I had targeted Manila City and its surroundings for my 6D/5N visit. I was looking forward to see many things in Manila and to meet up with two Filipino bloggers there!
So on one fine early morning in January 2011, I found myself at the LCCT airport checking in my luggage. It was a breeze doing so as there wasn't a big crowd. Probably doing my own self check-in on the AirAsia website at home the night before helped me escape the normal crowd.
The AirAsia plane departed at about 7.20am and reached Manila at 11am. I did not have proper sleep the night before so I tried to sleep in the plane, but found it impossible to do so. I don't know if it's just me, but I always have difficulty falling asleep the night before I travel to a foreign country! And AirAsia seats were just not conducive for sleeping!
Upon landing at Clark International Airport, I was asked by the custom officer how much Philippine pesos I brought with me. Well, I actually brought 11,000 pesos but it was against the law to bring more than 10,000 so I said 10,000. LOL!
I forgot to take picture of the Clark Airport (also known as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) so here's a picture taken from this site HERE.
It was a small airport serving only budget airlines like AirAsia and I knew before I went to Manila that I had chosen the wrong airline and the wrong airport!
Why wrong airline and wrong airport? Well, because AirAsia only lands at this airport and not Manila International Airport (also known as Ninoy Aquino International Airport) which charges higher landing fee and which is just within 25 minutes to Manila.
The Clark Airport on the other hand was located far away from Manila in Angeles City, Pampanga. To get to Manila, I had to take a bus from the Clark Airport to Pasay Bus Station in Manila. I bought the bus ticket which was priced at 350 pesos (RM25) at the counter near the airport exit.
The air-conditioned bus, operated by Partas was however quite comfortable. I did not manage to sleep in the bus though I wanted to. It took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Manila.
So for those of you who want to go Manila, do not fly AirAsia unless you don't mind the long journey from Clark Airport to Manila City!
When I reached Pasay Bus Station in Manila, it was already almost 2pm. A few people approached me asking me which hotel I would be going to, but I did not trust them. One said he would charge 300 pesos (RM22) to take me to my hotel. I slashed it to 150 pesos (RM11) and he shook his head. Oh well, I was not going to be cheated!
I walked out of the bus station and down the road with my luggage in tow, trying to flag down a taxi. But it was quite impossible to get a taxi at that time, so when I finally got one, and the driver agreed on the 150 pesos (which I knew was still too expensive but what the heck!) I quickly jumped into the taxi feeling totally relieved!
It took about 20 minutes to reach Lotus Garden Hotel where I would be staying. Located at the corner junction of A. Mabini and Padre Faura streets in Ermita, the Lotus Garden Hotel is a budget hotel and quite a comfortable one at that!
More about Lotus Garden Hotel in my next post, so stay tuned : )