21 April 2008

NAIA woes

We were enroute to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) one Saturday to welcome back my younger brother Dodi who works in Jeddah and is coming back to the Philippines for a 2-month vacation. Wow. Has it been 2 years already?

Anyways, I do not particularly like the NAIA when going there as either the sending-off or the welcoming party, principally because NAIA is not particularly equipped for these "rituals". Welcoming party members, for example, has to stay behind the railings way off from the arrival area. And they guards shoo people away like a pack of rats.

At any rate, the cab driver informed us that he will be dropping us off at the 2nd floor departure area because cabs are restricted at the arrival area. See what I mean? There's just no clear-cut definition where people ought to stay. When you get there, that's the only time they direct you where to go, which is a major inconvenience because you have to walk a looong way back.

When Dodi was finally at customs, we took the stairs going to the ground floor arrival area. That was where we learned that the alleged waiting area was relocated at the parking area or thereabouts. So we had to walk all the way down the length of the road to get to this area. Which begged the question: how do we get a taxicab which was lined up right at the entrance of the arrival area?

I called up Dodi. Incidentally he just made the exit and so we saw him and his luggage. Waving frantically we saw each other, and the guards took pity I think and relented for us to meet there and get a cab.

And then came this guy in white barong and directed us to the Taxi Service. I thought he was part of the airport personnel and was guiding us for security purposes. But he entered the Taxi Service Office and shortly reappeared with a receipt on hand and asked us where we were going. To Makati, which is really not to far off. So imagine my surprise when we was charging us 800 pesos! We protested that it was too expensive and then he said "kayong bahala" (it's up to you") and left us. A lady who was standing nearby approached us and asked how much the guy was charging us. We said 800 pesos. She said she was being charged 650 pesos, also bound for Makati. What's this? Taxi fee based on how many luggages you have and on how affluent you look?

The nerve of these people! Veer away from this place which faces the arrival gate.

Then a guy from the yellow cabs lined up near the entrance approached us and asked how much we were being charged. After our reply, he advised us to take one of the yellow cabs intead. They're airport metered taxis.

Yellow cabs lined up. You can't miss them.

We trooped to the ticketing station. The fee is still higher than the regular cabs but at 70 pesos flag down rate and 4 pesos add-on thereof, it was still way preferable. So we boarded at once.

The cars are new and they have the metering system which gives you a receipt. Our driver was courteous as well. Our bill? 160 pesos!

I wonder how those people can get off charging exorbitant fees. Thank goodness NAIA already has this metered taxis at the arrival area. The problem is, how to get one because it is a restricted area after all. Perhaps they also have a lane at the waiting area? So next time you're there, I recommend that you take one of these yellow cabs!

The arrival area at the left immediately opens up to a row of yellow cabs. Get one of those, not the Taxi service across this road.
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