PH in PHuket

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By Peter Rey Bautista

All In Good Time

Friday, April 4, 2014


IT WAS on August 16, 2013 when for the first time in Philippine aviation history a direct flight from Manila to Phuket was taken.

Cebu Pacific, the country’s leading flag carrier, initiated this opportunity to fly every Juan to this largest resort island of Thailand.

Each Juan could choose from 3 flights a week, Monday, Wednesday or Friday. These are aside from the 12 flights Cebu Pac takes to Bangkok in a week.

It me about 4 hours to drive from here to our QC home and it took me another 4 hours reach Terminal 3 on a Friday. Sir Charles and Ma’am Michelle of CebuPac made assurances I could still make the trip.

I arrived at the airport just an hour before our flight. My boarding pass was handed to me by the staff including a sticker which said I had a check in luggage. No worries, indeed.

Even before this trip, I have been fortunate to travel to Singapore last January with CebuPac and finding myself in Changi 2, which was a relief knowing we won’t be landing in the budget airport.

Over at Changi 2, I purchased my tourist pass, took the green line which took me directly underneath my hotel over at Lavander.

For February it was Kota Kinabalu still with the same carrier. My camera gear never an issue and memories of Mt. Kinabalu forever with me as long as Juan takes some time to honestly avail of 15kgs of check-in luggage. The rest I guarantee may be given consideration from any of the CebuPac counters here or away.

Over at the Immigration Counter I am held awhile because the officer seems to know who I was and a little pep talk ensues. I am warned my passport cannot be read and was given a friendly reminder that XX passports are due for renewal soon.

I said this was to be the last since I was not expecting to make this trip. I just got back from abroad the day before.

I would have wanted to send my managing editor Rod Osis but for some reason and upon the pleadings of Cebu Pacific, JG Summit and Tourism Thailand it had to be me.

Overheard over the PA was a call for me as it was just 20 minutes before my flight. I learned we were to be the first to try out the new A319s in the Cebu Pacific fleet. This plane not only showcased Cebu Pacific's ever expanding fleet with brand new A320s it also introduced this new planes with unique shark tails in the wing-ends. Something Juan will notice when before taking off. I did notice however how large these new planes are when I left for Singapore. Big brother has arrived.

This direct flight also took the same time from Baguio to Edsa – 4 hours. But this is all it takes to get away from it all. A respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city which Manila is.

Awaiting every Juan in this island resort is a chance to frolic at the beach, beer in hand, or Juan could head towards the mountains on an All Terrain Vehicle. After your day of adventure, get a relaxing massage by the beach or in the private confines of your villa. The sights, sun and sand all in one for Juan.

Indeed, the PH is now in Phuket.

This island resort receives 10 million visitors a year, more than we do for 7,107 islands. Experience why this is so. A little more than P3,500 from Juan's pocket takes you to paradise.

Next week: Pocket Phuket

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 05, 2014.

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