It was already our last day (mainly our flight date) in Japan, and we had booked a flight with Philippine Airlines from the Osaka Kansai Airport to Manila. From there we wanted to start the next lap of our journey, sightseeing in the Philippines including Mount Mayon Volcano, Taal Volcano, Whale-Shark-Spotting Hot Spot Donsol, and the Albay and Sorsogon Provinces. After that, of course, I wanted to stay three more weeks in Palawan where I grew up, to spend time with my family.
In the morning we left the hotel APA Hotel Kyoto-eki Horikawa-Dori in Kyoto very early and walked to the nearby Kyoto Train Station to take a Kansai Airport Express to the Kansai Airport at 6.20 a.m., which took about 80 minutes. We had bought the tickets to the train inside the Kyoto Train Station the day before. Fortunately, we found seats in the non-reserved wagon. We actually thought we would have a lot of spare time and maybe could have breakfast at the airport. But when we wanted to check in for our flight to our next destination, Manila, there was already a very long queue, and it took forever just to check in. There were more queues at the baggage check and then at the immigration and then we had to take another train inside the airport to go to our departure gate. In the end, there wasn’t really spare time at all.
The flight took about 4 hours, and when we arrived in Manila, we immediately felt the heat wave. In Japan, it was around 15 to 20°C most of the time, and at this time in the Philippines, it must have been 30- 35 °C. There was no air-conditioning unit at the airport, or it must have been broken. After having been to many airports, I could safely say that the NAIA is not par with other international airports.
Then, the immigration nightmare started. (Be sure to fill out the immigration form you get in the plane before coming out). Imagine a big room, entirely crowded with people, 35°C, no explicit queues and spending more than an hour in it, without anyone really moving forward and just more people coming from other flights and jostling in. Only two counters were open for the drove of guests arriving in from all different flights, plus the one for OFW. The process itself is actually quick – you just show your passport and the immigration form, then you are through, so I don’t know why it took so long. We were so happy when we finally were through. Comparing the immigration in Japan in Fukuoka when we arrived, it surely had taken some time too, but it was very orderly. There they had one clear queue, and even if it took longer, at least you always came closer and couldn’t be in the one (semi-)line that just doesn’t move forward.
I was still groggy from the medicine, and all I can think of was a bed. It was already afternoon, and it was clear that we would not be doing any sightseeing in Manila. We were tired of the queues and crowds and the travelling and just wanted to finally settle in at the hotel, the Microtel by Wyndham, Mall of Asia. The registered taxi from the airport to our hotel would generally cost 680 Pesos, and the regular cab would cost even less. But do be careful and be aware that the taxis in Manila were not known to be completely honest. Of course, there is always an exemption to the rule, but caution and common sense should be exercised so that you would not fall prey to those unscrupulous people.
Finally, at the hotel, I just relaxed as I was still sick, while my friend went to the little pool on the rooftop. Later we used the free shuttle service to the nearby Mall of Asia, the 10th largest shopping mall in the world. We stayed at the Microtel on our trip three years before, and it is a charming, clean hotel not too far from the airport and some Manila attractions. The proximity and the frequent free shuttle to the Mall of Asia were another reason to choose the hotel again.
At the mall, I bought some medicine for myself, and we also bought dinner, including a (disappointing) pizza for my friend that tasted just like margarine. We went to sleep relatively early because we had to leave for our main destination the next day, Legazpi City and the Mount Mayon. We just spent the night in Manila coming from Kyoto because there was no late flight from Manila to Legazpi on the same day.