Five ways to get out of NAIA without breaking the bank
Most of us have been there – the situation where you have just arrived back in Metro Manila after spending a short vacation in a nearby tropical paradise, and don’t want to spend another centavo on promises of convenience or luxury. So, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, you do your darned best shunning signs – nay, a fare rate card – being waved in your face by dozens of supposedly Department of Tourism-accredited van drivers and operators. But how do you get home without much hassle and without feeding the vultures slowly circling you?
Fret not, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Here is a list of ways you can get out of Metro Manila’s international airport without breaking the bank.
Photo Courtesy: Runway Manila / www.flickr.com
If there’s one thing Filipinos hate doing in the course of a long commute, it’s walking. It’s one of the main reasons why public transport drivers get into a lot of trouble when they are forced by a passenger to stop as close as possible to a corner or the exact place said passenger wanted to get off.
Walking is probably one of the best ways, and obviously the cheapest, to get out of any NAIA terminal. Of the four terminals, NAIA 3 and 4 are easier to leave on foot than NAIA 1 and 2.
At Terminal 3, all you need to get out of the airport is to walk across the air-conditioned footbridge to Runway Manila in Newport City. Once you’re out and safely across, you can either catch a jeepney to the Metro Rail Transit 3 and Light Rail Transit 1 stations at Taft Avenue or ride the Newport City Estates Association shuttle, which also drops off and picks up passengers near the rail stations.
At Terminal 4, you need to walk north on Domestic Road, somehow make it across Airport Road while dodging vehicles whose drivers can’t tell the difference between a pedestrian lane and the finish line at the Indy 500, walk west on Airport Road until you reach Quirino Avenue. From the corner of Quirino Avenue and Airport Road, you’d have a choice of public transport. You can take a jeepney going to Baclaran, plying the Baclaran-Sucat route, or ride a jeepney heading to the Taft Avenue stations of LRT 1 and MRT 3.
Walking out of NAIA Terminals 1 and 2 is an entirely different experience. At Terminal 1, you need to make your way down the Arrivals Area Road until you reach Sucat Road. At Terminal 2, walk down Arrivals Road and then NAIA Road until you get to the corner of Sucat Road. Easy enough, right? What’s difficult is the fact that the routes out of these two terminals are not friendly to pedestrians. If you survive the walk, all that’s left for you to do is catch a jeepney rolling to the nearest train or bus terminal.
Airport Loop Shuttle
Photo Courtesy: Airport Loop bus stops at inside Newport City / crossroadshostelmanila.com
Riding the Airport Loop shuttle out of the airport might seem a step up in terms of convenience and comfort from walking, but the reliability of the service may send you to nutsville, especially if you are not familiar with the shuttle route.
If you’re arriving at NAIA Terminal 3, you won’t notice anything amiss. Upon exiting the terminal, just cross pedestrian lane at Bay 8 and look for either a bus with Airport Loop written on its side or a sign that says HM Transport Inc. The queue for the Airport Loop shuttle from Terminal 3 to Pasay Rotonda is most likely there. Once you’re on board the shuttle, all that’s left for you to do is pay the 20-peso fare and get off at the Pasay Rotonda station. From there, you can take a jeepney, bus, or train, via the MRT or LRT, to your final destination.
If you’re arriving at Terminal 1, 2, or 4, the way out of the airport is essentially the same, the only difference is the extra step – that of first taking the Airport Loop shuttle down to Terminal 3 and then taking the Airport Loop shuttle from there to Pasay Rotonda. Yeah, this confuses many people, both local and foreign. The good news is, this extra step won’t cost you a centavo.
Photo Courtesy: Ube Express Facebook Page
Another wonderful way of getting out the NAIA without hurting your wallet is the point-to-point (P2P) bus. It’s point to point because the bus takes you from one point, say the airport, to another point without unnecessary stops in between. The most well known of these P2P buses is UBE Express.
To ride an UBE Express out of the airport, simply make your way to NAIA Terminal 3 and look for the P2P bus queue, which is across the arrivals access road at Bay 8 and to the right, if you’re facing away from the terminal. If you’re arriving at Terminal 1, 2, or 4, you might want to take the Airport Loop shuttle to Terminal 3, or you can wait for the UBE Express bus, which can transfer you to Terminal 3.
UBE Express has three main routes from Terminal 3: to Araneta Center Cubao, which costs P100, to Robinsons Galleria Ortigas, which costs P70, and to Alabang, either to Starmall (P110) or to Town Center (P110). This P2P bus firm also moves passengers to Sta. Rosa, Laguna, either to Nuvali (P190) or to Robinsons (P190).
Yellow Metered Taxi
Photo Courtesy: Yellow Metered Taxi / says.com
While not exactly cheap, yellow metered taxis are reliable in that they get you from Point A, in this case the airport, and Point B, your home or any other destination. Why yellow metered taxis and not just any other taxi? Well, other taxis, especially those not accredited by the Manila International Airport Authority, are prone to scamming people, as an Austrian couple recently found out.
The flag down rate for yellow metered taxis is P70, about P30 more expensive than regular taxis. So expect to shell out quite a sum of money – about P200 to P300 for a short trip to Makati City, depending on traffic – for getting out of the airport to the nearest area where more affordable means of transport are available.
It’s easy enough to spot the queue for yellow metered taxis at the airport, and all terminals, from one to four, have their own queues.
Photo Courtesy: Romeo Ranoco, Reuters / Grab Employee using the app to book a cab for a passenger
Grab is probably the single most uttered word when you ask people how to commute out of the airport. “Mag Grab ka na lang (Just take a Grab).”
Grabbing a Grab, pardon the pun, is easy. Just whip out your smartphone and use the Grab Philippines app or look for the Grab Philippines kiosk at any of the arrival areas at NAIA Terminal 1, 2, 3, or 4, and have the Grab Guy or Gal hail you one of the company’s TNVS, or transport network vehicle services.
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