It;s our first time to fly to Naga City. We took advantage of the availability of Cebu Pacific's Manila-Naga flights since we only had five days worth of vacation to spend in my husband's hometown. Besides, we traveled with four young kids including a one-year old tot who'd surely be uncomfortable with a 9-hour bus ride. Flying, really, was the best option.
We bought our tickets as early as the second week of September. Ar round trip ticket cost each of us around Php 3,100 inclusive of taxes, fees, travel insurance and sure seats. I realized, a few months later, that we could have saved a lot if only we chose not to reserve seats anymore which cost us Php 200 per person. My brother told me that the trick for Cebu Pacific passengers traveling in groups to be seated together is to be early in the check-in counter. Food for thought, it will come in handy the next time I book tickets.
Our flight was at 1:40 PM but we arrived at Terminal 3 before 10 in the morning. The driver of the van that we hired made sure that we avoid the terrible Ortigas Ave. traffic and that we arrive on time. Better be early that spoiling the tickets!
Checkin in tat the Cebu-Pacific counter in NAIA Terminal 3 was a breeze. I had our travel itineraries printed and ready and, having a roll call of all the names of the members of our group, the lady behind the counter asked for our bags for check-in. We weren't even asked to present IDs anymore. Thank God our baggages did not exceed the 105 kilo weight allowance for our party. My sis-in-law had so much pasalubong from the United Kingdom that we were bringing that day.
After we had our big bags checked in, we proceeded to the other counter by the exit to have our body weight plus hand carried luggage checked. After that, we went up to the departure lounge area where we had lunch. The friendly T3 staff advised us to proceed to the food court in the 2nd level since the food there is much cheaper than those served inside the enclosed departure area. I'm glad we followed his advise since our balikbayan nephews enjoyed their Jollibee lunch while us adults had dimsum and congee from Dimsum n Dumplings.
We stayed within the food court area until 12:45 PM. Our ticket showed 1:10 PM as our boarding time but we went down early so the kids and our senior aunt won't have to rush. I payed the terminal fee worth Php 200 per passenger. Then, our hand-carried luggages passed through the X-ray machines while we entered the scanners barefoot. What followed after was a 5-minute walk to the gate where we awaited advise to board the plane.
I didn't expect that we will be getting on a Cebu Pacific bus to reach our plane. Now I know why the other passengers rushed in line once they heard the boarding announcement, hahaha! Three of us, including my 9-year old, ended up standing inside the shuttle. It was only a 2-minute ride to the plane, by the way.
It was uncomfortable hot inside the plane when we boarded. The cabin crew did not start the aircon of the plane yet until the last batch of passengers arrived. We were like in an over for ten minutes. By the time the airconditioner was switched on, the kids were already sweaty and uncomfortable. I was also coughing already from the sudden change in cabin temperature.
As it turned out, it wasn't the last of our problems. Our plane had to wait in line before take off. We were informed that there were a lot of planes coming in and going out of the airport that time so we had to wait. Guess what? After being delayed for 15 minutes, we reached Naga Airport, which was actually in Pili, Camarines Sur, according to our expected time of arrival! The entire flight only took around 40 minutes as opposed to the 55-minute travel time posted in our tickets.
Naga Airport is totally opposite from Manila's Terminal 3. Getting our checked-in luggages was an entirely do-it-yourself activity. We had to go directly to the trolleys to identify each of our luggages that were mixed up with the others. We ended up getting only 5 out of 6 and claiming the "misplaced" one inside the Cebu Pacific ticket counter. It was a surprise actually that one bag ended up inside the ticket counter. None was lost though. The bag was just full of my nephews' clothes and other baby stuff. We were the last passengers to leave the luggage check-out counter because of that.
In a nutshell, the entire Manila-Naga flight was full of delays but we were not really that affected. I guess it's the excitement of meeting our relatives in Naga that made us all forget about the hassles.