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HOW TO: Travel by Public Transport from Manila to Clark Airport (Updated 2012)

June 19, 2011
Travel by Public Transport from Manila to Clark

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.

Clark Airport (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport)

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.

Dagupan Bus Co. Inc. 232

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:

Airport

DMIA (Clark Airport authority) – +63 (0) 45 599.2888 loc.119

Airlines

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)

Bus Services

Philtranco – +63  (0)2 851 – 5420 // 851 – 5812 // 851 – 8077 // 851 – 8079
Victory Liner
Partas

Have you tried flying from Clark Airport? What was your experience? Any tips you want to share?

Active sports

Surfing in La Union

May 6, 2011
Jerick with a surfboard

For someone who panics on deep water,  going surfing is the last thing I would do. But despite my slight agoraphobia, I really wanted to do it.  The fact that you are default “cool” if you surf (at least I think), I just couldn’t pass out an opportunity of increasing my cool points.

So, I and my friends went to the surfing town of San Juan, La Union – a six-hour bus ride from Manila.

San Juan’s part of the major surfing circuit area in the Philippines and to is next  to Siargao as a well-known surfing destination. April’s a surfing low season and the small & gentle waves were perfect for beginner surfers.  The water’s also  only six feet deep,  and that helped me eased up.

We took our lessons with Sebay Surf Central, one of the well- known surf resorts and school in San Juan.

The lessons started  on the ground with the parts of the surfboard, techniques falling properly (so the board doesn’t hit you), finding your balance and paddling out.

Surfing in La Union

But the fun starts when we went on water.  The instructor finds a good wave, shouts “READY!”, and I’m expects me to stand-up.

I remained unsuccessful on the first waves while my friends already managed to stand up.  In between my failures, my instructor would drag me back and correct my mistakes.

“You need to bend your knees”

“You need to step into the middle of the board”

“ Do not kneel  down when you stand”

“ Smile and look cool”

He said  it was all about following the right position, striking the perfect balance on the board and  knowing which wave to catch. And now, you ask, WAS I ABLE  TO STAND-UP?

I’m not the most athletic person and definitely  far from the stereotype surfer but I didn’t need any of that as by the middle of the lesson, I  STOOD UP!

And after a few more attempts, I stood-up longer!  And finally, I got to surf until the beach!

There are no words really to describe the feeling of standing up and actually surfing the waves!

The unfortunate part though was there were no photos of me surfing.  No one took photos as we all went for the lessons. For now,  you just have to take my word for it.

I must say that this experience made me want to go and surf again – maybe in Siargao or even go to Bali or Hawaii. And definitely, I would recommend the Sebay instructors as they made someone as awkward as me to actually surf.

Surfing in San Juan, La Union

I was impressed with my instructor, who patiently taught and got me to surf on the better waves for a better experience.   He’s very passionate about surfing and you can never go wrong with a person who loves what he is teaching.

Surfing for beginners is not as tough as it looks. THINK that if penguins or mutant turtles can do it, then seriously what’s stopping us from doing it, right?  Okay, they ARE cartoons  but I must say that I find learning how to surf easier than I expected.

Travel Blog

El Nido: Our 48 hours in paradise

March 31, 2011
El Nido Island

I found paradise – and it is just  in my country’s backyard.

El Nido Island

El Nido, Philippines is the image that pops out from that beach postcard.

It’s a 6 hour public van ride (can be 9 hours depending on the van you take) from Puerto Princesa – so it’s a long drive along the Palawan highway & rough roads. But once you get there – you’ll be greeted by this cove!

El Nido Cove - 25 travels

I have been to many beach towns in the Philippines and this is for me is one of the finest ones.

It’s a perfect peaceful getaway to  relax and read  your book and  while drinking coconut juice by the beach. Who doesn’t want a life like that?

 

There are some quirks that I particularly enjoyed like having no electricity in the morning. Working always in front of my laptop, any tech gadgets is the last thing I would like to see on my holidays. So El Nido without electricity in the mornings for me suited up with this. Having breakfast in front of the beach with NO mobile phones, laptops, television screens was just perfect.

We went and stayed there for little less than 48 hours, and if you are doing that – here’s a few tips:

  • Island Hopping? Do TOUR A. This is the cheapest one (700PHP as of press time) and the most popular tour. There are 4 tours available and for many people this is the most rewarding. A visit to the small lagoon & big lagoon is not to be missed (and luckily included in this tour)
  • Look for a good tour provider – there are lots of tour providers offering the same island tour and offers the tour with the same price. What makes the difference though is the food & drinks they serve for lunch – so scout around for a better deal. We  booked the tour with our hotel, which was a mistake as the tour we got didn’t offer any drinks along (not even water).
  • Get coffee in Habibi – Probably one of the better options for coffee in Palawan, it is not to be missed.
  • Chill at the El Nido Café – after a long day of island hopping, they offer a good place to chill out and rest. They also have a small grocery & souvenir shop.
  • 48 HOURS IN EL NIDO IS NOT ENOUGH – This was our biggest mistake, after the long journey, we wished we could have stayed longer and done most of the island tours, climbed cliffs and enjoyed the peaceful ambiance. I left El Nido early – but I will definitely come back.

El Nido, despite the tourism growth, still has the small town feel – it only has 1 disco bar (not to my pleasure) and the streets are literally empty after midnight. And I want it to remain that way. It’s not as touristic than I expected. It has its crowd, but not those that sings karaoke, ride bananaboats and build huge & pretentious sand castles.

I’m actually scared for El Nido. I am afraid for it becoming the next party beach – I really hope that it won’t be but I am scared that it will someday. There are efforts from the local government to keep it as an ecotourist area – but who knows.

So visit it now before it’s too late. GO NOW!

El Nido beach - 25 travels

 

Have you been in El Nido? What were your experiences? What did you like or didn’t like about the place? Share your experience below!

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