NAIA-3 a sleepless Night


A night in NAIA-3 can be awful or can be interesting or both of them. To understand complaints about Manila’s airports we did a self-test a week ago.

Between 11:00 p.m. and 03:25 a.m. there are no domestic flights departing from NAIA-3. The check-in counters are deserted. Maybe you can see a sleeping guard somewhere. Lights are reduce to a minimum. Only the glowing advertisements give a bit light to this ghostly scenery.


NAIA terminal-3 (NAIA-3) at midnight. It seems to be almost empty.


But NAIA-3 is full of people – tired people.


These are the lucky ones. AT least some of them found one of the extremely sparse seats on departure level. But watch the one in green cloths on the right. It must be extremely comfortable to sleep on a luggage trolley in this position.


All the other tired people sleep anywhere on the floor.


This man at least took off his shoes before going to “bed”.


These pictures do not show a refugees camp but an international airport called Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

What else in NAIA-3 ?

Even after many years, construction of NAIA-3 is still not yet finished. There are still 10,000 of square-meters waiting for people to take possession of them. Worst is still 4th floor, where you can get lost in a grey to grey environment.


4th floor looks like an abandoned space-station. Some tired passengers use the clean floor as their hard bed for the night.


Air-condition had been out of service. It had really been warm on 4th floor. An airport not yet finished is already under repair.


And again. Sorry for bad maintenance. Sorry, sorry, sorry. It’s hard to believe.

How to survive in NAIA-3

The biggest problem are the check-in counters which open only 90 minutes before departure. In the whole land-side part of NAIA-3 there is no smokers lounge. If you like a cigarette, you have to get outside and pass again initial security.

There is no restaurant at all. There is a (fast-)food court on 4th floor and there are 3 small coffee-shops on ground-floor. The choice isn’t a dream, but the tenants let you sit there even without ordering.

On 4th floor there is now a pay-lounge. They charge 700 Pesos for 5 hours. The lounge looks comfortable and even offers showers. I should have tested this lounge, but we already had a rather comfortable seat in one of the coffee-shops.



Shopping all night in NAIA-3


On 4th floor are shops which are open all night. I had some nice chats with the red-eyed staff. They confirmed that they sell 1 to 3 items per night-shift. This explains the high prices for stuff you can buy anywhere in Manila. They should sell beds!

Two o’clock!

A rumbling sounds through the cathedral called NAIA-3. Lights are getting brighter and people start to move. These are the passengers for the first Cebu Pacific Flight at 03:25. Our flight from Manila to Cebu. Check-in is open and immediately a crowd presses towards the counters. The CEB staff is friendly and fresh. Check-in takes only a few minutes.

Then we pass through the terminal-fee check-point and final security check. On the air-side of NAIA-3 all shops and coffee bars are still closed. They have no doors. It looks like in the wet market in Mambajao. Some wax-fabric hides the inside of the shops. Staff or a security guard is sleeping behind the curtain.


The gates are still completely empty. Hundreds of seats invite for a short nap, but not for a long time and they are already overcrowded. And for my relief, one of the two smokers lounges is already open. The other one is being refurbished – We’re sorry – bla -bla bla.

On time

Cebu Pacific Air fights against traffic congestion in NAIA. It is not 5J’s fault that they operate only 55% of their flights in time. It’s the NAIA disaster. But the first flight in the morning leaves exactly at 03:25 a.m.

Bye bye NAIA-3

Sorry, I am tired from writing about that red-eyes night in NAIA-3. Please accept all the typos with a smile  😉


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