Return to Manila: a continuation of “Cathay & British Airways First Class, Philippines and Macau, a Presidential Suite, and the Fat Duck Restaurant”

After 5 nights at the Hilton Cebu Island Resort & Spa, it was time to head back to Manila.

I grabbed the hotel’s pink Corolla instead of a cab, it was right there and the price was right, a few minutes later we were at the airport.

As is the case across the Philippines, we had to pay the airport’s departure tax in cash before proceeding through security. We were given a paper receipt, which we handed to a staffer immediately behind the booth where we paid the fee. Presumably they can match the receipts to the cash taken in, and the requirement for the receipt prevents corruption on the part of the staff member manning the booth. At least I can’t think of any other purpose for handing you a receipt and then collecting it ten seconds later, employing extra people for the task.

Once through security — again, no laptop removal but shoes had to come off, and everyone was individually scanned — we stopped for some local pork which we unwrapped and ate in the lounge. It wasn’t great (what would be for less than a buck, prepackaged in cellophane) but it wasn’t bad..

Off to the very modest lounge at the far end of the small terminal:

Boarding was announced in the lounge, the flight was uneventful, and business class was only about 20% full.

Once again lunch was spaghetti, this time with meatballs — which weren’t very good, they had the consistency of the frozen Swedish meatballs from Ikea.

On arrival in Manila priority bags had their own separate conveyor belt.

While waiting for the bags I saw them bring out cages of live roosters, apparently being shipped in for a major cockfight.

We walked out of the baggage hall and to the right to the generic hotel lounge where transportation was arranged back to the Intercontinental. Since I’ve already reported on the Presidential Suite at the Intercontinental Manila, I won’t bore with details since we returned to the same room we had stayed in just the week before.

I’ll just say that this time I paid a little more attention to the room’s deficiencies, here’s a shot of the space between the desk in the bedroom and the wall, the carpet clearly showing its age.

And a last bit of Philippine cuisine before heading off the next day to Macau.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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