The Megacitizens guide for moving to Manila, from booking a flight and packing your things to finding a job and making new friends.
Until quite recently there were no direct flights at all between the Philippines and Europe, due to airline bans, taxes, and economic reasons. Now the EU has finally lifted its 2010 airspace ban on all Philippine carriers. Philippine Airlines had already been removed from the blacklist in 2013, followed by Cebu Pacific in 2014.
Being an archipelago, the main way to get to the Philippines is by airplane. Here we list down all the local and international airlines that fly to the country, with passenger as well as cargo planes. In case you prefer flying by yourself, we also listed down places in Metro Manila where you can do a flight training and get a pilot's license.
South Korea's capital is a bustling Megacity of 10 million people, with a metropolitan area of more than 25 million. However, crowdedness, noise and traffic are not as bad as in many other cities, thanks to an excellent transport infrastructure and a high number of recreational areas and quiet temples. Korea and the Philippines have strong ties, with many Koreans coming to the Philippines to study English, work, or enjoy the beaches. 90,000 Koreans live in the Philippines, and 45,000 Filipinos live in South Korea, and there are many flight connections between Seoul and Manila.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the country’s major airport. It serves as the hub for the Philippines’ flag carriers. Also known as the Manila International Airport, NAIA is the point of entry for most international visitors of the Philippines as well as returning Overseas Filipino Workers from all continents.
A lot of Megacitizens travel from Manila to Bangkok and back. Bangkok is well-known and well-established as a prime tourist destination in Southeast Asia and as a hub to Thailand's beautiful beaches.The city itself is host to several national and regional headquarters of international organizations and companies. The nightlife, shopping malls and close proximity to Pattaya complete the list of reasons that might make you want to leave Manila for Bangkok.
As Manila is the capital of an ocean-locked country, the only way to get to other Megacities is via airplane. This is often much cheaper and easier than you might think. Regard your stay in Metro Manila as a base-camp for exploring other Megacities and Global Cities in Southeast Asia!
The island nation of Taiwan - also known as the Republic of China - is the Philippines' nearest neighbor in the north. Its capital Taipei offers guests fascinating temples and museums, delicious food at the nightmarkets, and an uplifting visit of Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world.
One of the most inexpensive journeys out of the Philippines via airplane is to travel to the global city Kuala Lumpur. With a population of about 5.6 million and its southern location in East Asia, ‘KL’ is a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures, religions and foods. The city with the two identical towers, namely the Petronas Twin Towers, is definitely worth a weekend-trip. KL has evolved from a British Colony Capital into one of Asia’s richest global cities today. The city is young, vibrant and enjoys a wide variety in music, art and events.
The motto is: 'Cebu Pacific Air - It’s time everyone flies'. Cebu Pacific is the prime low-cost airline of the Philippines for domestic operations and thus revolutionized flying, offering 'every Juan' (symbolic nickname for a Filipino) the opportunity to fly. The airline also features a growing number of international destinations in Southeast Asia, such as Jakarta (Indonesia) and Singapore.
Kota Kinabalu is a fast-growing Malaysian city of roughly 620,000 people, located at the northern coast of the island of Borneo. It offers everything you can expect from a tropical holiday destination: beautiful beaches, great food, and exciting nature parks just around the corner.
Hong Kong is one of the top weekend get-away destinations for a lot of Megacitizens in the Philippines. This city of eight million people is a mere two-hour flight away and its efficient public transportation system leaves everyone in awe.
South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) is the second-oldest airline in the Philippines. Since 2011 it is owned by Singapore-based Tiger Airways with 40% of its market share. SEAIR services domestic and international routes (the latter not from the airport in the Megacity) and can also be regarded as a low-cost airline.
Clark is a rapidly growing airport, located roughly 80 kilometers north of Metro Manila. You can get some cheap flights from CRK, but you should think twice if it is really worth the hassle.
Zest Airways (ZestAir) formerly known as Asian Spirit (the first airline in the Philippines to be run as a cooperative) is one of the least known domestic airlines in the country. It offers domestic and international tourist services.
Airphil Express (Airphil) is a daughter company of Philippine Airlines. It therefore enjoys the fame as being the low-cost alternative to the Philippine national airline. Compared to other budget airlines, Airphil is very forthcoming with its luggage policy. 15 Kg luggage are already included in the fare. When comparing costs, this knowledge might come in handy.
'Asia’s first, shining through' is the slogan of Philippines' national airline, Philippine Airlines (PAL). Philippine Airlines is the only carrier accredited by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the Operational Safety Audit (IOASA). It departs from Terminal 2 (Philippine Airlines Terminal) to a high number of domestic and international destinations.
Singapore-based Tigerair has sold its airline Tigerair Philippines to Cebu Pacific in January 2014. Nevertheless, the airline will be kept as an independent brand, flying to destinations all over East and Southeast Asia.
Effective July 12, the European Union lifts its airport ban on Philippine Airlines (PAL). In 2010 the EU had blocked all Philippine carriers from flying to its member countries, due to serious safety concerns.
The Kansai Airport serves the three cities Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, which together form the Keihanshin Metropolitan Region with nearly 20 million people. The airport is the door to Japan for visitors from the Philippines, but most tourists will go straight to Kyoto: with dozens of temples, palaces and shrines, 14 of them declared as World Heritage Sites, the country´s former capital is a treasure box of Japanese culture and history.
Singapore is interesting for various reasons. First, it's a city state in Southeast Asia. Second, it is the most developed region in Southeast Asia. Third, it is a hub for travellers across Southeast Asia. Not being a Megacity, Singapore has clean air and streets. Traffic rules are (most of the time) followed and everything looks and feels neat. So even if you don't have any business in Singapore you mind end up spending a day or two there as part of an extended overlay between two connecting flights - voluntarily.