REVEALED: The New, Improved Manila International Airport (MIA)

5714EE63-F72C-440F-A089-60EDD5407F4AExclusive to The Adobo Chronicles


What a relief! At long last, domestic and international passengers as well as airline pilots and those in the Control Tower don’t have to struggle with the hard-to-say NAIA.  It’s back to MIA — the Manila International Airport.

And that’s just for starters.

My Point-to-Point (P2P) bus from the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City arrives at the refurbished curb just outside Terminal 1.  The curb is painted blue, indicating a buses-only drop off point.  There wasn’t any queue of buses.  Disembarking from the bus was swift, with young, good-looking and well-dressed porters helping us unload our  luggage.  We say ‘thank you’ to the porters and hand each one of them a P10 bill.  They respectfully decline the money but only nodded with a smile saying, ‘you’re welcome po.’

We are surprised to see there isn’t any line to enter the terminal building.  A sliding glass door automatically opens and two lady security guards with their shiny black hair worn in a bun, greet us with ‘Mabuhay! Welcome to MIA.’  They ask to see our passports and travel itinerary then point us to an X-ray machine.  

Two very courteous men in red vests help us load our luggage into the X-ray machine conveyor and gesture for us to proceed to the metal detector.  Soon as we cross over to the other side of the security booth, another two men in red vests help us unload our luggage from the X-ray machine.  They politely ask what airline we’re flying, then point us in the direction of our designated counter.

We arrived early so our designated counter hasn’t yet opened.  So we proceed to one of several waiting lounges across from our designated airline counters.  There were plenty of brightly-colored, comfortable cushioned seats, each equipped with a charging station.  We take our seats and plug in our smart phones.  Next to our row of seats, there is a blue stand-up sign that reads “Free wi-fi, courtesy of MIA.”  We log in using our iPads and voila, we are instantly connected to the world of the Internet.

I need a bio break and so I proceed to one of several gender-neutral restrooms. The restroom is sparkling clean, nicely lighted with purple and yellow pin bulbs.  They light a framed picture of the Palawan Underground River, placed just above a ceramic vase with fresh and scented red and white carnations.

After doing my bio business, I come back to the waiting lounge just in time for the opening of our designated airline counters.  Passengers line up in the clearly-marked stanchioned lines.  There isn’t a long wait at all as airline staff process each check-in passenger with great dispatch and bright smiles.

Our queue is even shorter because we had checked in online and already have our pre-printed boarding passes.

We are then pointed towards the security gates where we are met with very polite men and women dressed in well-pressed barongs and wearing IDs that indicate their names in big bold letters.

An alarm or two goes off as a few passengers in front of us pass through the security booth.  The passengers are led to a private area behind a black curtain and are patted off quickly before being cleared to proceed to their designated departure gates. No ‘laglag bala.’

Huge and well-lighted directional signs lead us to our departure gate.  There are people movers in the center of the hallway although we choose to walk it to our gate. But we could see the happy faces of other passengers thankful for the added convenience.

Our short stay in the departure gate lounge is uneventful. Airline staff roam the area to make sure everything is in order.  They ask us if everything is okay.  We respond: ‘not just okay, but A-okay!’

Then boarding begins, and our pleasurable encounter with MIA comes to an end.

(NEXT UP:  Part 2, Arriving in MIA)

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