4 Mar 2012
|Mactan Airport Taxi Terminal|
What's that slip of paper for? If a driver abuses, you can file a complaint. That piece of paper is the proof that you've ridden the cab he's driving. Simple. Secondly, if you've left some belonging on that taxi, you can recover it immediately. Now, can anybody tell us why this system is not implemented at NAIA terminals? Especially that it's commissioned by Department of Transportation and Communication in Lapu Lapu City? At any rate, this systematic regulation at MCIA on its airport taxi gives a strong sense of security and convenience for all arriving visitors to Cebu especially those coming in for the first time.
In NAIA, you either take a yellow-colored taxi and pay a very exorbitant price accumulated by high plug-down rate coupled with the fast speed of its meter or haggle with taxi drivers that will swarm you as soon as you appear in their view and like contractors offer you a contract price of hiring their taxis instead of just taking you home while their meters are on.
My flight to Cebu took only 1 hour and 5 minutes. At 6:55 am, the Air Philippines plane I boarded was already at full stop in Mactan Cebu International Airport. The plane left NAIA-3 at 5:50 am. After asking an MCIA airport personnel, I headed out to the taxi terminal. It's from him that I got the information about the difference between the yellow and white taxis.
Where is the Mactan Airport Taxi Terminal located?
From Arrival Lobby, take the main exit to get outside, use the pedestrian crossing and walk across the road towards the Departure Lobby located at the second level of the building across Arrival Lobby building. Go up the second level via access ramp. As soon as you get to departure lobby, go outside via the first entrance/exit glass door. There you'll see other passengers in line while the taxis are arriving one by one. Security officers are assisting the passengers to ensure orderly flow of taxi rides.
How did I get to my hotel in a breeze?
In travelling out of town, it's always my habit to go first to a Jollibee outlet near the hotels that I had already checked out on the internet prior to my travel. I would have some meal to freshen up and quickly plan out walking direction to those hotels to check out their rates, check-in time, etc., one after another. In time like this, Latitude App of my cellphone has been a big help. Imagine traveling without a map? Speaking of that, my first tip on this series constitute the basic thing you should not forget in travelling especially when you visit Cebu: Make sure your cellphone has Latitude App. Most android phone has it. If your phone don't have a capability, just bring any map you can buy at any bookstore.
So I told the very well-mannered and honest taxi driver to take me to the Jollibee in Colon, the popular main avenue of downtown Cebu where affordable hotels are located. Of course, I've had done some research and even it's my first time in Cebu City, I already got the sense of the area and I already knew that the right jumping-off point for checking out the hotels on my list is the area in Colon and Osmena intersection. Second tip from me: For first timers in a big city like Cebu, make sure that your immediate destination is already imprinted on your mind even right before you land on the airport. It makes for a worry-free, fast and convenient search of place to stay.
The road from the airport to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge is amazingly clean. And when the taxi turned right onto the famous bridge and I got to see the magnificient masterpiece of engineering that connects Lapu-Lapu City to Mandaue City, I couldn't help but admire the view. Suddenly, I remembered the time when I was on a shuttle in Bangkok that taking me and other tourists to an Elephant Show and the vehicle just made its turn to a bridge that somewhat looked like this, although the one in Bangkok was a bit more sophisticated.
On that early morning of beautiful and clear sky Sunday, the driver passed through this boulevard along Cebu Harbor and "Wow!" I heard myself. This place is amazing. I mean I've seen South and North Harbor of Manila but this area is immaculately clean. The whole stretch of harbor which is to my left is untainted of any slum that you frequently see in Manila. I must admit, I like this boulevard and the view of container vans and buildings of different sizes that lined up the harbor. Later on, I got to learn that it's called McArthur Highway, although, for me it's more looked like a boulevard than a highway.
After we traversed the long and wide artillery "highway", the taxi changed lane to the right and I missed being driven through a long tunnel of Cebu City. That's okay! But then, when I realized that the tunnel runs underneath a beautifully designed park, that's when I thought: They just built a tunnel... for the park. "Can't this thing get any crazier?" This is really amazing. Especially when I learned that the park is right in front of the famous historical landmark called Fort San Pedro. And the park is called La Independcia. "I'm going there as soon as I secured my things at a hotel", I told myself.
And I'm going to guide you how to get there from your hotel, too. Not only to Fort San Pedro but to other major tourist attractions of Cebu City. What are they? To name a few, there's the Taoist Temple. Magellan Cross is a must see in Cebu City. Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino and Cebu Cathedral are also on top of the list. Cebu has a lot of important attractions that tell historical past of our beloved country under Spanish rule. Do you still remember Magellan and our very own Lapu-Lapu? "Who killed who?" I think it would worth your while to see his monument in Mactan, don't you think? In my humble opinion, Cebu should be the first province on your list if you're finally contemplating of exploring some of 7,101 islands of our country. So, to make it more easier for you, I will be publishing commuting directions to Cebu's Tourist Spots. But that's in a seperate post. I will give you the link at the end of this post. In the meantime, discover how fast and easy for me to be billeted in an affordable hotel that answered exactly what I needed during my visit of Cebu. Anyways, as what I've been trying to say a while ago, Cebu City in my belief has undergone a better city planning and infrastructure engineering.
After making a curb and some turns, the taxi stopped opposite a Jollibee. I gave Php 300 to the driver and he quickly gave me the change of Php 64, the meter read Php 236. There's no "Sir-Can-You-Add-A-Little-Bit?" kind of annoying request that I often get from taxi drivers in Metro Manila. He was just sincerely smiling and said "Salamat, sir." They are just so contented with their life, and that makes me admire them. Mactan Cebu International Airport is way too far from downtown Cebu. It's like driving from Quezon Avenue to NAIA-3 via EDSA all the way to Aurora Blvd in Pasay, only we didn't encounter any traffic, maybe because it's still on the early morning of Sunday. I've had my breakfast. Soon I got to learn that I was exactly near the corner of Osmena and Colon. That's the area I want to be. It's very near to the hotels on my list - Golden Valley Hotel, Elicon Hotel, Cebu Business Hotel, Cebu City View Hotel and Sogo Hotel.
After I've eaten my favorite jolly breakfast meal, I opened my Latitude App and then minutes later I was on my way to check out each of the hotels on my list, one after the other. Do you know which one passed? It's Sogo Hotel. Oh! Did I hear you said "Yuck!"?
Here's the deal. Only Sogo would let me in at past 8 am. We all know that hotels check-in time starts 12 noon at the most. But Sogo Cebu City is considerate, the staff are so accommodating. Another major consideration is the free wifi that you can use inside your room. Other hotels on my list have free wifi but only on their lobby. Aside from that, Sogo is the best in location. Very near to the corner of Osmena and one block away from Colon. Golden Valley is a bit far and hidden. Elicon is the farthest. Since Sogo was the only one that addressed my immediate need, I decided to go and checked-in. That way, I got to take a hot shower immediately and I got to take some rest before finally heading out to different attractions of Cebu City which will be the next subject of Directions On Web for those who are planning to come and visit this vibrant city for the first time.
So, if you want to learn how to commute to some of Cebu's Tourist Spots, go to my next post.
You can read it here: How To Commute To Cebu's Tourist Spots
Furthermore, I will be publishing the post on how to locate the affordable hotels that I have mentioned here. More tips accompanied upcoming Cebu posts. Watch for it.
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