Going to the big airport

El Nido Travel Blog

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Pawn shops everywhere you go in the Philippines

I am done island hopping - it has been great but it is time to move on and the connections from El Nido to anywhere else are pretty limited. 'There is a cargo boat which is fairly cheap. There just don't seem to be anybody who knows when it leaves and from where so that is not really an option. You have to choose between either a "ferry" to Coron or the plane to Busunga Island which is basically the same place.


The "ferry" - it is actually just a small bangka - only leaves twice a week and not for another two days. To make everything even worse the people running the "ferry" know that tourist got nowhere else to go if they want to get to Coron so they overcharge the tourist to a degree which is not even funny - 2.

The giant gospel chuch having a Sudnay service
000 pesos for a nine hour boat ride - and that is just for one seat. You can rent a bangka for a day for that price.


I am not falling for that trick - I do the only sensible thing - I go for the plane. Which may just be the most expensive plane connection in all of the Philippines and cost even more than the "ferry" but it will only take 35 minutes compared with the full day on the boat where it could possibly be raining.


I tell the woman where I stay that I will be going to the airport and will be there something like one hour and 15 minutes before departure. But she tells me well the airport maybe busy and the plane is full - so just to be safe I should make sure to be there at least two hours before departure.

The reasturant where I spend too much time


I get to the airport - and the tricycle driver is not really familiar with the place. He takes a wrong turn and we end up on the runway - this is not a huge problem with the kind of traffic in this airport - and anyways he quickly gets us of the runway and onto the trail for the vehicles. I get to the check in counter/security check/ baggage handling area. And it is closed. There is a bit of a line when I get there - the Danes has already arrived they seem to be getting out of there as well - great a 19 seater plane with 4 Danes onboard - what is this place - a future colony after we lost Britain?


Well I am really glad I got here early I can see in an airport this crowded you need to be here at least two hours before departure. One hour before departure they open up the check in - I am a bit nervous about my baggage - they only allowed 10 kilos of check in baggage and there is no way my back is under 10k.

The check in area
But fortunately there is one exception to this rule - well maybe there is more than one - divers are allowed to bring 15k of check in baggage. Out comes the dive certificate and my excess baggage miraculously disappears.


Next up is the security check. They don't have a metal detector or an x-ray machine handy so instead they do it all by hand - and you have to open your back so they can se what is inside it. My back is like always a work of art which is not something you want to open lightly. There are things stuffed down and my fins block the access to the bottom of the back - there is no way you can see what is inside without me taking everything out and putting it back in which could possibly take hours. Fortunately the security staff doesn't really want to know what is at the bottom of my back and let it on the plane without too much of a search.


The last step before you can get on the plane is the public weighing.

Ready for a public weighing
Everybody will need to get on the weight in sight of everybody and the weights will be called out so everyone will know it. If you are in excess of 100 kilos including your carryon luggage they will charge you overweight as well. I am a bit nervous about this part - I did transfer some stuff from my checked luggage to my carry on when I realized you could only get 10 kilos for free. And I am not that far off the limit in the first place so I don't know where I will end up. But it turns out I am several kilos underweight wuhu - I will not get charge for excess baggage to make the expensive trip even more expensive.


The plane finally arrives from Puerto Princesa and it will be landing in the middle of a giant rain shower.

Handling the baggage
The plane doesn't look all that stable trying to land on the water which covers the runway and it skates around for a bit. All the future passengers look a bit towards the plane and each other without giving any comments. Well the plane is delayed in its departure - we are not getting on before the rains die down - which is probably for the best. Then they start taking the baggage out to the plane - all by hand no need for a motorised transport here. And then we all get onboard the plane.


The plane is really tiny - and I am not the only one having problem with bending over when walking inside the plane - everybody do - even a small Pilipino woman. And we get to the seats. Just before take of the co-pilot turns around. And state this is flight 476 bound for Busunga Island flying time is about 35 minutes.

The co-pilot welcoming us to Busunga Island
There are no speakers - he just turns his head to say it.


Then we are of and there is one bonus with this flight - it is a very scenic flight and I got a window seat to take photos from. After the short flight we get to Busunga and once again the co-pilot turns around and says welcome to Busunga Island hope you have enjoyed the flight and you will be back soon - just like the usual message coming through the loudspeakers.


I get of the plane and try to find a jeepney - but unfortunately I am the only passenger actually getting of the plane hence the jeepney driver want to wait for the next plane coming from Manila.

Well nothing to do about that I just have to wait. A bit before the plane arrives somebody ask me if I want a ride for the regular jeepney fare - sure why not - they had just rented a minibus to go to the airport and now they had to go back. So I jump in and get right to the place I stay without having to wait for the jeepneys departure.


I get of and go to Sea Dive resort where I will spend too much time the coming days. But the location is perfect just out at the water with a view and the rooms are fairly priced.

Koralifix says:
Sounds like quite an adventure ...
Posted on: May 23, 2009
metroguy says:
Dude,all my attention was on your story yesterday,I didnt realize that you took some amazing photos.good job...
Posted on: Jul 31, 2008
lauro says:
thats the hazarad of flying in the philippines - getting in/out domestic or international airports - there are many heebeejeebies in the security system blah blah blah, and if they found something interesting in the backpack they take it and saying its not allowed, and keep it for themselves - thats why i prefer to travel by bus inside the country, even if it takes 2-3-4 days.
Posted on: Jul 30, 2008
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Pawn shops everywhere you go in th…
Pawn shops everywhere you go in t…
The giant gospel chuch having a Su…
The giant gospel chuch having a S…
The reasturant where I spend too m…
The reasturant where I spend too …
The check in area
The check in area
Ready for a public weighing
Ready for a public weighing
Handling the baggage
Handling the baggage
The co-pilot welcoming us to Busun…
The co-pilot welcoming us to Busu…
One end of the plane
One end of the plane
The other end of the plane
The other end of the plane
The co-pilot
The co-pilot
El Nido
photo by: tj1777