Cebu Pacific Flight Review: Manila to Tuguegarao (Round-Trip)

For our last hurrah in saying goodbye to summer, my friends and I went to the hottest (literally) city in the country, Tuguegarao via Cebu Pacific.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Even though I have the airline’s mobile app, I have never bothered using it until this trip but the app failed me. I couldn’t even get past the second page where I needed to encode my boarding reference number and last name---it wouldn’t even let me encode. I tried closing and opening it again but I was no closer to my objective. So back to the old reliable desktop version for my web check-in and I deleted the app altogether.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
But I still had to queue at the bag drop counter for my luggage filled with my armory against the sun’s blitzkrieg. It doesn’t help that a few days before flying, I read in the news how there’s a 10-12 hour brownout in the city.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
 Boarding commenced on time.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
cebu pacific cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
cebu pacific cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Although there were a lot of people at the gate earlier, we were not all bound for the same place. There were a lot of vacant seats on our flight.

cebu pacific cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
We may have boarded on time but our flight was still delayed for 25 minutes with no explanation given while we waited inside.


cebu pacific cabin crew
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
It was only after taking off that the captain explained how our delay was due to “new air traffic management.”

cebu pacific cabin crew
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
There was some turbulence right after take-off that kept us fastened to our seat belts longer but after that, the flight was uneventful.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Finally, we landed at a non-descript airport.


Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Umbrellas were made available for passengers but of course, you need to return them upon entering the arrival hall.

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
The baggage retrieval is something that makes the Tuguegarao airport unique. There is no carousel to speak of. This is the baggage claim counter.

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
You then get to watch your luggage unloaded from the plane into the truck...

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
 …and delivered to the counter…

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
….where porters are waiting to hand it to you provided you can show proof of ownership. It wasn’t as chaotic as I expected it to be as I imagined people would be scrambling and elbowing each other---and I was ready! As there was only one person unloading from the truck, only one luggage could be unloaded at a time so there was some sort of order in the process.

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
After retrieving my luggage, I went to look for my hotel airport transfer service in vain as they did not pick me up at all. Upon arrival at the hotel using a tricycle, the staff stared back at me with blank looks on their faces as I asked for a valid reason for their failure to provide a promised service.

“The van became unavailable.” That was all they had to say.

“You had my contact information but no one bothered to text, call or email me?”

They repeated their unacceptable explanation and just kept giving me this blank look. It took one of them some ten minutes before realizing that an apology was in order.

Ciao, Tuguegarao!

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
This is probably the only airport I can recall that has a generic name and not named after anybody. At least it’s easy to remember.

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
The whole check-in process was quick and easy.

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I entered into a bit of a crowded departure lounge that was segregated into two. Those assigned to the front rows must sit on the right facing the runway while those at the back must sit on the left.

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
This makes for easier boarding later.

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
It was nice to see a playroom and a separate breastfeeding room in the lounge. It would be nicer if there were nursing mothers inside though, and not men enjoying the cooler air-conditioning!

Tuguegarao airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I then noticed that there were no shops inside the lounge. The only shop was at the airport entrance which is a strange location as passengers would be too busy checking in.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I then tried to busy myself by availing of the free airport Wifi service where logging in was easy but browsing was another matter that I totally gave up.

While staring into space, some passengers started to get up and headed out to the runway where there were no airplanes visible. There were no announcements made but right on cue, they all just walked out. How did they know they were boarding? I followed some of them and from the glass window, I could see them toting a blue umbrella, all disappearing to my right with no planes in sight—at least in my sight. I could almost hear the “Twilight Zone” theme playing in the background.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Anyway, a few minutes later, I saw a small plane with an unfamiliar livery landed. It was North Sky Air, a local charter service. I hope one day I could try out one of these chartered airplanes.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
We started boarding ten minutes late which was actually good news for our particular flight as the one preceding ours was delayed for an hour “due to traffic congestion in Manila” so I was bracing for a long delay as well.

cebu pacific cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
cebu pacific cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I do a lot of traveling and have become used to all kinds of attitudes (good and bad) of flight attendants and I must say, this particular one (I should have gotten her name) has got to be the one most excited to serve. She was never without a smile throughout our journey.

cebu pacific cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
cebu pacific cabin crew
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I wanted to win the travel pouch but alas, some hands were raised faster than the crew could finish the trivia questions!

cebu pacific a320 cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Our flight going back to Manila wasn’t full which was good for me. I was having problems with my original seat assignment with something protruding from the back making me uncomfortable. It was like there was a rock inside. I transferred to another seat and another and another with the same results. I succeeded in finding a comfortable one on the sixth try.

cebu pacific cabin crew
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
We departed at 2:20 and in less than twenty minutes, the captain announced the start of our descent.

cebu pacific a320 cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Ten minutes later, the crew was asked to go to their stations.

Upon landing, we did not disembark immediately for unstated reasons. We were just “parked” for five minutes until the front door was opened.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
It’s good to be home with that old familiar NAIA service.

Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I’m sure this guy is already at home.

---THE PARANOID TRAVELER---

9 comments:

  1. 25 minutes delay wow thats good for Cebu Pacific their delays normally run into many hours with no reasons ever given

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  2. What is the latest with the crew of 5j suspected of stealing from pax?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Stealing from pax! I've not heard that one, tell me more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check the post earlier today from previous page...

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  4. Paranoid T, you are "too exaggerated to be classy" in going to the province of Cagayan. You should go to the industrialized western countries to do your "exciting job"......
    LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They call it "arte manok" in Ilocandia, ha ha ha ha ha.
      Better not go despise Laoag City!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. I also travel regularly on business to Cagayan Valley/ Santa Ana and last weekend it was apparent that the Xray or metal detection units were not being used. Check in baggage was subject to a very casual visual check but cabin baggage was not. I wondered if my baggage already checked in to my CB connecting international flight would be checked or not subject to a security check at Manila. Surely the CAAP should be making more thorough passenger security checks.
    Point of interest: When will the new jet and state of art International airport at Lal-Lo be open for use.. It has been in readiness and operational for nearly a year now but still mothballed.

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  6. I wonder why PAL can't deploy their A320's to Tuguegarao. Last went to Tuguegarao on a plane was last year with a Q400

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    Replies
    1. Yes I agree. How much business does PAL lose to and from TUG when passengers are restricted to only 10 kg check in baggage.

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