Monday, January 24, 2005

Mactan Cebu International Airport - Update!

This airport, being relatively new is still good – meaning clean and functional. On arrival via a domestic flight, you walk down to the baggage claim area. In many of my visits to Cebu, I have not yet encountered any malfunctioning or dead escalator leading down to the arrival area - even if it was during the wee hours! This is not so at the “new” Centennial Airport in Manila. And thankfully, the baggage carts are also free. The comfort rooms are clean.

Being the premier airport of a heavily visited destination in the country however, the information booth or Tourist Information Counter should always be manned from the first airline arrival at dawn up until the last arrivals in the evening. Not that I realy want to get any information from that booth since I fairly know my way around Cebu! I have been frequenting this city since 1989. My concern is for those visitors who may need assistance. Not only foreign visitors but even the local folks who are not very familiar with Cebu.

In this particular trip for example – where our flight arrived at 5:55AM instead of 6:00AM, while waiting for our bags, I chanced upon three Europeans (backpackers) who were waiting at the information booth and seemingly anxious to talk to a person in authority. So I approached them and offered if I may be of help. All they needed to know was how to get to Bantayan Island from the airport.

Being “backpackers”, I knew they won’t take the ridiculously priced airport limousines! Grabbing a map from the “take-one” counters of this booth (which I realized they each already have taken their respective copies), I explained to them how they can go to the bus station and gave them instructions on how and where to go up north of the main island of Cebu which is the way to Bantayan! All the while, there was an airport police (or guard) snoozing inside the booth. I woke him up and asked him as to when the tourism people will arrive to man this booth! He groggily answered they’re in at 9:00AM. Hmm, I thought that was absurd since by then, fewer flights would be arriving. Then those staff would just be sitting there useless. Oh well, that’s Philippine Government in action!

Just as I was about to go out of the airport with my friends, we chanced upon two ladies also waiting at the booth. When I asked, all they wanted to know was “saan ba yung sakayan ng taxi na di-metro”! So I said it’s just up there, across from where we were and I asked them to follow me and my group who ourselves were about to take cabs up at the departure curbside!

We asked the two ladies to take the first cab that stopped. While one of them was already seated at the back, I heard the other lady saying no and asking her companion to get out of the cab. When I asked why, she said “walang metro”. Thus, I asked the driver to open up his “meter compartment” so the ladies could see it. And, off they went!

For those who are not familiar yet, many of the newer Cebu Taxis (if not all of them anyway) have their taxi meters neatly installed in a receptacle right where they should be. Toyota seems to have recognized this need and created a compartment in their newer models (just below the radio slot) where taxi meters do fit snugly inside! Now the whole front of the car looks clean without protruding taxi meters unlike the ugly way you would see them in Metro Manila.

Oh well, that was some “Good Samaritan” morning. You think I should charge the government for this?! In my dreams he he he!

1 comment :

  1. just an update...

    was in cebu again last February, and hey! I arrived with a pack of barkadas (all 28 of us) about 7PM from a delayed cebu-pacific flight... and there were other flights scheduled to land after us... and yes... the lowly tourism booth was also devoid of any human being - not even the guards... golly!

    yes this is still the old fashioned "government-style" where all of them who live and grow their families on your taxes have that misplaced notion that "they are government, so you follow them on how they want to dispense of their service" (if any)...

    dictatorial minds, really!

    so if you wanna arrive in cebu and avail of some little help from the government's tourism people, arrive between 8AM and 5PM, not on their coffee-breaks nor their lunch breaks, okay? that means... office-hours of government standards hahaha HAHAHA!

    nakakahiya! i wish they'd make that counter collapsible or disposable so that they can make it disappear when their "government employees" are not there! Ahhhhhhh!

    what service are you talking about? They are government, you kneel and plea for them to assist you.. and that is if they want to! Ahhhhh!