My December holidays in the Philippines Pt. 1: Homecoming

Ah… the crowded shopping malls and apocalyptic traffic could not stop me from flying home to the Philippines for Christmas. It’s the season to spend time with family, friends and shady male massage therapists lol.

And no, this time I didn’t book the usual PAL or Cebu Pacific (both were charging higher than most other carriers, even SQ). I booked a return flight on Malaysia Airlines because journeys are made by the people you travel with and I happened to be travelling on my own so I guess I didn’t get a journey, but rather an experience…

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Note: The iconic sarong kebaya uniforms. Don’t note: The older MH 737 I got (SIN-KUL).

Look at this pretty MH bird parked at KLIA. It’s a Boeing 737-800, brand new seats with individual IFES (inflight entertainment system for non-AV geeks). Syempre may special mention ang IFES ‘cuz I usually fly PAL or 5J to Manila… which don’t sport IFES but instead chatty FAs on PR and perky pen-or-pouch wielding FAs on Cebpac.

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Malaysia Airlines is part of one world alliance. (Cathay, Qatar Airways, American Airlines)

You may have noticed that I skipped blogging about departing from Singapore’s Changi, a place I worship… see photos on my IG feed instead. This #MHjourney brought me to KLIA for the first time. I frequent the budget terminal LCCT (I miss that signature tropical scent near OldTown)… so imagine how wide-open my eyes were at KLIA. Oh wow… airplane models, another OldTown coffee shop, and speed aerotrains… omg Burger King!!

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The stars. KLIA keeping it modern.
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I spotted the PR and 5J models inside a glass case towards the back.

Failed side trip: My objective was to have lunch at KFC because the KFCs in Malaysia are truly finger lickin’ good, not like the bland bland bland KFCs in Singapore. So happens that accessing the KFC means going past immigration. Haggard. Ayoko kasi ma-Tom Hanks dito.

I took the aerotrain to the satellite structure (okay so at the time, I had no idea which was which, basta lang may aerotrain connecting two parts of the airport). At the other side there’s this giant atrium much like the one sa Gateway in Cubao. Lakas ng loob ko to go inside by myself (tourista lang)… only to feel a few spider webs clinging to my skin. French exit!

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All airports in Southeast Asia should have this.

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This satellite structure houses all the airline lounges for business and first class passengers. Some lounges have windows you could peek through (voyeur lang). Others like Emirates had one exclusive doorway (nightclub?) and your imagination could only hope that tarpauline outside depicting ano meron sa loob was true. Bilang isang economy passenger lang ako, bumagsak ako sa Burger King. It was the only fast-food option there. I ordered a Whopper Jr. but after struggling with my bags to get to my table and realising mali ang laman ng wrap, I just ate whatever it was lol.

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At MYR 14.00, still cheaper than any BK back in Singapore.

KLIA has massage chairs (Rest & Go, priced at MYR 3.00, 5.00 and 10.00), movie/news/sports viewing areas, lots and lots of chairs, free wi-fi across the terminals… wide spaces, airy feeling… definitely at par with the airport in Bangkok, Singapore, and even Jakarta (I give CGY plus points for design).

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Sit back and put your feet up.

I took the aerotrain back to the main structure so I could board my flight to Manila. Lots and lots of Pinoys were gathered… oh the spirit of Christmas bringing home so many OFWs.

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Onboard an MH flight to Manila. It’s a 737-800 with two-class seating.

I booked a seat at the first row of Economy since this was a 3.5 hour flight. Yay for IFES so I could catch “One More Try”, the sole Filipino film offering. Crazy film btw… watching Angelika and Angel bickering. Jusko, sex lang with Dingdong para magka-baby that will save the first kid. Daming isyu.

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Inflight meal options were chicken (Satay, with rice) or beef (noodles). I went for the chicken satay. Airplane food, Georgy and not Jalan Alor levels. It was OK.

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I’m saving the Mars for my boyfriend since it’s his favourite.

Nothing much else happened but I did enjoy the flight. Beautiful skies. Seeing the little islands and atolls of the Philippines thousands of feet below. It was gorgeous. I finished the flight off with an episode of Fashion Police.

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What island is that?

Our plane landed on schedule and unlike the 6:30pm sunsets I’ve gotten used to in Singapore, it was already dark in Manila.

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Passengers from jumbo jets origination from Sydney and Hong Kong sharing the same belt. Haggard!
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Christmas decorations at NAIA Terminal 1.

I met my parents at the arrivals area. As I stepped outside just past the guard, I saw a woman and her child try to pickpocket the luggage of the man in front of me.

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