Manila International Airport: Location of Terminals

December 23, 2011

Photo courtesy of

Manila International Airport: Location of Terminals

The Manila International Airport, also known as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, has four (4) terminals. Unlike other international airports, these terminals are not near each other. The distance between terminals are as follows:

Terminal 1 to Terminal 2: 
1 kilometer
Terminal 1 to Terminal 3: 
5.8 kilometers
Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 to Manila Domestic Terminal
2.5 kilometers
Terminal 2 to Terminal 3: 
4.8 kilometers
Terminal 3 to Manila Domestic Terminal: 
3.7 kilometers

Although these terminals are far apart, they do not have their own runways. They share one primary runway. So when an airline encounters a problem while on the primary runway, all flights in these four terminals will be delayed. 

The map below show the location of the four (4) terminals:

A: Terminal 1: where all international flights land except those of Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Nippon Air
B: Terminal 2: where all Philippine airlines flights land, whether domestic or international
C: Terminal 3: where all All Nippon Airways, Cebu Pacific flights (domestic and international) land and Air Philippines flights land
D: Manila Domestic Terminal: where all Zest Air, Southeast Airlines and Sky Pasada flights land

El Nido Island Hopping Tour A with Kids

November 15, 2011

El Nido Island Hopping Tour A with Kids

Map of where we went
Photo of map taken from El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe (arrows added by me)

The places we visited:
1. Small Lagoon
2. Secret Lagoon
3. Simizu Island
4. 7 Commandos Beach

The Big Lagoon was included in this tour but during our visit, the Survivor Series, Swedish edition was filming there so the lagoon was closed  to the public. 

Our Island Hopping Tour A Itinerary by Rovics Pension

6:00 AM           

7:00 AM          

9:00 AM 
Departure from Marina Garden Resort for Island Hopping Tour A

Heading towards the Small Lagoon

10:00 AM-11:00 AM 
Swimming at the Small Lagoon
11:00 AM-11:30 AM
Banca ride to Secret Lagoon. We passed by Big Lagoon and El Nido Resort Miniloc Island but didn't visit it. Big Lagoon is closed to visitors because the Survivor Series, Swedish version, is using the Big Lagoon.

11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Lunch at the Secret Lagoon
Explored the Secret Lagoon
1:30 PM-2:30 PM      
Snorkeling at Simizu Island
3:00 PM-3:30 PM 
7 Commandos Island
4:00 PM 
Arrival at Marina Garden Resort

7:30 PM 
Dinner at Squidos Restaurant

The 7 Commandos Beach at El Nido

November 13, 2011

The 7 Commandos Beach at El Nido

Why see the 7 Commandos Beach

You can actually skip this beach because the only thing we did here is to drink buco or coconut juice. This is the end of Tour A for us so in a way, to drink fresh buco or coconut juice is a refreshing end to a long, hot day at the beach.

What to expect when you arrive at the 7 Commandos Beach

The view of 7 Commandos Island as from our boat as we approached it
Our boat, Arribada, anchored at the shore of the beach

The store selling fresh buco juice

The coconut juice was very sweet ....
... and the coconut meat was very tender (malauhog, as we Filipinos call it)

The Simizu Island at El Nido

November 12, 2011

The Simizu Island at El Nido

Why see the Simizu Island
For the snorkeling!!!

What to expect when you arrive at Simizu Island
We didn't visit Simizu Island. We dropped anchor off Simizu Island to go snorkeling. This is one of the best snorkeling sites in El Nido.

This is the view as we approached Simizu Island. See the crystal clear waters.

This is our boat, Arribada. Simizu Island is right behind us. 
Underwater Photos 
(taken with a camera encased in Dicapac)

How to Activate Smart Roaming While Abroad

November 11, 2011

How to Activate Smart Roaming While Abroad

Before leaving for another country, I always activate my cellphone roaming services. As a prepaid subscriber, it's very easy to do it because you need not call customer service. Activation is only a text or SMS away. With Globe Telecommunications, you only need to text GROAM ON mm/dd/yyyy to 2884. They activate it on the specific date. With Smart Telecommunications, you also activate it just by texting ROAM ON to 333. They activate it immediately. But the disadvantage of Smart activating your roaming immediately is that they also disable calls to you. From the time of activation, whether or not you're abroad and using their roaming service, no one can call you. Note that this is applicable only to a prepaid subscriber. To avoid my calls being disabled, I did not activate my roaming in advance. I decided to do it at the airport while waiting for my flight. However, in my last trip, I did not have too much waiting time at the airport so inevitably I forgot to activate my Smart roaming service.

It was important for me to activate my roaming service because I informed the people I left at home that I'm just a text away so in case of emergency, I could be easily reached. With no other information as to my hotel phone no., it was very important for me to activate my roaming service.

So how did I activate the Smart roaming service while abroad?

Update as of November 15, 2015!!!

Please contact the Smart Customer Service at by sending them a personal message about your problem activating roaming while abroad. 

They reply immediately but you need to give them the ff. information: 

1. your SMART number
2. roaming destination
3. handset model 
4. last reload date and amount

My conversation with Smart customer service via personal message in their facebook page:

Me: Hi. How do I activate smart prepaid roaming while abroad when I have not registered to a smart web account before leaving the country? I just registered but to link my prepaid number, I need to receive a verification code. How can I receive the verification code when I don't have a roaming signal in the smart prepaid number I'm linking?
Smart: Hi. We can activate it for you, Meanne. Send us your SMART number, roaming destination, handset model and last reload date and amount.


The Smart website is not very clear on how to do it so I will take you to a step-by-step process. It also took a while for me to do it because as I said, the Smart website is not very clear on the process.

Basically, you need to be able to access the internet because you activate roaming by registering and logging on my See instructions below:

1. Go to
2. Click at the right hand side of the page "Manage my account."

  • If you have previously registered before, just log in by using your mobile number or your email email address.
  • If you have not registered before, click the "register now" icon and create an account.

5. After you have logged in to your account, click the left hand side icon "Services" and it will show "International Roaming".
6. Click "International Roaming", then click "Activate service".

What you need to be able to activate your Smart roaming service while abroad?
1. At least 100 peso load in your prepaid phone.
2. A smart phone or PC
3. An internet connection
4. An email address


November 10, 2011



Via SMS: 
Text PPUR to 2861

Visit this link and follow instructions: 

Via N7WN website:
Visit this link and fill up the form below after choosing your picks:

Reminders: TEXT VOTING FOR N7WN ENDS TODAY AT 11:59 PM but email and facebook voting ends tomorrow (November 11,2011) at around 7PM (Philippine time)!!

It is not yet late! Text PPUR to 2861!!

for international SMS: text PPUR to +2489 88888

Canada- 77077
Australia- 19788555
UAE- 3888
South Korea- 001-1588-7715
South Africa- 34874
Poland- write PUERTO and send to 7155
Taiwan- text N7WPPUR and send to 5523

This is the official page of the New7Wonders of Nature campaign
Page: ‎505,882 like this

Strand Hotel: Best Budget Hotel in Singapore for a Family of 6

November 2, 2011

Strand Hotel: 
Best Budget Hotel in Singapore for a Family of 6

always find it a great challenge to find a hotel with rooms that can accommodate a family of 6. Maximum capacity in most hotel rooms are usually 4 persons. I suppose most hotels presume that a family usually consists only of a couple with 2 kids. So most family rooms only have a maximum capacity of 4.

In my experience, it's always cheapest to get 1 family room good for 6 rather than to get 3 rooms good for 2 persons, or 2 rooms good for 3 persons, etc. So I was so happy to find Strand Hotel.

We just arrived from Singapore and this is my review of Strand Hotel.

Why I Love the Strand Hotel

1. The hotel is just across Kopitiam food court and 7 eleven. 
Updated August 2015: The Kopitiam food court across Strand Hotel is already closed. There are no plans for reopening it.
Both Kopitiam and 7 eleven are open 24 hours a day so anytime you become hungry you can just walk across and buy food. At 7 eleven, you can also buy ezlink cards for use at the MRT, the bus and Sentosa express. If you have remaining load in your ezlink cards before leaving Singapore, you can use it the remaining balance to purchase products at 7 eleven. 
My tip: Make sure to make the purchase using the ezlink card after 7am. That's the only time the 7 eleven store allowed to use the ezlink card.   
2. The hotel is very near the MRT Bras Basah station and 2 bus stops

View Larger Map

Check out my post on Changi Airport Transportation Options to Strand Hotel

3. The hotel is very near the hippo tour bus stop.
If you decide to take the Hippo Tour hop-on hop-off, you can take the yellow line that stops at the bus stop along Bras Basah, beside the Rendezvous hotel. The Rendezvous hotel is beside Strand Hotel. You can buy the ticket in the bus when you hop on the yellow line bus.
My tip: Do the whole route of both the yellow and red line first. 
First Suggestion: Ride the yellow line at the bus stop beside Rendezvous hotel, get off at Suntec. Ride the hippo tour red line at Suntec and do the whole route, and get off at Suntec. Ride the hippo tour yellow line at Suntec and get off at the bus stop beside Rendezvous hotel. You're done. You have toured Singapore without effort.
Second Suggestion: go directly to Suntec City to start the tour. What you do is to walk to Bras Basah Station, take the MRT circle (yellow) line going to Harbour Front and get off at the next stop, which is Esplanade. The Esplanade station is at Tower 5 where the Hippo Tour Desk is located.
See the tour map:
4. The hotel is short walking distance from the National Museum of Singapore
Take note that the big, white structure with a dome that you see when you're outside the hotel and along Bencoolen Street is the National Museum of Singapore. It's very short walking distance from the hotel. At the National Museum, we were able to see the original painting of Starry Night of Vincent Van Gogh and at least 4 Monets, 3 Cezannes, and a Renoir at the Dreams and Reality Exhibit. The paintings are on loan from the Orsay Museum, Paris. Better check out what's on at the National Museum when you arrive at Singapore.
Directions: Walk along Bencoolen Street going towards Bras Basah road, cross Bras Basah Street and continue walking along Bencoolen Street until you arrive at Fort Canning Road. Cross Fort Canning Road and walk towards the entrance of the National Museum.
See the website:
5. The hotel is near three (3) Catholic Churches
When in another place and if our trip falls on a Sunday, we usually look for a Catholic Church where we can attend Mass. The ff. Catholic Churches is near the hotel (in order of proximity from the hotel):
  • St Peter and Paul Church located at the back of the Singapore Art Museum: for location and mass schedule, see here
  • Cathedral of the Good Shepherd: for location and mass schedules, see here
  • St. Joseph's Church: for location and mass schedules, see here 
6. The hotel is walking distance from:
Orchard Road: after exiting the hotel entrance, you turn right and walk along Bencoolen Street till you reach Bras Basah road. When you reach Bras Basah Road, turn right. Walk along Bras Basah until you reach Orchard Road. See the map above.
Bugis Junction: after exiting from the hotel entrance, walk along Bencoolen Street till you reach Bras Basah road. When you reach Bras Basah road, turn left  and walk along Bras Basah Road till you reach Victoria Street. When you reach Victoria Street, turn left and walk along Victoria Street till you reach Bugis. See map above.
Arab Street: from Bugis, a little walk further and you reach Arab Street. See map above. 
Raffles Hotel: after exiting from the hotel entrance, walk along Bencoolen Street till you reach Bras Basah road. When you reach Bras Basah road, turn left  and walk along Bras Basah Road till you reach Beach Road. Turn left at Beach Road. See map above.  
Raffles City: after exiting from the hotel entrance, walk along Bencoolen Street till you reach Bras Basah road. When you reach Bras Basah road, turn left  and walk along Bras Basah Road till you reach North Bridge Road. See map above.
Suntec City: you can walk to Suntec City. But it's easier to walk to Bras Basah Station, take the yellow line to Harbour Front and get off at the next stop, which is Esplanade (if you want to get off at Tower 5, where the Hippo Tour starts) or get off at Promenade (if you want to get off at Tower 4, where Carrefour is located)
Merlion: not really walking distance from the Merlion but the bus that goes straight to the Merlion can be taken at the bus stop near Kopitiam. Bus 131 goes straight to Fullerton where you can walk to go to the Merlion.
Rates (Updated rates as of November 2014)

Single/double                           S$160 Net
Triple                                       S$200 Net
Family of 4                               S$240 Net

Big family room for 6                S$380 Net

For every additional person is S$40 Net S$50 net

Maximum capacity of the family room is 7 persons

  • Note: the rate of S$240 for the family room is good for 4 persons. The family room has a maximum occupancy of 7 persons. Therefore, if 5 persons will occupy the family room, your rate will be S$240 + S$40 = S$280. If 6 persons will occupy the family room, your rate will be S$240 + S$40 + S$40 = S$320. If 7 persons will occupy the family room, your rate will be S$240 + S$40 + S$40 + S$40 = S$360

All room rates include government taxes and complimentary breakfast.

To change your room bookings or to make a cancellation, you need to inform them weeks 72 hours before arrival. For cancellation less than 72 hours before arrival, they will charge you 1 day room rate.

There is no downpayment but they require a credit card guarantee to confirm the booking. You need to make a downpayment when you arrive at the hotel to check-in.

My tip: Pay for your hotel room in full upon check-in so you don't carry a lot of cash with you while sightseeing.


The family room is spacious, has a high ceiling, with a lot of closet space. Even if you fill the maximum capacity of 7 people in a family room, the room has still enough space for everyone to comfortably move around.

Toilet & Bath

Toilet and bath are separate, which means they have separate doors. Even if you have 7 people in a room, they won't have problems using the toilet. One can use the toilet while another uses the bath. This is a very smart move of the hotel to separate these two.

Photos of Strand Hotel, Singapore
This photo of Strand Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Photos of Strand Hotel, Singapore
This photo of Strand Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor


Photos of Strand Hotel, Singapore
This photo of Strand Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The beds are full sized mattresses, even the roll away beds. For a family room for  6, we were given 2 queen sized beds and 2 single beds.

Complimentary Breakfast

Photos of Strand Hotel, Singapore
This photo of Strand Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor

You are given breakfast coupons which you claim at the reception everyday, on the day before breakfast is to be served. 

The complimentary breakfast consist of a set meal of 2 hotdogs, 2 slices of bacon, scrambled eggs/2 fried eggs. Then in addition there is a buffet spread of pancakes/french toast, noodles (pad thai or chinese pancit), cereal, toast and jam/marmalade/butter, coffee, tea, juice, water.


The room amenities includes free wifi (with super fast connection speed), 29 inch flat screen cable TV, coffee and tea making facilities (consisting of an electric kettle, cofee and milk tea), mini ref, in room safe, telephone, free slippers, free toothbrush and toothpaste.


The service at reception and housekeeping is fast and efficient. We asked for a travel adaptor, hair dryer, extra pillows, and tube ice. 
Our room was cleaned everyday with fresh linen and towels. Housekeeping was very fast in addressing a minor toilet problem when we called them.
The reception was very helpful in breaking our money into small bills.

My conclusion: We will definitely stay  at this hotel again and will highly recommend it to friends and relatives.

The Secret Lagoon at El Nido

October 14, 2011

The Secret Lagoon at El Nido

Why see the Secret Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon is hidden within an island with a pristine white beach and crystal clear water. You go there to enjoy the view from the beach, the beach itself and to explore the Secret Lagoon. This is where we had our lunch, provided by the boatmen. It is a perfect place to enjoy your lunch while in the midst of all the beauty of this island. The pictures will speak for itself.

What to expect when you arrive at the Secret Lagoon

The view from our boat as we approach the island

A boat docked on the island.
The lunch table for the tourists is set up underneath the coconut trees.

This is the view from the beach where our boat docked

From where the boats are docked, you walk through these huge rocks
to go to another beach area.

This is the other beach area.
No boats are docked in this area because the water is shallow

We stayed in the beach area where no boats are docked

The sea water is as crystal clear as drinking water.

Our kids playing around in the second beach area.

Our delicious lunch was cooked on the island by the boatmen.
The fish was my favorite because it was so fresh.

We went back to where our boat was docked and ate lunch under the coconut tree.
This is our view as we ate our lunch.

After lunch, we went back to the second beach area
and made our way to the secret lagoon.

After traversing the rocky part of the beach, we reached this hole which is the entrance to the Secret Lagoon.

The kids are about to go through the hole which is the entrance of the Secret Lagoon.

The view of the hole from the Secret Lagoon

Inside the Secret Lagoon