After my recent “challenge” going to the Clark Airport (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) for a 07:40am flight, I thought that it’s worth doing a “how-to” guide for people who in future will be doing the same. Here’s a short guide on how to get to the airport in the early morning from Manila.
I’ve updated this post as of August 2012. Feel free to post new routes or advice on the comment box below.
For starters, there are no direct Philtranco shuttle buses this early to Clark Airport. The earliest bus leaves at 07:00am. But if your flight is not early (10.00am onwards), your best bet is to take the direct shuttle from SM Megamall. This is more convenient and brings you directly in front of the departure gate. The fee is 350 pesos one-way as of 2012.
UPDATE (as of August 2012): apparently there is a direct bus from Philtranco starting at 2.30am in Megamall / 2.00am in Pasay. I haven’t confirmed this route so best to call the ticketing office – (+63) 02 851-5812.
But for an alternative route for early morning flights, your best bet is to take a bus from Manila to Dau Bus Terminal in Pampanga then another shuttle/private jeep to Clark Airport.
Here’s my experience and advice for those opting to ply this route:
LEG 1: BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY (01.30AM)
Wake up, have a coffee and a light snack. Make sure your tickets and passports are in your luggage.
LEG 2: YOUR PLACE TO CUBAO BUS STATION (02:30AM-03:00AM)
Take a cab and ask them to drop you off in Cubao, Quezon City – at the Dagupan bus company, which is along the main road, EDSA. If you’re coming from far south like Pasay, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa, your best bet is to leave at 02:00am just in case of traffic caused by road construction or accidents. You can also check if there are buses from the Pasay bus terminal (+632 851-5420) running this early.
LEG 3: CUBAO BUS STATION TO DAU BUS STATION (03:00AM – 04:30AM)
There are several buses that ply the Cubao-Dau road but on my initial experience, the Dagupan bus company has buses leaving the earliest. Victory Liner also has a bus that goes to Dau but leaves Manila at 04:30am – expect to get into Dau by 06:00am if you take this bus.
Confirm at the ticket office what time the earliest bus to Dau Bus Terminal leaves as its possible that schedules can change. Based on my experience in 2010, the earliest was a non-airconditioned bus leaving at 03:15am.
Tickets for the bus to go to Dau Bus Terminal is at, by the time of publishing, at 98 pesos. Expect to pay a bit more for an airconditioned bus.
Travel time is around 1-1.5 hours.
Ask the bus conductor to drop you at the Dau Bus Terminal. All buses stop here from NLE (North Luzon Expressway) so for sure you won’t miss it. You can grab breakfast at Jollibee if you’re hungry. 🙂
LEG 4: DAU BUS TERMINAL TO CLARK AIRPORT (05:00am -06:00am)
There are two main options you can take to go to Clark airport from Dau:
A. Itinerary: Shuttle Jeepneys in Dau directly to the airport
There are shuttle jeepneys (coloured green & white) that ply the Dau – Clark Airport route. Fare costs 100 pesos per person and ONLY leaves when there are 5 passengers on board.
Expect to wait for the shuttle to arrive as they are as rare at this time. Plus if there’s a shuttle available, there are hardly any passengers to fill out the 5 passenger quota. You can pay for the entire shuttle ride for 500 pesos or divide the amount if you are already 2-4 on shuttle. The shuttle goes directly to the airport.
My experience: The shuttle arrived at 05:30am and I was waiting until 06:15am for other passengers to come, and I eventually left as no one came and I’ll miss my check-in time. So I took the other option – Option 2.
B. Itinerary: Dau Bus Terminal -Clark Main Gate – Clark Airport
From the Dau Terminal, walk for 100 meters to the main road where you can take a jeepney going to Clark Main Gate. From Jollibee, turn left passing through the road where the shuttle vans are parked. Then turn right on the corner until you get into the highway where you’ll need to cross the road. There’s a map to the jeepney stop inside Jolibee or just ask the people around to give you directions to the stop for jeepneys going to Clark Main Gate.
After walking, take a jeepney going to Clark Main Gate. They have signs on the dashboard window either saying Clark Main Gate / SM Clark. Fare should be 8 pesos and you’ll get to Clark Main Gate in 5-10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can get a tricycle from Dau Bus terminal to bring you to Clark Main Gate – and expect to pay 50-80 pesos.
Once you get into Clark main gate, ask the jeepney drivers for jeepneys that goes to the clark airport. In most cases, they’ll offer you to get on a special jeepney ride for 250 pesos and that will bring you directly to the departure area of the airport. Travel time is 15 minutes.
Alternatively, they said that it’s possible to take a jeepney and pay 10 pesos, and then walk for 10 minutes to the airport. I have yet to find any information on this but I will update this blog if that information comes in.
UPDATE (August 2012): Thanks to my readers – apparently, this jeep exist and can be taken from the same terminal. The jeep route is yet to be confirmed. 🙂
As for me, I would advise to go for Option 2 to save roughly 280 pesos on fare, but if you get lucky – the shuttle bus won’t be that bad.
Anyway, I manage to get into the airport after almost 4 hours of travel time. An exhausting challenge and spent more or less around 500 pesos from the journey from Quezon City to Clark.
Useful numbers to call:
DMIA (Clark Airport authority) – +63 (0) 45 599.2888 loc.119
Air Asia – +63 (0) 2 588.9999 (call centre)
Cebu Pacific – +63 (0) 2 702 0888 (call centre)
Sea Air – +63 (0) 2 849.0100 (call centre)
Tiger Airways – +63 (0) 2 884.1524 (call centre)
Philtranco – +63 (0)2 851 – 5420 // 851 – 5812 // 851 – 8077 // 851 – 8079
Have you tried flying from Clark Airport? What was your experience? Any tips you want to share?