How to Navigate through NAIA Terminal 1 if you’re Filipino Tourist leaving the country
For the first time we are traveling not only outside of Baguio City but outside of the country. Traveling as tourists outside of the Philippines can be a daunting and might turn your supposed vacation into a nightmare if you are not prepared. Knowing what is ahead of you is winning half the battle and cutting your travel stress-level by half. In this article, we’re sharing our experiences going to and inside the NAIA Terminal 1 so that you may learn from our mistakes.
Travel from Baguio to NAIA Terminal 1
Travel from Baguio to NAIA Terminal 1 is something you should plan ahead. Since we are going as tourists renting a van to take us to the airport seemed too steep of a cost. Good thing Joybus executive coach includes NAIA Terminal 1 as one of their point of disembarkation. There are however just a few bus schedules going to NAIA 1 so choose your schedule wisely.
Tip: If you are traveling during the night until the early morning account for about five hours of travel time. Pick a schedule that would allow you to reach the airport at least 6-7 hours before your flight. While you are required to be at the airport 4-5 hours before your flight the extra hours would account for any unforeseen events like heavy traffic.
If you are traveling during the day, always account for traffic, remember, it is best to arrive at the airport early than late.
At The NAIA 1 Airport
Joybus literally drops you off at the departure area of NAIA terminal 1. Arriving at around 3 in the morning for a 9:40 AM flight we had lots of time before the check-in counters open at 6 AM. Good thing there are some amenities available at the airport like toilets, waiting area and Jollibee fastfood. You can have your breakfast at the fastfood or maybe sit and take a nap at the waiting area. To access this area you have to have your luggage go through the scanner which could be tiresome but worth doing especially if you get to eat and sit while waiting for your check-in counter to open.
First thing you have to do once inside the NAIA 1
As a tourist you are required to pay your travel tax. So this is where we made our mistake. We waited for our check-in counter to open and proceeded to wait in line.
Now, during check-in you line-up along with your fellow passengers who are in the same flight and airlines as yours. It took us an hour before we were able to check-in our luggage. However, our boarding passes were not given because we had to pay our travel tax first.
So we headed to the travel tax counter and here is where chaos ensued. There are several travel tax counter but only two were receiving payments. The rest of the counters are those evaluating your documents.
Here’s what we realized and what you should understand, the people lining up to pay their travel taxes are travelers going to different destinations meaning different airlines and flights. This is why paying the travel tax took longer than the check-in counter.
Tip: If you get there early, you should line up to pay your travel tax first before checking-in your luggage.
How much is the travel tax?
At the time of our departure last December 21, 2022 the travel tax fee was at 1,620.00 pesos. There are two ways to pay your travel tax (at least during that time), one is paying in cash, and another is paying through the Maya app. If you do not have a cash on hand and do not have a Maya account, there is a nearby ATM inside the airport. However it would be prudent to just have the travel tax fee of 1,620.oo pesos ready to avoid any hassles.
Going through Immigration at NAIA 1
After all the running around the airport for check-in and travel tax, you will now be directed to the immigration. You need to prepare your travel documents for these purposes. You should have your passport, departure card, boarding pass, printed or electronic copy of your tickets, the Visa of the country you are goin to if applicable and other pertinent documents proving your travel to that country as a tourist.
Tip: During check-in some airlines would already give-out departure cards, make sure to take and fill it up while waiting in line at the check-in or travel tax counters, this saves you time filling those form up at the immigration area. This is why you also need to have your own pen.
Going through immigration is a breeze as long as you have your documents in order, proving that you are traveling for vacation. Consistency in your answer is also important when speaking to the immigration officer. We did notice some of those interviewed were asked to step aside probably for further checking however ours were a breeze since we have our documents and statements in order (we could only guess).
The Final Step Before Boarding
After the immigration is the baggage check and body scan. Make sure to remove all metal from your pockets put your carry on bags through the scanner and your jackets, rings, gadgets, coins among others in the trays provided. You will also be required to remove your shoes before the body scan so put them in a tray and let them go through the scanning machines.
Once we are through it is now time to look for our gate. The boarding gate is written on your boarding pass, there are ample markers on where the gate numbers are so it is less likely for you to get lost. If you feel hungry after that tiring ordeal, you can stop by a cafe to grab a drink and food before your flight, otherwise you can just wait and sit at your boarding gate.
Note: The contents herein are based on our experiences as tourists flying to another country where our port of exit is at NAIA Terminal 1.