wouldn’t care less. This is where the problem start and ends in a vicious cycle. The managers and staff have benn having this kind of bad “culture” in decades that they think they have to do it or else be frowned upon by their peers working with them.

    This administration has to find some ways for it not to happen.

    Naia doesn’t need a new and expansive edifice, we need people who will be dedicated and honest to work in this very little space. What good is a new building if you still have people “slashing your bag to get something of value” before it even reaches the tarmac, people who ask for “a bribe or else”, staff who are constant buddies of taxi drivers to rob you when you get in the cab.

    In other words, we need total control of this facility.

  17. 33
    jamie says:

    Very depressing but true.

    Came home in 1996 for a visit to find a real third world class airport!! Not a good place to be when you’re having tummy problem. And that’s exactly what I had upon departure!!! No toilet paper and no soap!!! To add insult, the PAL flight attendants had the ugliest attitude ever!!! So I promised myself not to fly PAL ever!!

    Returned in 2006, yes NAIA has changed… older, darker, smellier and filthier!!!

    Wonderful write up, Allan. Funny and interesting!!

    • 33.1
      Johnny Lin says:

      Ninanakaw ng mga boss at ibang empleyado ang toilet paper. Yung iba pinagbibili magkasabwat yung boss at empleyado. Kaya pagdating ng gabi ubos na daily supply. Grabe talaga.

  18. 32
    Alundio Aguilar says:

    Whenever someone will mention naia, i am always being reminded of the time when we got to the airport and lo and behold, a guy dressed in an obvious cheap native shirt greeted us a “happy merry christmas and a wonderful new year”, however, this was in april!

    Can you just imagine the look on my face? i was totally surprised to hear this from the man, i say to him in reply that; that was really nice of him, however, from the place where we come from, we celebrate christmas in december and we do it only once in a year.

    Just at this moment, my wife kind of nudged me on my elbow saying that i was being rude to the guy. Say what? Just hoped that they don’t greet people that are not native to the philippines “happy merry christmas” all year long cause this is really annoying to hear to say the least.

    • 32.1
      raissa says:

      You didn’t get why he greeted you Merry Christmas in April.

      He was asking for “balato.”

      I know this because a classmate of mine visited about June or July this year and she told me that NAIA had changed a bit under the new Aquino administration. For one, no one greeted her Merry Christmas this time.

      I asked her what she did the last time she was greeted in this manner.

      She said she handed the man around US$5.

      • 32.1.1
        Alundio Agilar says:

        Well, that should do it. However, i was thinking that perhaps if i do give in to these crooks and give them money, i will only be “encouraging” them more to do the same thing to other passengers. And we are all gonna suffer. And this, i believed should be monitored more by airport police and do something about it. I am extremely disturbed by this to tell you. This is what i have been fantasizing sometimes whenever my plane was about to hit the ground at naia, that, somehow someday we are all gonna be a witness to a very wholesome and safe atmosphere at the airport, short of saying you have come to la la land. Anyways, i always find out the reality that this isn’t so, as soon as the lady in the cabin tells me that i have to let go of my scotch on ice that i have been babying for quite some time. Well, there are still room for improvements, is there really?

        • 32.1.1.1
          raissa says:

          When someone greets you Merry Christmas NOT in December you greet back heartily and say –

          Thank you! Where’s my prize for visiting Manila?

    • 32.2
      Alundio Aguilar says:

      corrections on the name, it should read; Aguilar. I was in a dark room that’s why. thanks

  19. 31
    boni says:

    Traveler’s pay $17 for airport tax. That’s roughly $119M a year in taxes. Where does it go?
    The NAIA administrator should be transparent to the public about this.
    Why does it have to be advertised in the media before something gets done? Dept of tourism and health should take some of the responsibility in monitoring NAIA and the rest of the airports.

    • 31.1
      Alan says:

      Precisely — show how that airport fee has been and is being used, or abolish it completely.

      • 31.1.1
        Pickers in Markham says:

        Alan – not sure it’s as simple as that. I’m no apologist for these guys but as fas as I know gov’t revenues go to the national coffers thru the BIR, and appropriation process decides who gets how much. There are funds that go around the BIR net, though, like coco levy, veterans funds, OWWA funds, PAGCOR, etc. Just about everything you don’t ger a BIR receipt for. The question is: can P-NOY tap them to fix NAIA? I have feeling he can’t.

        • 31.1.1.1
          Romeo Victor says:

          I don’t think so Pickers in Markham, MIAA or Manila International Airport Authority, the Operator of NAIA is an authority. They have a board of directors, unlike other government agencies, that manages their own finances. Revenues can be used in operation without having to go though appropriation being done by congress. Unlike other agencies whose revenues have to go to the National Treasury and expenses have to be budgeted and appropriated by congress.

          Authorities operate like corporation that only issues dividends (Percentage of net income) to the national treasury.

  20. 30
    Tony B.Soliman says:

    I have been out of the country 24 years as an OFW and been flying in and out of NIAA at least 3 times a year and I still consider NIAA as a friendly international airport except in the departure inspection area where it is really a problem and need some improvements.

    There are only two x-ray machines and this creates a long queue for passengers, another is toilet hygiene, additional urinals. I have passed a lot of international airports such as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Phnom Penh, Brunei, Singapore’s Changi, Taipei, Tokyo’s Narita, Honolulu,Boston’s Logan, New York’s JFK, SFO, Detroit, Amsterdam, London’s Gatwik, Dubai, Muscat, Doha, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Dharan and I do not consider NIAA 1 as the worst airport. It really depends what criteria, there should be parameters how passenger based his perception.

    The airport was wrongly designed. What can you expect from the late Architect Locsin, he has no experience in airport design..

    He had to hire the french consulting firm Renardet, whose experience is not airport design. NIAA was not designed as modular so there is no way to expand the airport.

    • 30.1
      raissa says:

      What would you say, Tony, if you found out that the architectural firm that landed the contract to renovate NAIA 1 is again Locsin’s firm?

      Which is what recently happened.

    • 30.2
      Alan says:

      if I remember right, terminal 1 was designed and built with a viewing deck on the roof for the public. Has anyone ever gotten that far in all these years? Also, if you’re an arriving passenger and you try to make your way to the departure area to pick up a cab there (in order to avoid the overpriced taxi cartel) — good luck. There is no easy way up with all your luggage.

      • 30.2.1
        Jay says:

        No matter how difficult to get up to departure area just to get a taxi, I always do that in order to avoid using those overpriced taxi in arrival area, even the metered ones. The metered taxi is just the same as the fixed price taxi. And don’t expect the driver of the metered taxi to give you the change no matter how much it is. I guess the operator has to factor-in the bribes they give to airport officials for them to be profitable. And it return, they get to monopolize the taxi service there. It’s a win-win situation for conniving crooks and vultures in that Manila safari.

  21. 29
    Jay says:

    Great article. I agree completely with the description about this airport. Apparently, this airport was made as a milking cow of past administration. No competent GM was appointed to manage NAIA for the last decades or so. Nothing was ever done to improve the condition and services in this airport despite the payment of terminal fee. And I wonder why it has to be paid upfront, why not include it in the cost of the tickets as what is being done almost all airports in the world. I wonder why? Maybe avoiding audit of all total collections? Because if it’s included in the cost of the ticket, there’s a paper trail!). And mind you, there’s another payment being collected which is the travel tax amounting to PHP1620.00! And the wonder of it all is that there are four people who are processing such payment, one each for writing on receipt, validation, accepting the money and stamping/giving the change. And there’s another one who photocopy the receipt! Truly amazing! Unless all the people there are replaced, I doubt if there’s any hope for improvement.

  22. 28
    Mark says:

    I seem to have missed something. theres a perfectly decent ‘new’ airport on the other side of the runway..its been there for years..its currently called Terminal 3 and wa supposed to replace the old NAIA..why has this been ignored…oh yeah..previous administration..must be bad and corrupt so lets ignore it…just go there, its ok, both domestic and international. the toilets are clean, the aircon is chilling and theres soo much space, so why not spend a few million on flat screen TV’s and open the damn thing up!! then knock down T1..

    • 28.1
      raissa says:

      That WAS the original plan.

      Terminal 3 was supposed to replace Terminal 1 as the main airport.

      Problem is, it got mired in fraud controversy during the Arroyo administration. The Arroyo administration was able to seize it through arbitration. HOwever, it learned that Takenaka Corporation, which installed the hi-tech bag scanners, had full control of the codes for the scanners. Whch would not work without the codes.

      As a result, the airport is only partly operational. I’ll post the article I did on it for you.

  23. 27
    jimbo says:

    DOTC sec’y indicated recently that aside from beautification, NAIA needs major mechanical-structural work. It’s way out of code and a firetrap. It is a national disgrace and it’s high time we address it. I say, fire the current (ex-gen) administrator, run a complete COA/ senate investigation and level the entire place and start from scratch! Divert the flights and use Terminal 3 and Clark. Kudoz to DOTC Sec’y

  24. 26
    Dennis says:

    Ms Raisa and Mr Alan,
    I do agree that the terminal needs improvement big time. Especially the departure hall, which is really a maze with antique weighing scales fit for JunkYard use. Please, remove the delapidated, obscuring, depressing arrival/sundo building fronting every arriving guests, It’s crazy.

    I think the problem with our leaders is we only think Pinoy, i mean to say, basta ok na sa Pinoy pwede na, basta may bubong, ok na. Basta may lilim okay na. They forget that we are now in an age where people are mobile, travellers and educated.

    Just want to note, that all airport charge passenger service fee. Tayo lang po ang ayaw pumayag na iinclude sa tkt ng airlines.

    On a positive note though, the several times i have used T1, i am greeted by clean toilets with, tissue and friendly staffs. So di ko alam kung saan ang sira sirang toilet na nirereklamo ng marami.

    • 26.1
      raissa says:

      Sa departure na mga toilets and problema :)

      • 26.1.1
        Dennis says:

        Hmm… Sinuswerte siguro ako Ms Raissa kasi di ko inaabutan ang out of order sign.
        Anyway if I may add, I just watched Teditorial about et al issue, and the poor Filipino mentality was blurted by Mr Locsin.

        This is not a direct quote, rather what I got from him, “as long as the airport serves its purpose for immigration clearance, it has served its dues. No need to care about toilets, aesthetics, etc.”. He even uses his friend’s experience, a mining magnate, in justifying this mentality but saying that after immigration everything in airport is blur because he would have been whisked away in the comfort of Shangrila hotel, etc.

        Clearly, we have a problem. We have already failed because we dont care about other people/foreigner’s point of view. This is why we are left behind by our neighbors because, they consider Tourism a vital part of economy GDP. As for us, puro boka lang about attracting foreigners to the provinces para bang nahihiya tayong ipromote mismo ang capital. Di kaya dahil nahihiya tayo sa sasalubong sa kanila sa T1?

    • 26.2
      Alan says:

      You are absolutely right Dennis, it’s a chieftain mentality on the part of our leaders that has been with us for centuries — one standard for leaders, and another, substandard, for the masses. It also means it’s up to the masses to make themselves heard and remind the sleek and oily leaders who the real bosses are

  25. 25
    Tess B. says:

    aside from all these, some guards are rude especially to well-wishers/families of our workers who send off their kapamilyas abroad. instead of saying, excuse me, please move backwards.. you’d hear them yell like pst! alis kayo dyan! bawal dyan!

    • 25.1
      raissa says:

      Dapat next time i-video nyo sa cellphone niyo, tapos ilagay sa YOutube, tapos padala nyo URL sa kin.

      Ilagay ko sa blog ko.

      • 25.1.1
        Dennis says:

        On my last flight, security guards offer their cellphones to foreigners to call and ask for payment in foreign currency. Why not guide these poor tourists to the proper information desk, phone booth? Ay, wala nga pla nun sa arrival/waiting area. Kaya pala generous ang mga sikyo.

        As for T3, it is one good airport, kya kahit gusto ko sumakay sa other carriers, lagi ako nag si-Cebu Pacific flight kasi sa airport. Your relatives can send you off or wait for you comfortably.

        I think the best way to handle this mentality, is shuffle all govt post every 3 years para walang padrino. Except of course sa sensitive positions that would need expertise. Pero for clerical, general grade work dapat nagkakaroon ng reshuffling. Baka sakaling mag improve ang system kapag iba na ang gumagalaw. Tapos, graded ang lahat. Department vs department, kapag d na-hit ang KPI’s babawasan ang budget. Dun sa nananalo e madadagdagan ng good service bonus. Dapat magkaroon din ng service excellence award for all Govt employees na published nationwide. And the award should be managed independently and graded by the people (masa) through nominations.

  26. 24

    Tama ka Ms. Raissa, talagang nakakahiya ang airport natin pag dumarating kami para magbakasyon sa pinas dismayado kami at nahihiya pag nakikita namin ang airport natin talagang worst NA ang pat I sa trolley parang mg a junk kailan Kay a mabibigyang pansin Ito

  27. 23
    lunakirb says:

    failed state!

  28. 22
    Rigoberto Rasalan says:

    Conclusion: Because of politics our country is in a quagmire. During the time of GMA , she did a lot of traveling outside the country, I am sure hindi siya bulag para hindi mapansin ang mga magagandang airport na kanyang nilapagan. Same with PNoy, bulag din yata. Kailangan pang mabansagang worst airport sa buong mundo para umaksyon. Pansinin ninyo after the regime of Marcos, meron na bang nadagdag sa Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center,Kidney Center ,CCP, Folk Arts theater at iba pa.

    • 22.1
      Jay says:

      Ginawa lang gatasan ng mga cronies ni GMA o Mike Arroyo ang airport na yan. Look at those who were appointed as GM in the past: Edgar Manda, Alfonso Cusi. Mga hindi talaga mapagkakatiwalaan! Saan napunta ang bilyung-bilyong piso na nakolekta sa terminal fee at travel tax? Dapat i-audit ng COA yan at habulin, ikulong ang mga nagbulsa ng pera!

      Nakakakulo talaga ng dugo ang sinapit ng airport na yan at ang hirap na dinadanas ng mga pasahero. And I’m one of those frequent passengers in that abhorable airport! I wish there’s a choice for a spaceship who will pick me up in our province in the middle of our “bukid”. I would really prefer that instead of experiencing the kind of environment there or even stepping on that airport.

    • 22.2

      hindi makikita ng malalaking tao ang quagmire kasi sila ay may vip treatment. lalo ng yung mga may pisition. even the rich, hindi nila makikita yan, unless they the cheapest ticket., the economy accommodation.

      .

  29. 21
    Traveller says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. One good thing about NAIA’s situation is that there are more airports which have worst conditions than NAIA which were not included in the list of worst airports (i don’t know why). I am specifically pointing out the international airports in Chennai and Pune, India. When I was using those airports, I felt lucky to have NAIA…My point is not put humiliation with the other airports…I’m optimistic about the fact that NAIA can still be renovated and can claim world-wide admiration granting that “POLITICS” would not come on its way. What i mean is if we take the lesson from Singapore, they started by having a common aspiration of making a good airport…Alas, Changi airport came out of it…we dont have to point fingers on anyone…As Filipinos we have shift our paradigms…i hope this would be the start of reversing on how the international arena sees the Philippines…Mind you, Filipinos are doing good or even better outside of the Philippines, so i believe that it is now the right time for our local officials who promise to serve and protect the country to do their jobs by renovating and uplifting the NAIA airports…By the way, after NAIA terminal 1, the officials also have to look for NAIA Terminal 2…

  30. 20
    Targrod says:

    but… but… but… Cebu airport is wow (at least in my book). I’ve never flown outside of the country and I hope with the non-stop “noise” barrage that NAIA 1 has been experiencing, at least they should wake up from their deep slumber.

    i’ve always said that the tourism in this country could’ve been much better if our airport terminal is classier than Gretchen Barretto. I think that there should be a revamp in the management too.

  31. 19
    Dyu says:

    I’m glad you’re column was not one another demolition piece on Mar, but simply a statement on the state of NAIA 1, there has been too much media blitz initiated by Cobonpue this past few days, even an editorial piece on the subject when clearly the writer didn’t do enough research on the subject, too one-sided for Cobonpue.

    And I’m clearly confused as to what the fuss was all about, the group was not even under contract or had any MOA, they were not directly contacted by DOTC or Mar, so when DOTC decided to respectfully declined their proposal, Cobonpue raised a hellstorm of whining to the media. It just smacks of arrogance on his part to think it was his birthright to head the project when he’s not even remotely qualified to design a project that complex and delicate, he’s an industrial designer, specializing in furniture.

    And the proposal they submitted, it didn’t even address the core problems of NAIA, and the supposedly lesser budget, was it even cost-efficient, they allocated 500M just for park dev’t (carpark, garden, roundabout) when it could have been better used in infrastracture upgrades, I would rather have a 2bn project that was done right than 1bn mistake.

    • 19.1
      raissa says:

      Pls. don’t get me wrong.

      I believe in Kenneth Cobonpue as a designer. Don’t knock a furniture designer. I base this on my interview with him.

      What I wish is that Mar Roxas will find a way to work with Cobonpue who does have an international reputation as a designer, THAT would benefit the nation greatly. Imagine the built-in global publicity.

      Let me ask, why can’t Budji Layag and Kenneth and the others help out in the design? Why cant’ it be a joint effort?

      P.S. I’ve also interviewed Mar Roxas

      • 19.1.1
        Dyu says:

        I totally agree, I actually admire their designs, both Cobonpue and Budji, and I find their pieces inspiring especially as a Filipino, but what really ticked me of as an architect was Cobonpue’s statement comparing themselves to LVL, as being at par or even more…and it showed his unprofessionalism and ignorance (could be arrogance) on the subject of airport design which requires far more than an artistic touch, but FIRST-HAND technical know-how and extensive experience, especially for a rehabilitation project this complex.
        I believe, instead of whining to the media, Cobonpue should have just studied the weaknesses and limitations of their proposals, and offered to help out on the strengths of their proposal, particularly the interior part where they could have really woven their magic in transforming the space. Collaboration should have been the key point for him, not just recognition.

    • 19.2
      Johnny Lin says:

      Cobonpue’s fame is a tv feature on his furniture purchased by Brangelina. Layug is an interior decorator while Pineda builds tropical houses and condos favored by noveau rich but definitely not yet in the architectural caliber of Locsin and Antonio.The 3 belong to the same sisterhood of Midas Marquez. Who, in the members of PNoy cabinet, promised them the project? What quid quod pro did PNoy men get in return? Try checking the furnitures and interiors of the white house in White Plains and the bungalow in Bel Air?

  32. 18
    Fely Sandoval says:

    Politicians like Mar Roxas are not the solutions to these problems. It’s the engineers, architects/designers & technicians that can readily provide solutions.
    As we all know, the Cobonpue group was already ditched. So we can now see the politics behind as we go back all over again with the never ending twisted fate of this damn airport. oh my..

    • 18.1
      Morcon says:

      Would you elaborate your accusal that there were “politics” behind the scrapping of Cobonpue’s design? In the first place, there was no MOA. DOTC invited the Changi Airport group and is prioritizing the terminal’s functional integrity before the aesthetics.

  33. 17
    Ayliya says:

    A fun and yet depressing read.

    On another note, I notice your husband used the phrase “streets ahead.” I am assuming then that you guys are fellow Community-watchers :D

  34. 16
    kumander says:

    there are many factors, many many factors na nakaka apekto kung bakit ganyan airport natin, nakaka hilo nakaka irita, nakaka suka, nakaka inis, nakaka bwisit ang systema dyan sa NAIA airport, there are so many bunch of bullshits people dyan sa NAIA, I’m 100% percent sure with that., Management, Administration, Operations, Engineering, Airport Police, etc… Bunch of bullshits, Its very hard na pagandahin ang airport when all these people are just thinking only for theme selves, for their personal gain and ignoring all these bad comments sa ating Airport. I can say “SUNTOK SA BUWAN”… ganun ka impossible hanggat di nawawala itong mga taong to na matagal namumugad dyan sa NAIA…. and by the way isang pang pinaka importante na nakaka apekto.. “POLITICS”… shit these people….

    • 16.1
      Alberto de Vera says:

      tama po kayo kumander. hindi po ang building lang ang problema lalo na sa terminal 1.

      ang problema po dyan ay ang mga taong namumuno.puro po kasi kurakot ang iniisip nila kaya kahit ilang bilyon ang gastusin dyan wala din mangyayari.

      ang matutuwa lang dyan ay ang mga managers at mga contractors at suppliers na kasapakat nila. lahat halos po ng division dyan dapat sibakin ang mga managers kasi sila ang mga malakas kumurakot dyan. paano po titino ang naia eh lahat ng projects dyan overprice.

      @Ms. Raissa try nyo po silipin ang lahat ng projects dyan sa terminal 1,2,3 at domestic. pati sa porterage, janitorial at security may patong dyan.

  35. 15
    nona says:

    as usual the lack of investment/basic maintenance is due to corruption, bad management and not surprisingly demotivated staff.
    the fees, food monopoly etc provide a cash cow for some by treating others like pigs.
    international conventions avoid like the plague.

    i am also surprised that roxas junked the probono work of an internationally renowned architect.
    has the corruption and kickback system really stopped!

  36. 14
    Karl says:

    very well written! your husband should also write here Ma’am Raissa :) . nakakahiya na talaga ang NAIA Terminal 1.

    question for those in the know: do we really have to pay a “terminal fee”?

  37. 13
    shirley says:

    So sad but true…I’ve been to many countries and saw their airports and I can say that NAIA is the worst.Yeah,humilliating..

  38. 12
    Lesley says:

    My job allows me to travel a lot. And Manila Airport is the only that charges a fee for a passenger to exit the country. Even a child have to pay, a child who doesn’t have a job. And you will be hostaged if you don’t pay. On a funny note, oh yeah I would pay to leave an airport just like it becuase I would not want to stay and even if it’s free.

    • 12.1
      jack says:

      Just want to inform u that even Sydney, Australia do collect some fees if you exit from the airport going to the train tunnel…,

  39. 11
    jack says:

    I love this piece! Can somebody or someone from PNoy’s people read this and please, please do something about it fast…..really fast!

  40. 10
    dale says:

    I experienced also the down side of our NAIA T-1. I was arriving that evening from a 12-hour flight. Upon arrival it’s like you are in a piir (sea port) arrival area. at the immigration, have no management to make looks better lanes, lights are dim. It does not look like an international air port

  41. 9
    Mercie Estanislao says:

    I go home every year to spend Christmas in the Philippines, and NAIA 1 is as bad as ever. What makes me cry is that there is an easy fix to NAIA’s woes, and that is, just keep the freaking terminal CLEAN!!

    I’ve observed all these years that the marble flooring at the departure area has never been waxed. Weighing scales that are obviously not working are loitering in the middle of the departure area and not stowed away. The carpets at the immigration area have never been vacuumed. The cobwebs that you see on signages have never been removed. The thousand and one fingerprints on glass panels at the gates have never been wiped off. There are wires hanging from the ceiling. There are smudge on walls.

    The tube that connects the gate to the airplane smells like a sewer … I am not kidding, sobrang baho, parang imburnal!!

    The things I enumerated above you will never see in airports in Singapore and Korea. The solution is so simple … just maintain the cleanliness of the facilities!

  42. 8
    Ezer Tiongson says:

    Thanks Mr. Alan Robles for this articles. i hope this will be a wake-up call for everybody. I been in and out at terminal 1 at least 10 times. my question is, where are those terminal fees went? what a shame!..

  43. 7
    elso cabangon says:

    Let’s see where current efforts to address the NAIA 1 woes would bring us. Mar Roxas is on the spot here.

  44. 6
    Jiro2003 says:

    I’ve suggested at another forum that one of the easiest ways to improve the NAIA experience is to replace all immigration and customs front-liners with new recruits. No offense meant to the older employees but an alert, well-groomed and polite immigration official just seems more professional. This is also the trend in Narita and Hong Kong – the two airports where I recently validated this.

    Infrastructure upgrades will necessarily take some time while personnel changes can take place almost immediately.

  45. 5
    Stanley Palisada says:

    Sobering read. Thanks for putting it out and using words for the indescribable.

  46. 4
    J says:

    Oh my god, this is so true!

  47. 3
    jools says:

    depressing. sad. horrible. humiliating.
    ***
    an Indonesian told me that she had the worst experience of her life at NAIA. i was mum.

  48. 2
    Bridget says:

    This is sad, really sad, that’s why whenever I go out to other countries in Asia like Singapore and Bangkok I really get depressed wondering why are we being left behind by our neighbors? We”re really the sick man of Asia.

  49. 1

    IT’S THE NAKED TRUTH. VERY WELL SAID, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, AND DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM, LISTEN TO WHAT ALAN ROBLES, SAID.

    I CAN STILL SMELL THE URINE A DISTANT AWAY FROM THE DIRTY TOILET, 1T WAS 1986, I ASKED ROMY SANTOS WHERE I COULD GET THE MOPS AND TOILET PAPERS I GOT THE MOPS BUT THERE WAS NO TOILET PAPERS AN I BOUGHT SOME AND PLACE IT AT WOMENS AND MENS ROOM AFTER I DOUSED AND MOP THE FLOOR WITH WATER.

    THAT WAS 17 YEARS AGO WHEN I CAME BACK AFTER THE FALL OF MARCOS.

    VERY SAD WHEN YOU READ BILLIONS OF MONEY PLUNDERED BY MARCOS,ESTRADA AND ARROYO, CANNOT EVEN TAKE CARE OF TOILETS !!!.

  50. allan says:

    naia naia hmmmmm…yep…i am right…busted toilet drains..smelly lounge area, unsmiling naia employees, customs & immigration personnel IF YOU will NOT slip a 10 US DOLLAR bill.

    TAXIS outside the airport seems like your paying for 2 days stay in a hotel when they charge you going to Singalong Manila ONLY..HAAAYYYYYY….

    WALA ng PAG-ASA ang mga taong ang nakikilala lamang ay PERA…..KAYA nga, diretso na ako papuntang davao city via singapore on singapore airlines para makaiwas sa mga taong ito…mabuti pa sa aming airport, maayos, maaalalahanin ang mga tao roon.. MARAMING SALAMAT PO Vice Mayor Digong Duterte and MAyor Inday Duterte sana maging ganyan din ang NAIA…

    • Baltazar says:

      @Allan,
      I’m also a frequent traveler of Manila-Singapore route but I did not experience this $10 sort-of-bribe. For what reason you will pay them with this amount? If you are talking about the $10 airport gate fee before the immigration gate, then that is legal – EVERYBODY PAYS. Taxis? Go for the legitimate airport Taxis just outside the arrival area. They are all available in 3 terminals and they will charge you rightfully . Although it has a higher flag down rate – I think around Php70) – it is still cheaper comparing to Singapore’s which is $3.00 from the airport plus 50% night time charge premium. If the cab driver insists on not flagging down the meter and instead go for a verbal contract, tell him to stop the cab and get out and wait for a legitimate airport cab. Ordinary people like us should start trusting the system but at the same time, guarding it in ways we can such that no abuses will prevail – then in our small ways, we help clean the miry system. You mentioned Singapore, then why not try it the Singapore way LAH! Whining and fanaticism will bring you nowhere. I have twice scolded two cab drivers attempting a cheat and they had no choice but to follow me. So unfortunate for me, I’m from Batangas City and it will be more inconvenient physically and financially for me to take the Singapore-Davao-Manila route….makes me stupid as well ;-) . Well, as for the airport itself, yeah, it really needs a total makeover.

  51. pinoysacanada says:

    i hate hate hate NAIA terminal talaga. everytime i go home from abroad, napakabaho, at walang kaayusan ang buong airport. tapos ang mga officers kaliwa’t kanan ang panghihingi ng bribe. ang mga tao na hahawak lang sa bagahe mo, manghihingi ng pamasko kahit July na July. Dios MIO!

    sa Korea pa lang, sabi ng mga pinoy na kasabay ko, mandatory daw magipit ng dollar sa passport mo or else pahihirapan ka nila.

    the transportation>>>>>> WORST in the world. nakakagalit ng sobra

  52. yumi_makino says:

    I was able to fly through Emirates last year and I can’t forget the rusty chairs in the boarding area of Terminal :o( and the small stores that sells delicacies that looks like neighborhood sari sari store. I hope the feud about Terminal 3 will be solved before the building turns old and ugly like Terminal 1.

  53. R3D says:

    How many more blogs/videos to remind the embarrassment named MIAA? Aplenty.

    Sick of retired ex-generals running the same idiocy for more than 20 years. The Terminal fee is legalized extortion.

    Like the so-called overtime charges by BoC from every international airline. BoC does not know the word ‘shifting schedules’. Another form of legalized extortion.

  54. amphitrite says:

    Thanks for posting this. We’ll be going on abroad tomorrow and sadly we have to go through NAIA. Ten years ago, I traveled frequently around south east asia and NAIA was the only airport that charges Terminal Fee still the airport smells like old wet socks, so sad that there is no evident improvement after the millions of Pesos they receive from travelers since the last time I saw the place. I’ll remember to bring snacks for my little one so that we won’t have to spend P700 for a bland food. I think NAIA have been Terminally ill decades ago…

  55. How many passengers actually left through NAIA 1 last year? If this figure were available, we can easily compute how much was actually collected. And then we can compare this to how much was actually spent for improving the airport.

  56. Mark says:

    Such a waste that international airlines cannot operate in NAIA 3..

  57. Pickers in Markham says:

    This is embarassing as the transition from NAIA to Terminal 3 hit snags (PIATCO, air safety issues, tenants issues, etc.) NAIA should have been closed since 2010 as congress will not appropriate rehab funds for it. DMIA is supposed to replace NAIA as the premier airport thanks to GMA. So the train keeps barelling down when the tracks have been cut off past the last 10 stations. PAL and Terminal 3 tenants are not complaining as far as I know. They don’t use NAIA.

  58. rey corpuz says:

    i hope dotc sec mar roxas reads this, if he hasn’t already. sana naman maayos na talaga ang paliparang pambansa natin. haaay!

  59. Alundio Aguilar says:

    I have a feeling that this administration in general nor the secretary of tourism hasn’t quite get it yet. That the number one product that we now sell to people coming over for a visit here in our wonderful, beautiful philippines is “tourism”. To be definitive, divers around the world who have been a witnessed to this splendor that we have. But,somehow along the way, they couldn’t help but complain about the inadequacy of airport personnel when they get to the airport. So, they start their day being in the wrong footing. This isn’t right, is it? We get a lot of revenue from these people who have come from far away places and what they get is a lousy accommodation at the airport. And their bad impression will soon spread around all over the globe. So, why not do something about all these problems at the airport in a jiffy and also, may i suggest that whoever is the present boss should start giving their employees some lectures on “work ethics” and “honesty and sincerity to their job”, this way, they would be able to reconsider giving some wholesome service to arriving passengers that were supposed to be their bread and butter. Worse comes to worse, the manager could always fire all of them. That is after training some people who will replace them. A little nasty isn’t it? There are a lot of rooms for improvement. Just do it!

    • Pickers in Markham says:

      As far as I know the congress holds the purse but the budget is crafted by the executive. If they want to spend without congress approval, they have to generate funds elsewhere and Erap, Atong and Gabby Singson are they best people to contact, then activate the binondo central bank with the help of Bobby Ongpin.

  60. jaybeat67 says:

    I had my first experience returning to the country via NAIA1 in 1991 and it was horrible. I wanted to return to the plane and leave. There were only few immigration counters thus causing a long line and at that time we have to pay for the use of baggage carts. Then moving to the customs area, they were like hawkers calling passengers to cue on them.

    Where does the travel tax and terminal fees go? I remember that the travel tax was imposed to deter Filipinos from going abroad to work and avoid brain drain. Is it still applicable in our present economic globalization setting? And why are we still collecting terminal fees? For what?

    Here in Davao I have noticed that there are ATO personnel standing before the tube entrance marking the terminal fee receipts. I asked them why do they have to do it and they say so that it wont be used again. The receipt is dated. Its a waste of human resource. Is that their job? I always resent them and inform them that what they are doing is unnecessary.

  61. GabbyD says:

    streets ahead?! i like you mr. robles! :)

    • Alan says:

      ssshhh. Community and ironic tweeting aside, actually the phrase wasn’t even invented by a TV sitcom writer, it’s a common UK expression

  62. Johnny Lin says:

    Like any frequent travelers all we need are:
    1. clean working, well equipped restroom/ bathroom facilities.
    2. efficient hassle free encounter with airport personnel, customs and immigration
    3. relaxing clean waiting lounges/wifi stations with plenty of wide capacity chairs/seats
    4. easy commute to connecting domestic/international flights, available transportation, parking faciities in departure/ arrival areas.
    5. Family/ children friendly facilities.
    6. Absence of terminal fees.

    Other amenities like duty free shops, restaurants, bars, stores are ancillaries while waiting for flights. The advantages of NAIA include central metropolitan location, seldom prolonged delayed flights due to foul weather/snow, plenty of available restroom/ housekeeping attendants due to low cost labor. Shameful picture to tourists/foreigners before landing is the aerial view of dilapidated rooftop shanties and dirt of Manila bay and environs.

    Main problem of NAIA aside from restrooms and aesthetics are corrupt roaming and behind the counters airport personnel. I passed thru it at least 10 times a year, heard many bad experiences of others but this was one egregious experience I had; going towards the terminal fee while filling up my immigration card I dropped my 1000 bill which I knew. A barong clad security far away noticed it, tip-toed towards me, coyly picked it up, clasped in his hand, then walked away. I called his attention, opened his fist, told him loudly he is a disgraced to the airport for what he did. He ran away. I’m sure others have worst experience; unfortunately, unscrupulous airport employees abound, more than the few good ones. The reason we publicize and give awards to those surprising good natured employees.

    Corrupt culture of Airport personnel is the primary shame of our NAIA not only the appearance! “Madaling palitan ang pagmumukha, ugali ang mahirap”

    • raissa says:

      YESSSS!

    • Alan says:

      Well said Johnny. You might add to that,
      (1) we need airport services that don’t look like they’re operated by syndicates out to gouge the public
      (2) We need everyone to be treated by airport staff not just politely but also EQUALLY. One reason why our high and mighty politicians and leaders don’t give a hoot about the airport is they personally experience NONE of it. They are escorted through straight to lounges by bowing and scraping staff, and when arriving, enjoy the same treatment. I remember reading in an OFW group, someone saw a senator and family arrive from vacation with up to 16 pieces of luggage. They were simply waved through all the checks

      • Airport personnel are like Hyenas, they know exactly whom and when a passenger is okay for them or not to serve. And when he has made his target, it becomes normal that there will be another one coming near. both are courteous by the way and very attentive to your needs.They will even give you a good advise if you are old and look weak to let him give you a wheel chair. With that, even cuing the line will become easy, they would even assist you to the windows for checking out, with that again, after you passed the window. the guy attending to you will say that I am only allowed up to here and I have to pass you to another to bring you to your final destination outside. Naturally, you will have to give the guy his tip and have to shell out your hard earned money to the next guy. who will finally bring you to the last check in country while saying I can no longer accompany you outside because we are not allowed. So, you are once again given to another man to bring to your car or your taxi. At he last check-in counter, a man standing away from the counter but not your way, will smile and greet you, “Sir, baka may pang Christmas naman tayo diyan.” and that was early May of the year.

  63. Alundio Aguilar says:

    If we can not find ways to solve this extremely important issue, the issue of having to accomodate people from around the world without hearing any single complaint about our airport, perhaps,we should start thinking about giving the proprietary work that needs to be done in an orderly manner to some international corporations who could do their best in managing airports.

    Sort of privitising work to foreign corporations. Every countries that i visited seemd to have some sort an agreement with foreign corporations in doing something that they were having a hard time doing, from improvements of their own infrastuctures like roads and bridges to building a very complex “parking lot”, which by the way is in germany.

    They do the initial work for us and teach us how it should work before they leave. And the rest is up to us to make it a reality.

    However, just like i said before here in my previous blog, this can only be possible if “people who will manage this has all the conviction of honor, integrity and dedication and all of the above.

    • raissa says:

      That is one possible arrangement.

      In fact that was supposed to be the arrangement with NAIA Terminal 3 and Fraport.

      Unfortunately, the entire deal was marred with payoffs.

  64. Alundio Aguilar says:

    One word to actually describe naia, “DEPLORABLE” ! in it’s physical structure and also, of it’s people.

    Someone has to start changing how we do business in this place or we may never see the time that people coming in from international hub will be happy about it. Just like what my mother has taught me when i was little that, “first impression is lasting”. How true indeed.

    Those people who are managing this airport didn’t know what’s in the minds of those people coming in, either their first time staying in the philippines or just passing through.

    To be honest, managers and their staff just wouldn’t care less. This is where the problem start and ends in a vicious cycle. The managers and staff have benn having this kind of bad “culture” in decades that they think they have to do it or else be frowned upon by their peers working with them.

    This administration has to find some ways for it not to happen.

    Naia doesn’t need a new and expansive edifice, we need people who will be dedicated and honest to work in this very little space. What good is a new building if you still have people “slashing your bag to get something of value” before it even reaches the tarmac, people who ask for “a bribe or else”, staff who are constant buddies of taxi drivers to rob you when you get in the cab.

    In other words, we need total control of this facility.

  65. jamie says:

    Very depressing but true.

    Came home in 1996 for a visit to find a real third world class airport!! Not a good place to be when you’re having tummy problem. And that’s exactly what I had upon departure!!! No toilet paper and no soap!!! To add insult, the PAL flight attendants had the ugliest attitude ever!!! So I promised myself not to fly PAL ever!!

    Returned in 2006, yes NAIA has changed… older, darker, smellier and filthier!!!

    Wonderful write up, Allan. Funny and interesting!!

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Ninanakaw ng mga boss at ibang empleyado ang toilet paper. Yung iba pinagbibili magkasabwat yung boss at empleyado. Kaya pagdating ng gabi ubos na daily supply. Grabe talaga.

  66. Alundio Aguilar says:

    Whenever someone will mention naia, i am always being reminded of the time when we got to the airport and lo and behold, a guy dressed in an obvious cheap native shirt greeted us a “happy merry christmas and a wonderful new year”, however, this was in april!

    Can you just imagine the look on my face? i was totally surprised to hear this from the man, i say to him in reply that; that was really nice of him, however, from the place where we come from, we celebrate christmas in december and we do it only once in a year.

    Just at this moment, my wife kind of nudged me on my elbow saying that i was being rude to the guy. Say what? Just hoped that they don’t greet people that are not native to the philippines “happy merry christmas” all year long cause this is really annoying to hear to say the least.

    • raissa says:

      You didn’t get why he greeted you Merry Christmas in April.

      He was asking for “balato.”

      I know this because a classmate of mine visited about June or July this year and she told me that NAIA had changed a bit under the new Aquino administration. For one, no one greeted her Merry Christmas this time.

      I asked her what she did the last time she was greeted in this manner.

      She said she handed the man around US$5.

      • Alundio Agilar says:

        Well, that should do it. However, i was thinking that perhaps if i do give in to these crooks and give them money, i will only be “encouraging” them more to do the same thing to other passengers. And we are all gonna suffer. And this, i believed should be monitored more by airport police and do something about it. I am extremely disturbed by this to tell you. This is what i have been fantasizing sometimes whenever my plane was about to hit the ground at naia, that, somehow someday we are all gonna be a witness to a very wholesome and safe atmosphere at the airport, short of saying you have come to la la land. Anyways, i always find out the reality that this isn’t so, as soon as the lady in the cabin tells me that i have to let go of my scotch on ice that i have been babying for quite some time. Well, there are still room for improvements, is there really?

        • raissa says:

          When someone greets you Merry Christmas NOT in December you greet back heartily and say –

          Thank you! Where’s my prize for visiting Manila?

    • Alundio Aguilar says:

      corrections on the name, it should read; Aguilar. I was in a dark room that’s why. thanks

  67. boni says:

    Traveler’s pay $17 for airport tax. That’s roughly $119M a year in taxes. Where does it go?
    The NAIA administrator should be transparent to the public about this.
    Why does it have to be advertised in the media before something gets done? Dept of tourism and health should take some of the responsibility in monitoring NAIA and the rest of the airports.

    • Alan says:

      Precisely — show how that airport fee has been and is being used, or abolish it completely.

      • Pickers in Markham says:

        Alan – not sure it’s as simple as that. I’m no apologist for these guys but as fas as I know gov’t revenues go to the national coffers thru the BIR, and appropriation process decides who gets how much. There are funds that go around the BIR net, though, like coco levy, veterans funds, OWWA funds, PAGCOR, etc. Just about everything you don’t ger a BIR receipt for. The question is: can P-NOY tap them to fix NAIA? I have feeling he can’t.

        • Romeo Victor says:

          I don’t think so Pickers in Markham, MIAA or Manila International Airport Authority, the Operator of NAIA is an authority. They have a board of directors, unlike other government agencies, that manages their own finances. Revenues can be used in operation without having to go though appropriation being done by congress. Unlike other agencies whose revenues have to go to the National Treasury and expenses have to be budgeted and appropriated by congress.

          Authorities operate like corporation that only issues dividends (Percentage of net income) to the national treasury.

  68. Tony B.Soliman says:

    I have been out of the country 24 years as an OFW and been flying in and out of NIAA at least 3 times a year and I still consider NIAA as a friendly international airport except in the departure inspection area where it is really a problem and need some improvements.

    There are only two x-ray machines and this creates a long queue for passengers, another is toilet hygiene, additional urinals. I have passed a lot of international airports such as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Phnom Penh, Brunei, Singapore’s Changi, Taipei, Tokyo’s Narita, Honolulu,Boston’s Logan, New York’s JFK, SFO, Detroit, Amsterdam, London’s Gatwik, Dubai, Muscat, Doha, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Dharan and I do not consider NIAA 1 as the worst airport. It really depends what criteria, there should be parameters how passenger based his perception.

    The airport was wrongly designed. What can you expect from the late Architect Locsin, he has no experience in airport design..

    He had to hire the french consulting firm Renardet, whose experience is not airport design. NIAA was not designed as modular so there is no way to expand the airport.

    • raissa says:

      What would you say, Tony, if you found out that the architectural firm that landed the contract to renovate NAIA 1 is again Locsin’s firm?

      Which is what recently happened.

    • Alan says:

      if I remember right, terminal 1 was designed and built with a viewing deck on the roof for the public. Has anyone ever gotten that far in all these years? Also, if you’re an arriving passenger and you try to make your way to the departure area to pick up a cab there (in order to avoid the overpriced taxi cartel) — good luck. There is no easy way up with all your luggage.

      • Jay says:

        No matter how difficult to get up to departure area just to get a taxi, I always do that in order to avoid using those overpriced taxi in arrival area, even the metered ones. The metered taxi is just the same as the fixed price taxi. And don’t expect the driver of the metered taxi to give you the change no matter how much it is. I guess the operator has to factor-in the bribes they give to airport officials for them to be profitable. And it return, they get to monopolize the taxi service there. It’s a win-win situation for conniving crooks and vultures in that Manila safari.

  69. Jay says:

    Great article. I agree completely with the description about this airport. Apparently, this airport was made as a milking cow of past administration. No competent GM was appointed to manage NAIA for the last decades or so. Nothing was ever done to improve the condition and services in this airport despite the payment of terminal fee. And I wonder why it has to be paid upfront, why not include it in the cost of the tickets as what is being done almost all airports in the world. I wonder why? Maybe avoiding audit of all total collections? Because if it’s included in the cost of the ticket, there’s a paper trail!). And mind you, there’s another payment being collected which is the travel tax amounting to PHP1620.00! And the wonder of it all is that there are four people who are processing such payment, one each for writing on receipt, validation, accepting the money and stamping/giving the change. And there’s another one who photocopy the receipt! Truly amazing! Unless all the people there are replaced, I doubt if there’s any hope for improvement.

  70. Mark says:

    I seem to have missed something. theres a perfectly decent ‘new’ airport on the other side of the runway..its been there for years..its currently called Terminal 3 and wa supposed to replace the old NAIA..why has this been ignored…oh yeah..previous administration..must be bad and corrupt so lets ignore it…just go there, its ok, both domestic and international. the toilets are clean, the aircon is chilling and theres soo much space, so why not spend a few million on flat screen TV’s and open the damn thing up!! then knock down T1..

    • raissa says:

      That WAS the original plan.

      Terminal 3 was supposed to replace Terminal 1 as the main airport.

      Problem is, it got mired in fraud controversy during the Arroyo administration. The Arroyo administration was able to seize it through arbitration. HOwever, it learned that Takenaka Corporation, which installed the hi-tech bag scanners, had full control of the codes for the scanners. Whch would not work without the codes.

      As a result, the airport is only partly operational. I’ll post the article I did on it for you.

  71. jimbo says:

    DOTC sec’y indicated recently that aside from beautification, NAIA needs major mechanical-structural work. It’s way out of code and a firetrap. It is a national disgrace and it’s high time we address it. I say, fire the current (ex-gen) administrator, run a complete COA/ senate investigation and level the entire place and start from scratch! Divert the flights and use Terminal 3 and Clark. Kudoz to DOTC Sec’y

  72. Dennis says:

    Ms Raisa and Mr Alan,
    I do agree that the terminal needs improvement big time. Especially the departure hall, which is really a maze with antique weighing scales fit for JunkYard use. Please, remove the delapidated, obscuring, depressing arrival/sundo building fronting every arriving guests, It’s crazy.

    I think the problem with our leaders is we only think Pinoy, i mean to say, basta ok na sa Pinoy pwede na, basta may bubong, ok na. Basta may lilim okay na. They forget that we are now in an age where people are mobile, travellers and educated.

    Just want to note, that all airport charge passenger service fee. Tayo lang po ang ayaw pumayag na iinclude sa tkt ng airlines.

    On a positive note though, the several times i have used T1, i am greeted by clean toilets with, tissue and friendly staffs. So di ko alam kung saan ang sira sirang toilet na nirereklamo ng marami.

    • raissa says:

      Sa departure na mga toilets and problema :)

      • Dennis says:

        Hmm… Sinuswerte siguro ako Ms Raissa kasi di ko inaabutan ang out of order sign.
        Anyway if I may add, I just watched Teditorial about et al issue, and the poor Filipino mentality was blurted by Mr Locsin.

        This is not a direct quote, rather what I got from him, “as long as the airport serves its purpose for immigration clearance, it has served its dues. No need to care about toilets, aesthetics, etc.”. He even uses his friend’s experience, a mining magnate, in justifying this mentality but saying that after immigration everything in airport is blur because he would have been whisked away in the comfort of Shangrila hotel, etc.

        Clearly, we have a problem. We have already failed because we dont care about other people/foreigner’s point of view. This is why we are left behind by our neighbors because, they consider Tourism a vital part of economy GDP. As for us, puro boka lang about attracting foreigners to the provinces para bang nahihiya tayong ipromote mismo ang capital. Di kaya dahil nahihiya tayo sa sasalubong sa kanila sa T1?

    • Alan says:

      You are absolutely right Dennis, it’s a chieftain mentality on the part of our leaders that has been with us for centuries — one standard for leaders, and another, substandard, for the masses. It also means it’s up to the masses to make themselves heard and remind the sleek and oily leaders who the real bosses are

  73. Tess B. says:

    aside from all these, some guards are rude especially to well-wishers/families of our workers who send off their kapamilyas abroad. instead of saying, excuse me, please move backwards.. you’d hear them yell like pst! alis kayo dyan! bawal dyan!

    • raissa says:

      Dapat next time i-video nyo sa cellphone niyo, tapos ilagay sa YOutube, tapos padala nyo URL sa kin.

      Ilagay ko sa blog ko.

      • Dennis says:

        On my last flight, security guards offer their cellphones to foreigners to call and ask for payment in foreign currency. Why not guide these poor tourists to the proper information desk, phone booth? Ay, wala nga pla nun sa arrival/waiting area. Kaya pala generous ang mga sikyo.

        As for T3, it is one good airport, kya kahit gusto ko sumakay sa other carriers, lagi ako nag si-Cebu Pacific flight kasi sa airport. Your relatives can send you off or wait for you comfortably.

        I think the best way to handle this mentality, is shuffle all govt post every 3 years para walang padrino. Except of course sa sensitive positions that would need expertise. Pero for clerical, general grade work dapat nagkakaroon ng reshuffling. Baka sakaling mag improve ang system kapag iba na ang gumagalaw. Tapos, graded ang lahat. Department vs department, kapag d na-hit ang KPI’s babawasan ang budget. Dun sa nananalo e madadagdagan ng good service bonus. Dapat magkaroon din ng service excellence award for all Govt employees na published nationwide. And the award should be managed independently and graded by the people (masa) through nominations.

  74. Tama ka Ms. Raissa, talagang nakakahiya ang airport natin pag dumarating kami para magbakasyon sa pinas dismayado kami at nahihiya pag nakikita namin ang airport natin talagang worst NA ang pat I sa trolley parang mg a junk kailan Kay a mabibigyang pansin Ito

  75. lunakirb says:

    failed state!

  76. Rigoberto Rasalan says:

    Conclusion: Because of politics our country is in a quagmire. During the time of GMA , she did a lot of traveling outside the country, I am sure hindi siya bulag para hindi mapansin ang mga magagandang airport na kanyang nilapagan. Same with PNoy, bulag din yata. Kailangan pang mabansagang worst airport sa buong mundo para umaksyon. Pansinin ninyo after the regime of Marcos, meron na bang nadagdag sa Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center,Kidney Center ,CCP, Folk Arts theater at iba pa.

    • Jay says:

      Ginawa lang gatasan ng mga cronies ni GMA o Mike Arroyo ang airport na yan. Look at those who were appointed as GM in the past: Edgar Manda, Alfonso Cusi. Mga hindi talaga mapagkakatiwalaan! Saan napunta ang bilyung-bilyong piso na nakolekta sa terminal fee at travel tax? Dapat i-audit ng COA yan at habulin, ikulong ang mga nagbulsa ng pera!

      Nakakakulo talaga ng dugo ang sinapit ng airport na yan at ang hirap na dinadanas ng mga pasahero. And I’m one of those frequent passengers in that abhorable airport! I wish there’s a choice for a spaceship who will pick me up in our province in the middle of our “bukid”. I would really prefer that instead of experiencing the kind of environment there or even stepping on that airport.

    • hindi makikita ng malalaking tao ang quagmire kasi sila ay may vip treatment. lalo ng yung mga may pisition. even the rich, hindi nila makikita yan, unless they the cheapest ticket., the economy accommodation.

      .

  77. Traveller says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. One good thing about NAIA’s situation is that there are more airports which have worst conditions than NAIA which were not included in the list of worst airports (i don’t know why). I am specifically pointing out the international airports in Chennai and Pune, India. When I was using those airports, I felt lucky to have NAIA…My point is not put humiliation with the other airports…I’m optimistic about the fact that NAIA can still be renovated and can claim world-wide admiration granting that “POLITICS” would not come on its way. What i mean is if we take the lesson from Singapore, they started by having a common aspiration of making a good airport…Alas, Changi airport came out of it…we dont have to point fingers on anyone…As Filipinos we have shift our paradigms…i hope this would be the start of reversing on how the international arena sees the Philippines…Mind you, Filipinos are doing good or even better outside of the Philippines, so i believe that it is now the right time for our local officials who promise to serve and protect the country to do their jobs by renovating and uplifting the NAIA airports…By the way, after NAIA terminal 1, the officials also have to look for NAIA Terminal 2…

  78. Targrod says:

    but… but… but… Cebu airport is wow (at least in my book). I’ve never flown outside of the country and I hope with the non-stop “noise” barrage that NAIA 1 has been experiencing, at least they should wake up from their deep slumber.

    i’ve always said that the tourism in this country could’ve been much better if our airport terminal is classier than Gretchen Barretto. I think that there should be a revamp in the management too.

  79. Dyu says:

    I’m glad you’re column was not one another demolition piece on Mar, but simply a statement on the state of NAIA 1, there has been too much media blitz initiated by Cobonpue this past few days, even an editorial piece on the subject when clearly the writer didn’t do enough research on the subject, too one-sided for Cobonpue.

    And I’m clearly confused as to what the fuss was all about, the group was not even under contract or had any MOA, they were not directly contacted by DOTC or Mar, so when DOTC decided to respectfully declined their proposal, Cobonpue raised a hellstorm of whining to the media. It just smacks of arrogance on his part to think it was his birthright to head the project when he’s not even remotely qualified to design a project that complex and delicate, he’s an industrial designer, specializing in furniture.

    And the proposal they submitted, it didn’t even address the core problems of NAIA, and the supposedly lesser budget, was it even cost-efficient, they allocated 500M just for park dev’t (carpark, garden, roundabout) when it could have been better used in infrastracture upgrades, I would rather have a 2bn project that was done right than 1bn mistake.

    • raissa says:

      Pls. don’t get me wrong.

      I believe in Kenneth Cobonpue as a designer. Don’t knock a furniture designer. I base this on my interview with him.

      What I wish is that Mar Roxas will find a way to work with Cobonpue who does have an international reputation as a designer, THAT would benefit the nation greatly. Imagine the built-in global publicity.

      Let me ask, why can’t Budji Layag and Kenneth and the others help out in the design? Why cant’ it be a joint effort?

      P.S. I’ve also interviewed Mar Roxas

      • Dyu says:

        I totally agree, I actually admire their designs, both Cobonpue and Budji, and I find their pieces inspiring especially as a Filipino, but what really ticked me of as an architect was Cobonpue’s statement comparing themselves to LVL, as being at par or even more…and it showed his unprofessionalism and ignorance (could be arrogance) on the subject of airport design which requires far more than an artistic touch, but FIRST-HAND technical know-how and extensive experience, especially for a rehabilitation project this complex.
        I believe, instead of whining to the media, Cobonpue should have just studied the weaknesses and limitations of their proposals, and offered to help out on the strengths of their proposal, particularly the interior part where they could have really woven their magic in transforming the space. Collaboration should have been the key point for him, not just recognition.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Cobonpue’s fame is a tv feature on his furniture purchased by Brangelina. Layug is an interior decorator while Pineda builds tropical houses and condos favored by noveau rich but definitely not yet in the architectural caliber of Locsin and Antonio.The 3 belong to the same sisterhood of Midas Marquez. Who, in the members of PNoy cabinet, promised them the project? What quid quod pro did PNoy men get in return? Try checking the furnitures and interiors of the white house in White Plains and the bungalow in Bel Air?

  80. Fely Sandoval says:

    Politicians like Mar Roxas are not the solutions to these problems. It’s the engineers, architects/designers & technicians that can readily provide solutions.
    As we all know, the Cobonpue group was already ditched. So we can now see the politics behind as we go back all over again with the never ending twisted fate of this damn airport. oh my..

    • Morcon says:

      Would you elaborate your accusal that there were “politics” behind the scrapping of Cobonpue’s design? In the first place, there was no MOA. DOTC invited the Changi Airport group and is prioritizing the terminal’s functional integrity before the aesthetics.

  81. Ayliya says:

    A fun and yet depressing read.

    On another note, I notice your husband used the phrase “streets ahead.” I am assuming then that you guys are fellow Community-watchers :D

  82. kumander says:

    there are many factors, many many factors na nakaka apekto kung bakit ganyan airport natin, nakaka hilo nakaka irita, nakaka suka, nakaka inis, nakaka bwisit ang systema dyan sa NAIA airport, there are so many bunch of bullshits people dyan sa NAIA, I’m 100% percent sure with that., Management, Administration, Operations, Engineering, Airport Police, etc… Bunch of bullshits, Its very hard na pagandahin ang airport when all these people are just thinking only for theme selves, for their personal gain and ignoring all these bad comments sa ating Airport. I can say “SUNTOK SA BUWAN”… ganun ka impossible hanggat di nawawala itong mga taong to na matagal namumugad dyan sa NAIA…. and by the way isang pang pinaka importante na nakaka apekto.. “POLITICS”… shit these people….

    • Alberto de Vera says:

      tama po kayo kumander. hindi po ang building lang ang problema lalo na sa terminal 1.

      ang problema po dyan ay ang mga taong namumuno.puro po kasi kurakot ang iniisip nila kaya kahit ilang bilyon ang gastusin dyan wala din mangyayari.

      ang matutuwa lang dyan ay ang mga managers at mga contractors at suppliers na kasapakat nila. lahat halos po ng division dyan dapat sibakin ang mga managers kasi sila ang mga malakas kumurakot dyan. paano po titino ang naia eh lahat ng projects dyan overprice.

      @Ms. Raissa try nyo po silipin ang lahat ng projects dyan sa terminal 1,2,3 at domestic. pati sa porterage, janitorial at security may patong dyan.

  83. nona says:

    as usual the lack of investment/basic maintenance is due to corruption, bad management and not surprisingly demotivated staff.
    the fees, food monopoly etc provide a cash cow for some by treating others like pigs.
    international conventions avoid like the plague.

    i am also surprised that roxas junked the probono work of an internationally renowned architect.
    has the corruption and kickback system really stopped!

  84. Karl says:

    very well written! your husband should also write here Ma’am Raissa :) . nakakahiya na talaga ang NAIA Terminal 1.

    question for those in the know: do we really have to pay a “terminal fee”?

  85. shirley says:

    So sad but true…I’ve been to many countries and saw their airports and I can say that NAIA is the worst.Yeah,humilliating..

  86. Lesley says:

    My job allows me to travel a lot. And Manila Airport is the only that charges a fee for a passenger to exit the country. Even a child have to pay, a child who doesn’t have a job. And you will be hostaged if you don’t pay. On a funny note, oh yeah I would pay to leave an airport just like it becuase I would not want to stay and even if it’s free.

    • jack says:

      Just want to inform u that even Sydney, Australia do collect some fees if you exit from the airport going to the train tunnel…,

  87. jack says:

    I love this piece! Can somebody or someone from PNoy’s people read this and please, please do something about it fast…..really fast!

  88. dale says:

    I experienced also the down side of our NAIA T-1. I was arriving that evening from a 12-hour flight. Upon arrival it’s like you are in a piir (sea port) arrival area. at the immigration, have no management to make looks better lanes, lights are dim. It does not look like an international air port

  89. Mercie Estanislao says:

    I go home every year to spend Christmas in the Philippines, and NAIA 1 is as bad as ever. What makes me cry is that there is an easy fix to NAIA’s woes, and that is, just keep the freaking terminal CLEAN!!

    I’ve observed all these years that the marble flooring at the departure area has never been waxed. Weighing scales that are obviously not working are loitering in the middle of the departure area and not stowed away. The carpets at the immigration area have never been vacuumed. The cobwebs that you see on signages have never been removed. The thousand and one fingerprints on glass panels at the gates have never been wiped off. There are wires hanging from the ceiling. There are smudge on walls.

    The tube that connects the gate to the airplane smells like a sewer … I am not kidding, sobrang baho, parang imburnal!!

    The things I enumerated above you will never see in airports in Singapore and Korea. The solution is so simple … just maintain the cleanliness of the facilities!

  90. Ezer Tiongson says:

    Thanks Mr. Alan Robles for this articles. i hope this will be a wake-up call for everybody. I been in and out at terminal 1 at least 10 times. my question is, where are those terminal fees went? what a shame!..

  91. elso cabangon says:

    Let’s see where current efforts to address the NAIA 1 woes would bring us. Mar Roxas is on the spot here.

  92. Jiro2003 says:

    I’ve suggested at another forum that one of the easiest ways to improve the NAIA experience is to replace all immigration and customs front-liners with new recruits. No offense meant to the older employees but an alert, well-groomed and polite immigration official just seems more professional. This is also the trend in Narita and Hong Kong – the two airports where I recently validated this.

    Infrastructure upgrades will necessarily take some time while personnel changes can take place almost immediately.

  93. Stanley Palisada says:

    Sobering read. Thanks for putting it out and using words for the indescribable.

  94. J says:

    Oh my god, this is so true!

  95. jools says:

    depressing. sad. horrible. humiliating.
    ***
    an Indonesian told me that she had the worst experience of her life at NAIA. i was mum.

  96. Bridget says:

    This is sad, really sad, that’s why whenever I go out to other countries in Asia like Singapore and Bangkok I really get depressed wondering why are we being left behind by our neighbors? We”re really the sick man of Asia.

  97. IT’S THE NAKED TRUTH. VERY WELL SAID, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, AND DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM, LISTEN TO WHAT ALAN ROBLES, SAID.

    I CAN STILL SMELL THE URINE A DISTANT AWAY FROM THE DIRTY TOILET, 1T WAS 1986, I ASKED ROMY SANTOS WHERE I COULD GET THE MOPS AND TOILET PAPERS I GOT THE MOPS BUT THERE WAS NO TOILET PAPERS AN I BOUGHT SOME AND PLACE IT AT WOMENS AND MENS ROOM AFTER I DOUSED AND MOP THE FLOOR WITH WATER.

    THAT WAS 17 YEARS AGO WHEN I CAME BACK AFTER THE FALL OF MARCOS.

    VERY SAD WHEN YOU READ BILLIONS OF MONEY PLUNDERED BY MARCOS,ESTRADA AND ARROYO, CANNOT EVEN TAKE CARE OF TOILETS !!!.

  98. -->

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