Friday, March 8, 2013

How to Survive if You Land in Clark, Philippines

If you are traveling to South East Asia and entering to the Philippines, you are likely to do so through any of its 3 main international hubs : Manila, Cebu and Clark.

My 2nd flight with Air Asia

Behind the name Clark, this airport served as a Air Force for the American Army from 1903 to 1991. You can feel the differences between living in Clark area or living in Olongapo.

Clark is quite a small airport and if you are quick exiting the plane, you won’t have to wait longer for immigration. Take your bag and exit customs. Outside there are Money Changer offering competitive exchanges (even to be an airport, definitely much better than changing money in Travelex at Hong Kong)

At the moment of writing it wasn’t possible to buy micro-sim cards at the airport. Also, if you need to top-up, the lovely lady at the entrance only does 300 pesos. But outside, in the Mini-stop (convenience store), you can top-up starting from 30 php (smart) and have some cheap meals for around 49 php , hotdog 12php, ice cream 18 php. There are also toilets and pay phones working with coins. If you need to recharge your phone, you can also do so by the market for only 5 php.

If you got a very cheap ticket to Clark, you will be probably landing at midnight. What does it mean? In my opinion, Clark Airport is not really an unsafe place, but the city of Angeles is not the places you wouldlike to find yourself at midnight without decent accommodation.
If you are going to Manila, there are buses going there from the airport for 400-600php aircon. It will take you 2 hours to get there. But also, getting to Manila at 3 am is not really a pleasant experience.

SoGo: "So Clean, So Good"

My recommendation
There is several places into Walking Street in Clark where you can pay per hours. No need me to tell you which one is the main business of these hotels. You don’t need to get to Walking Street if you don’t want to. Just grab a jeepney to Dau Bus Terminal (50php) and from there, walk around 200 metres to find a SoGo hotel, which also can be rented per hours. Internet is quite decent and free and the password is the motto of the enterprise. Here you can crash for 3 hours (standard room 325php) to 10 hours (500php) or rent the room for the full day. But just a nap is what you need. Wake up at 4am and grab a bus to Manila (150 php) and enjoy the city with the minimum traffic that you could dream. Once you start approaching Manila, you will see as the traffic starts to become a nightmare.

Manila at dawn looks even pretty!

And it’s only 5am. 

In Manila, the closest bus station is Cubao and you can get buses to everywhere. If you want to go to the airport, Pasay is the bus station that you need.

My bus ticket from Dau in Angeles to Pasay in Manila
 Did you ever have any traffic experience at Manila?
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