Category: Manila

YYZ

YYZ - Flying to the Philippines (CP PHOTO - Steve White)
YYZ – Flying to the Philippines (CP PHOTO – Steve White)

Here I sit at YYZ for more affectionately known as Pearson International Airport in Toronto.  The last time I flew out of here was two years ago as I was headed back to Vancouver.  A lot has changed in those two years.  I left my job at Ocean Quest Dive Center in Burnaby BC, sadly the departure was extremely bumpy, but it is always difficult to say good bye, and not everyone is mature enough to live up to the words they speak.  I married Michelle as we all know.

Arriving at YYZ

So, as per usual, I arrived at the airport a staggering 5 hours early, and we can always thank the Military for that, I would hate to be late for my flight which is now delayed I suspect due to weather.  So far with the exception of the flight delay everything has gone off without a hitch.  Last night, I plugged in the address to the Park & Fly in my GPS, and sure enough I arrive almost to the planned minute and the people at the Park & Fly were very helpful, explaining where to go, and what is needed when you get there. I returned to the car in order to pick up my luggage, and even one of the people giving directions came to me to explain how things would work, and even went so far as to ask if I had any questions.  I have to say I was very impressed.

There are a couple of different Park & Fly options, I chose Valet Park, since I did not want to carry my Car Fob with me to the Philippines in the event I happen to lose it, which if you know me is really possible.  If you would like more information about the Park & Fly at YYZ, click on one of the links above.

Philippines Airlines, West Jet and Flight Hub

As always, I am so very impressed with Philippines Airlines.  I really wish Air Canada would try to model their

YYZ - Flying to the Philippines
YYZ – Flying to the Philippines

service after them, as I still have a bad taste in my mouth when I flew with Air Canada now what three years ago.  This trip I kind of went about it a little different, I was not able to find the flights I was needing directly through the PAL website, so after doing an internet search, I found what I was hoping for through FlightHub.

Flight Hub

I choose to call Flight Hub, and book my flights through a customer service rep, and I have to say that everyone I spoke with was very very helpful, and friendly.  So my so, I got into a detailed conversation of where and why I was going to the Philippines, and that is when I learned that the Customer Service Rep was Filipino.  As my flight dates approached, I received a reminder email with my Itinerary on it, and links that allowed me to go to Chick In on line etc.  One thing that is a little different is that since Flight Hub books the tickets on your behalf, their locator numbers do not allow you to do the web check in on any of the flights.  You will need to check in once you arrive at the airport.

 WestJet

So, checking in at the airport, since my first leg of the journey is with WestJet I need to go through the Customer Service person there.  Once again, she was fantastic, very friendly, talkative and she was quick to answer all of my questions.  This is the opposite I have experienced with other airlines, United and Ari Canada being ones that come to mind.

So, I am T minus 3:35 hours to take off, I am enjoying a beverage, complimentary internet, and phone charging

YYZ - Flying to the Philippines
YYZ – Flying to the Philippines

here at YYZ, watching the snow come down, and counting the hours till I can be with my wife once again.  I would just like to Add, Greg McCracken, when you said to me how I had screwed my life up so much with my decision.  You were right, I should never have accepted the job with you in the first place.

 

 

Jose Rizal

José Rizal
José Rizal

I had the privilege to spend a week in Manila the end of November, with a person from Cavite, and they were nice enough to accompany me on some sight seeing journeys.  The time was well spent, I was able to visit Fort Santiago, and Rizal Park.  This afforded me the chance to learn some of the history of the Philippines which I have found very enjoyable.  Specifically I learned some things about Jose Rizal.  I always kind of prided myself as a Canadian, we learned many things in High School History class about the various other countries and not just our own, but I have not had any schooling on the history of the Philippines.  Since I plan on trying to stay here for an extended stay, I think it would be valuable to learn more about the country where I will be staying.

Jose Rizal by all accounts died a martyr for his country, condemned to die at the hands of a
Spanish Firing Squad, for events he had nothing to do with.  I had the opportunity to walk through the Park named after Jose Rizal and to spend time at the memorial for him, but it

Fort .... Museum
Fort Santiago Museum

did not really all come home to me until I visited Fort Santiago and the museum that is there explaining his life story.  I found this a very moving visit, and I was able to read about his life and the way it ended.  If you are in Manila, and have an opportunity to visit the Park and Fort Santiago, be sure to do so.  I would give yourself and good 4 hours or more so you are not rushed, and you are able to take a read of the various placards that are devoted to Jose Rizal.

For more information you can visit this website, Jose Rizal Biography.

Manila

Rogers Hotel Manila
Rogers Hotel Manila

After flying into Manila last night in order to make my flight back to Vancouver for today, I decided at the last minute that I might try just sleeping in the Airport in Manila Terminal 2.  Well that was shot down right off the bat as you are not allowed in the airport unless it is 4 hours before your flight.  So, while at the Transfer desk for PAL, I asked about a hotel, as you know me I kind of fly by the seat of my pants.  The clerk working there was not to sure, and sent me off with one of the other staff members.  So, inside the Terminal (Terminal 3) there is no information desks, walls, telephones for any hotel, and once you leave the airport well you can not get back in.  Very important piece of information when you are thinking of sleeping in a terminal.

So, out of the terminal we head.  This gentleman assures me there is a hotel close by with room available and a free shuttle.  First place we head to is the taxi’s, “Well sir that will be P650, ($17.50 CDN).  Not overly impressed, I say no way, and the price drops to P330, and I say free shuttle, but thank you and walk away.  Not trying to be difficult but Free is Free.  The gentleman catches up with me, and introduces me to a lady who can get me to the Roger’s Hotel, in Manila, near Terminal 4, for only P2990 ($78.00 CDN), free pickup and and free shuttle back in the morning for my afternoon PAL flight.

So, true to her word, 5 – 8 minute wait, and the shuttle arrives and we are off to the hotel.  The driver and I had some small talk, and he quickly asks me if I am looking to have a good time while I am in Manila, and I say what do you have in mind.  Sir, I can get you a girl and you can do whatever you like to her.  Thank you but no, I have a girl friend.  He replies, “is she with you tonight.” We have a laugh and that is that.

Overall the room is clean, TV is in working order, and there is a snack cart in the room.  The AC was on which I had to quickly shut off or freeze to death.   I would be more than happy to recommend this as a place to stay.  It’s quiet, and clean and there was hot water which was fantastic as it had been a few weeks since I have had the chance to use any!  Next time back to the Philippines, I want to spend three weeks in Manila to explore and take pictures, it looks like a lot of fun!