Philippine Airlines Terminal, Manila
I had been hearing about the new Philippine Airlines (PAL) terminal from friends who made recent visits. Everyone was saying how "nice" it was and "the CRs (toilets) even have automatic faucets and flushes!". You mean they flush?
I recently passed through the terminal. We approached Manila on the tails of a typhoon and in the midst of heavy monsoon rains. The B747 descended through slate-gray clouds and the only thing visible were the sheets of rain cascading off the wings and streaking across the windows. We dropped through the cloud "ceiling" just a few miles from the airport and what looked like boats floating along a canal below were actually cars and trucks navigating a flooded street. Soon the familiar water towers and hangars of the airport came into view and the plane glided onto the oil-black tarmac. The new terminal, opened in late 1999, combines the domestic and international flights for PAL only. In the old days you had to transfer by shuttle if you were continuing on a flight to another city but now it's just a long walk and elevator ride. If you book the international and domestic flights together, you won't have to pass your luggage through customs until you reach your destination. The new terminal is at the location of the old MIA terminal that was in use before the Ninoy Aquino Airport (NAIA). The official name of the new terminal is the NAIA Centennial Terminal 2.
The heavy clouds and downpour created a monochromic atmosphere. The high glass walls of the terminal let in what light there was but I had the impression of a completely colorless interior. Busy maintenance crews kept the place spotless. I'd like to see art displays, mobiles hanging from the ceiling and a play area for children. Yeah, turn it into a mall. You can visit the PAL website: www.philippineair.com and read its "up-and-down" airline history.
Here are a few photos while I was waiting for the plane to Cebu:
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