Friday, November 18, 2011

Naga Airport Experience

I arrived from Caramoan too early at 10:44AM for my 2:55PM flight to Manila! And the kind driver, probably sensing that he was too fast and too early arriving in Naga City, decided to make that detour and drop me at the very door of the airport’s departure area. That’s about 200 to 300 meters off the main highway, and some passengers even asked where we were going. Driver said just to drop me at the departure area and even asked if other passengers were destined for the airport. None replied except for a woman who asked “me flight ba ngayon?”! Yeah yeah, I knew she either meant to tell or even ridicule me that I was damn too early for the next flight out of that airport hehe.

The airport was virtually closed! The entrance door was open yes, but you cannot go anywhere than that. Off limits except the little sari-sari/souvenir store at the space near the stairs where a lady was busy arranging her food containers getting ready to sell lunch. But elsewhere, the personnel were either somewhere inside air-conditioned offices or home hehe. Ah, this airport is not like most other domestic airports. It resembles a two-level heavy-concrete office building if you view it from the outside. Very reminiscent of the old Davao Airport. You check-in at ground level, then climb up the stairs to the pre-departure area to wait and board your flight.

Anyway, I had to make use of my “more than 4 hours” wait for my flight. Golly, if honors or awards are given to those who arrive at the airport way too early, I must have been summa cum laude plenipotentiary for that day hahaha!. But the lady’s food was such a welcome treat. Most were still piping hot fresh from the pot. Some looked like they were just brought in but cooked at her home. But everything looked inviting. So I had brunch! Her first customer hehe. I liked the pork with coconut milk, fish broth (am not sure if that is also called tinola in these parts) and of course laing (pronounced “la-eng”). Plus coke of course!

Lunch long done, and I was still way far from check-in time. The silence of this airport building was like boring me. So I decided to walk outside of the vicinity. I even thought, if I don’t see anything worth my while, I’ll probably ride the jeeps all the way to SM City Naga! And I started off with the long walk towards the highway. Some pedicabs were inviting me for a ride, but walk I still did – if only to make use of my time hehe. Then I stumbled upon this little sari-sari store cum eatery with fine music from an FM station playing. From the looks of it alone, I was sure it was a pepsi-only place but I thought I might pick a dessert or anything sweet, so I popped in.

Yes, I picked up something… and it was SanMigLight hehe. There were no sweets on that store. They were grilling some barbecues that smelled good, and it was just a few minutes till exact noontime! I liked the newly grilled fish so I got one. And, (shh, don’t tell anyone), I again had a cup of rice. I told myself, well, if my meal at the airport was breakfast, then this was lunch hahaha. All in a little more than half an hour between each meal! But no sweat there, I have long been on a seefood diet. Yes you can look at that word again. My principle is: when I see food, I eat! Oh huh?! But what with the SanMigLight?! Here’s the story… waitress came to ask what I wanted for a drink to go with the grilled fish and rice, I looked around, no coke, everyone was either having pepsi, seven-up or mountain dew. But a foreigner at some corner was tending to a cute little toddler as the wife (local) was busy choosing food, and there was Pale Pilsen on their table! Then I looked at the clear glass door of the fridge, a platoon of golden San Miguel Light bottles seemed to be waving at me! So I told the waitress I wanted SanMigLight! I was a thousand and one sure the waitress does not (yet) drink beer hehe. Just look at that picture and you’ll know why hehe.

Alrightie, I had one more of that SanMigLight in that little cozy barung-barong of a store outside the airport and proceeded to check in at just about 1PM. Nice and easy orderly check-in. Probably because there were not so many passengers yet. Check-in agent told me the airport’s free wifi has a better signal at pre-departure waiting lounge. so I went up there immediately.

Now the ugly part. Entering ‘upstairs’ just at the top of the stairs is the final security check manned by a policeman and a policewoman. They asked me to open my backpack (no x-ray here) and started looking at and gripping my things. Policeman took more time than usual at my toiletry kit. He seemed to be specifically looking for something. And he got it! A matchbox!! He removed it without saying anything and was in the act of placing it aside when I asked “patingin” (I had to ask since I could not even remember when I placed that there). I just know my kit always has a lighter or match ‘for personal emergencies’. Oh, the beautiful matchbox with turquoise-colored matchsticks from Berjaya Hotel (my hotel in Kula Lumpur last month)! Then I bit of protested saying I passed through the airports of Malaysia, Singapore, Manila and Cebu with that matchbox in the same toiletry kit and it was not confiscated. His reply was “manual kami dito, bawal yan”. I easily recognize what is “mayabang” sarcastic and plain pompous when I hear one. Unmistakably, he was.

So, I got the matchbox again, went to an empty carton by the stairs that looked like a trashcan, removed and broke all sticks inside it AND tore the little box into pieces while they looked at me and I looked at them. Returning to my things, I picked the toiletry kit again and fished a disposable lighter (it was placed just beside where the matchbox was so the policeman could not have missed it). Waving said lighter in front of them I told the policeman firmly “eto, bakit di mo kumpiskahin, di ba bawal ang lighter? Dahil ba hindi maganda at mumurahin lang na nabibili ng sampung piso sa kalsada, ha?”! And without waiting for a reply, I continued now already hissing “sinabi mo nalang sana gusto mo ang posporo na yun dahil maganda, I would have given it to you anyway. Pero wag mo akong paandaran ng bawal at hindi bawal because I pass by an airport every week. Unang dapat mong ipagbawal ang lighter na ito, bakit ayaw mo kunin?”. I placed said lighter on their table and raised my voice a little to ask “tapos na ba tayo o me nakikita pa kayong bawal sa backpack ko”? They did not say anything, I gathered my things and proceeded the few steps to the waiting area.

It was a fine afternoon flight to Manila. I saw the sunset over at Manila Bay as we landed. But that’s my next story!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15
16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30

1 comment :

  1. Which is better Coke or Pepsi?
    SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER and you could get a prepaid VISA gift card!